In contrast to contemporary conventional medicine, dentistry has long recognized the term FOCAL infection – it was described as early as 1493 (not a typo) by Dr. William Boyd:
The term focal infection as commonly used does not indicate merely a focus of infection but signifies the setting up of secondary infection at a distance from the original lesions.
Following this definition, he goes on to describe how an infected tooth can cause trouble in the following ways: 1. the bacteria from a focal infection can travel to the lymphatics and cause local lymph node swelling; 2. they can enter the bloodstream, multiply, and set up an acute or chronic septicemia (= systemic disease with bacteria in the blood); or 3. they can settle in a distant site and multiply there, causing a pathology in a completely different area of the body. This makes sense since we know that an artery, vein, and lymph vessel feeds the root of each of the teeth. It’s not very far for bacteria to travel in order to reach these great circulating vessels.
We’re talking 1493 – and this guy had at least part of the story down. An infection from a tooth or impacted and infected wisdom teeth, can travel elsewhere in the body. Typically, Dr. Boyd described joint pain and stiffness, angina (chest pain) or sore throat and tonsillitis as resulting from a dental focus. Today, the dental relationships with the rest of the body are more well documented and many other conditions are associated with these foci.
In modern day biological medicine, we take this into account when we ask our patients about their dental history – cavities, fillings (plastic, porcelain, or mercury.. don’t get me started), root canals, wisdom teeth extractions, bridges etc. can all impact the health of the body from this infectious perspective.
But there’s another reason we look at the teeth… We don’t just think about traveling infections – there exists an important energetic connection between the teeth and the body too.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there is a theory that each tooth is associated with a different meridian, or energy channel, that courses through the body. For example, the first top teeth are associated with the Kidney meridian – blockages (including infections, root canals or changes to the density of the jaw) in these teeth relate to issues with the kidney, bladder, uterus, prostate, rectum, anus, and pineal gland. Although not diagnostic for any medical condition, this tooth-body relationship is quite strong clinically.
These relationships are ipsilateral – meaning that if it’s your top 5th tooth back on the right side, it is associated with trouble in the right breast. Trouble in a left sided tooth = trouble on the left side of the body. Start asking the people in your life about their dental history, then look at a tooth-meridian chart for connections. You’ll likely be surprised at how common these relationships are.
Why is this important? Because knowing that these relationships exist, a biological doc can determine if the focus of an illness is truly where the pathology is found (the breast) or whether it has stemmed from a chronic infection in a specific tooth (the upper 5th tooth back on the same side) or blockage in that tooth’s energetic flow (the meridian). In any case, knowing the focus of the pathology helps us narrow down how to treat it.
How cool, right?
Knowledge truly is power. The next time your dentist informs you it’s time for another filling or they need to do a root canal – go speak to a biological dentist (they belong to the IAOMT) and get a second opinion on how to treat dental issues in a way that reduces their likelihood of becoming a focus for development of a distant pathology. In many cases root canals can be avoided, and in all cases filling materials can be negotiated.
So much more to speak about on dental health and these relationships. But for now, an introduction!