Your Teeth and Your Hormones? Is There a Link?
One of the factors that can throw off your hormones is inflammation. Many people think of inflammation in the GI tract, joints, skin, lungs, or elsewhere – but there can be a silent source of inflammation in your mouth in the form of cavitations. Cavitations are chronic infected holes left in jaw bones after tooth extraction, and can also occur at the site of root canals.
This is what the National Integrated Health Associates (NIHA) in Washington, DC, has to say about cavitations:
“Cavitations result from a lack of healing when the lining of the socket has not been properly removed. Between the tooth and the bone, there is a layer of connective tissue called the Periodontal Ligament. When teeth are removed, dentists normally curette away the soft injected tissue at the end of the roots. However, they do not routinely remove the ligament and part of the bony socket, which may retain bacteria and toxins. If this ligament is not removed and it does not break down in the healing process, as the top layer of the socket heals over with a thin layer of bone and new gum tissue, the socket will not fill in with healthy solid bone. The result void, or hole in the bone, is very unnatural; the ligament, and whatever bacteria and toxins may be residing therein, become a stress to the immune system.”
Any chronic inflammation and infection is a stress to your body. Stress, no matter what the source, will raise cortisol levels. Cortisol and thyroid are intimately related: high cortisols decrease your thyroid hormone production and interfere with conversion of the mostly inactive T4 into the active T3 form, and will also interfere with thyroid hormone interaction at the hormone receptors.
High cortisol also raises blood sugar, raising your risk for weight gain (especially around the middle), insulin resistance, prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes.
When your body perceives stress, then the reproductive hormones are decreased (because it’s not a good time to have a baby when your body is already stressed). Testosterone levels in men are lower in the face of stress.
High stress causing high cortisol also leads to a leaky gut (aka intestinal hypermeability), another source of inflammation, and that inflammation can lead to nutrient malabsorption. You need certain raw materials (vitamins, minerals, proteins) to make hormones adequately.
Now- back to your mouth!
Earlier this year, I discovered I had high cholesterol (which was new) and elevated Lp(a) and other clotting factors, markers for “sticky blood”, which raise the risk for heart attacks, strokes, deep venous thromboses and pulmonary emboli. Yikes! High cholesterol and sticky blood can be genetic, but they can also be abnormal because of inflammation and infection. The hunt has been on for my particular factors: I had done some additional detox measures and put myself on some botanicals to clean up my gut. However, I wondered – could anything in my mouth be infected or inflamed?
I’ve been learning more about how root canal teeth can harbor silent infections. I had a root canal on the left side four years ago. It’s really hard to sterilize anything in the mouth, and with root canals, because the tooth is dead, it might not hurt like an infection in a living tooth that has a filled cavity, a crown or a cap. I also noted some recent episodes of unexplained left ear pain. So I was curious to consult with an integrative dentist that would understand my concerns.
Last week, I saw Dr. Mark McClure, DDS, an integrative medical dentist (also known as a biologic dentist) at the NIHA in DC, because I wanted to know if I have any cavitations – especially at the site of a root canal I had done three years ago. I knew he had trained with Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt and offered autonomic response testing (ART). ART uses muscle testing of the autonomic nervous system through biofeedback to determine disturbances and potential remedies.
Dr. McClure’s exam included examination of my mouth, a review of a 3D cone beam CT scan of my lower jaw, and ART. His findings: I did have a cavitation at the site of the root canal tooth – which had developed its own drainage tract, and a second cavitation at the site of a right lower wisdom tooth extraction done in my twenties!!! He also suggested that the infection at the right wisdom tooth extraction may have contributed to the right-sided breast cancer I had 19 years ago. He also found high lead and mercury (I had my amalgam fillings removed about 4 years ago, and have been paying attention to ongoing detox strategies for a few years now- clearly I still have a way to go).
The next step was Allergy Elimination Therapeutics Rapid Desensitization (or Autonomic Nervous System Re-programming of the Allergy/hypersensitivity Stress Response). I don’t understand this very well, but it uses the responses of sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system – the parts of the autonomic nervous system – to reprogram my response from one of stress to one of non-stress. He also had me wear indigo blue glasses during this part to aid in this process.
Then he took out the root canal tooth, dead bone and junk (using Novocain, thank God!), flushed the cavity with saline, procaine and German Biologic remedies (Sanum Remedies) that promote healing and help prevent cavitations from recurring, then put some dissolvable stitches in. A tech had drawn my blood earlier in the morning to get platelet rich plasma to lay over the site and promote correct healing, and the final coup de grace was the injection of ozone into the root canal tooth cavity and the cavitation on the opposite side. I did not know how the ozone got into the cavitation – he had to drill a small hole through the jaw bone and inject through that.
My post-op instructions include:
- Nutritional support in the form of a high quality diet, to provide the nutrients I need to heal and have an appropriately strong immune response. He specifically mentions vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, manganese, B vitamins and zinc in addition to a full spectrum multivitamin/multimineral supplement.
- Transfer Factor plus: Transfer factors boost your immune response.
- Arnica montana, a homeopathic medicine, for pain/ tissue trauma.
- Lymph 2 Matrix by Physica Energetics, a homeopathic remedy to promote lymph drainage to remove toxins, infection and debris.
- Digestive enzymes, taken away from food, for their anti-inflammatory effect and to help clean up surgical debris.
I am very glad I finally got around to consulting with an integrative medical dentist, and I can highly recommend Dr. Mark McClure. There are several other dentists in this group, also.
For those of you who are struggling to get well, or who have hormone problems without a clear cause, or who have inflammation and can’t find a cause, or who have root canals, I strongly encourage you to consult an integrative medical dentist. Maybe there is a problem in your mouth that a dentist can fix! You can search “biologic dentist near me”, and I’m also putting together a list of practitioners in the region. I will be retesting my own blood in a few months to see what impact last week’s events will have on my lipids, coagulation tests and A1C – I’ll let you know!
To your health,
Patty Powers, MD