Defining A Root Canal

ToothRoot canals are more common these days and far more of a big deal than previously thought. Getting one isn’t so bad. Living with one requires a little education and some lifestyle changes. Teeth require a blood supply just like every other part of your body. Teeth have roots with main canals and thousands of side canals, and contained in those side canals are miles of nerves. When dentists perform a root canal, they remove the nerve from the main canals; however they do not have access to the microscopic side canals, which have dead nerves left behind in those spaces.

What Goes On Inside The Tooth

Solid appearing teeth actually consist of miles of tiny tubules. After a root canal microscopic organisms lurking in this maze of tubules simply migrate into the interior of the tooth and multiply. These bacteria produce toxins that can lead to chronic infection. After a root canal the root filling shrinks minutely, perhaps microscopically, creating more space for bacteria. In addition, large relatively harmless bacteria common to the mouth change and adapt to these new conditions. They shrink in size to fit the cramped quarters and even learn how to exist without oxygen. In the process of adaptation organisms such as streptococcus, staphylococcus and spirochetes become capable of producing much stronger and more potent toxins. Blood supply and the lymph system that surrounds these dead teeth drain this toxicity into your body compromising your immune system. Even antibiotics won't help because the bacteria are protected inside your dead tooth. Without a blood supply into the interior of the tooth circulating antibiotics can't get to the bacteria. And it appears that the longer root canal-treated teeth stay in your body, the more your immune system can become compromised. That’s the bad news.

Your Immune System The Big Player

Once a tooth gets infected and the cavity gets into the nerve and blood vessels, bacteria find their way into those tiny tubules of the dentin. Then no matter what is done by way of treatment, it’s never going to completely eradicate the bacteria hiding in the miles of tubules. In time the bacteria can migrate through lateral canals and the bacteria also exude potent systemic toxins. These toxins circulate throughout your body triggering activity by the immune system - and probably causing you to feel unwell. Your response can vary from just dragging around and feeling less energetic, to overt illness - of almost any kind. Certainly, you will be more vulnerable to whatever viruses are going around, because your body is already under constant challenge and your immune system continues to be activated by either the bacteria or its toxins - or both. Research suggests that every root canal filling does leak and bacteria do invade the structure. But the variable factor is the strength of your immune system. Some healthy people are able to control the germs that escape from their teeth into other areas of the body. It is thought this happens because the immune system lymphocytes (white blood cells) and other disease fighters aren't constantly compromised by other ailments. In other words, they are able to prevent those new colonies from taking hold in other tissues throughout the body when the immune system is strong and well balanced.

What We Can Learn

Researchers found fourteen cultural pockets scattered all over the globe where the natives had no access to modern civilization. When studying the diets of these people the researchers found great variety but the one thing they had in common was that all ate whole, unrefined foods. With absolutely no access to tooth brushes, floss, fluoridated water or toothpaste, the primitive peoples studied were almost 100% free of tooth decay. Further - and not unrelated - they were also almost 100% free of all the degenerative diseases we suffer - problems with the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, joints, skin (allergies). No one food proved to be magic as a preventive food instead they were eating a wide variety of whole foods and they ate no sugar or white flour. Tragically, when the primitives were introduced to sugar and white flour their superior level of health deteriorated rapidly. This has been demonstrated time and again. A primitive diet of whole unrefined foods is the only thing that has been found to actually prevent both tooth decay and degenerative diseases. The foods these people ate were natural, unprocessed, and organic and contained no sugar except for the occasional bit of honey or maple syrup. All the food grew in their native environment. In other words, they ate locally grown, seasonal foods. Many of the cultures ate unpasteurized dairy products and all of them ate fermented foods. The people ate a significant portion of their food raw. All of the cultures ate animal products, including animal fat and, often, full-fat butter and organ meats.

The Good News

A root canal is really just a metaphor for the health of your entire body. And perhaps it acts as a physical reminder that there probably are bacteria inside there just waiting to multiply and release disease-promoting toxins into your body. Thinking of that tooth in your mouth could be the incentive you need for encouragement to begin a fitness routine for your immune system. Just as those primitive people had high functioning immune systems - due almost exclusively to their native diets - so can you. When the immune system works well it is perfectly capable of keeping bacteria from a root canal in check. And in so doing preventing auto immune diseases such as lupus or multiple sclerosis from manifesting in your body. Now we know for sure that the immune system requires nutrient dense foods for peak performance. So it makes sense that in order to optimize your immune system a change in eating habits is required. Think of your immune system as your best friend. Then give that friend the best you can. Use the following guidelines:

  1. Shop for locally grown foods that are in-season. Find farm markets in your area
  2. Buy organic wherever possible. The cost is refunded in good health many times over
  3. Eat at least one-third or more of your food raw
  4. Avoid processed foods, sugar, refined flour and all artificial flavorings, colourings,and artificial sweeteners
  5. Enjoy fermented foods like natto, kefir and cultured veggies
  6. Make sure you eat enough healthy fats, including those from animal sources like omega-3 fat, and reduce your intake of omega-6 from vegetable oils