The technical medical names for a wide number of circulaltory ill health problems
which can occur as side effects to root canal therapy are endocarditis, myocarditis,
pericarditis, heart block, aortitis, angina pectoris, phlebitis, lymphopenia, hyper and
hypotension, anemia, leukopenia, leukocystosis, lymphopenia, lymphocytosis,
bacteremia and glycemia.
There is a tendency to regard diseases which can arise from dental infections as being
relatively few in number and variation. The proceeding list of circulatory disease Dr.
Price found could result from a dental infection helps us see the enomity of the
During the time of World War I, it was said that 10 to 11 percent of all deaths in the
United States and England were due to heart involvement. At the time, most heart
causes involved lesions of heart valves, and many doctors believed streptococcal
infections were involved as the cause in 90 percent of such cases.
As recently as 1986, the Mayo Clinic Health Letter stated that infective endocaditis
which involves the interior lining of the heart's pumping chamgers and valves is
mainly caused by the germ called streptococcus viridans. These are the very same
family of bacteria that Dr. Price found to be most often present in infected teeth. In
view of the importance of streptococcus and other oral bacteria in the cause of heart
disease, and the fact that the number of deaths from this illness has increased since Dr.
Price's time from 10 percent to more than 50 percent of all deaths currently, the dental
profession must reassess its role in preventing and treating this disorder.
Because these bacteria commonly inhibit the mouth and upper respiratory tract and
can be stirred up and introduced into the circulation by routine dental care and even
rophylaxis, it is now mandatory for dentists to prescribe antibiotics before and after
any dental treatment procedures for patients who have endocarditis in order to prevent
a secondary reinfection of their hearts. However, there is little awareness that root
canal fillings, infected tonsils, or remaining tonsil tags can be of even greater danger
to heart disease patients.
Of several cases of endocarditis mentioned, one which described the case of a nine
year old girl is heart- rending. She had been confined to bed for five of her nine years.
A culture taken from the pulps of two of her deciduous (baby) teeth was inected into
ear veins of three rabbits and each of them developed acute endocarditis and
myocarditis, and one also developed rheumatism. Many children with endocarditis
were found to have a delayed loss of their baby teeth do to slow development of the
permanent teeth. In addition, a contributing cause was found to be low amounts of
ionic calcium in their blood.
Angina pectoris cases exhibited little historical connection to infection. However,
several patients with angina, upon removal of infected teeth, had rapid disappearance
of their heart pains.
When root filled teeth were removed, many severely affected individuals were able to
live a vigorous life again with both comfort and efficiency. A typical case history was
a 23 year old woman who was suffering from very acute heart involvement and
rheumatism. The heart trouble was so bad that she could hardly walk across the room.
After extractions of infected teeth, she gaianed 15 poinds and for the five years
studied while under Dr. Price's care she maintained a perfect health pattern in spite of
the fact that both her parents had died of heart involvement between 55 and 60 years