Everyone has heard dentists say that brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily will keep your teeth and gums healthy. But not everyone knows dental health issues can be a major contributor to all kinds of health problems, including Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS).
It’s important to understand how the health of your mouth affects the health of your body. For instance, did you know your mouth is a breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria? Most of them are harmless or beneficial, but there are instances when harmful bacteria gain a significant foothold in your mouth and are able to cause some serious health problems.
Good oral hygiene typically keeps these harmful bacteria at bay. Also, saliva washes away food particles and the acid that harmful bacteria produce, keeping your mouth healthy.
But failing to brush or floss allows bacteria to grow and proliferate and gum disease and tooth decay to take hold. Some common medications will decrease the amount of saliva in your mouth, leading to a higher possibility of infections and diseases developing.
Some research evidence that suggests the inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontitis, a significant gum disease, can lead to serious illness conditions in other parts of your body. And some illness conditions, such as HIV/AIDS and diabetes, may reduce your body’s ability to fight infections, leading to more severe dental health issues.
Researchers at the North Carolina School of Dentistry studied links between gum disease and several serious health conditions such as heart disease, respiratory illness, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and osteoporosis. This research found that those with gum health conditions were two times more likely to die from heart attacks and three times more likely to suffer strokes.
Why does this common the dental health issue – inflammation of the gums – lead to such serious problems? Because the inflammation in your mouth allows bacteria to get into your bloodstream and spread to other parts of your body relatively easily.
Impact of Dental Health Issues on the Adrenals
With dental health issues impacting the rest of your body, they also impact your adrenals. Unresolved, unaddressed dental health issues become sources of stress for your body. And your body reacts to stress from any source in the same way.
Once stress is introduced into your body, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is activated. This begins the cascade of hormones and other biological chemicals that make up the stress response. At the end of this cascade are the adrenal glands. Their primary responsibility in the face of stress is to release cortisol, the stress fighting hormone, to deal with the effects of stress on your body. When stress continues, the adrenals can become fatigued, not able to release sufficient cortisol. This leads to the set of symptoms known as Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS). AFS is a major, under assessed, chronic illness.
The sources of stress from dental health issues that affect the adrenals include abscessed teeth, cracked or decayed teeth, subacute infections in root canals, improper removal of teeth that leaves a subacute infection where the teeth were, mercury fillings that leak into the body, and materials used in dental procedures that bring on sensitivities. One of the major sources of this kind of stress is gingivitis.
Mercury toxicity is a primary source of direct stress on the adrenals. It actively suppresses hormone output in the adrenals. This is a source of contention in the dental profession, with both advocates of the possibility that mercury fillings leach into the body and those who argue they are safe both very vocal about their beliefs.
The dental health issues, if unaddressed, lead to a dramatic increase in bacterial growth in the mouth. This overgrowth then can spread throughout the body, leading to increasing toxic load in the entire system. These toxins interfere with the functioning of the adrenal glands, as well as other gland systems in the body.
Research indicates more than 400 types of bacteria can be found in an unhealthy mouth. The toxins produced by these bacteria cause irritation of the gums and stimulate an inflammatory response. Inflammation is a stressor to your body and stimulates the adrenals to secrete cortisol to address the stress. Of course, this stress is added to the stress from various other sources that impinge on your body on a regular basis and adds to the burden placed on your adrenals, increasing the likelihood of developing AFS.
Dental Health Issues: Toxins
Toxins in the body make up one of the major sources of stress that affect the adrenal glands and often lead to AFS. An often overlooked source of toxins and one that is shrouded in controversy is the mercury found in common dental fillings.
Mercury was used in thermometers for quite a while until its toxicity became a problem. It’s a toxic heavy metal, found in nature, that is highly volatile. When exposed to air, it quickly becomes a vapor. If these vapors are inhaled, they invade body tissues very fast. Too much of the vapors can be deadly. The vapors kill cells outright, not merely damaging them.
Mercury has been used in dental fillings for years. Even the so-called “silver” fillings frequently used by dentists because of its malleability contain mercury. In fact, this type of filling is typically fifty percent mercury, thirty-five percent silver, fifteen percent tin, and some copper and zinc.
Some dentists believe there is no mercury vapor released by these fillings. However, research has since shown mercury vapor is released through sublimation. In this process, mercury goes from a solid form to vapor. If you have these kinds of fillings, you may be breathing mercury vapor. This takes the mercury vapor into the lungs where it is absorbed into the blood. It then is transported to the liver where it is methylated. In this form, it goes to the brain and spinal cord and is stored in the cells. This entire process only takes a few hours to complete.
Interestingly, when these fillings are removed from your mouth, they are considered hazardous material and have to be handled according to federal guidelines. The other metals included in fillings like these are also considered toxic to a certain degree.
Some of the most frequent results of the leaching of these toxins from your tooth fillings include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Inflammatory conditions such as phlebitis, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome
- Low pain threshold
- Some chronic neurological conditions