Anything that leaks, be it a gallon of milk or the roof of your home, is a pain in the neck (as well as the wallet!).
But here’s something you don’t want leaking at any time and in any amount: the mercury from your silver, or “amalgam,” fillings.
A new study has found that undergoing a high-strength MRI can cause the mercury contained in those fillings to seep out, giving you a dose of this powerful brain-damaging compound.
And while the researchers said that further studies are needed to find out how dangerous this might be to patients, there’s a lot we already know. And this study is only the tip of the toxic iceberg when it comes to mercury in your mouth.
You don’t need to be having a high-powered MRI to be at risk… all it can take is a hot cup of coffee or tea.
A mercurial matter
If you stop and think about it, convincing people that it’s perfectly fine to put one of the most toxic elements known to man inside their mouths is the most successful con job of the century!
But despite the fact that amalgams (made up of around 50 percent mercury, along with silver, tin, and copper) have been used to fill teeth for well over 100 years, that hasn’t made them any safer.
What has changed, however, is that we’ve learned two things: When mercury is placed inside a tooth it releases toxic vapors, and inhaling those fumes can be disastrous to your health.
This current study was done with extracted human teeth that the researchers had filled with an amalgam mixture, just as would be done in your dentist’s office. The teeth were placed in artificial saliva and exposed to what’s called an “ultra-high-field MRI.”
Analyzing the “saliva” afterward, the researchers (from two universities in Turkey) found “very high values of mercury” had leaked from the fillings.
While they didn’t venture a guess about how much of that mercury might be absorbed by the body, they did say that most of the mercury that leaks from fillings (which happens when you eat, drink, or even brush your teeth) is in the form of a vapor that is easily inhaled.
Under any other circumstances, you’d be told to stay a football field away from inhaling mercury fumes! If you break a CFL bulb, for example, which contains just a tiny bit of the substance, the EPA says that everyone should immediately evacuate the area.
But in your mouth? Not a problem!
Another warning from the feds has to do with limiting your consumption of certain fish, such as tuna, which contains more mercury than other varieties.
But if you look at the “high values” of the metal that were discovered to have leaked out in the MRI test — 0.67 parts per million – that’s over double what an environmental group said you’ll get in a can of albacore tuna. And we’re only supposed to be eating that up to three times a month!
There’s just no way to get around the fact that when you have amalgam fillings in your mouth, you’re being exposed to mercury vapors. And it doesn’t take a whole lot to damage you brain, heart, lungs, and kidneys. But while mercury is toxic to everyone, it turns out that some individuals are even more sensitive to its effects.
As we told you a couple of years ago, people with a genetic “glitch” called “polymorphisms,” are much more susceptible to the damage of inhaling mercury vapors from fillings. And that’s a problem that around 50 percent of us are said to have.
Obviously, the first step toward lowering your exposure to this neurotoxin is to make sure that any new fillings you, your kids, or grandkids get are mercury-free white composites (which most dentists now offer) – and not amalgams.
Next, if you’re wondering about having the amalgams already in your mouth removed, it’s doable, but you’ll need to find a dentist that knows exactly what safety measures to take.
They can’t just be drilled out, which can poison you even further with the toxin. They must be removed using special precautions such as a dental dam (to prevent swallowing or inhaling even more mercury).
And as far as what this new study discovered, it’s really just another piece added to this toxic tooth puzzle. One that won’t be “solved” until putting this heavy metal in our teeth goes the same way as the old-fashioned mercury thermometer – banned in many states.
“Metal fillings ‘leak mercury after scan” June 27, 2018, BBC, bbc.com