Root Cause Movie Review: Are root canals killing us? A dentist’s thoughts

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Recently, major dental organizations created an uproar about the Root Cause movie.

The American Association of Endodontists (AAE), American Dental Association (ADA), and American Association of Dental Research (AADR) all requested Netflix remove the film because it’s so misleading.

Update: Netflix quietly pulled Root Cause from their library as of February 27, 2019. No explanation has been given, but experts believe this might be to protect the integrity of the high-quality documentaries offered on the streaming service.

But I’m already not a member of the ADA because I don’t necessarily buy into all their methods. I was intrigued…Could this movie be uncovering something new?

The Guardian covers the topic from a free speech perspective, but I was eager to look at the movie from the perspective of a functional dentist. I might add that I’m also committed to being honest about proven science when it comes to natural dental and oral health—so I can still be a bit of a skeptic.

(Plus, who doesn’t want to watch a dentist movie? Those don’t come around often.)

From articles like “Root Cause Movie: Debunked” to “Is Your Root Canal Causing Cancer,” I found most of the information on the movie to be limited and questionable.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about the Root Cause movie, so I watched the film myself. I’ll share with you now what I think was right, wrong, and downright unethical.

So, are root canals making us sick…or worse?

What is the Root Cause movie about?

The Root Cause documentary follows a filmmaker through a re-enactment of a period of about 10 years. In the film, Frazer Bailey shares his experiences including a root canal, concussion from a punch to the face, and subsequent fall into a sickened state.

Bailey describes his time as a nearly invalid man as one filled with searching. He looked to every medical, emotional, and spiritual avenue for an answer to his pain and had nearly given up by the time he found it.

According to Bailey, it took an entire decade for someone to point out that he had a failed root canal. Through a series of alternative medicine “diagnostics,” they determined the root canal was making him tired, depressed, and generally ill.

Then, Bailey interviews many experts with lots of letters behind their names. The titles of each subsequent expert seemingly gives a lot of credence to the progressively startling and extreme claims made throughout the movie.

For example, Dr. Dawn Ewing connects root canals and breast cancer in a shockingly certain manner. 98% of breast cancer patients have root canals on the same side as their cancer?!

Dr. Minkoff, the first expert to speak, essentially insists that his patients constantly have chronic, systemic diseases arising from root canals.

This new Netflix documentary raises many questions for patients who have had or may need root canals. Below, I’ll take you through what the Root Cause movie says and the facts we’ve proven. Then, let’s go through some Q&A about the movie.

Is the Root Canal documentary accurate?

Below, I’ll get into the specifics on what this movie claimed versus what we know to be true.

But let me say this: Root canals are helpful for the vast majority of patients who get them.

I’m not saying that because I’m a profiteering jerk—I say it because, if you need a root canal, I’d hate for a fear-inducing movie to prevent you from losing the use of one or more of your teeth.

There are a few things they’re correct on, though.

For one, there is a major link between what happens in the mouth and what happens in the body. (1)

I’ve been saying it at Ask the Dentist for years—more needs to be understood by doctors and dentists everywhere about the overall health of the mouth and body. They aren’t two separate parts that never intersect. I call it the mouth-body connection.

One of the clearest ways this plays out is the link between gum disease and diseases like diabetes. There’s definitely a correlation there!

Another true point in the Root Cause movie is that no root canal is 100% clean.

This is something else I’ve been saying for a long time that dentists and endodontists know. When you root canal a tooth, there are lots of tiny tubules that can potentially play host to bacteria. On occasion, these bacteria do overgrow and can escape into the bloodstream to cause infection.

But the extent to which they silently remain undetected, causing all forms of chronic disease was grossly overstated in this movie.

What are the dangers of root canals? Most often, the danger of getting a root canal involves the potential for a lesion (an abscess or cyst) within the root canaled tooth. This happens when bacteria left in the horizontal tubules throughout the tooth grows and damages tissue.

This bacteria can indeed cause symptoms and even get into your bloodstream. However, not only is this rare, it’s going to cause an infection and probably cause you pain. It’s incredibly unlikely that you’ll have no oral pain that would point your dentist to investigating any root canals you’ve had done.

*Important note: From the brief glance I got at Bailey’s x-rays showed in the film, he clearly had a badly performed root canal. These are always more likely to result in infection later on.

What are some specific facts Root Cause stated that aren’t totally fact?

Root Cause Movie: Fact Check

What did Root Cause get right…and what did they get wrong?

Root Cause Says: “98% of women with breast cancer have a root canal on the same side as their offending breast cancer.”

The Facts:

There’s no scientific evidence I’ve ever been presented that supports this theory. I’m unable to find any review of breast cancer (of which there are many) that includes any statistic like this.

In fact, the idea of the cancer being on “the same side” as a root canal is based on the premise of the meridian system, not proven scientific fact. While I don’t challenge that traditional Chinese medicine has its benefits, there’s no solid proof that this system is real in the way it was presented in the Root Cause movie.

There’s been a lot of sensationalism around statistics that include people who have root canals and those who die of cancer. It’s true that a lot of people who die of cancer have had a root canal.

But it’s also true that a lot of people (in general) have had root canals. Over 15 million teeth have new root canals each year. (2) Since less than two million new cases of cancer are diagnosed in a calendar year and a little over 600,000 people die of cancer each year, the fact that cancer and root canals exist together isn’t surprising. (3) It certainly isn’t proof of causation.

Root Canal Says: The number one cause of heart attack is a root canal tooth. This is specific cause and effect, not correlation.

The Facts:

There is no published scientific evidence whatsoever to prove this claim.

In fact, some evidence points the opposite direction. For instance, one study found that just over 50% of patients with major heart diseases had some evidence of endodontic lesions and about 23% had definite abscesses under teeth—but only half of them had even received endodontic treatment! (4)

Another study found an inverse association between number of teeth and cardiovascular disease. This means that the number of teeth pulled (which Root Cause recommends over a root canal) was associated with more heart disease. (5)

There’s a rare, but real, connection between bacteria entering the bloodstream during dental work and endocarditis. This condition is called infective endocarditis and is more common in people with heart disease. It happens when bacteria settles on dead heart tissue and causes infection.

Interestingly, this is more common (although still incredibly rare) with cleanings than it is root canals. That’s why I often consider preventatively premedicating patients with heart disease with Penicillin before giving them cleanings.

Root Cause Says: “The biggest toxic influence in the body of a chronically ill person is a root canal tooth.”

The Facts:

It’s true that a failed root canal can lead to systemic infection in a very limited number of patients. But there’s no reason to believe that all (or most) chronically ill people are ill due to a root canaled tooth or that everyone (or most people) with a root canaled tooth will become chronically ill.

In fact, when it comes to the connection of the mouth and body, I think we should be talking far more about the connection of gum disease to diabetes than the small number of failed root canals.

A toxic mouth can be toxic to the rest of the body, but there’s a lot more published evidence that gum disease is far more likely to be connected to chronic illness.

Root Cause Says: “The root canal is a fatally flawed procedure.”

The Facts:

If the root canal procedure was fatally flawed, how do the majority of people with root canals live productive, healthy lives?

On the other hand, there is data that people who have more teeth pulled (not root canaled) have higher chances of many diseases. This includes heart disease and cancer. (6, 5)

Root Cause Says: The root canal was invented, in part, because wealthy patients didn’t want to have decayed tooth removed. This would make them appear to be poor, so they’d rather hang onto their natural teeth, especially when capped with a gold crown.

The Facts:

Root canals were invented to solve three problems: 1) relieving pain from tooth decay, 2) removing diseased tooth pulp, and 3) preserve existing teeth rather than pulling them. (7)

In short, there may be some truth to this claim in the Root Cause movie. However, it was also a procedure that was designed to prevent pain. Those who get root canals aren’t simply choosing an elective procedure for aesthetic reasons.

The other options you’d have would be to get dentures or a bridge. Both of these options are far more problematic scientifically than root canals.

Root Cause Says: The vast majority of chronic degenerative diseases begin with problems in the mouth (infections/toxins). 80-90% of people are sick at least in part because of an infected tooth. Those have to be addressed if you want a clear, positive response with the treatment of your degenerative disease.

The Facts:

I’ve been saying for years that the mouth and body are far more intrinsically connected than most doctors realize. What happens in the mouth happens in the body.

It’s absolutely true that if you have a degenerative disease, you need to have oral infection and disease corrected to get better with the best possible results.

What I don’t think is true here is the statistic given. It’s stated, again, as a sensationalistic one-liner, and I can’t find evidence to support the 80-90% number.

Root Cause Says: “No dead tissue is left anywhere else in the body, except with a root canal.”

The Facts:

It’s true—if your foot has gangrene, you must have it amputated.

But the same doesn’t exactly apply with teeth, because a root canal does remove the tissue that’s still living (the pulp). What’s left behind is non-living, calcified tooth structure.

The remaining tooth will experience some remineralization and could possibly decay in the same way as a normal, living tooth would.

This comparison, though, is misleading at best, because a gangrenous foot will continue to experience necrosis and spread infection 100% of the time. On the other hand, a root canaled tooth structure will only experience decay if your diet and hygiene would cause decay in other living teeth, too.

Plus, only a small portion of root canals result in lesions or cysts that must be treated later.

There’s no part of the body that’s more well encapsulated than the inside of a calcified tooth. The anatomy of a tooth versus a gangrenous foot are not alike and the comparison doesn’t work.

Root Cause Says: Dentists will do anything they can to save a patient’s tooth, even if it means the patient dies.

The Facts:

It’s ludicrous to make this type of claim about a respected profession like dentistry. This is an emotional, unfounded statement.

Dentists go through four years of training and continued education after college in order to best serve their patients. While no one is perfect, and I do have many concerns about some common practices in dentistry, none of these are concerning to me because dentists themselves are willing to hurt patients (or even kill them)!

The very notion is clearly meant to strike fear. It doesn’t reflect the vast majority of men and women who practice dentistry.

Root Cause Says: Root canals cause systemic problems including (but not limited to) insomnia, fatigue, stress, anxiety, depression, cancer, and heart disease.

The Facts:

There are many reasons these symptoms can happen to people, and some of them are indeed connected to oral health. For example, sleep apnea, TMJ/TMJ, grinding/bruxism, and mouth breathing can all impact several of these symptoms. There’s no reason to think that these are caused by properly done root canals.

One major question I had about this movie is the connection of the producer’s concussion from being punched. Why wasn’t that more of a focus? Concussions can indeed cause many of the conditions listed above.

As stated earlier, there’s actually an inverse relation with both heart disease and cancer based on pulled teeth. (5, 6)

Root Cause Says: “Probes will measure biotoxins [in root canaled teeth] more dangerous than anything found in nature.” This includes botulism toxin.

The Facts:

In any root canaled tooth, there will be small amounts of bacteria left within the tooth. There’s no published evidence that suggests these are somehow superbugs or different than any other kind of bacteria you might expect to find in the mouth.

As for biotoxins more dangerous than found elsewhere in nature, the only toxin named in the film was botulism. This is found in untreated water and soil in some parts of the world. It’s not typically found in the body, so if it’s in a root canaled tooth, it would have gotten there from untreated water.

Endodontists and dentists sterilize instruments before root canals, so the chance of botulism or similar environmental toxins finding their way into the root canaled tooth is incredibly slim at best.

Root Cause Says: Medical doctors don’t pay attention to bodily issues that could be referred from dental problems.

The Facts:

In this case, Root Cause gets it pretty correct. If there’s an oral infection due to a poorly done root canal, it’s true many physicians wouldn’t consider it in their diagnosis. The same would be true for gum disease or tooth abscess caused by other issues in the mouth.

That’s why I urge readers to consider oral health problems alongside the health of the rest of their body in my article on CRP and Oral Health.

The good news is that most patients are aware of the fact they have an oral infection and are already working with a dentist to treat it.

Unlike what the Root Cause movie implied, the majority of patients with toxins in failed root canals have pain symptoms. (8) That’s why it’s not very likely an endodontic lesion or abscess would be ignored for years on end.

Root Cause Says: Dental schools “look at the mouth like it’s a mannequin, like you can do any type of procedure [in the mouth] with no direct impact on the rest of the body.”

The Facts:

That’s an insulting and untrue statement to the profession of dentistry. These sorts of broad generalizations aren’t helpful to a discussion about life-and-death matters like those discussed in the Root Cause movie.

In dental school, curriculum teaches dental students a lot about how oral and dental health impact the rest of the body. Plus, the required accreditation of dental schools mean that educational standards are consistent throughout the United States, so there isn’t a major variation in what dentists are taught.

Questions from the Root Cause movie + science-based answers

Q:

Do root canals cause cancer?

A: No, root canals do not cause cancer.

Here are a few things we do know about root canals and cancer.

First, it is fairly routine for cancer patients to undergo assessment and correction of any failed dental work before chemotherapy. Doing so helps ensure chemotherapy will be most effective, since an infection in the mouth is taxing the immune system already. (9)

Second, there’s an inverse relationship between number of teeth and cancer. The less teeth you have, the higher your cancer risk. (6)

Note here: Having your teeth pulled is actually an indication of higher cancer risk. In the study, root canaled teeth don’t count as missing.

Q:

Do root canals cause other systemic diseases?

A: Root canals can occasionally become infected and pass infection into the bloodstream. In these rare cases, infection can occur throughout the body and tax the immune system and/or cause symptoms (usually beginning with pain in the mouth).

However, the idea that root canals cause a huge number of diseases from cancer to depression is called the “focal infection” theory. It was disproven in the late 1970s, but some dentists cite much older research by Weston A. Price to insist this theory is true. (10)

Focal infection theory is the concept the Root Cause movie starts with, but there’s no reason to believe this is actually happening according to the data we have.

Q:

How do I know if it’s safe for me to get a root canal?

A: The vast majority of people who get well-done root canals each year live healthy and vibrant lives. According to available research, there’s no reason to believe a well-done root canal will cause major issues.

If you have diabetes, there is a somewhat higher chance that you’ll get endodontic lesions (cysts or abscesses under a root canal tooth). (11, 12) That’s because many diabetics don’t heal from any surgical procedures as well as a non-diabetic. In these cases, it’s a good idea to talk to your physician and dentist about this so that you’re aware of your options.

If you have a dilacerated root system of the teeth, meaning your roots are curved, root canals may not be the best choice for you. It’s very difficult to clean the roots in these cases.

High blood pressure can also increase the chance of a root canal failing. (13)

Finally, patients undergoing treatments for cancer or who have immune-compromised systems may not be the best candidates for root canals. Similar to diabetes, these conditions can limit the body’s ability to heal after any type of surgery or invasive procedure.

Ultimately, the most important thing you should know when you get a root canal is that your dentist and/or endodontist will do a good job. Root canals will fail almost every time if they aren’t performed properly, using the right kind of sterilization and clinical protocol. (14)

Q:

How do I decide if I should get a root canaled tooth removed? Do I need to see a specialist?

A: If your tooth is tender when you tap it with the back end of a fork or is sore while chewing, I’d recommend getting a 3D cone beam (CBCT) scan of your tooth. This 3D scan can help reveal any lesions that would suggest a failed root canal.

In any case, I’d recommend getting cone beam scans on your root canals every 5-10 years, depending on what you and your endodontist decide. This is a great way to have peace of mind that your root canal has been successful and isn’t causing any residual pain in the mouth or infection elsewhere in the body.

Any general dentist or oral surgeon skilled at removing teeth can remove a root canaled tooth. There’s no difference between removing a recently root canaled tooth or a regular tooth.

Sometimes, a root canaled tooth can ankylose to the bone, meaning it’s rigidly connected to the jawbone. Those are more complicated root canal removals and probably require the care of an oral maxillofacial surgeon.

Q:

Was Weston Price’s research as revolutionary as the experts in the film made it out to be? Why isn’t more modern dentistry based on what he discovered?

A: Dr. Weston A. Price was a maverick of a dentist. He was, in many ways, ahead of his time in creative research. He discovered what he termed “Activator X” that is probably what we now refer to as vitamin K2. He was also the first person to recognize that nutrient was so vital to the development of the facial structure and health of teeth.

In addition, his work uncovered the link between aboriginal diets and strong bones and teeth versus a Western diet that led to far more cavities and poor growth, even within one generation.

However, in conventional dentistry, Weston Price isn’t a highly regarded name. This is likely due to the fact that a large portion of his research had major issues in its methodology. The rabbits experiment, for example, had very flawed logic from the beginning.

As I mentioned before, the focal infection theory was disproved almost 50 years ago. (10) That theory led many dentists to believe that all decayed teeth should be pulled, no matter what.

Many of Price’s experiments weren’t well-controlled and didn’t follow current standards of research, such as protocols that avoid contamination.

I respect a lot of what Weston A. Price accomplished, but with the quality of much of his research, it’s important to be cautious when using his results to make strong conclusions.

There are no idols in any field with perfect records. His marriage to the idea of focal infection clouded much of his research. However, it’s good to learn from the things he discovered that can be replicated.

Q:

Is there less risk of infection if I have a tooth pulled rather than root canaled?

A: When you pull a tooth, you’re removing all the infected tissue and connected tubules, unlike with a root canal. There may be a slightly lowered risk of infection, but then you have to deal with the ramifications of losing a tooth.

For example, if your tooth is pulled and you get an implant, you’ve now got to put a foreign substance in your mouth, rather than leaving a calcified tooth that your body recognizes as part of itself.

Implants are susceptible to infection of their own. They’re also rigidly connected to the bone and don’t have the give that a root canaled tooth does.

If you choose not to have a pulled tooth replaced with an implant, your teeth will shift over time. This may lead to the need for orthodontic treatment like braces or aligners.

Q:

Are some people more susceptible to toxins found in a root canaled tooth like they mention in the Root Cause movie?

A: In the film, one “expert” points out that the supposed reason many people with root canals are perfectly healthy is because some people are more susceptible to these horrible toxins.

Yes, root canals can’t ever be 100% clean and yes, some people, even after a well-performed root canal, will develop lesions in the root canaled tooth. Certain subsets of the population are more likely to suffer infection after a root canal, such as diabetics or people with compromised immune systems.

However, as I pointed out earlier, there are two major issues with the concept the film suggests.

One, there’s no reliable evidence that tells us root canals definitely cause chronic systemic diseases in any predictable way. Failed root canals are rare and their impact is more well-understood than that. They certainly aren’t responsible for the types of disease this film claims.

Second, root canals aren’t the site of super-toxins that are worse than anywhere else in the world. This is simply not a true statement.

Q:

Should I have a cone beam (3D scan) done on my root canals to check for cysts or lesions?

A: I believe patients who get root canals are smart to get cone beam scans about once every 5-10 years after a root canal, or more often if you and your endodontist choose to do so.
Q:

Is it true that a root canaled tooth can look fine on an x-ray but actually contain a cyst or abscess?

A: Conventional x-rays may fail to reveal a lesion in a root canaled tooth. However, cone beam (3D) scans are far more reliable.

Even if you don’t see a dentist that offers cone beam scans, a failed root canal will almost always reveal itself. I’m not talking years here—in a few months, you’ll have pain that should send you to a dentist, who would find the cause in the root canal (if it’s there).

Q:

Is it possible that anesthetizing a root canaled tooth with an abscess could relieve pain elsewhere in the body?

A: No. This is based on the meridian theory used as a differential diagnosis, but there’s no scientifically proven reason the demonstration in the movie would work.
Q:

Are a lot of lesions or abscesses left by a root canal asymptomatic within the mouth for long periods of time?

A: No, most of these will cause pain within a few months at most. If they’re asymptomatic, it’s unlikely they’re a true abscess.
Q:

Can a Lecher antenna determine what’s causing an illness in my body?

A: There isn’t proof published by any scientific community that the Lecher antenna works consistently (or at all). As with other alternative medicine, I’m not quick to say it can’t work, but it seems incredibly unlikely to me.

Until a reputable research study is published on the topic, the Lecher antenna can’t be relied upon as a way to diagnose disease of any kind. There is no known mechanism that supports this diagnostic tool.

Marketers call the Lecher antenna “the best kept secret in science”—that’s because it’s not science.

Q:

Does ozone gas travel throughout the mouth when injected into one tooth?

A: No, it doesn’t travel as far as the Root Cause movie claims. There’s no credible evidence-based data on this topic that suggests ozone moves throughout the entire mouth.

Studies Mentioned in the Root Cause Movie

Upon some further investigation, I found that several of the clinicians featured in the Root Cause movie have undergone civil and/or criminal proceedings based on their poor healthcare.

This made me wonder…What about all these studies cited? Are any of them legitimate?

Not to give away the ending here, but I was unable to find most of the studies “cited” throughout the movie.

If you find any studies I wasn’t able to find below, please let me know! I’d love to add them to this article.

Here’s a quick list of the research mentioned and what I found (or, mostly, didn’t find).

Citation: 98% of breast cancer patients have a root canal on the same side as their cancer.

Supporting research found: None.

Citation: Bale-Doneen method of cancer treatment doesn’t recommend root canals

Supporting research found: None. Bale-Doneen published a video stating their method was misrepresented in Root Cause. (Check it out here.)

Citation: “The vast majority of chronic degenerative diseases begin with problems in the mouth.”

Supporting research found: None.

Citation: Bacteria still resides in the tooth after root canal has been performed.

Supporting research found: “Effect of photodynamic therapy (PDT) on Enterococcus faecalis biofilm in experimental primary and secondary endodontic infections” (15)

Citation: 70-90% of all medical problems actually originate in the mouth.

Supporting research found: None. What happens in the mouth does happen in the body—but there’s no evidence that this many instances of every single disease are somehow directly caused by failed root canals or other oral health issues. That’s an oversimplification at best, and at worst, a misleading and fear-inducing statement.

Citation: 95% of the time, women with breast cancer with thermographic studies have hot spots on the jaw on the same side as their cancer.

Supporting research found: None.

Citation: 97% of sick patients of Dr. Thomas Rau between the ages of 30-70 had a root canal or toxic situation in the teeth.

Supporting research found: None. If this has been documented in Rau’s clinic, it’s never been published, controlled, or peer-reviewed in any publication I could find.

Citation: A 19-year-old patient had a root canal on her front tooth related to the kidney and bladder meridians. Then, she started getting bladder and kidney infections. The root canal was tested. Her clinician saw a direct relationship and told the mother the tooth needed removed. After refusing, three months later, she took the tooth out and her symptoms disappeared.

Supporting research found: None. No case study resembling this was available in any publication I could find.

Citation: Dr. Tennant mentions a study of 60 cancer patients. 96% had an infected tooth in the same “primary supply circuit” of their cancer.

Supporting research found: None.

Citation: In a study of 87 well done root canal treated teeth, regardless of how well the procedure was performed, most had a high degree of toxicity. Not one of the 87 were non-toxic.

Supporting research found: None.

Citation: Haley claimed to have published a study that showed toxins from root canaled teeth are equal in toxicity to the standard by which all biological toxins are measured: hydrogen sulphite. They’re also equal to botulism poisoning.

Supporting research found: None

Citation: All root canals are infected, with no exception. This was a study by an American holistic dentist society. They tested 30,000+ extracted root canals and all were infected.

Supporting research found: None. No root canal is 100% clean, but a very small number of bacteria is to be expected. The mouth is supposed to have bacteria in it, and your immune system is typically very good at fighting off any infection stemming from a root canal.

Citation: A research study found 53 different bacteria in root canaled teeth. 28 are directly involved in the health of the heart. This study proves that root canals create certain heart conditions, like endocarditis.

Supporting research found: “Detection of bacterial virulence genes associated
with infective endocarditis in infected root canals.” (16) This study does show that a few types of bacteria from a failed root canal can enter the bloodstream and lead to infective endocarditis. However, there is no mention or connection to any other type of heart condition other than this one specific type of infection.

Citation: The more root canals you have, the higher your chance of heart attack.

Supporting research found: None. There is some connection between those with coronary artery disease and more endodontic lesions, but many of those aren’t even caused by a root canal. (4)

Citation: Scientists found after examining 5,000 cavitations left after wisdom teeth removal, only one had healed.

Supporting research found: None.

Citation: Cavitations can cause diseases such as MS (multiple sclerosis).

Supporting research found: None.

Key Takeaways About the Root Cause Movie

So…Root Cause movie. Believe it? Don’t believe it?

The root causes of your diseases are usually a lot more complex than a failed root canal. But it is true that bacteria from a root canal can sometimes make its way into the bloodstream and cause infection. (17)

The root canal/cancer connection made in the Root Cause movie is not only weak—it’s non-existent. Other claims about heart disease, back pain, depression, and many other conditions have no legitimate science behind them, either.

While I was somewhat glad to hear someone finally released a movie about functional dentistry, I was supremely disappointed in what I saw.

If your dentist tells you to get a root canal, you should be able to have an informed conversation with him or her about your options and the risks involved. You shouldn’t have an ominous voice in the back of your head warning you that root canals cause breast cancer—because they don’t.

As with every topic in health, it’s true that prevention is the best medicine overall. Eating a diet and living a lifestyle to reduce your risk for cavities may prevent this from ever being an issue in your own life.

However, don’t fear. If you do need a root canal, a skilled dentist or endodontist can help you preserve some tooth structure without looking to expensive orthodontics down the road.

Overall, the Root Cause movie talked about a lot of junk science, a lot of anecdotal stories without details, and a great deal of shaming or fear-causing “information.” But rest assured—these claims aren’t based in scientific fact.

Got more questions about root canals or this documentary? Just ask me and I’ll respond personally.

Read Next: Know Before You Go: Root Canals

References

  1. Kane, S. F. (2017). The effects of oral health on systemic health. Gen Dent, 65, 30-34. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29099363
  2. American Association of Endodontists. (2018). Endodontic Treatment Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.aae.org/specialty/about-aae/news-room/endodontic-treatment-statistics/
  3. National Cancer Institute. (2018). Cancer Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/understanding/statistics
  4. Liljestrand, J. M., Mäntylä, P., Paju, S., Buhlin, K., Kopra, K. A. E., Persson, G. R., … & Pussinen, P. J. (2016). Association of endodontic lesions with coronary artery disease. Journal of dental research, 95(12), 1358-1365. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27466397
  5. Oluwagbemigun, K., Dietrich, T., Pischon, N., Bergmann, M., & Boeing, H. (2015). Association between number of teeth and chronic systemic diseases: a cohort study followed for 13 years. PLoS One, 10(5), e0123879. Full text: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4422697/
  6. Virtanen, E., Söder, B., Andersson, L. C., Meurman, J. H., & Söder, P. Ö. (2014). History of dental infections associates with cancer in periodontally healthy subjects: a 24-year follow-up study from Sweden. Journal of Cancer, 5(2), 79. Full text: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3909762/
  7. Castellucci, A. (2004). A brief history of endodontics. Prato, Italy, 2-5. Full text: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.621.8148&rep=rep1&type=pdf
  8. Martinho, F. C., de Rabello, D. G. D., Ferreira, L. L., & Nascimento, G. G. (2017). Participation of endotoxin in root canal infections: A systematic review and meta-analysis. European journal of dentistry, 11(3), 398. Full text: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5594974/
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  17. Debelian, G. J., Olsen, I., & Tronstad, L. (1995). Bacteremia in conjunction with endodontic therapy. Dental Traumatology, 11(3), 142-149. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7641631

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