The Correlation Between Amalgam Fillings and Mercury in Brain Tissue

The dental amalgam “wars” have been going on for more than a century, with the primary battles between pro-mercury and anti-mercury parties centered on the danger of the mercury used in the amalgam fillings.

Pro-mercury constituents (the ADA among them) argue that although mercury is a known neuro-toxin that adversely affects brain function, the mercury used in amalgam fillings is stabilized to the point that little to no mercury is released over the life of the filling.

Anti-mercury advocates argue that no amount of mercury is safe in the body, let alone a dental filling that sits less than two inches from the brain. Their primary argument is that scientific research from multiple reputable agencies has reported that small amounts of mercury are regularly released through mastication (chewing), heating and cooling of the fillings (through drinking and eating hot and cold beverages), and through abrasion (brushing and cleaning teeth). Small amounts of mercury vapor released on a daily basis have a cumulative affect that builds over time in the soft tissue in the brain, lungs, and other areas of the body.

But where is the direct scientific link between dental amalgam fillings and mercury levels in the brain? That question was answered by Doctors David W. Eggleston, D.D.S.,* and Magnus Nylander, D.D.S.**(University of Southern California, School of Dentistry, Los Angeles, Calif. and Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.)

Drs. Eggleston and Nylander conducted an “examination of the cadaver dentition and collection of brain tissue specimens from nonrandomized, sudden, unexpected death subjects… to determine whether a positive correlation exists between the number of dental amalgam occlusal surfaces in the oral cavity and the mercury content of brain tissue.”

The results?

Data from this project demonstrate a positive correlation between the number of occlusal surfaces of dental amalgam and mercury levels in the brain (p < .0025 in white matter). This is indirect evidence suggesting that mercury from dental amalgam fillings may contribute to the body burden of mercury in the brain.

(The results and methods of the test can be read in their entirety here: http://www.nvbt.nl/hot-metalen4.html.)

The results are similar to those of prior experiments:

Svare et al. demonstrated that minute amounts of mercury vapor are continuously released from dental amalgam restorations in humans and that the release is accelerated 15-fold in expired air immediately after mastication. Abraham et al. reported a correlation of inorganic mercury levels in the blood of humans to the total surface area of occlusal dental amalgam and that the amount of inorganic mercury was enhanced eightfold immediately after mastication. Schiele et al. and Friberg et al. reported a positive correlation between the number and surfaces of dental amalgam and mercury levels in human brain tissue.

http://www.nvbt.nl/hot-metalen4.html

Despite the claims of pro-mercury constituents (such as the ADA), repeated scientific studies have shown that dental amalgam fillings — although more stable than elemental, organic mercury — do in fact release mercury vapors on a daiy basis. Those low doses of mercury are absorbed by soft tissue in your lungs and brain and can cause long-term health problems.

Does this mean that if you have mercury amalgam fillings you are assured of suffering from long-term health neurological problems? Of course not. Just like sitting on an airplane with a group of ill individuals doesn’t guarantee you’ll be stricken with the same illness. However, it does greatly increase the odds that you could suffer from problems down the road.

If you have dental mercury amalgam fillings, you have two options: keep them and ignore the potential problems or remove them and remove yourself from the situation. The choice is yours… the evidence can speak for itself.

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The information used in this post was retrieved from research conducted by Drs. David W. Eggleston, D.D.S.,* and Magnus Nylander, D.D.S.** and reported in Correlation of dental amalgam with mercury in brain tissue, presented at the Academy of Denture Prosthetics, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Complete research can be found at http://www.nvbt.nl/hot-metalen4.html
* David W. Eggleston, D.D.S., Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Restorative Dentistry, University of Southern California, School of Dentistry.
** Magnus Nylander, D.D.S., Ph.D. candidate, Karolinska Institute.
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