by Dr. Maria Theologides
“The prevalence of chronic inflammatory diseases is rising, representing an important threat to global health, and such diseases are the largest cause of death worldwide when combined, accounting for >50% of mortality”
(Roth et al. 2018).
The Global Health Report in 2005, reported over 35 million people worldwide died from chronic diseases. Today it is the leading cause of death and disability and currently accounts for almost 70% of deaths and 53% of the global disease burden, despite a worldwide pandemic. With the change in eating patterns, many of the new urban poor are now encountering a “double burden” of disease. Not only do they continue to be susceptible to infectious disease, but with the availability of nutrient poor but calorically dense food, combined with a sedentary lifestyle, they are at increased risk for obesity and developing chronic diseases. In addition, our toxic world and suboptimal oral hygiene – and the impact on the immune system, this is adding another dimension to the problem across the board, irrespective of social status or economic group.
The oral cavity is a complex microbial ecosystem that provides the gateway to the human body. The human oral microbiome contains upward of 2,000 bacterial, archaeal, viral, and fungal species (Sampaio-Maia et al. 2016). Any environmental insult, including bacterial infection, trauma, and chemical cues, has the potential to elicit an inflammatory response. Acute inflammation is protective for the host against infection or injury, involving an influx of immune cells, as well as migration, priming, cell activation, and synthesis of inflammatory mediators, such as pro-inflammatory cytokines (Feehan and Gilroy 2019). By nature, acute inflammation returns to homeostasis following resolution. The problem comes in when the inflammation persists – as chronic inflammation is mainly driven by delayed activity of innate immune cells, continuous challenge, and saturated response from the adaptive immune system, not only locally but systemically.
The more sites of inflammation that are harbored in the jawbones, the more bioenergetic impulses are disturbed. This just puts more stress on the extracellular matrix – the biological terrain, which guides all health and illness – and triggers health issues long before any chronic disease can be formally diagnosed.
One of the main goals of true biological dental medicine is to reestablish the patient’s overall health by eliminating long-term obstacles.
- Untreated devitalized (dead) teeth.
- Restored teeth displaying chronic inflammation.
- Restored teeth with heavy metals producing elevated galvanic currents.
- Conventional Root canal filled teeth.
- Surgical scars in the soft tissues.
The latter, Chronic Ischemic Bone Disease (CIBD) comes in many forms. Yet this condition isn’t really a disease in and of itself. It’s the result of many local, systemic, and energetic events or disorders that ultimately lead to decreased blood supply (ischemia) to and dying, decaying bone marrow (infarct) in the jaws.
Jawbone osteonecrosis was first discussed by Dr. Thomas Bond in his 1848, he observed that the disease didn’t seem to require abscessed teeth or gums to cause complete death of the marrow. The necrosis, he noted, “may be caused by any means which destroys the nutrition of the bone or any part of it” – usually from “constitutional vitiations, or defects of nutrition consequent upon general pravity.” But it wasn’t until G.V. Black in 1915 came along that anyone seems to have considered the subject at length. He described the slow bone death as occurring “cell by cell,” resulting in the formation of holes in the jawbone – “cavities” of up to 5 centimeters in size (This is the likely source of the popular term “cavitations”). He explored its unique ability to destroy so much bone without pus, redness, or swelling of the overlying tissues; without raising body temperature; often without even causing pain. And in agreement with Bond, no-one cause could be attributed. Every odontogenic disturbance field it would seem, has a genesis of its own. They can be the main problem or a consequence of other disturbances in the body’s self-regulating functions.
Here are just some of the factors that can contribute to CIBD:
- Severe infection in the jawbone, impairing the Basic Regulative System or Greater Defense System.
- Not removing enough of the diseased bone – including the periodontal ligament – during conventional tooth extraction.
- Hereditary or acquired clotting disorders, including thrombophilia and hypofibrinolysis.
- Poor regulation of blood viscosity and clotting ability due to an impaired biological terrain.
- Antibiotic and corticosteroid use before and after tooth extraction or cavitation excavation.
- Excessive use of NSAIDs during the past 12 months.
- Bone routinely exposed to vasoconstrictors via dental anesthetics.
- Tobacco and nicotine use, which inhibits bone healing.
- More infection or trauma than in all the other bones combined.
- Areas of scarring, previous surgery or infection, bone gaps, and areas previously treated with radiation – all of which are likely to be deficient in bone-forming cells (osteoblasts).
- Insufficient growth factors to stimulate bone cells to grow and mature, forming healthy bone tissue.
- Unsterile “sterile” bone implants.
- The patient’s aging process.
- Radiation and chemotherapy.
- High levels of antiphospholipid antibodies. (These cause blood vessels to narrow and grow irregular, which in turn leads to thrombosis, or clotting in the vessels themselves.)
- The presence of heavy metals, such as mercury, silver, copper, and iron.
- Thyroid deficiency or deficiency of growth hormone.
- Nutritional status.
- Trauma from dental surgery.
- A history of really tough experiences – spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical – that the patient has not yet healed from, whose “legs are not back under their metabolism.”
- High anxiety and a tendency toward catastrophizing pain.
Just How Common Are Cavitations?
Some of the best data we have on the prevalence of CIBD comes from research by Drs Levy and Huggins:
They randomly selected 112 charts of patients, aged 18 to 83, who were undergoing total dental restoration revisions at the Huggins’ Diagnostic Center between 1991 and 1995. The research team surgically raised full thickness flaps at all old extraction sites in each patient, then explored each area with a small drill in a slow speed hand piece. Occasionally on some third molar (wisdom tooth) sites, they injected a small amount of contrast radio opaque medium before drilling to aid detection.
Here’s a summary of their most significant findings:
The researchers were adamant that unless these cavitational sites were thoroughly eradicated, renovated, and sanitized, patients suffering from neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s. ALS and Parkinson’s symptoms would not be able to feel the lessening or progression of symptoms.
So what’s the importance for me?
My experience both as a Biological dentist and as a practitioner with Functional & Integrative Medicine training, is that firstly, the treating of patients requires a team approach and secondly, when searching for the root cause, it is imperative that we look upstream towards the oral cavity where more often than not, a massive problem sits. When patients are treated without considering the causative oral issues, it is like trying to fill a bucket which has massive holes at the bottom – you will be throwing much time, energy and money into filling the bucket, only to find yourselves disillusioned and frustrated as the expected results are not achieved. To truly healing, the symbiotic relationship between the patient, the medical/health practitioner and the Biological dentist must form the foundation of most treatment protocols where oral health is assessed by a trained Biological Dentist to eliminate all sources of heavy metal toxicity (see article on heavy metal toxicity), and all sources of potential inflammation.