This past week marked the 6th annual Mercury Awareness Week, a joint campaign by Dr. Mercola and Consumers for Dental Choice to further the cause of mercury-free dentistry.
One fundamental concept in biological dentistry is the commitment to biocompatible materials. Mercury isn’t one of them. Yet it’s the main component of so-called “silver” amalgam fillings.
And despite mercury amalgam being a real relic of old school dentistry and a potent neurotoxin, it still accounts for the majority of all fillings placed today. No matter how long they’ve been in the mouth, they release mercury’s most toxic vapor every time you chew, drink, and swallow.
No matter where you go for dental care, we believe you should have the right to choose mercury-free dentistry. To make that choice a reality, there is no greater tool than informed consent. You have a right to know the risks and benefits of not just treatment, but materials. Advocating for choice requires vigilance on your part.
For instance, while many dentists will place mercury-free restorations, if their office is still placing amalgam in the mouths of those who don’t ask for or can’t afford an alternative, they probably don’t take the mercury issue seriously. Even if an office advertises itself as mercury-free, they may not necessarily be mercury-safe. (How to ensure they are? Membership in an organization such as the IABDM or IAOMT is one good sign. Still, you should ask lots of questions! A mercury-safe office will welcome them.)
Clearly, it takes a village to maintain vigilance when it comes to mercury. From the EPA’s proposed amalgam separator rule to reduce the amount of dental mercury pollution in our national water system (currently 12 tons every year!) to activist groups like Consumers for Dental Choice; from websites such as TALK International to individual consumers getting involved, it takes all of us working together to make a difference.
While healthier restorations are available today, many dentists still prefer to place the less technical, faster, cheaper, “gut-and-fill” mercury amalgam fillings. This is especially disappointing when you consider all the ways in which mercury amalgam affects us, whether you have it in your mouth or not:
- Mercury amalgam pollutes our environment.
- Mercury amalgam endangers our health.
- Mercury amalgam endangers dental workers.
- Mercury amalgam continues to be frequently implanted without informed consent.
- Mercury amalgam perpetuates social injustice.
- Mercury amalgam damages teeth.
- Mercury amalgam costs taxpayers.
- Mercury amalgam is diverted to illegal mining.
- Mercury amalgam drives up the price of mercury-free alternatives.
- Mercury amalgam is interchangeable with mercury-free filling materials.
Getting to the root of the issue requires that we look deeper, research more, and provide legal support to phase down the use of this dangerous neurotoxin.
Once upon a time, holistic and biological dentists had to fight to educate their patients and provide mercury-free alternatives. They had to stand up to the American Dental Association and state dental boards, even if it meant losing their license to practice. Sadly, some did. But those pioneers paved the way toward lifting the gag order on discussing mercury with our patients.
Today, we are asking you to stand with us. When it comes to phasing out mercury, that heavy-metal relic, we just can’t do it without you.