Studies have shown that the mercury in amalgam fillings can increase the body’s resistance to antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance puts you at a higher risk for infections, which can lead to many other serious and long-term health conditions.
If you have metal fillings, you may be wondering: What are the true risks of having mercury in my body?
Today, I’ll help you understand those risks and what you can do to protect your health.
Who Has Mercury Fillings?
Metal “amalgam” fillings used to be the only way dentists filled cavities. And even though safer, less toxic tooth-colored fillings have been available for over 30 years, believe it or not, many traditional dentists still use mercury fillings, needlessly exposing their patients to a known poison! That means many people are walking around with metal (mercury) fillings in their mouths, and some of those are old fillings that have been there for years.
The problem is, metal amalgam fillings are at least 50% mercury (they’ve been that way for more than 60 years), which is known to be toxic to the human body. Mercury escapes from the fillings every day in a vapor form. Too much can lead to mercury poisoning. So if you have metal fillings, chances are you have a toxic chemical in your body.
You don’t have to be a genius (or a scientist) to realize that putting a known poison in your mouth is utterly ridiculous! (Especially when safer options not only exist but are readily available!)
pHow Do Mercury Fillings Work?
To understand the problems with mercury fillings, it’s important to understand the process of filling a cavity.
Cavities are caused by tooth decay — the result of bacteria and acids eating away at your teeth! To surgically treat a cavity, we need to remove the decay (the infected tooth structure) and install a filling to fill the resulting hole in the tooth. Be aware: fillings DO NOT stop decay in teeth! They only treat the effect of the decay. In order to stop the decay process, you must address the dietary and lifestyle risk factors that caused the decay in the first place.
When dentists use metal fillings, they’re essentially removing decay only to replace it with another dangerous substance. Additionally, the shape of the hole that must be cut into the tooth to make the mercury filling stay put must be “dove-tailed” into the tooth. This means that the base of the filling must be wider than the top. This is because mercury fillings can’t be bonded to teeth. Therefore, they must be “locked” into the tooth using this dovetail-style prep design. This significantly weakens the structural integrity of the tooth. If you have mercury fillings in your teeth, you should plan on your teeth breaking in your lifetime. Unless you safely replace them before they break.
The truth is, mercury fillings can harm much more than just your mouth — they’re dangerous for your whole body. Let’s see why…
How Are Mercury Fillings Linked to Antibiotic Resistance?
We’ve known for a long time that metal fillings are dangerous. In fact, this excerpt is from a study completed in 1993:
“Our findings indicate that mercury released from amalgam fillings can cause an enrichment of mercury resistance plasmids in the normal bacterial floras of primates. Many of these plasmids also carry antibiotic resistance, implicating the exposure to mercury from dental amalgams in an increased incidence of multiple antibiotic resistance plasmids in the normal floras of non-medicated subjects.” – American Society for Microbiology, 1993
What does all that mean? Because of their high mercury content, amalgam fillings encourage the microorganisms in your body to develop a resistance to mercury. There is a correlation between mercury resistance and antibiotic resistance, which suggests that amalgam fillings also encourage antibiotic resistance.
Another study from 2007 came to the same conclusion.
What Is Antibiotic Resistance?
Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria in your body change so that antibiotics can no longer fight them, leaving you more vulnerable to dangerous infections.
Infections of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are much more difficult to treat than regular infections.
Human white blood cells ingesting antibiotic-resistant bacteria
What Are the Long-Term Risks of Having Mercury in My Body?
The dangers of amalgam fillings don’t end at the link between mercury and antibiotic resistance. Mercury is a known toxin, with serious side effects.
Amalgam dental fillings can cause low-level mercury poisoning, which can cause damage to your brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system. Because of this, mercury fillings have been linked to a host of illnesses, including:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Mental disorders
- Thyroid problems
- Diseases of the nervous system
- Heart disease (including high blood pressure and rapid heart rate)
- Hormonal and reproductive problems
- Digestive problems
There is even strong evidence linking mercury fillings to several autoimmune disorders and immune system failures like:
- Alzheimer’s disease
Neurological and Mood Problems
Mercury dental fillings have even been associated with memory loss, depression, ADD, and learning disabilities. They may also put you at a higher risk for ongoing problems with dizziness or vertigo, insomnia, anger, anxiety, and mental confusion.
With all the negative side effects of mercury fillings, is it any wonder that mercury can also contribute to damage in your gums? It’s true. Mercury from amalgam fillings has been shown to accumulate in your gums, your teeth’s roots, your jaw, and other tissues in your mouth. Evidence suggests this contributes to periodontal diseases like gingivitis, which can eventually progress to periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease.
I Have Metal Fillings. What Should I Do?
What can you do to protect yourself from antibiotic resistance, mercury poisoning, and other dangers from amalgam fillings?
The best thing you can do is to safely replace them. Composite fillings are one option that is safe, non-toxic, and works best with small fillings. The primary downside to composite is that it shrinks by approximately 3% when it is cured. Therefore, it is unwise to use it when replacing larger mercury fillings. The better option when replacing larger mercury fillings would be ceramic inlays, onlays and/or crowns. Dental ceramics don’t shrink and have physical properties that make them very similar to your own enamel. Both composite and ceramics are tooth-colored, so they look much more natural than amalgam fillings.
If you already have metal fillings, I recommend making an appointment with a dentist you trust who is familiar with the safest protocols for removing mercury from your mouth to discuss your options. It may be that the best thing for your health is to have your metal fillings removed and replaced with safer bonded, tooth-colored ones.
Contact Blodgett Dental Care to Learn More
Do you have metal fillings you’re concerned about? Or do you have a cavity that another dentist wants to fill with amalgam?
I’d love to meet with you, discuss your concerns and help you decide on a treatment that benefits your teeth and the rest of your body. Call Blodgett Dental Care at (503) 713-6980 or
Call Blodgett Dental Care at (503) 713-6980 or contact us online.
Dr. Blodgett completed his pre-doctoral sciences at Portland State University and graduated from the Oregon Health Science University School of Dentistry in 1999. As a modern pioneer in progressive dental care, Dr. Blodgett has become a leader in minimally-invasive dentistry, dental lasers, computerized dental technology, and holistic care. He is widely recognized for the innovative care he provides and is dedicated to helping his patients optimize their whole body health.