HILDA LABRADA GORE: Dr. Dawn Ewing is the executive director of the International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine (IABDM) and the author of Let the TOOTH Be Known. Reminding us that teeth are living organs, Dawn explains why it’s important to proceed with caution before any dental procedure, including root canals. She goes over what’s involved in a root canal procedure and why root canals, along with other hidden sources of infection, could be making you sick. She also discusses why conventional dentistry misses the mark when it comes to understanding how the teeth relate to the entire body, through meridians. Finally, she reviews the work Dr. Price did on root canals and describes how this valuable work has contributed to holistic and biological dentistry. Dawn, you had a patient come and see you who had tremors. Tell us the story.
DAWN EWING: This lady was referred to me from another office. In my practice, I use electrodermal screening (EDS) [a technique that measures the flow of energy, also known as bioenergetic stress testing]. Trying to test with her tremors was difficult to do with EDS, but we managed to get through it. What I found was an area where a tooth had been root canaled, and it was creating an electrical disturbance for her. She went back to a biological dentist, and she and the dentist agreed that they would remove the tooth.
She asked if I would be there the day of surgery, so I arranged to be there. On that day, I was drawing blood on her. Even that was difficult because her tremors were so strong. What was interesting to me is that the moment the tooth separated from the jaw itself—and it wasn’t even out of the oral cavity yet—her tremors stopped cold. I waited for a second, and then I tapped on her. I said, “Your tremors stopped,” which made the dentist and the assistant take notice. And then we all said, “Wow, that’s weird.”
I have seen it only once before in a child with a stainless-steel crown. The child had seizures that were not controlled with prescriptions. When the stainless-steel crown was removed, the seizures stopped. In the case of the woman with the tremors, I can’t tell you whether it was the metal crown on her tooth, or the toxins from the root canal, or the fact that the root canal was providing a dead space for electricity that can’t go through. She saw her neurologist and her rheumatoid specialist. What is interesting is that after eight weeks, she was off all prescriptions and she still had no tremors.
I wish that kind of outcome for every one of our patients. We can never promise anything, but moments like that keep a biological dentistry office going—and I mean “going” from the standpoint that we put in an incredible number of hours to further our education beyond what we got [in school] so that we can help people who feel like there’s no place for them to go. They’ve been told, “Just deal with it.”
HG: There is such a connection between our dental health, our oral health and our whole body’s health.
DE: All of your teeth go through different meridians, which are electrical connections that are invisible, but not imaginary. That’s important for people to understand. Many years ago, I heard the expression, “I’d give my eye teeth for that.” I didn’t know what it meant, even though when I started off in the dental world, I learned that the eye tooth is a cuspid. It has long, strong roots. I thought that expression meant, “I’d give one of my most stable teeth for that.” Now I know that the eye teeth are actually connected to the gallbladder, the liver and the eye. Who knew? Somebody knew, but it wasn’t me and it wasn’t anything I was taught in school. I learned it in my postgraduate integrated medicine studies.
HG: You said many biological dentists spend a lot of time furthering their education. How can you get this information if it isn’t taught in regular dental school?
DE: It involves going through additional courses. The IABDM offers courses where we try to educate not just dentists but the staff as well. It’s important that the dentists know about it, but if the staff doesn’t know, it can become confusing for patients when they call and ask questions, and the receptionist says, “I don’t know anything about that. I don’t know anything about meridians.” We certify everybody in the office and take them through information about fluoride, mercury toxicity, meridians, problems with root canals, cavitation—all kinds of stuff!
HG: My hope for this show is that it will educate those who are unfamiliar with these topics. But I want to back up, because sometimes the first time we hear about a root canal is when we’re in the dentist’s chair as a patient, and they’re telling us, “You have an infection; you need a root canal.” What is the general cause or reason given for root canals?
DE: You named one, which would be an infection called an abscess, where the nerve inside the tooth has died. There’s gangrenous tissue. The way it tries to get out is to go through the tip of the tooth, whether it’s a top tooth or a bottom tooth. That then creates pressure in the jaw, which translates into discomfort.
A second reason is that decay actually gets into the nerve of the tooth. When the dentist is removing the decay, if decay gets into the nerve, if they close it up, it’s going to abscess soon. The dentist will usually suggest a root canal. It could also be because of trauma. The trauma might be that the dentist drilled too quickly or heated the tooth up. It could be that there was blunt trauma from a beer bottle hitting somebody in a front tooth, or trauma from a car accident. It could be from grinding one’s teeth at night, traumatizing the tooth so much that it dies and the nerve dies. It could be because of pain.
A lot of times what people don’t understand is that you can get “referred pain” [pain felt at a site distant from the site of origin]. You could have a toothache that is not because of the tooth at all. If you keep going back to the dentist and saying “This tooth hurts,” the poor dentist doesn’t know what to do other than kill the tooth by doing a root canal—removing the nerve and the blood supply—so that your toothache goes away. But often, the toothache doesn’t go away because the tooth is not the primary cause of that toothache; it’s referred pain from something on that meridian that is causing the pain, or maybe it’s another tooth hitting it, and it’s causing pain for that tooth—but it’s another tooth that is coming up or down because of an infection.
Root canals are also done, oddly enough, where people just want a perfect smile. A dentist will say, “I can make all your teeth nice and straight, and I can do it in one visit. We are just going to grind down all your teeth, and some of these we’re going to grind so small that we are going to have to do root canals, and then we are going to crown them all, but you will look gorgeous when we are done.” Sometimes even healthy teeth get root canaled in the name of a perfect smile. It’s sickening.
HG: Some celebrities have had that done. It’s so unfortunate—and literally sickening. One of the issues you and many biological dentists have with root canals is that they are not health-giving; rather, they are health-deteriorating,
DE: First, let me back up. I’m not a dentist. I started off in the dental world as a dental hygienist and then gave birth to a son who was autistic, and I could not figure out why because I don’t have any fillings. I ended up going back to school to work on a PhD, and that introduced me to the world of naturopaths, so I went back to school for that. Ultimately—because I feel like an eternal student—I ended up with another PhD in integrative medicine, which blends the world of dentistry and medicine together to look for root causes. No pun intended on that, but a lot of times it is a root or a dental issue.
HG: Speaking of the root cause, you’ve given us some reasons dentists might suggest we get a root canal. As patients, sometimes we act on the recommendations because we don’t know any better. We think, “They are recommending a root canal. Many people have had one; why not do it?” I understand from my own research and other interviews that leaving a tooth that is dead in the body negatively affects the whole body. Will you explain that?
DE: Yes. First, let’s make sure that you understand that a tooth is a living organ. An organ has its own lymphatics, nerve and blood supply. Think of it this way. You brush your teeth at night before you go to bed, and you run your tongue over your teeth, and they feel nice and slick, but what do they feel like when you wake up the next morning? It’s slimy, and they stink because a tooth detoxifies while you sleep. It pushes its waste through the tubules of the tooth to the outside to be discarded. It’s like what we do when we poop, so I call it “tooth poop.”
When you are talking about an organ, imagine that I tell you I’m going to disconnect your heart, liver or kidney, and I’m going to let it sit there. Your heart is not beating anymore, but it is there. That would not be conducive to life. Is it still alive? No. I disconnected it. We are taught in school that we tell a patient that we are going to remove all of the flesh in the tooth, and that we are going to sterilize it. It is not possible, but that’s what we are told. There will still be flesh in there, but we regurgitate what we are taught to the patient. Very well-meaning dentists are saying only what they were taught in school. If they haven’t gone on to further their education, then they are still misinformed and promoting bad information. Things change in medicine. Once, we didn’t know about H. pylori. There is a lot that has completely changed in dentistry and medicine.
HG: The root canal procedure is intended to clean out this tooth—this tooth that is posing a health problem with infections or other issues. But the issue is that they leave it in the body. Is that right?
DE: That is part of the issue. It’s twofold. First, there is still flesh inside the tubules and there is no way to clean them out. You can’t ozonate it; you can’t laser it. It’s still there. Envision that you have a dead cat on your kitchen countertop, and it starts to decay and ends up with maggots on it. I don’t want maggots on my dead cat, so I ask someone to come in and ozonate it. All the maggots fall off, but two weeks later, I end up with new maggots.
What’s going to happen with the tooth is you have dead flesh. You can’t interfere with God’s plan. There is dead flesh there. Bacteria were put on this planet to scavenge dead flesh. The bacteria end up in your body. The bacteria do not require a blood supply in order to move. If I bury a soup bone in the ground, bacteria will find the marrow in that soup bone and clean it out. There was no blood supply in the dirt.
The bacteria get inside your tooth and multiply in the dark, moist, warm environment. They start to be prolific. When you bite down on that tooth, there is so much bacteria in there that it pushes out through the end of the tooth, through little microfractures in the tooth, to the rest of the body in areas where we do have a blood supply, such as in the jaw bone itself. All of these bacteria are one issue.
For me, it’s an electrical disconnect. If you have a lamp that works while it’s plugged in, and then you cut the cord, the cord could still be plugged in but the lamp is not going to turn on. Let’s say I make a phone call for an electrician, and he is on his way, but before he gets there, my dog poops on the cord right where the break is. It’s not the bacteria in the dog poop that is the issue, it’s the electrical disconnect. Your body is designed by its maker to deal with issues. Imagine picking up a phone to dial 911, and you don’t get a signal. You are going through the motions, but you are never going to end up with an ambulance there.
HG: In our body, as you said, there are meridians where there are networks of electricity that are running from certain teeth to certain organs. They are communicating back and forth. If there is a “disconnect,” as you are describing, because some of a tooth’s flesh has been removed and the rest remains there, it is short-circuiting the system. What can that result in?
DE: Not enough electricity is getting to other needed areas. You could have a tooth that is causing a problem for your body. It could be as severe as cancer, or it could be as minor as constipation. Or vice versa, you could have a health issue that causes a problem for a tooth. For instance, I was taught years ago if you got decay, I should shake my finger at you and tell you that you are ignorant. “You don’t know how to brush and floss. Let me show you how.” But after all of my postgraduate education, now I look at what meridian the tooth is on where you have decay. If I start to see two or three teeth, and those are the only areas where you have decay, then I’m going to ask you questions like, “Do you poop twenty minutes after every meal?” “What? No, I poop twice a week.” That’s not good. It could be that the organ is not allowing enough electricity to come to those very specific teeth. The question stands, “Why do you have decay?” We can fix the decay, but if we have not gotten to the cause of the decay, then you are set up for new decay. People already hate going to the dentist.
HG: I think there is also a disconnect in our understanding that oral health affects the overall health of the body. This is where Dr. Weston A. Price comes in. Are you familiar with his work, and particularly with his work related to root canals? What were his conclusions?
DE: I am very familiar with his work because we reference it often. He was able to demonstrate repeatedly—we are not talking about once, but over and over again—the organisms inside these root canaled teeth with the toxins that they exude. He realized that some of the toxins that come off are thioether and mercaptan, which are gases that come off of dying tissue and were nerve gases used in the world wars. If you are talking about a top tooth that has been root canaled and these gases are coming off, it’s very close to the brain. He was able to demonstrate that those toxins spread bacteria throughout the body and can cause a host of diseases. It is only in the last ten or fifteen years that the dental industry recognized that particular bacteria can be directly related to cardiovascular disease—and they think that they came up with that! It’s such a joke, because Weston Price was doing this research in the 1920s—about a hundred years ago.
HG: I read about an experiment he did—keep in mind that this was a different era—a man had kidney trouble which was related to a particular tooth. Dr. Price took that tooth out, and I believe the man’s issues resolved. He put the tooth under a rabbit’s skin to see what would happen, and the rabbit got kidney issues and died. He took that same tooth, cleaned it up and put it under another rabbit’s skin. The same thing happened. The kidney was related to that tooth.
DE: And related to the toxins that were in there. Nowadays, we have a great test through a company called DNA ConneXions (dnaconnexions. com); most biological dentistry offices will offer that test for patients. When a root canaled tooth is removed, we are able to send it off and find out what bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites are living inside that tooth. Like I said, when the patient chews and exerts pressure on that tooth, filled with bacteria, some of it is going to gush out into healthy areas that have blood, and the blood can then carry the bacteria to other areas of the body.
I used to have an infectious disease doctor in Houston. Every time she was going to amputate somebody’s leg because of osteomyelitis in a knee, she would send them to me, and I would find a root canal that was an issue. She thought she had come up with this theory on her own. I applaud the fact that she was at least looking at it.
People need to know that Dr. Price was washing this tooth with soap and water each time. It’s not that he was just sticking the same grungy tooth under the rabbit skin. It was done thirty different times in rabbits. Years later, you have George Meinig—a past president of the American Endodontic Association who was a root canal doctor in charge of the organization of root canal doctors—who came upon Dr. Price’s research and then repeated it. He found out, “This is not good.”
HG: You were saying earlier that conventional dentistry does not acknowledge that root canals are a problem. Why is that?
DE: Here in the United States, we are taught to save the tooth at all costs. If a tooth comes out, they believe, another tooth will start to tip your entire jaw and your bite will be off. Here we are all about cosmetics; we would have you believe that you are going to fall apart and die [if we remove the tooth]. Other countries take out teeth that are infected, and the people don’t die.
I was trained to save the tooth at all costs. I went to the University of Texas Dental Branch, and we didn’t learn anything about blood work. It was when I went to school to be a naturopath that I learned about blood work. There, I am looking at someone’s blood work, and I think, “I don’t understand, this person’s neutrophils are high and their lymphocytes are low.” Obviously, they have a bacterial infection, but I have ruled out urinary, upper respiratory and sinus infections, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out where the bacterial infection is. In those moments when I’m quiet—which is not often—a still voice in my head says, “Ask them if they have any root canals.” I ask, and they certainly do. I could literally timeline their lab tests; the blood work looks great until a particular year, and from then on, there was this bacterial infection. When I ask, “When did you get it done?” I find a perfect match. There was a tooth abscess and then a root canal, but it never removed the bacterial infection.
Often, these people are living with chronic low-grade bacterial infections. Many are prone to diabetes, and the chronic infection can make their hemoglobin A1C go up. They don’t really have diabetes, but their hemoglobin A1C is so high, that’s what their doctor knows to tell them. “Your hemoglobin A1C is fifteen. That’s crazy. You’re diabetic.” When you have those root canaled teeth removed and clean up those infections, their hemoglobin A1C goes to five.
It’s like a woman who has gestational diabetes. She has gestational diabetes because her pancreas cannot keep up with her weight and what is going on with her body. When the baby is delivered, she loses weight, and nobody marks on her chart, “By the way, she’s diabetic.” It gets forgotten. Our body is designed to tolerate a lot, but these chronic low-grade infections are something your body is dealing with every day.
HG: My concern is for the person reading this who thinks, “I had a root canal. Now what?”
DE: I don’t like for people to just blatantly take out teeth. You will find a dentist who will want to take out a tooth, and most are conditioned not to, so they will argue with you, “Let’s send you to an endodontist and get it retreated.” Dentists who are willing to take out a tooth, will more than likely put an implant in. There are a host of issues with implants as well. You need to see a functional physician or an integrative physician. Dentists are trained to do a specific job, which has to do with the teeth.
They could take out a root canal tooth, but they are just going to drop something else in. When you place a titanium implant, it is very similar to putting a fork in an electric socket and bending it around, sticking it in the bottom part. It could short out that circuit in your home; in the body, it can short out the meridian. When you place a zirconia implant, it’s like having a stalled car in one lane of traffic when there are eight lanes. There’s still one lane blocked. It’s not as big a burden, but it is a burden.
Often, these people have multiple teeth on the same meridian that have died because they have never addressed the root issue and it has caused teeth to die. When they start putting in implants, now they have electrical disconnects. Think of that implant as one of those little plastic things you stick in an outlet so your kids and grandkids don’t put a penny in the outlet. It is glued in permanently because your implant doesn’t come in and out.
I often have to discuss with a patient the importance of having the physician be the one to say, “I see that you have eight teeth missing. Coincidentally, they are all on the same meridian. You have issues with this meridian. I’m not going to allow you to have implants at all. We are going to go with a removable partial, or we are going to ask to look at bridgework until we get you healthy enough that you can give up a little bit and then have an implant placed in healthy bone.” There are so many things that are involved with a good implant. One is having good vitamin D status. A dentist doesn’t check things like that. Get your physician involved, but not a traditional physician, because they don’t get it. They don’t get this information in school. It’s all postgraduate stuff.
HG: What about the person who hasn’t had a root canal yet, but whose dentist has suggested it? What are the alternatives?
DE: Why are they suggesting it? Is there an active infection that’s documented that maybe you don’t feel? Is it because they want to crown a tooth and put a bridge in, and they need to remove a lot of tooth structure in order to do that? What are your options? You have to evaluate what reason they give. Sometimes, it’s referred pain, and they don’t know what else to do, and you’re complaining. That’s what they were trained to do. It might be that you go to see a holistic MD who says, “You have a thyroid issue, and this tooth is related to the thyroid.” If you only remove this tooth, another tooth that happens to be on the same meridian is going to start hurting. Or is the tooth dead? If it’s dead, there is no “Lazarus”; we have not figured out a way to rejuvenate a tooth that is dead.
There are times when I will suggest a root canal. For instance, take the example of a young woman who is in a car accident; she breaks off a front tooth and her wedding is next Friday. It would be more traumatic for her to have a tooth missing for her wedding images than to have a root canal and some cosmetic work done to get her through that time. Afterwards, however, we know we are going to reevaluate and schedule her for whatever is required.
HG: It sounds like it’s going to take some stepping back and assessing your overall health before going ahead with any procedure.
DE: I recently presented a case that was a good example. A gentleman who was almost fifty had never had decay in his life. All of a sudden, he has a tooth that has abscessed, and another tooth that has a cavity. They are on opposite sides of his mouth—one is on the top and one is on the bottom—but they are on the same meridian. When I finished doing testing, six of the eight teeth that were on the thyroid meridian showed that the thyroid was a huge block preventing electricity from going to specific teeth. I said, “What’s going on with your thyroid?” At first he said “Nothing,” but then he said, “That’s not true. Before Covid, probably in December 2019, my doctor tried to tell me there was something going on. I think he said there was a nodule, but I haven’t followed up to have it checked out.” I’m thinking, “He probably has thyroid cancer because it had to be something huge that would disconnect energy that significantly.” If you have made it to age fifty and you’ve never had decay, chances are you are going to make it through the rest of your life, short of maybe having a stroke and not being able to brush and floss. I gathered all the information so that I could show it to very conventional people. Again, we can take out the tooth or root canal it, we can fix the other area of decay and send him away, but we are doing him a disservice if we don’t get him in the hands of a physician who understands the connection. It takes a team approach.
HG: It also takes seeing people who aren’t in the conventional system, and especially in the conventional dentistry system. Mercury, for example, is a known toxin, but it’s been used for decades to fill cavities. Fluoride is in our toothpaste and in our water, ostensibly to prevent tooth decay, but it’s a neurotoxin. It could be that the conventional dental community is mistaken about root canals as well.
DE: It comes back to what you are taught in school. Going to a state-run university, I expected everything that I was being taught was the gospel, that it was true and factual, and that there was scientific backing. However, there is very little scientific backing on root canals. Very little research has been done on them and how they affect the body. Sometimes, there is research done that gets squashed. For instance, Boyd Haley was involved with doing research showing the toxicity of the materials that are placed inside the tooth, only to have his company bought out by an undisclosed person for a large sum of money. He was excited, only to have the new owner completely destroy all of the research. He came to find out it was the company that was dealing with the making of the materials that were being put in teeth because they found out that his research was not going in their favor. It was interesting talking to him. He’s got a major chip on his shoulder about that entire process and how it went down.
HG: They bought it to wipe out what he was finding.
DE: Correct. We are taught something, and we need to go in with open eyes and say, “What I know now as the truth could change.” Trust me, it’s going to change, and sometimes very drastically—one hundred eighty degrees. Years ago we were told, “Eggs and butter are bad. Eat margarine.” Look at where we are now. Eggs are good and butter is great. It’s all about the people you hang out with. I have also learned that when you are reading, even when it’s research material, you have to ask, “Who was doing the funding?” A lot of times, the numbers get manipulated. And the researchers are hired by somebody, and they are backed by a particular company. You can twist anything and get it on PubMed.
HG: Speaking of studies, we were talking about resources earlier. Can you share a couple of books people might read to open their eyes about dental health?
DE: They can go to our website (IABDM.org). We’ve got lots of podcasts and things there where we try to educate both dentists and lay people. I also wrote a book, Let the TOOTH Be Known. Dr. Blanche Grube wrote a great book, Chew on this. . . but don’t swallow, that is about mercury. Felix Liao has written several great books about the airway, with the most recent one being Licensed to Thrive. When I started in dentistry, we were taught to take out bicuspids in an effort to push your kids’ teeth back quicker and have them have a straight bite. God thought their jaw should be so long, and we decided it should be shorter. We have created an entire generation of people who have sleep apnea and snore because their tongue can’t fit in their mouth. The book by Liao is a great book. Then there is a brand new one, The Garbage Collector: Root Canals Disease and What the Dental Profession Refuses to Acknowledge, by Robert Gammal, a dentist in Australia. It’s a great reference book. Everybody should have it; especially biological offices should have it.
HG: If a person could do just one thing to improve his or her health, something that may or may not be related to dental health, what would you recommend?
DE: I’d love to say something like, “Take care of your teeth.” I think if there’s one thing, it’s to breathe. We forget to breathe. We also don’t breathe correctly, unless we take yoga classes or voice lessons. We just don’t give enough credence to breathing.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2022🖨️ Print post