It’s no big secret that mercury is highly poisonous, and that exposure to mercury should be avoided at all costs. Why, then, do dentists keep putting mercury fillings in their patient’s teeth?
Mercury fillings – sometimes called “silver fillings,” “metal fillings” or “amalgam fillings” – are incredibly toxic. Mercury fillings continuously emit mercury vapor, which is absorbed into the body in small amounts. But those “small amounts” can really add up when you have fillings in your mouth leeching mercury vapor into your body every day for one, five, twenty or even fifty years!
Mercury exposure has been linked to serious medical conditions ranging from mental confusion and fogginess to birth defects, neurodegenerative diseases, autoimmune diseases and many other illnesses. Cognitive functions in particular are negatively affected by mercury exposure.
You are probably familiar with at least one famous literary victim of mercury poisoning: the Mad Hatter from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. His defining and most memorable characteristics were insanity and cognitive dysfunction, and “madness” was representative of mercury poisoning. Hatters at the time used mercury to cure felt, and often exhibited deteriorating mental conditions, neurological damage, and odd tics (which led to the coining of the phrase “mad as a hatter”) and the profession had notably high early mortality rates.
The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology says of mercury:
“Mercury is the most toxic, non-radioactive element on the earth. Most medical and scientific researchers have called for a ban on the use of mercury in all products. However, the potential harmful effects of mercury fillings have been ignored by the U.S. Government. Due to its poisonous nature, mercury can adversely affect the immune, urinary, cardiac, respiratory and digestive systems. Under laboratory conditions, mercury has produced brain cell deterioration identical to that seen in victims of Alzheimer’s disease.”
– International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology: Patient FAQs
In Healing the Gerson Way, Charlotte Gerson wrote that
“Mercury fillings should never be used… damage [is] caused by releasing small amounts of mercury into the system by chewing, drinking and swallowing. These small but continuously released amounts of what is a potent nerve toxin are also absorbed by the lungs and the linings of the digestive system into the bloodstream, leading to severe harm.”
– Charlotte Gerson, Healing the Gerson Way, page 103.
Yet despite all this, for decades the dental industry has obstinately denied that mercury amalgam fillings pose any danger to their patients. Dentists say that the mercury exposure from fillings is minimal, though the levels of mercury exposure deemed “safe” are either not specified, or seem to vary from report to report, and largely concerning mercury toxicity from seafood consumption or workplace exposure. (Note: the type of mercury found in seafood is a more acutely toxic type called methyl mercury. It differs from the elemental mercury used in amalgams, which is absorbed more slowly, and therefore typically causes damage through long-term exposure rather than isolated incidents of exposure or ingestion).
Mercury certainly isn’t something you want in your mouth, especially just a few inches from your brain. If you are blessed with perfect cavity-free teeth, congratulations! (And do your best to keep them that way). But if, like many adults, you do have metal fillings, you might be worrying…
“But I Have Mercury Fillings in My Mouth! What Should I Do?”
Ultimately, of course, they should be removed.
When and how to remove them may need to be determined on a case-by-case basis, especially if you are currently on the Gerson Therapy. It may come as a surprise to some, but it is not recommended to have mercury amalgams removed in the early stages of the Gerson Therapy. All known methods of removing amalgam fillings can result in some ingestion of the mercury, and it is recommended to wait approximately 6-9 months after starting the Therapy to have them removed to avoid further toxicity. When the patient is further along in the healing process and has detoxified some of the toxins in the rest of their body, then they can have the fillings removed by a holistic/biological dentist.
Safe Amalgam Removal
For more details about having mercury fillings safely removed, please watch the video below, from the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT). The video shows how to eliminate excess exposure to mercury when removing amalgam fillings, and strategies for reducing the amount of mercury exposure to both patients and dental staff during amalgam removal.
IAOMT represents a network of dental, medical, and research professionals with members in North America and affiliated chapters in over fourteen other countries. They have been researching the damage dental mercury inflicts on the environment and humans since the non-profit organization was created in 1984.
Additional Resources and Recommended Reading
Find a Non-Toxic Dentist.
If you are interested in having your mercury fillings removed, please seek out an experienced non-toxic dentist. While we are greatly concerned about current dental issues, dentistry is not our area of expertise, and we recommend speaking to a specialist who can advise you on your specific dental concerns. To find a dentist that performs safe amalgam removals, visit IAOMT’s website:
Gerson Therapy Dental Guidelines
To read the guidelines for dental care for patients on the Gerson Therapy, see:
Gerson Basics Online
Our Gerson Basics Online class features a holistic dentist with extensive knowledge and experience with mercury amalgam removals as a special guest speaker.
Learn More About Gerson Basics Online and bundle options at store.gerson.org!
This article was originally published September 19, 2012