Pediatric caries is preventable, but there's an epidemic

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You hear moms talking about the pediatric caries epidemic at playgrounds and birthday parties. 2-year olds with dental caries—the bacteria that eats away at tooth enamel—on baby teeth. Or a 6-year old who goes to the dentist to discover she has 11 cavities! You hear them talking about dentists having to put their children under anesthesia, an invasive procedure for kids, because they have so many cavities to treat at once. Some parents are truly baffled. They help their children brush, they help their children floss, they avoid sugar and processed foods, and still…the cavities keep coming, and the trips to the dentist seem unending.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) calculates 42% of children in the U.S. ages 2 to 11 have cavities caused by caries bacteria in their teeth. That percentage is shockingly high! The CDC also says dental caries is largely preventable. Yet it remains the most common chronic disease of children aged 6 to 11 years and adolescents aged 14-17 years. And let me be clear, we’re not just talking about underprivileged kids. We’re talking about privileged kids, middle-class kids, everybody’s kids. It’s an epidemic.

What’s going on? 

What could be causing millions of children to suffer infectious bacteria in their mouths at such a young age? To see the bigger picture, all you have to do is connect the pediatric caries epidemic to the fact that adults also suffer from dental caries. According to the CDC, 9 out of 10 adults in the U.S. over the age of 20 have some degree of tooth-root decay. Those adults who are parents or caretakers can pass their oral bacteria to children. It gets worse. The conventional treatment for tooth-root decay that's progressed to the point that the tooth gets infected is a root canal. The American Association of Endodontists estimates 15 million root canal treatments are given by dentists every year in the U.S. And the American Dental Association says root canals are safe.

The problem is that a root canal treatment is only cosmetic, and fundamentally it is unsafe from a systemic, or mouthbody point of view. The treatment kills the infected tooth by removing the blood and nerve supply in the roots (that’s why it stops the pain of a toothache), packs the emptied out root of the tooth with latex putty, places a crown on top, and then leaves the dead tooth in the jaw—looking like a living tooth when it’s not. It’s a dead tooth. And dead teeth attract pathogenic anaerobic caries bacteria that eat teeth. Teeth are bone, so this kind of bacteria can also affect joints, as one’s immune system goes crazy trying to kill a bone infection every day that never resolves because the dead tooth remains in the body. Over time, the situation can cause an autoimmune response in which the struggling immune system starts to attack bone and cartilage in other places in the body.

One theory that explains the pediatric caries epidemic is that adults with root canals are passing caries bacteria to children by sharing food, utensils and drinks. In this way, root canals in adults are contributing to a microbiome imbalance in children’s mouths already made unhealthy by nutrient-depleted processed foods, overuse of pacifiers, and sending babes to bed with a bottle. So look for a combination of those risk factors to get to the bottom of your child’s dental problems. Just calculate for the additional risk factor of adult caretakers who have root canal teeth in their mouths, culturing pathogenic caries bacteria that can be transmitted to kids. Educate them as to the risks. 

Let them know that systemic and biological dentists have zero tolerance for root canals. They won’t give root canal treatments, and if you show up in their office with one given to you by another dentist, their natural inclination is to extract the root canal tooth as soon as possible. They want the root canal tooth out of the body, because root canal teeth always get infected. Always. Even if there’s no sign of infection visible to the naked eye. Even if you feel no pain (you won't because there is no nerve in the tooth). Inside the root canal tooth and down in the tooth socket in the jaw, a natural process of decay of dead tissue is going on in the background of the person’s life. There’s no way to stop that natural process until the dead tooth is extracted, with the tooth ligaments, and the tooth socket sterilized with ozone gas and ozonated water.

Until that dead root canal tooth comes out of the body and the proper healing of the tooth socket from the bottom up begins, the person’s immune system will fight day in and day out to keep the caries bacteria localized in the tooth and in the tooth socket. But there is a constant risk that colonies of pathogenic caries bacteria will move to adjacent teeth, or travel in the lymph down to the heart or breasts, or travel in the bloodstream to other parts of the body, or track along the trigeminal nerve to the brain. In this way, root canals increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, degenerative neurological disorders like MS, auto-immune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer. Nobody wants to lose a tooth, but those are risks a good systemic or biological dentist doesn’t want a patient to take. On top of all that, caries bacteria can be transmitted to anyone we share food and drink with, or kiss. Better to extract the infected tooth at the get-go, and replace with a safer implant made of a biomimetic material that caries bacteria can’t eat.

If you’re concerned about what I’m saying because you have a root canal, or root canals, and you go to the dentist who gave you the root canal treatment to ask about its safety, he or she is probably going so say don’t worry. It’s fine. But it’s not. You may need a different dentist to tell you that. One that is systemic, or biological, or holistic, or alternative, or mercury-free. Whatever name they go by, they are a different tribe of dentists from conventionally trained dentists who are taught in dental schools that root canals, like mercury fillings, are safe when they’re not. And so the choice of which kind of dentist to go to, and take your family to, is one of the most important decisions you will make for you lifelong health and the health of your family. When people in a family over time all get sick with the same kinds of problems, most people think the cause is genetic, when in fact it’s epigenetic—a combination of genes, family behavior patterns around food, hydration and exercise, and sometimes, the wrong family dentist.

Recommended Reading:


Mouthbody Care: From Holistic Dentistry to Toothpaste


The Good Dentist: Save Your Teeth, Save Your Health