How addressing dental issues could help resolve Lyme Disease...
The Swiss BioHealth clinic in Konstanz leads the world in both research into, and the clinical use of, non-titanium ceramic dental implants. But it is very much more than that. The Biohealth concepts and procedures developed over thirty years by Dr Karl Ulrich Voltz, the clinic’s director, are now not just resolving dental problems but health issues from arthritic joints to Lyme’s disease.
Michelle Berriedale Johnson has just spent a week being treated at the clinic. She explains the thinking behind their approach and how their protocols actually work in practice.
So what’s the big deal about the teeth?.....
Maybe understandably teeth are often seen something rather extraneous to the body: white and hard, with their own group of doctors to look after them. But this is far from the case.
From the root of every tooth runs a nerve and a tiny blood vessel both of which connect directly into the main nerve system and blood flow of the body. So far from your teeth being disconnected from your body they are in 24/7 communion with your whole system. Which means that anything that is amiss with a tooth can affect any other part of your body from your stomach to your big toe.
Why does this matter?
It matters because teeth that are in poor condition are ideal refuges for bacteria, pathogens and parasites that can ‘settle in comfortably’ and use each tooth’s direct blood vessel connection to spread themselves around your body whenever they choose.
Let me explain
In healthy teeth the bone binds tightly to the roots of the tooth and the gum to the ‘body’ of the tooth. There are no gaps. But all too often (usually as result of poor diet and/or poor dental care) the gums pull way from the teeth allowing space for food and bacteria to lodge there. They may in due course reach down to the root spreading bacteria around the root. This can cause bone to dissolve creating spaces in which other bacteria (toxins, parasites or viruses), travelling up through the blood supply to the tooth, will lodge. From there they can easily work their way back through your system via the tooth’s blood vessel.
Healthy immune systems will often parcel these bacteria up into little cysts at least preventing them spreading back through the body, but the cysts themselves take up space which should be filled with bone. So gradually you lose bone around the root of the tooth, the tooth gets loose as it is no longer being held in place by the bone. Maybe the nerve connection is damaged or becomes infected and the tooth dies.
Root canal treatment
In conventional dentistry you will then be offered root canal treatment. This involves cleaning out the hollow centre of the dead tooth and packing it, usually with a rubber like material called gutta percha that comes from the sap of Malaysian trees. This is sealed in place with an adhesive cement.
But root canal treatment is controversial:
Maybe the damage is so great that the tooth is no longer viable even with a root canal filling. In which case, in today’s dentistry, you may well be offered an implant. This is, effectively a new tooth which is screwed permanently into the bone from which the old tooth has been removed. This is a vast improvement on the dentures which were all that were previously on offer, as a successful implant is effectively just a new tooth replacing the old one.
The problem with conventional implants….
There is only one problem, although this is a problem currently only recognised by a small band of specialists headed up by the Swiss Bio Health clinic. The implants are made from titanium. Titanium is already widely used in medicine and had been thought to be both inert and non-allergenic. But while even this is now being questioned (see here for more), the main issue is that titanium is a metal – and, say the bio-health dentists metal has no place in our bodies.
But bio-health dentistry has very much wider implications for human health than just replacing implants. So let us take a few steps backwards.
The immune system and its enemies….
The human immune system is the body’s main defence against attack by toxins, ‘bad’ bacteria, viruses, parasites. A healthy, vigorous immune system will scavenge 24 hours a day and will be able to deal with all but the most virulent attacks. But a healthy immune system needs to be kept healthy by being fed good ‘food’ in terms of mineral, vitamin etc nutrients and being allowed to lead a moderately ‘healthy’ life – no excessive exposure to environmental toxins (such as heavy metals) or self imposed pollution (alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes – toxins in themselves) plus plenty of rest, sleep, exercise, relaxation etc.
Metal in the mouth
There are very few people now who do not accept that mercury/amalgam filings are seriously detrimental to health, giving off low levels of mercury vapour during chewing. But amalgam is not the only metal used in the mouth.
Many experts will quote voluminous research to suggest that metal in the body has no effect on human health – but significant amounts of alternative research suggest that this is not the case. (For a detailed investigation into the toxic effect of metal in the body see this presentation by Rachel Nicholls on the Foodsmatter site.)
This research suggests that metal deposits in the body can affect the functioning of the immune system by depressing it, so that it does not work as efficiently as it should – or by over stimulating it so that it attempts to destroy either harmless ingested proteins (such as peanut) or the body’s own systems as in autoimmune conditions such as coeliac disease, diabetes, RA, MS etc.
If you accept this research then, as long as metal remains in the mouth, it will be impossible to achieve a truly healthy immune system.
But, even if we have a healthy immune system….
Even a healthy immune system can only scavenge toxins if it can find them. So it is in the toxins' interests to search out places in the body where they will not be found. And the spaces created by decaying bone around damaged or infected teeth are ideal hiding places. An even better a hiding place is provided by the layer of fat that settles where wisdom teeth have been removed in most people.
Explain please! Wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to ‘come through’ – usually between the ages of 17 and 25 although sometimes much later. While some people’s mouths are big enough to fit them, many people’s are not. If this is the case the wisdom teeth will sometimes just stop growing and decay, or grow crooked or force other teeth out of position causing pain and further damage.
The age at which most wisdom teeth are removed (late teens and early 20s) is the time when nutrient levels (needed for the growth of healthy bone) are at their lowest – partly because they have been depleted by the very business of growing and partly because late teenage/early 20s diets tend to be nutrient poor. As a result the bone which should grow to fill the space left by the extracted wisdom tooth does not grow as it should and a layer of fat moves in instead.
So, back to the toxins… And think here also of bacteria such as the borrelia burgdorferi bacteria in Lyme disease which is affecting so many people so disastrously especially in the U.S.
There is nothing that a virus, bacteria, parasite or toxin likes better than a layer of fat hide in – even better than a gap around a tooth. So those wisdom teeth sites provide perfect concealment where they can remain safe from the scavenging cytokines of the immune system and free to send their own messengers into the blood stream and out around your body whenever they want.
(Cleaning out the wisdom teeth sites, what they call the cavitations, is regarded as a crucial part of any treatment at the Swiss BioHealth Clinic. It has resulted in significant diminution if not total disappearance of the symptoms of Lyme Disease and other similarly intractable and untreatable parasitic/virus/bacteria generated conditions in a very high proportion of their patients.)
Right…. Back to the Biohealth approach
In bio health the immune system is king. If it is in seriously good shape then it will be able to deal with all but the most catastrophic external toxic attacks – a Bhopal disaster for example. The issue is how to get it into a state of bounding good health – and then how to keep it there.
Feeding it good nutrients is of course vital. But that may not be enough if its body is also ‘housing’ a number of pathogens, viruses or toxins. Tucked away in safe corners such as ex wisdom teeth sites or decayed teeth these toxins will be constantly impeding its work. Therefore, to allow the immune system to regain maximum health and productivity, those sites need to be cleaned out and encouraged to infill with healthy bone which will not allow spaces to reform to accommodate those pathogens.
So, you have removed the pathogens and filled the sites where they had hidden with potentially healthy bone and gum. All that is needed now is to ensure that the patient's levels of the nutrients needed to grow that bone (especially Vitamin D3) remains high enough to allow complete reintegration and healing to take place.
Meanwhile, the body systems are now not only being protected by a strong immune system but they are no longer under constant attack by the pathogens which lurked in the gaps and crevices of an unhealthy mouth. They are therefore free to deal with any other health issues that might have arisen very much more efficiently – and that does appear to be what they then do.
Swiss Bio Health Clinic
Below is an overview of what happens if you opt for treatment at the BioHealth Clinic. For full technical details on all of their treatment see the clinic’s website.
Although many people come to the BioHealth clinic, as I did, because they want non titanium implants, that is not how it works. As the name implies, the clinic is looking to create a state of optimum health in their patients and this cannot be achieved by merely replacing a metal implant with a ceramic one. So you need to understand that your ceramic implants will only come as part of a whole treatment.
Making an appointment at the clinic requires one to submit both a blood test and a set of Xrays. The blood tests are to establish your general level of health, especially your Vitamin D3 and LdL levels. Good vitamin D3 levels are vital for building new healthy bone, low LdL for minimising the chance of infection. The Xrays are to establish what is actually happening in your mouth.
Based on these you will be offered a suggested treatment programme although this is quite likely to change when you actually get to the clinic and have full 3D scans. You will also be quoted a price based on this plan although that of course might also change.
If you decide to go ahead you will be offered a date for treatment (which could be as much as six months away) and depending on what you need to have done you will be required to book in for five to seven days.
(There is no accommodation at the clinic but lots of hotels both close to the clinic and a ten minutes walk away in Konstanz itself. Konstanz, by the by, is a charming south German/Swiss town on Lake Bodensee with lots of good restaurants, cafés and shops.)
You will be advised to start supplementing if your vitamin levels were low but one month before your treatment date you will be supplied with a full supplement regime designed to boost your nutrient levels prior to treatment.
The object of bio health treatment is to harness the body’s own healing powers so everything is done to maximise that potential.
Although all new patients will have taken a month’s worth of supplements, intravenous infusions of vitamins and mineral are administered every day throughout the treatment stay. At the end of the treatment you are sent home with another month’s worth of supplements to aid your on going healing.
To minimise the traumatic shock to the body of repeated operations, all procedures are carried out on one day. This includes extractions, implants (directly into the bone where the tooth has been extracted), removal of any extraneous metal that may remain in the mouth (amalgam fillings, metal bases to crowns etc) and the cleaning of the cavitations or wisdom teeth sites. (See here above.)
This can mean a long day in the chair but they work remarkably quickly! In one five hour session Dr Voltz extracted five of my teeth, inserted seven implants, did a sinus lift* and cleaned out my cavitations – while not only giving me a running commentary on what he was doing but explaining the philosophy behind bio health!
However, they also recognise that even this one long day will be traumatic which is why they require you to remain for a further four days minimum so that you can rest completely (no work, no travelling, no exercise) and they can monitor your progress and provide a wide range of aids to your healing (see below).
The clinic’s success record is remarkably high – a less than 1% failure rate for implants. But they believe that to achieve that you must follow their full healing programme which is why you need to stay on for an absolute minimum of four days after the procedures.
Pain is not acceptable within the system because pain, by definition, puts the body into sympathetic/flight or fight mode. In this mode both the immune and healing systems are closed down so that all forces can be concentrated on flight or fight.
The object therefore is to maintain the body in a pain free, para-sympathetic state while the procedures are taking place so that healing can start immediately.
(Although it is not possible to implement such range of invasive procedures without some discomfort I can honestly say that my worst issue during the day was that I found their totally state of the art dental chair rather uncomfortable!)
Foreign materials do not belong in the human body
In BioHealth a healthy body should contain the minimum of foreign substances. Where, therefore, bone needs to be built up or spaces filled while waiting for bone to grow, patients’ own tissue is used. (In conventional dentistry, bone substitutes are made from New Zealand or Australian cows.)
Extra preparatory and healing treatments
Everyone at the Swiss Bio Health Clinic, from Dr Voltz down, is charming, helpful, informative and friendly. They are happy to talk about any of the treatments and to discuss how to move forward at any point. You feel extremely well looked after – indeed, positively pampered.
In my case I had no particular issues other than wanting titanium free implants. (I had unwisely allowed myself to be talked into a titanium implant even though I knew there was a risk that it could act as a electromagnetic radiation conductor and re-ignite my electrosensitivity – which indeed it did.) However many of Dr Volz’s patients come with other serious health issues including Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is caused by the borrelia burgdorferi bacteria which can be acquired via a tick bite. It is serious in Europe but particularly virulent in the US. It can have devastating systemic effects and is all but impossible to treat as long as the bacteria remain in the body.
However it would appear that wisdom teeth cavitations in particular are favourite locations for these bacteria and once those sites are cleaned out and sanitised during the bio health procedure, they are banished from the body and healing can take place.
Lyme disease is the most dramatic condition that the bio health protocol appears to address but Dr Voltz told me that virtually all of their patients report improvements in other often very long standing health conditions within weeks of undergoing treatment.
Totally insignificant compared to other complaints but, I have to admit that my stiff neck which has resisted all attempts to ease it for the last several years had all but disappeared the morning after my surgery….
For more details on the Swiss Bio Health Clinic and procedures see their site.