If you’ve ever had dental work, there’s a reasonable chance you’ve got mercury in your mouth. Did you know that drinking hot beverages and even chewing could be releasing dangerous mercury vapors? Nearly half of dental restorations in the U.S. use “silver” dental fillings, which contain as much as 55 percent mercury. You’d think that only safe materials would be used in dental work, but the World Health Organization says there is no safe level of exposure to mercury.
In fact, this heavy metal accumulates in your lungs, brain, liver, gastrointestinal tract, and kidneys, giving it ample opportunity to attack your health on several fronts. Mercury poisoning symptoms can be so mild that you simply chalk them to a different, less harmful problem – even though they can put your life in jeopardy.
Physical problems caused by mercury exposure
Some of the biggest problems associated with mercury exposure are respiratory in nature, such as shallow breathing, bronchitis, allergies, asthma, and emphysema. It has also been linked to serious reproductive issues like infertility, miscarriage, and lower sperm counts.
Because mercury disrupts your gut microbiome and destroys beneficial bacteria, your fillings could be the reason for your constipation, diarrhea, weight loss, and low appetite; low-level poisoning can also cause vomiting, nausea and heartburn. It can even affect your heart.
The inflammation mercury exposure causes can lead to muscle stiffness and weakness, joint aches, and muscle cramps. As a neurotoxin, it can cause headaches, vertigo, paralysis, tremors and epilepsy, and it has also been linked to problems like dementia and Parkinson’s. In addition, it has been associated with visual disturbances and a diminished sense of taste and smell.
Not surprisingly, some of the issues it causes are local, including gingivitis, a metallic taste, canker sores, and the loss of bone in the jaw.
Psychological problems caused by mercury exposure
Some of the problems that are caused by mercury poisoning from dental fillings might go unnoticed because they are psychological or emotional in nature. The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology reports that very serious psychological problems can result, including suicidal ideation, mood swings, rage, aggression and manic depression. It can also cause symptoms like confusion, lethargy, anxiety, depression, agitation and insomnia. Cognitive problems such as memory loss, autism spectrum disorder, and attention deficit disorder can also be traced to mercury poisoning.
The severe oxidative stress and mitochondrial impairment caused by chronic mercury exposure can lead to a host of problems, and it also depletes your body’s levels of the detoxifying glutathione, an important antioxidant.
Experts say that a person’s symptoms and the severity of their mercury poisoning depend not only on the number of mercury fillings they have but also their immune health, diet, environment and genetics.
If you already have these ticking time bombs in your mouth, try not to panic. You can start upping your consumption of probiotic foods and omega-3 fatty acids right away to help restore gut health and protect against the problems caused by mercury.
You can get your fillings removed, but you’ll need to make sure you use a trained biological dentist who can remove them safely. The removal process can exposure you to particles of mercury and its vapors if it’s not done correctly, which is why you’ll want to ensure a trained dentist does the procedure and equips you with googles, a mask, and skin protection.
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