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All That Glitters Is Not Silver – The Heavy-Metal Menace In Your Mouth

Jerome Mittleman, D.D.S.

Since it was founded over 130 years ago, the American Dental Association (ADA) has continued to insist that amalgam fillings (composed of a combination of these metals: silver, nickel, mercury, copper, tin, zinc) are a treatment of choice for filling tooth cavities. However, there is more and more evidence showing that the highly toxic heavy metal mercury, which can comprise anywhere from 45 to 56 percent of the filling, is implicated in a wide range of health disorders and should be banned for use in the mouth.

I stopped using amalgam fillings in 1968, though they have been used in the field of dentistry for over 150 years. Mercury leaches out of the filling, reappearing in many different areas of the body – including the brain. Research has shown a correlation between the number of amalgam fillings in the mouth and the level of mercury in the brain upon autopsy. Mercury has also been implicated in cases of immune failure, and autoimmune diseases.

Over the past 30 years the controversy has resurfaced, while the ADA sticks to its guns: “I do mercury fillings for my children… I would treat members of the family the same way I treat the public.” Said one spokesman on ABC’s nightly news in New York.

ABC also interviewed me. I reminded viewers that we also used asbestos for 150 years until it literally “blew up” on us – I predict the same for mercury.

The ADA newsletter tells dentists, “Handling amalgams requires extreme caution … a ‘no-touch’ technique should be employed.” (ADA News, September 1981). I ask, “How do you keep the patient’s mouth from touching it?”

Dentists are also told to salvage the scrap from the fillings and store it in a tightly closed container under liquid for 1 hr. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned dentists not to release scrap mercury material in sewers. The mouth hardly qualifies as a “tightly closed container and if it isn’t safe for discharge in the sewers, why would anyone want it in their mouth.

Mercury can cause irreversible damage to the central nervous system and metabolic damage which affects the genes. “It is not possible to overemphasize the seriousness of the situation,” reports Dr. B. Hellewell, a metallurgist from England. “Reports of genetic damage caused by methyl mercury have been received from Japan, Sweden, Iraq, Canada and the U.S. In the face of mounting evidence of danger and the absence of evidence of safety, the use of mercury dental amalgam tooth fillings in women who are pregnant should discontinued.”

Hellewell noted that metallic mercury can be converted into the toxic methyl mercury, which has been found in the urine and blood cells after amalgam have been inserted in teeth.

Dr Hal Huggins of Colorado Springs notes that white blood cell counts change after amalgam has been removed from a patient’s mouth, indicating changes in the immune system.

According to an article in the Journal of the International Academy of Preventive Medicine in 1972: “Considering that the finished amalgam restoration (filling) contains an average of 45 to 50 percent of mercury, we can understand how chronic poisoning may occur as corrosion takes place.” Corrosion occurs with chewing and temperature changes in the mouth. Sensitive instruments can now measure mercury vapor released during eating, or when a filling is removed.

On CBS News’s 60 Minutes December 16, 1990, Morley Safer reported: “Last summer, the EPA banned mercury from indoor latex paint because of mercury vapor. The vapor level in this patient’s mouth after chewing for 10 minutes is 92 times higher than that in a newly painted room, three times higher than the U.S. Government allows in the workplace.”

How dangerous is mercury? Take a look at this list of adverse effects and symptoms of mercury poisoning, from an ACA report on dental material:

  • Tremor in fine muscle movements, eventually progressing to convulsions
  • Loss of appetite, nausea, and diarrhoea
  • Depression, fatigue, and insomnia
  • Swollen glands and tongue
  • Ulceration of the mouth, loose teeth
  • Nephritis
  • Birth defects in offspring … and more.

Magnus Nylander. D.D.S. of Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute found that autopsies of dentists showed an 800 times increase over the control level of mercury in the pituitary gland. Fredrik Berlund, M.D., Ph.D noted a “significant improvement in health” after removal of amalgam fillings in some patients.

Dentists in Japan have already stopped using amalgam fillings, according to Nobumasa Imura, a professor at Kitasito University in Tokyo. Sweden, Germany and Japan are considering a full ban.

At the University of Calgary Medical School in Alberia, researchers put 12 amalgam fillings in the mouths of six sheep. A control group received fillings made from an inert material. In one mouth, the sheep that received the amalgam each lost half of their kidney function. After 60 days, kidney function deteriorated further. Skeptics noted that most people don’t get 12 fillings at a time and sheep may be particularly sensitive to mercury. But Professors Murray Vimy and Fritz Lorscheider concluded: “We know that mercury is highly toxic and that it concentrates in certain parts of the body. We know it can alter kidney function in animals. That should be enough to ban it.”

Thomas Clarkson of the University of Rochester Medical School in New York and Lars Fhiberg of the Kamlinska Institute in Stockholm both insist, “There is no safe level of mercury exposure.”

The FDA is now examining the use of amalgam fillings in the U.S.

High Energy Porridge


Millet           }

Quinoa         } 1 cup soak overnight

Buckwheat  }


  • Drain soaked grains and set aside
  • Then add 3 times volume of water to soaked grains and cook for 5 minutes
  • Serve porridge and add seasoning to taste with optional addition of lecithin. Brewers’ yeast powder, raisins, molasses and walnuts.

Burdock and Pumpkin Salad


1 cup/bowl Shredded Burdock

½ cup/bowl Shredded Carrots

½ cup/bowl Shredded Pumpkin

A little Shredded Ginger

A dash Shredded Red Bell Pepper

Chinese Parsley } Chopped

Basil                     } Fine

Apple Cider Vinegar


½ tsp Lecithin

1 tbsp Liquid Amino or Shoyu

1 tbsp Walnut oil

A little Dulse and Sesame powder


  • Soak shredded burdock root immediately in apple cider vinegar water (dilute of vinegar to water 1:3) and allow to marinate for twenty minutes.
  • Drain shredded burdock root and add all other ingredients and seasoning.
  • Mix well and serve chilled