Feb 142013

epigeneticsThe role of epigenetics in what causes tooth decay, although a research trend in its infancy, is growing rapidly and attracting much attention in some scientific communities. Unfortunately, the motivation for these studies is the rapidly rising incidence of tooth decay in the very young.

One area of major concern, and a number of research projects, is Australia. Despite considerable, conventional public health initiatives a startling 50% of Australia’s 6 year old’s have decay in their primary teeth. A further 1/5 of these little ones, 10% of the population of 6 year old’s, have at least 8 teeth with decay!

Compare this to research by the pioneer Dr. Weston Price. After receiving permission to exhume the remains of a large group of our ancient ancestors he studied their teeth. He only found cavities in one in a thousand teeth!

The study of epigenetics is relatively new and has only very recently been applied to dentistry. Although the research demonstrates strong correlations between epigenetic factors and the decaying teeth of the country’s infants, it still leaves researchers scratching their heads.

I am sorry to say that my best guess is that they will be scratching their heads for a long time. A survey of a number of the current research projects indicates they are looking in all the wrong places. As I have pointed out in a series of articles on what causes tooth decay the overwhelming historical, anecdotal and experimental evidence points to nutritional deficiencies.

The research grants appear to favor those who would perpetuate the current myths about what causes tooth decay. I fear the truth of the matter is a major threat to a multi-billion dollar industry with a powerful lobby.

On top of that, current understanding of epigenetics and heavy metal toxicity point to conventional dentistry as one of the major culprits in what causes tooth decay. I have listed some of the major sources of mercury contamination, amalgam fillings being one, and suggestions to deal with it in an article on what causes depression.

I also explained there why mercury is the most toxic element known, due to its ability to cross the brain blood barrier and attach itself to proteins and inhibit enzymes and hormones. Research also demonstrates that mercury binds to DNA and damages it.

Mercury not only binds to DNA and damages it, but also inhibits the enzymes our bodies produce to repair the damaged DNA. Whoever came up with the idea to put such a toxic substance in people’s mouths?

The study of epigenetics has produced incontrovertible evidence that we can alter how our genes express themselves negatively through poor nutrition. Also, that we pass these bad genetic tendencies to our progeny and they suffer the consequences.

Epigenetic research in the field of dentistry demonstrates a high degree of evidence that it plays a major role in what causes tooth decay. It’s just not yet known exactly how. Now, knowing where the funding for dental research comes from and one of its prime motivations I don’t expect any research to back up my hypothesis.

What we do know about mercury though, is already frightening. It is implicated in autoimmune diseases like Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. We also know that multiple sclerosis was historically a disease that struck at people generally in their 50’s or 60’s.

Multiple sclerosis is striking people much younger now. I read recently of a case in an 8 year old! Do we see a familiar pattern here? Hence, we know mercury is attacking the immune systems directly and probably young people are inheriting this tendency through epigenetics.

If young people are being born with weaker immune systems, which seems to be indicated, it would certainly account for an early onset of tooth decay. It is our immune system that protects our teeth from decay. It is certainly not toothpaste, mouthwash or dentists. History has soundly dispelled that myth!

If we can pass negative genetic traits to our children, just through poor nutrition, how much more so through DNA damaged by toxins. Without corresponding research to back it up it is hard to say what role mercury, the worst of them all, plays in tooth decay.

I am willing to bet that it is a very large role, indeed! What else explains such a rapid increase in the incidence of tooth decay over a handful of generations, which now inexplicably, as well as alarmingly, attacks our infants? As I have already mentioned the nutritional evidence is overwhelming.

I submit, that the growing problem in our world with toxicity, is also a major contributor. As I have stated before, poor oral health is really, just an indicator of bigger, often systemic health issues.



Heritability estimates for dental caries and sucrose sweetness preference.
Bretz WA, Corby PM, Melo MR, Coelho MQ, Costa SM, Robinson M, Schork NJ, Drewnowski A, Hart TC.

Timing of Colonization of Caries-Producing Bacteria: An Approach Based on Studying Monozygotic Twin Pairs
Michelle R. Bockmann,* Abbe V. Harris, Corinna N. Bennett, Ruba Odeh, Toby E. Hughes, and Grant C. Townsend

More than half of 6 year olds have decayed teeth
Australian Government

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration
Weston A. Price, DDS

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 Posted by at 2:19 pm

  6 Responses to “What Causes Tooth Decay: What Is Epigenetics Revisited”

  1. I have had only one cavity in my life, and that came about from a broken tooth. I must have hard teeth, lol. Nice site!

    • Thanks Shawn. You are very fortunate that your parents raised you on such a nutritious diet that you never succumbed to tooth decay. Also you must have continued to eat foods providing all of the necessary nutrients. Another visitor commenting on another post said that he, like you, didn’t have decay problems. He said his diet was always wholesome. On the other hand his brother was on a SAD diet(Standard American Diet) replete with fast foods and soda pop and suffered with an abundance of the more usual oral health problems including a lot of drilling and filling.

  2. The part about the dangers of Mercury are frightening. It used to be considered so benign not so many years ago, didn’t?

    • Yes it is Dave. Fortunately, a lot of people have been blessed genetically with the parts necessary to take the mercury out of their system. Unfortunately, a lot of others don’t enjoy that ability and some of the horror stories I encountered researching the subject are really frightening! Many of the world’s nations have already banned mercury and the UN is getting ready to sign an international treaty in January 2015 to outright ban its use in dentistry.

  3. Do you know if tooth decay has increased for children in other countries as well? Are dentists still using mercury/silver fillings? I know mine uses the composite type, but he says it doesn’t last as long as the silver.

    • We have seen an increase here in Canada also. I am pretty sure some digging would find it fairly universal! The current stats indicate that 50% of US dentists still use amalgam fillings containing mercury. You should press your dentist to do a little research. I have seen reports of composites that are much stronger and longer lasting than amalgam fillings.

      Many countries have already banned mercury as a dental material. This has spurred companies to invest in research to improve composite fillings. When I saw how far advanced the technology had become I was shocked that dentists were still using mercury filling, which are not only so dangerous, but also inferior.

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