By Dr. Mercola
While often overlooked, your dental health can have a significant impact on your overall health. It's difficult to achieve high-level physical health if your oral health is ignored.
Dr.Gerry Curatola, founder of Rejuvenation Dentistry, has over 30 years' experience in biological dentistry. As Curatola notes, your mouth is your "gateway to total body wellness." Indeed, thousands of studies have linked oral disease to systemic disease.
Inflammation is known to be a disease-causing force leading to most chronic illness, and gum disease and other oral diseases produce chronic low-grade inflammation that can have a deleterious effect on every major organ system in your body.
Oral disease can therefore contribute to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer's, just to name a few. Advanced gum disease can raise your risk of a fatal heart attack up to 10 times. And, according to Curatola, if you get a heart attack related to gum disease, 9 times out of 10 it will be fatal.
There's also a 700 percent higher incidence of type 2 diabetes among those with gum disease, courtesy of the inflammatory effects of unbalanced microflora in your mouth.
Caring for Your Oral Microbiome
When the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease enter into your circulatory system it causes your liver to release C-reactive proteins, which have inflammatory effects on your entire circulatory system. So a major part of oral health is attending to your oral microbiome.
Achieving oral health is really about promoting balance among the bacteria in your mouth. Interestingly, probiotics do not work in the oral cavity, so it's not as simple as adding beneficial bacteria to your mouth. Instead, as an initial step, you need to cease killing microbes in your mouth. Curatola explains:
"Pathogens are now being recognized as resident microbes that are out of balance … [T]he same bacteria that keep us alive can have a pathogenic expression when disturbed.
I have been tooting the horn about getting out of the 'pesticide business.' I'm also speaking about natural pesticides. Not just triclosan, clorhexidin and those synthetic types, but also tea tree oil, tulsi oil, oregano oil and other antimicrobial oils that … have a potent disturbing effect on the oral microbiome.
In the mouth, you don't want to have a 'scorched earth policy,' nuking all bacteria and hoping the good bugs come back … [G]ood bugs basically have a harder chance of setting up a healthy-balanced microbiome when you disturb them, denature them, or dehydrate them with alcohol-based products."
Avoid Mouthwashes and Fluoridated Toothpaste
So, as your first step, stop using antibacterial mouthwashes and rinses. Instead, consider taking nutrients that support gum and oral health. Two important ones are vitamin C and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Bleeding gums is often a sign of CoQ10 deficiency.
There are also a number of homeopathic tissue salts that can be beneficial for oral health, including silica, calcarea fluorica (calcium fluoride), calcium phosphate and calcium carbonate.
Calcium fluoride should not be confused with the chemical formulation of sodium fluoride found in toothpaste, which is toxic and carries a poison warning.
Fluoride not only harms your microbiome; it also has many other detrimental health effects. In fact, fluoride over-exposure from toothpaste, fluoridated water and other sources, has led to a virtual epidemic of fluoride damage.
At present, 4 out of 10 adolescents in the U.S. have fluoride-damaged teeth — a condition known as dental fluorosis.
Many assume that use of fluoridated toothpaste and water is an issue that relates to your dental health alone. But according to a 500-page scientific review,1 fluoride is an endocrine disruptor that can affect your bones, brain, thyroid gland, pineal gland and even your blood sugar levels.
At least 34 human studies and 100 animal studies have also linked fluoride to brain damage,2 including lower IQ in children, and studies have shown that fluoride toxicity can lead to a wide variety of health problem.
The Dangers of Mercury Amalgam
Aside from fluoride and antibacterial agents, mercury is another dental-related substance that can wreak havoc with your health.
In the video above, Dr. Oz interviews Curatola about the dangers of "silver fillings" which, despite their name, contain mostly mercury, a well-known neurotoxin and dangerous environmental pollutant. About 50 percent of the amalgam filling is mercury; the remainder is a mixture of copper, tin, silver and zinc.
Mercury amalgam is defended by its apologists for the bizarre reason that it has been used in dentistry for over 150 years. Being a pre-Civil War remedy is not something to brag about! Medicine long ago stopped other pre-Civil War harmful practices, such as bleeding patients and giving them a bottle of mercury to drink.
Amalgams have been linked to a long list of health problems, including fatigue, memory loss, tremors, problems with motor coordination, inability to concentrate, migraines, mood swings, anxiety and autoimmune problems.
Norway, Denmark and Sweden have all banned mercury amalgam, citing health and environmental hazards. So why is amalgam still being used by half of all dentists in the U.S.? The answer is: because it's inexpensive and easy to use, which boosts the profits of dentists' who can make more per chair per day using mercury fillings.
Is Your Insurance Company Still Operating in the Dark Ages?
Many dental insurance companies also do not cover 100 percent of non-amalgam restoration work, which keeps the allure of amalgam alive. For example, some insurance policies only pay for amalgam in molar teeth; if you want composite, you have to pay out-of-pocket. A consumer penalty exist for those who exercise their right to have mercury-free fillings in their molars.
This is really unacceptable, considering the massive costs of amalgam, including (1) to human health, (2) to the environment, (3) to our food supply and the added mercury, (4) to dental workers breathing the mercury-laden air and (5) to consumers who incur future dental bills from amalgam's destructive nature, in contrast to the minimally-invasive and tooth-friendly alternatives.
Also, while amalgam is very strong, capable of withstanding decades' worth of wear and tear in your mouth, it actually makes your tooth weaker. A greater amount of healthy tooth material must be drilled out in order to place amalgam, compared to when using modern composite materials. Amalgam-filled teeth are therefore weaker and more prone to cracking, which necessitates additional restoration work. Composite materials tend to have the opposite effect, helping to maintain and even strengthen tooth integrity.
Take Action — Make Mercury-Free Dentistry a Reality for All
During Mercury-Free Dentistry Week, August 21 through 28, I will match your donations dollar-for-dollar to Consumers for Dental Choice, up to $100,000. Consumers for Dental Choice is a small, effective organization with the sole mission of making mercury-free dentistry a reality in North America and around the world, and they've been working to protect your right to choose mercury-free dentistry for the past 20 years.
The American Dental Association (ADA) continues to insist that the mercury in amalgam is safe for children, even though the FDA makes clear in its regulation that no clinical studies show amalgam's safety for children under age six, nor for pregnant women. On the other hand, studies have suggested dental amalgam is responsible for at least 60 to 95 percent of mercury in human tissues.3
Dental amalgams are also responsible for environmental mercury pollution — so much so that when environmental cleanup costs are factored in, dental amalgams are likely the most expensive type of dental filling available.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), dental clinics are the main source of mercury product pollution, which is discharged into public water treatment centers. The U.S. Geological Survey says that the largest use of mercury, by far, is dental amalgam. Dental amalgam is also the largest use of mercury in Canada and in the European Union.
How Much Amalgam Is Too Much?
We now know that amalgam fillings release mercury vapors every time it's stimulated, such as when you're eating or brushing your teeth. The question that remains to be answered is: How much amalgam poses a definitive health threat? Is it dangerous to have one filling? Or is the risk negligible until you reach a certain number of fillings?
We still do not have a definitive answer to this. However, we do know that mercury is a potent immune suppressant and that it is extremely toxic to your central nervous system (CNS). Hence, if you experience immune or CNS symptoms and have amalgams in your mouth, your amalgams could potentially be a contributing factor. Ditto if you have any of the classic signs of mercury toxicity, which include:
- Memory loss
- Inability to concentrate
- Motor coordination problems
A typical amalgam filling contains about 750 to 1,000 mg of mercury.4 This is nearly 500,000 times more mercury than is present in contaminated sea food. Eating mercury-tainted seafood can expose you to about 2.3 mcg,5 and that alone was enough for scientists to call for a worldwide warning6 back in 2006.
Tests suggest a single amalgam filling may release as much as 15 micrograms (mcg) of mercury per day. In the video above, Dr. Oz brushes a set of molded teeth with a row of amalgam fillings in a sealed container equipped with a mercury measuring device and, within seconds, 61 mcg of mercury is released!
These mercury vapors can easily pass through your cell membranes and cross your blood-brain barrier into your central nervous system, where they can cause serious psychological, neurological and immunological problems. According to an extensive scientific review7 about mercury and children's health, there really is NO known safe level of exposure for mercury. So any dentist who tells you that mercury exposure from amalgam is "minimal" or "inconsequential" is doing you a reprehensible disservice.
Should You Have Your Amalgams Removed?
The answer to that really depends on your general health and the number, age and condition of your amalgam fillings. As a general guideline, Curatola recommends talking to a qualified biological dentist about removing your amalgam fillings if you:
- Have eight or more mercury filings
- Grind your teeth
- Eat acidic food regularly
- Drink soda regularly
All of these factors increase the amount of mercury vapor being released from your amalgam fillings, raising your risk of experiencing problems related to mercury toxicity.
However, it's important to realize that amalgam removal can pose a serious health threat in and of itself, if done without the proper safety precautions. For this reason, it's important to find a qualified biological dentist who is trained in safe amalgam removal. It would also be wise to take steps to boost your immune function prior to removal to help with the detoxification process.
When amalgams are removed, a large amount of mercury is released. If the proper precautions aren't taken, your body can be suddenly flooded with a massive dose of mercury, which can lead to acute kidney problems. I experienced this myself more than 25 years ago when I had my amalgams removed by a non-biological dentist.
Biological dentistry views your teeth and gums as an integrated part of your body, and any medical treatments performed take this into account. Biological dentists are well aware of the dangers involved with toxic materials such as amalgams. Some of the steps that need to be taken to keep you (and your dentist) safe during amalgam removal include:
✓ Providing you with an alternative air source and instructing you not to breathe through your mouth
✓ Putting a rubber dam in your mouth so you don't swallow or inhale any toxins, and using a high-volume evacuator near the tooth at all times to evacuate the mercury vapor
✓ Using a cold-water spray to minimize mercury vapors
✓ Washing your mouth out immediately after the fillings have been removed (the dentist should also change gloves after the removal)
✓ Immediately cleaning your protective wear and face once the fillings are removed
✓ Using room air purifiers
It's Time: DEMAND Mercury-Free Dentistry
The game changer for mercury-free dentistry is the Minamata Convention on Mercury. Consumers for Dental Choice led a worldwide coalition to secure amalgam into that Convention, whose goal is a world free of anthropogenic (man-made uses) of mercury.
Minamata calls on every nation to shift insurance and government programs from favoring amalgam to favoring mercury-free materials. With the Minamata Convention on the verge of being ratified, this is our chance to help Consumers for Dental Choice take things to the next level — its enforcement in every nation. You can help by making a generous donation today, knowing I will match it dollar-for-dollar, up to $100,000. Donations are tax-exempt and can be made online or by mailing a check to:
Consumers for Dental Choice
316 F St., N.E., Suite 210
Washington DC 20002
Today, consumer demand for mercury-free dentistry is really only held back by insurance companies and other third-party payers who mandate continued amalgam use. To empower you to take control of your health, Consumers for Dental Choice has developed tools you and your dentist can use to challenge your dental insurance company's decision to deny you your right to choose mercury-free dental care. Learn more by visiting DemandYourChoice.com.8
Metal Fillings in Your Mouth Could Make You Really Sick
Europeans Face Same Hurdles as Americans in Banning Mercury Amalgam
By Dr. Mercola
Doctors have been using your mind for decades to help you feel better. Also known as the placebo effect, using pills and therapies known to have no effect on the body can sometimes have a significant effect on your health and wellness.
In medical practice, a placebo is a treatment that appears real, but isn't. Oftentimes researchers use placebos in medical studies to determine if there is a measurable difference between the treatment being tested and the effect your mind has over your body.
Doctors have used pills, therapies and shots in order to effect a change in your health without increasing your risk to potential side effects from other treatments. Research into this effect has found a relationship between what you could reasonably expect from your treatment and your body's response.
In other words, if you expect a pill or shot to lessen your pain, you may experience less pain. However, researchers have also found that placebos have an effect on healing and body chemistry as well, demonstrating the power of your mind on self-healing.
Placebos Harness the Power of Your Mind
While scientists can't determine how they work, they have found there is a hierarchy of effectiveness to placebos. Some placebo treatments just work better than others. For instance:1
- Placebo surgery works better than placebo injections
- Placebo injections work better than placebo pills; color and size of the pill makes a difference
- Sham acupuncture treatment works better than a placebo pill
- The more expensive, the better and the more doses per day, the better the effect
- Telling the patient, "This will relieve your pain" works better than saying "This might help"
Belief has a powerful effect on your mind and healing your body. Interestingly, recent investigations point to a growing effectiveness of placebos among Americans.2 This is having a powerful influence on the development of new painkillers.
The response of clinical trial participants to placebo medications to treat neuropathic pain has increased steadily over a 23-year period between 1990 and 2013.
This change has effectively reduced the margin of benefit between placebos and active drugs. This change makes it much more difficult to establish a statistical difference between placebos and the active medication.
Placebos Work in More Than Medical Treatments
Although the placebo effect appears more frequently in medical treatments, other areas experience similar benefits.
• Research published in The Sport Psychologist found that athletes given an energy drink and told they could lift more weight than normal were able to increase the amount lifted by 4 percent.
• Even when athletes knew they were drinking a placebo, they were still lifting heavier weights than without the supplement.5
• A study published in The Gundersen Medical Journal in 2000 found runners given "super oxygenated water" ran 8 percent faster. The results were consistent across 84 percent of the runners. The drink was just plain water.6
• In 2007, researchers found a 20 percent increased strength in untrained athletes who thought they received amino acids to increase strength but were receiving a placebo.7
• A study in 2008 demonstrated a 22 percent increase in strength in trained athletes who thought they were taking caffeine.
The researchers in this study conditioned the participating athletes to believe they were lifting more weights than they actually were, which made them believe the "drug" was even more powerful.8
Although these percentages may seem small, they can mean the difference between placing in the top three in a professional competition and not placing at all.
Useless Surgery Is More Than Just a Placebo
Before a drug is allowed to be sold on the open market it goes through testing to ensure both safety of the product in human trials and that the benefit to the drug is greater than the benefit of using a placebo.
When the process is not successful, medications can slip through causing significant health problems, as did Duract, Zelnorm, Vioxx, Seldane and many others.
However flawed the system for medication approval may be, there is no similar process for surgical procedures. The expected outcome from rigorous clinical trials that demonstrate a surgical procedure is not beneficial would be that surgeons no longer perform the operation. But that doesn't happen.
For instance, lumbar fusion surgery is used to relieve back pain if your discs are worn. Surgeons use a graft to fuse the bones together, which reduces the flexibility of your spine.
The surgery can last up to four hours, requires physical therapy to return to your normal activities and carries with it a number of significant health risks including:9
✓ Blood clots in the legs that may travel to the lungs
✓ Infection developing in the lungs, bladder or kidney, wound or spine
✓ Heart attack or stroke during surgery
✓ Blood loss
✓ Breathing problems
✓ Reaction to medications used during surgery
✓ Damage to your spinal nerves causing pain, loss of sensation or weakness
✓ Spine is more likely to wear away, both above and below the graft, triggering more problems later
✓ Risks from anesthesia include damaged teeth, nausea and vomiting, respiratory depression or anaphylaxis
Several clinical trials and analysis of surgical procedures published from 2005 through 2014 have demonstrated conservative rehabilitation treatments are as effective as lumbar fusion, or more so, without the associated risk.10,11,12,13
Lumbar fusion is only one of several reimbursed surgical procedures despite research casting doubt on their effectiveness.
What may cause surgeons to recommend surgeries that don't have a demonstrable benefit margin above other less invasive treatment options, such as a structured rehabilitation program?
Physician Perspective on Outcomes
In 2009, research was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, studying the long term effect of vertebroplasty to treat vertebral compression fractures compared to a placebo procedure.14 The results between the two procedures had no statistical differences; both groups experienced the same pain relief.
Dr. David Kallmes of Mayo Clinic and lead author of the research, theorized physicians perform surgical procedures that have not demonstrated greater benefit than a non-invasive treatment since insurance companies continue to reimburse for the surgery, and surgeons may have a greater tendency to remember their patients who seemed better after the procedure. Quoted in The New York Times, Kallmes said:15
"When you read a study, you reflect on whether it is representative of your patient population. It is easy to conclude that the answer is 'no.' The mean age in the study is different or 'I do it differently.'
I think there is a placebo effect not only on patients but on doctors. The successful patient is burned into their memories and the not-so-successful patient is not. Doctors can have selective memory that leads them to conclude that, 'Darn it, it works pretty well.'"
Other surgical procedures physicians continue to perform, although research demonstrates the invasive procedure is as effective, or less effective than non-invasive rehabilitation, include meniscus repair (knee) with osteoarthritis16 and meniscus repair without osteoarthritis.17
Insurance Companies May Hold the Key
The research evaluating the benefits of spinal fusion should have been enough to curtail the number of fusion surgeries performed throughout the U.S. Unfortunately, the number only continued to climb. Between 2000 and 2009, following the publication of several research trials negating the benefit of fusion surgery, the number of procedures increased 2.4-fold, and six-fold over the past 20 years.18,19
The rates did not begin to drop until 2012 when Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina declined to pay for spinal fusion surgery any further, and several other insurers followed suit.
However, although insurance companies appear to be reading the research, others want to continue to perform surgical procedures from which you won't benefit more than a rigorous rehabilitation program.20 Law firms are advising you to fight the insurance company to pay for a procedure with higher risk than rehabilitation, but no larger benefit margin.
Ultimately It Is Your Choice
While it may seem as if you don't have a choice in your treatment plan, ultimately it is your body and you who will experience any side effects or problems from a procedure. However, the choice you make may depend upon how the options are presented to you.
In response to an article about clinical trial data, Dr. Gordon H. Guyatt, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at McMaster University, wrote an editorial in The British Medical Journal, quoted in Clinicient and The New York Times, in which he said:21,22
"I personally think the operation should not be mentioned. But if a doctor says anything, say this: '[W]e have randomized clinical trials that produce the highest quality of evidence. They strongly suggest that the procedure is next to useless. If there is any benefit, it is very small and there are downsides, expense, and potential complications.'I cannot imagine that anyone would say, 'Go ahead. I will go for it.'"
What Can You Do Reduce Your Risk of Useless Surgery?
You are responsible for your health, for what you eat, for the procedures you agree to undergo and for the medication you take. In a fast-paced, one-pill-does-it-all society it can be tempting to take the advice of the first physician you work with, especially if they promise you exactly what you want to hear.
But, like everything else in life, there are two sides to each coin. Even after a surgical procedure, you will need rehabilitation to prevent the damage from occurring again and to regain strength and endurance to enjoy your life. Whether you do the work of rehabilitation after surgery or instead of surgery, you will likely need it to regain your health.
Unfortunately, there are no quick and easy answers to repairing and strengthening the complex human body. However, you may reduce your risk potential and possible long-term side effects by researching the recommended surgical procedure, getting a second opinion and considering a rigorous rehabilitation program.
Staying and remaining healthy requires you eat a science-based nutritional diet, move throughout the day, get eight hours of sleep each night and engage in stress reduction practices that work for you. Although you may find surgery to be necessary, you will improve your recovery time by incorporating each of these health practices on a daily basis.
Exercise May Work as Well as Surgery for Knee Injuries
Doctors Perform Thousands of Unnecessary Surgeries: Are You Getting One of Them?
Anxiety is a common problem among Americans, and drugs like benzodiazepine are commonly used to treat it.
Not only can these drugs cause withdrawal symptoms, but they also lead to a host of health problems that include memory loss, hip fractures, and impaired concentration, which further develop into unnecessary stress and expenses.
Research has shown that treating stress with essential oils is effective, plus has minimal risks involved. If you're interested in trying this out, you can start out by using geranium oil.
What Is Geranium Oil?
Geranium is a perennial shrub with small pink flowers and pointy leaves that is native to South Africa.1 Out of the many varieties of the plant, Pelargonium graveolens is the source of the essential oil. The oil is widely used in aromatherapy and contains a number of beneficial compounds.
Geranium oil is often compared to the rose essential oil because they share almost the same therapeutic traits. In fact, geranium is considered the "poor man's rose" and its oil is often the alternative to the more expensive rose oil.2
There are several varieties of geranium oil, depending on where they are cultivated. The highest quality and most expensive type is produced in French island Reunion, called the geranium bourbon essential oil.3
Uses of Geranium Oil
In aromatherapy, geranium oil is used to help treat acne, sore throats, anxiety, depression and insomnia. It is popular among women due to its rosy smell and its beneficial effect on menstruation and menopause.4 The essential oil can also aid in uplifting mood, lessening fatigue and promoting emotional wellness:5
Geranium oil also functions to assist in pain reduction and inflammation. Its antiseptic properties can help speed up the healing of wounds and treat a variety of skin problems, such as burns, frostbite, fungal infections, athlete's foot and eczema. Hemorrhoids can also be potentially treated with the use of geranium oil.6
Frequent travelers can use geranium oil as a natural insect repellent. Topical application can also help heal insect bites and stop itching. It may also be used as a massage oil to help relieve aching muscles and stress.7 Other uses of geranium oil include:8
• Food — Geranium oil can be added to baked goods, frozen dairy, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages and candies.
• Perfumery — Geranium oil has been used to create an artificial rose scent in fragrances and cosmetics.
Composition of Geranium Oil
Geranium oil contains about 67 compounds. The main components of geranium oil are citronellol (26.7 percent) and geraniol (13.4 percent). Other major constituents include:9
• Nerol (8.7 percent)
• Citronellyl formate (7.1 percent)
• Isomenthone (6.3 percent)
• Linalool (5.2 percent)
Benefits of Geranium Oil
Geranium essential oil provides numerous health benefits due its uses as an astringent, hemostatic, cicatrisant, diuretic and many others. Below are just some of the ways this essential oil serves both your physical and emotional health:10,11
✓ It causes your gums, muscles, intestines, skin, blood vessels and tissues to contract due to its astringent properties. It assist in preventing skin problems like sagging and wrinkling, and helps give your muscles a toned appearance.
✓ It contains antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties. It can aid in inhibiting the bacterial strains Brevibacterium linens and Yersinia enterolitica, as well as the fungal species Aspergillus niger. It can also help prevent bacterial infections.
✓ It can help eliminate the appearance of scars and dark spots by helping improve blood circulation just below the surface of the skin and helping promote an equal distribution of melanin.
✓ It can help speed up the healing of wounds by triggering blood clotting. This also helps in stopping toxins from reaching your bloodstream through open wounds.
✓ It assists in detoxification by increasing the rate of urination. This process of elimination does not only remove toxins from your body, but also aids in your digestive function and helps inhibit the excess gas in your intestines.
✓ It can serve as a deodorant due to its fragrant scent. It can also help prevent body odor due to its antibacterial action.
How to Make Geranium Oil
Geranium essential oil is extracted through steam distillation of the plant's stems and leaves. When made from young, green leaves, geranium oil appears with a lemon scent. However, if extracted from older leaves that have changed their color, the oil will have a strong rose fragrance.12
While geranium oil is available in stores, it is possible to create a homemade variety. There are several guides available on the web, but here is one from ehow.com:13
What You Need:
✓ Geranium leaves
✓ Mortar and pestle
✓ Carrier oil like jojoba oil
✓ Large jar with lid
✓ Small jars or bottles with lids
✓ Remove the leaves from a geranium plant (more leaves mean more oil produced).
✓ Remove pests, dirt and other debris from the leaves by washing them in cold water.
✓ Dry the leaves by gently patting them with a cloth or paper towel.
✓ Using the mortar and pestle, ground the leaves until they are completely mashed and pulpy. Leave the crushed leaves for a few hours.
✓ Afterward, transfer the ground leaves to the large jar. Pour some of the carrier oil — just enough to cover the leaves. Then, seal the jar and place it in a cool, dry spot. Set aside for two weeks.
✓ Once the two weeks are up, check the scent of the oil. You may add more ground leaves to make the scent stronger and set aside for another week. If the fragrance is too strong, just add some oil to dilute the finished product.
✓ To store, pour the geranium oil into the small sterilized jars or bottles through a strainer lined with a cheesecloth. This will separate the crushed leaves from the oil. Once the oil has been transferred, seal the bottles/jars and store them in a cool, dry place.
How Does Geranium Oil Work?
There are several ways of using geranium oil. Inhaling it is one of the most common practices. Place a few drops onto a cloth or use an aromatherapy diffuser. This sends messages to your limbic system, which is in charge of controlling emotions and affecting the nervous system. Inhaling geranium oil may also influence your heart rate, stress levels, breathing, blood pressure and immune system.14 Apart from inhalation, here are some ways you can make use of geranium essential oil:
• It can work wonders on bruises and cuts if used as you would any antiseptic. Just make sure you cover it with gauze.
• Adding one drop of geranium oil to a small jar of cold cream or one teaspoon of wheat germ oil can also benefit hemorrhoids.15
• To help treat athlete's foot, about five drops of the essential oil should be combined with a carrier oil like jojoba and added to a foot bath made of warm water and Epsom salt. 16
Is Geranium Oil Safe?
It should first be diluted with a carrier oil like jojoba oil, olive oil or sweet almond oils.17 Geranium oil is relatively safe and works as a relaxant and stimulant for the brain. However, those with skin sensitivities may experience certain side effects.18
Pregnant and nursing women should exercise caution when using geranium oil and other essential oils, as there is currently a lack of research regarding the safety of geranium oil in pregnant women.
Geranium oil should not be used on babies and young children due to the delicate nature of their skin. Parents are also warned to be careful in the administration of the essential oil near the nose of children, as there have been reports of toxicities and even death from doing so.19
Geranium Oil Side Effects
Geranium oil does not generally cause side effects. However, it may cause allergies and sensitivities in some people.20 If you're looking for essential oils that offer the same therapeutic benefits as geranium oil does, your options include lavender oil, orange oil, lemon oil and jasmine oil. 21 To be on the safe side, consult your physician before using any essential oils for medicinal purposes.
By Dr. Mercola
The right of every patient to make decisions about their own bodies — including what filling material is implanted in their teeth — is enshrined in laws, policies and resolutions throughout the world.
In the video below Charlie Brown, executive director of Consumers for Dental Choice and former attorney general for West Virginia, explains the importance of choosing a mercury-free dentist.
This right is particularly important when it comes to making decisions about your teeth because amalgam dental fillings are 50 percent mercury — a toxin that causes problems for the following:
• Your health: Dental amalgam releases neurotoxic mercury vapor into your body. Children, the unborn and the hypersensitive are especially vulnerable to the toxic effects of mercury.
As if that's not bad enough, as a pre-Civil War concoction, amalgam requires the removal of healthy tooth tissue, weakens tooth structure and could therefore crack teeth — leading to much higher dental bills later.
• Your environment: Dental amalgam is the largest amount of mercury in use in the United States — more than light bulbs, or thermometers, or batteries.
Most of this mercury ends up polluting our air, soil and water, where it can contaminate the fish we eat. Mercury pollution can cause health problems, especially for children and the unborn.
• Your dental office: Because mercury is the most vaporous of the heavy metals, dental amalgam pollutes the dental workplaces full of toxic air — which exposes dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants and front office staff to eight to 10 hours of dangerous breathing every work day.
A clinic where the dentists regularly place amalgam is a hazardous workplace — but whose hazards are generally left unexplained to the dental staffs, even the pregnant women, which can and does have serious and horrible consequences to the reproductive systems of young women.
How Your Right to Choose Mercury-Free Dentistry Is Denied
The American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other amalgam hucksters are working to deny your right to choose mercury-free dentistry. Over the years, we've seen these pro-mercury forces use dirty tactics like:
• That "silver fillings" deception: Calling amalgam that is 50 percent mercury "silver fillings" is a blatantly deceptive marketing practice. As a result, about one-fourth of Americans, quite understandably, think amalgam's main component is silver, not mercury.
• Mercury fillings or no fillings: Insurance companies, Medicaid and other government programs try to strong-arm you to get amalgam even though it is a primitive, pre-Civil War pollutant that damages teeth.
What commonly happens is this: if you accept amalgam, your dental plan will pay for the whole thing, but if you insist on mercury-free fillings in back teeth, then you have to pay more out-of-pocket.
Medicaid, Indian Health, the Army, the V.A. and the prisons — many times they force the cruel choice to families of mercury fillings — or no fillings at all.
• Harassing mercury-free dentists: For years, the dental boards punished dentists for advertising, advising and practicing mercury-free dentistry.
As a result, many dentists were afraid to abandon amalgam — or at least to advertise that they did not use it — and many consumers did not know where to turn for mercury-free dental care.
Thank goodness that Charlie Brown and his legal team sent that "gag rule" to the ash heap of American history. The dental boards have backed off enforcing it in the U.S. The news is not good, though, across the Atlantic: the United Kingdom dental regulators continue to try to gag British mercury-free dentists.
Consumers for Dental Choice Protects Your Rights
Mercury-Free Dentistry Week, August 21 to 28, is more than a celebration. It is when I ask you to dig into your pocket to keep the progress going. This week I will match you every dollar (or Canadian dollar, or pound or Euro) that you donate to Consumers for Dental Choice up to $100,000.
For 20 years, Consumers for Dental Choice has been working to protect your right to choose mercury-free dentistry. When Consumers for Dental Choice was founded back in 1996, things were very grim. Dentists were tyrannized about the mercury issue; only 3 percent would admit to being mercury-free.
A Mercury Triangle— the FDA, the ADA and the State dental boards — conspired to make sure that consumers were told that amalgam is "silver." Hardly any outside dentistry had any idea that dentists were plowing our mouths full of mercury.
Along came Consumers for Dental Choice, a nonprofit group founded by the late Bob Jones, a Colorado airline pilot, and Sue Ann Taylor, a Georgia journalist and media specialist; to this day, Sue Ann is president of Consumers for Dental Choice.
They found Charlie Brown and introduced him to the late pioneer of mercury-free dentistry, Dr. Hal Huggins. Hal asked Charlie, "How would you like to help a billion people?" Hal did not need to ask twice. Consumers for Dental Choice, and the cause of mercury-free dentistry, were off to the races.
Charlie and his tiny team assembled consumers, dentists, environmentalists and advocacy groups to work exclusively on ending the use of mercury amalgam dental fillings.
We've made a lot of progress since 1996 — but the war is not yet won. Here are some of the battles Consumers for Dental Choice is fighting to protect your right to choose mercury-free dentistry.
Getting the Word Out About Mercury
It is well established that raising public awareness about amalgam's mercury content and mercury-free alternatives — via brochures and other means — cuts down amalgam use.
When people know amalgam is mercury, they don't want it. And that's why the FDA, the ADA and pro-mercury dentists opposed our projects to get regulations requiring dentists to give patients amalgam fact sheets in California, Philadelphia, Connecticut, Maine and New Hampshire.
Consumers for Dental Choice is fighting the battle to get information about amalgam's mercury into the hands of consumers at all levels:
• States: Many pro-mercury dentists in the localities requiring fact sheets resist the law by refusing to hand out the fact sheets. Most recently, a survey shows that amalgam-using dentists are failing to display this brochure.
The minority-run nonprofit group, Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice (CCEJ), a unique state organization that brings together environmental and social justice issues, organized community volunteers to visit almost 400 dental offices in the state's three major cities: Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven.
They discovered that dentists invariably do not display the amalgam brochure in their waiting rooms, nor do their front office staff offer it to patients — in violation of state law.
They found, too, that the state government does not lift a finger to enforce the law, signaling to the pro-mercury dentists that concealment of the facts about mercury is OK.
The pro-mercury dentists and the state of Connecticut partnered to evade and flaunt this law establishing consumer rights.
Consumers for Dental Choice and CCEJ exposed these law violations by the State of Connecticut in the new report "Mum About Mercury" — they confronted the top brass of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection on the doorsteps of its building, presenting not only the report but a letter signed by the state NAACP and numerous other civil rights organizations.
On September 20, a delegation of civil rights and environmental group will meet with that agency's commissioner to insist that the law be enforced.
• Federal: FDA refuses to provide dental consumers with direct information — i.e., patient labeling — about amalgam's mercury content. In its 2009 dental amalgam rule, FDA goes so far as to illogically claim that providing this information directly to consumers would somehow prevent dentists and patients from discussing treatment options. FDA's role as protector of mercury fillings instead of regulator of mercury fillings was exposed in the report "Measurably Misleading".
Consumers for Dental Choice filed a petition calling on FDA to require patient labeling for amalgam, which would include at least information about amalgam's mercury, risks and mercury-free alternatives. The Mercury Policy Project, an aggressive force for a mercury-free world based in Vermont, brought together the major environmental groups to ask Secretary of State John Kerry: Why did you sign the Minamata Convention on Mercury, then let FDA trash it?
• International: The Minamata Convention on Mercury requires that each party shall promote and facilitate provision to the public of available information on alternatives to mercury-added products, such as amalgam. The United Nations Environmental Programme has provided international guidance for each nation on how to transition to mercury-free dentistry in the 2016 publication "Lessons from Countries Phasing Down Dental Amalgam Use."
This report urges each nation to "rais[e] public awareness" that amalgam is mercury and that mercury-free alternatives are available. Nigeria, with the largest economy in Africa, has published and distributed an excellent fact sheet for consumers, a project done in cooperation with the environmental NGO Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development (SRADev Nigeria).
Challenging the Mercury Pushers
As many people find out when they go to get a filling, their insurance will not pay for mercury-free fillings like composite. Many insurers claim that composite fillings, which happen to be white, are just cosmetic — and not essential for protecting our teeth, our health and our environment. So, they restrict the use of mercury-free fillings and promote amalgam in many ways, some more subtle than others. Here are some of the biggest offenders pushing mercury fillings unto consumers today:
• Insurance companies: Sometimes these dental insurance plans only pay for composite in front teeth, or they'll only partially pay for composite, or they won't pay for composite at all. So the vast majority of consumers — 75 percent, according to a 2014 Zogby poll — want their dental insurance plans to pay for mercury-free dental fillings, but insurance companies are refusing to respond to their customers.
Consumers for Dental Choice has developed tools; see Demand Your Choice to help you and your dentist challenge your dental insurance company's decision to deny you your right to choose mercury-free dental care. Now is the time to insist on mercury-free dentistry, and to insist that your insurer end its bait-and-switch system to pressure you either to accept mercury fillings or pay up.
• State Medicaid: State Medicaid programs commonly either prohibit the use of mercury-free fillings for molar teeth (the back teeth), forcing low-income individuals to choose between mercury fillings and no dental care at all, or allow a choice but don't let consumers know it. Oregon is an example of the latter. An outstanding public servant in Oregon, Commissioner Mary Starrett of Yamhill County, has mounted a campaign to compel disclosure of that choice to parents in Medicaid families.
In Connecticut, it's worse: the Dannel Malloy Administration is so intent on forcing a "mercury fillings or no fillings" policy to shovel money to the pro-mercury dentists, that it (1) booted mercury-free dentists out of the Medicaid program, and (2) forces adults to get mercury fillings or no fillings. Shame on Governor Malloy!
Consumers for Dental Choice is working with Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice to take on the state's pro-mercury Medicaid policy. The nation's premier environmental law firm, Earthjustice, wrote the Governor to warn that his mercury-fillings-or-no-fillings policy is illegal under federal law. A standoff in the Nutmeg State looms.
• Federal programs: The U.S. government is one of the largest single users of amalgam in the world. From the Department of Veterans Affairs to the Pentagon to the Bureau of Prisons System, the U.S. is purchasing, promoting and pushing mercury fillings onto people who, given a choice, would undoubtedly want mercury-free dentistry. Consumers for Dental Choice is challenging the federal government to shape up its act.
Partnering with a California-based Native American NGO International Indian Treaty Council, Consumers for Dental Choice filed a petition calling on the Secretary of Interior (who runs the Bureau of Indian Affairs) and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (who runs the Indian Health Service) to end the use of dental mercury in Indian Health Service clinics and on tribal lands. A dialogue has begun.
The theme of Mercury-Free Dentistry Week is for North Americans — and every consumer and every parent globally — to demand mercury-free dentistry. If you want the campaign to stand up to the bully insurance companies, the arrogant federal government and the state bureaucrats, then it's time to join me and help Consumers for Dental Choice. Your dollars are doubled because I am matching every single dollar donated (up to the first $100,000).
Lawsuits and the Ticking Time Bomb in Your Mouth
Mercury Fillings: Risk from Aetna's Dental Insurance Plans
By Dr. Mercola
Monsanto has a long and infamous history of manufacturing and bringing to market such chemicals as DDT, Agent Orange, aspartame, Roundup and dioxin1 — chemical compounds from which society continues to feel the effects.
In an effort to distance the current corporation from past deeds, Monsanto refers to the company prior to 2002 as "the former Monsanto" in their news releases.2 However, nothing has really changed aside from their PR machine.
While Monsanto has branched into genetic engineering (GE) of plants, the sale of patented GE seeds simply feeds the need for the company's pesticides. Monsanto is STILL primarily a purveyor of toxins, not life.
Monsanto began forging a unique and financially advantageous relationship with the U.S. government starting with the company's involvement in the Manhattan Project that produced the first nuclear weapons during World War II. During the Vietnam War they were the leading producer of Agent Orange.
The specialization in the production and distribution of toxic chemicals continues today.
Their influence over government runs so deep that despite the fact 64 other countries have been labeling genetically engineered (GE) foods for years, the U.S. now has the distinction of being the first country to un-label GE foods at the urging of a company producing mass amounts of GE seeds.
Monsanto and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
In the latter part of the 1920s, Monsanto was the largest producer of PCBs. This chemical was used in lubricant for electric motors, hydraulic fluids and to insulate electrical equipment.3 Old fluorescent light fixtures and electrical appliances with PCB capacitors may still contain the chemical.
During the years PCB was manufactured and used, there were no controls placed on disposal. Since PCBs don't break down under many conditions, they are now widely distributed through the environment and have made the journey up the food chain.4
Between the inception and distribution of the product and its subsequent ban in the late 1970s, an estimated 1.5 billion pounds were distributed in products around the world.5
Monsanto was the primary manufacturer of PCBs in the U.S. under the trade name Aroclor. Health problems associated with exposure to the chemical were noted as early as 1933 when 23 of 24 workers at the production plant developed pustules, loss of energy and appetite, loss of libido and other skin disturbances.6
According to Monsanto's public timeline, it was in 1966 that "Monsanto and others began to study PCB persistence in the environment."7 However, seven years earlier, Monsanto's assistant director of their Medical Department wrote:
"… [S]ufficient exposure, whether by inhalation of vapors or skin contact, can result in chloracne which I think we must assume could be an indication of a more systemic injury if the exposure were allowed to continue."8
In 1967, Shell Oil called to inform Monsanto of press reports from Sweden, noting that PCBs were accumulating in mammals further up the food chain. Shell asked for PCB samples to perform their own analytical studies.9
With full knowledge of the devastation expected to the environment and humanity, it wasn't until 11 years later, in 1977, that Monsanto reportedly pulled production on PCB.10
PCBs Are Probable Human Carcinogens
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Toxicology Program, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIEHS) have identified PCBs as either probable, potential or reasonably likely to cause cancer in humans.11
If it seems like these agencies are couching their words, they are. Human studies have noted increased rates of liver cancer, gall bladder cancer, melanomas, gastrointestinal cancer, biliary tract cancer, brain cancer and breast cancer when individuals had higher levels of PCB chemicals in their blood and tissue.12
However, the EPA limits the ability of researchers to link a chemical as a carcinogen unless there is conclusive proof. While this proof is evident in animal studies, you can't feed these chemicals to humans and record the results. Thus PCBs are a "probable" carcinogen in humans. Other health effects from PCBs include:
- Babies born with neurological and motor control delays including lower IQ, poor short-term memory and poor performance on standardized behavioral assessment tests
- Disrupted sex hormones including shortened menstrual cycles, reduced sperm count and premature puberty
- Imbalanced thyroid hormone affecting growth, intellectual and behavioral development
- Immune effects, including children with more ear infections and chickenpox
Once PCBs are absorbed in the body they deposit in the fat tissue. They are not broken down or excreted. This means the number of PCBs build over time and move up the food chain. Smaller fish are eaten by larger ones and eventually land on your dinner table.
Chemical Poisoning Begins Before Birth
A recent study at the University of California demonstrated that PCBs are found in the blood of pregnant women.13 Before birth, the umbilical cord delivers approximately 300 quarts of blood to your baby every day.
Not long ago, researchers believed the placenta would shield your developing baby from most pollutants and chemicals. Now we know it does not.
The umbilical cord is a lifeline between mother and child, sustaining life and propelling growth. However, in recent research cord blood contained between 200 and 280 different chemicals; 180 were known carcinogens and 217 were toxic to the baby's developing nervous system.14
The deposits of chemicals in your body or the body of your developing baby are called your "body burden" of chemicals and pollution.
A steady stream of chemicals from the environment during a critical time of organ and system development has a significant impact on the health of your child, both in infancy and as the child grows to adulthood.
Tracey Woodruff, Ph.D., director of the University of California San Francisco Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, was quoted in a press release, saying:
"It was surprising and concerning to find so many chemicals in pregnant women without fully knowing the implications for pregnancy. Several of these chemicals in pregnant women were at the same concentrations that have been associated with negative effects in children from other studies.
In addition, exposure to multiple chemicals that can increase the risk of the same adverse health outcome can have a greater impact than exposure to just one chemical."
Butyl Benzyl Phthalate — Another Monsanto Product
Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP), also manufactured by Monsanto, was recently implicated in cell fat storage.15 This specific phthalate was found in human fluids and had an effect on the accumulation of fat inside cells.
BBP is used in the manufacture of vinyl tile, as a plasticizer in PVC pipe, carpets, conveyer belts and weather stripping in your home and office.
Like other phthalates used in the production of plastics, BBP is not bound to the product and can be released into your environment. It may be absorbed by crops and move up the food chain.16 The biggest source of exposure is food.
Drive-through hamburgers and take-out pizzas may be increasing your intake of phthalates. The danger is not in the food itself but in the products used to handle it. The study analyzed data from nearly 9,000 individuals, finding the one-third who had eaten at a fast food restaurant had higher levels of two different phthalates.17
Potentially, BBP may adversely affect your reproductive function. However, at lower doses it also has an effect on your kidneys, liver and pancreas.18 Increased risks of respiratory disorders and multiple myelomas have also been reported in people who have exposure to products manufactured with BBP.19 An increasing waistline from BBP exposure may also reduce your fertility.
Low Sperm Count and Infertility Affecting Animals and Humans
A 26-year study of fertility in dogs, published recently, has distinct similarities to infertility rates in humans. In this study, researchers evaluated the ejaculate of nearly 2,000 dogs. Over the 26 year period, they found a drop in sperm motility of 2.4 percent per year.20
Additionally, both the semen and the testicles of castrated dogs contained by PCBs and phthalates, implicated in other studies to reduction in fertility. Phthalates have been implicated in both decreased sperm motility and quality of your sperm,21 affecting both fertility and the health of your children.22
Researchers used dogs in this study as they live in the same environment as their owners, and often eat some of the same food. This correlation between sperm function and concentration, and environment and food in dogs and humans is significant.
In those 26 years there was also a rise in cryptorchidism in male pups (a condition where the testicles don't descend into the scrotum) born to stud dogs who experienced a decline in sperm quality and motility.23 Cryptorchidism and undescended testicles, occurs at a rate of 1 in 20 term male human infants and 1 in 3 pre-term babies.24
Problems with infertility are also affecting marine animals at the top of the food chain. In the western waters of the Atlantic, the last pod of Orcas are doomed to extinction. High levels of PCB have been found in the fat of over 1,000 dolphins and Orcas in the past 20 years. Now taking a toll on the animal's fertility, this pod of Orcas has not reproduced in the 19 years it has been under study.25
Orcas were living in the North Sea until the 1960s. At that time PCB pollution peaked in the area and the Orca whales disappeared. The same happened in the Mediterranean Sea, where the whales flourished until the 1980s. This pod off the coast of the U.K. is the last living pod in that area.
Monsanto's Argument in PCB Lawsuits
Although Monsanto denies culpability and knowledge of the danger behind the chemical PCB, you'll discover internal documentation in this video that they did, in fact, know of the danger while manufacturing and distributing the product. Monsanto is currently embroiled in several lawsuits across eight cities and the argument is over who owns the rain. The cities are suing Monsanto in Federal Court, saying PCBs manufactured by Monsanto have polluted the San Francisco Bay.26
Monsanto attorney Robert Howard argues that because the city does not own the water rights, the city does not have the right to sue. And, because the PCBs have not damaged city property, such as corroding pipes, Howard claims it is a state problem. Scott Fiske, attorney for three cities, countered with the city's regulatory interests in management of storm water as a fundamental function of the city.27
While Fiske claims he can prove Monsanto knew the product was hazardous as early as 1969, Howard maintains the company should not be liable for the use of the chemicals it produced.
In 2001, Monsanto attorneys in the Owens v. Monsanto case, acknowledged only one health threat from exposure to PCBs: chloracne, and instead argued that since the entire planet has been contaminated, they are innocent of all liability.28 The attorney for Monsanto was quoted in the Chemical Industry Archives, saying:
"The truth is that PCBs are everywhere. They are in meat, they are in everyone in the courtroom, they are everywhere and they have been for a long time, along with a host of other substances." 29
The cities currently engaged in lawsuits against Monsanto for damage to the environment and waterways include Berkley, Oakland, San Jose, Portland, Spokane, Seattle, Long Beach and San Diego. All eight cities attempted to combine their cases against the agrochemical giant but were unsuccessful when one judge found the issues were different enough to warrant separate cases.30
Monsanto's Deep Pockets
Monsanto petitioned the Federal Court to dismiss Portland's lawsuit, claiming it would countersue, adding years to the process. It is likely Monsanto would increase the scope of the case and include companies who used the product and released the PCBs.31 Meanwhile, three plaintiffs in St. Louis received better news in May 2016 when a jury awarded them a total of $46.5 million, finding Monsanto negligent in the production of PCBs.32
This suit claimed Monsanto sold PCBs even after it learned about the dangers, bringing to court internal documents dated 1955, which stated: "We know Aroclors [PCBs] are toxic but the actual limit has not been precisely defined."33 To date this win over Monsanto has been rare. Williams Kherkher, attorney for the plaintiffs, explained in EcoWatch:34
"The only reason why this victory is rare is because no one has had the money to fight Monsanto."
Kherkher and other firms pooled their resources in this case and expect wins in upcoming lawsuits. The firm has accumulated the names of approximately 1,000 plaintiffs with claims against Monsanto and PCBs.
Monsanto Charged With Crimes Against Humanity
GMO Cookie Is Crumbling