Holistic Dentistry Blog
What causes IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is very common, affecting an estimated one in five people in Ireland, and twice as many women than men.
The source of the problem is sporadic and unpredictable disruption in large intestine. IBS requires a symptom-based diagnosis, which means there is no test a patient can take to determine whether it is the cause of their symptoms. And of course the symptoms vary, from chronic abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, to diarrhoea and constipation.
The symptoms usually first appear between the ages of 20 and 30, and often appear in bouts. They vary in type, duration and severity between people. The exact cause of IBS is unknown, and there is no magic pill or cure for it.
Many health professionals have made links between stress and food allergies to IBS. During my time as a medical doctor, I saw many patients suffering from IBS and through their medical histories and dental history, I began to make links of my own.
Mercury and amalgam
Dental amalgam has been used to repair cavities caused by tooth decay for over 150 years. Amalgam is about 50% mercury, and the rest from other metals such as silver and tin. There is no doubt that mercury is a hazardous substance, and has been designated so by the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP). The use of amalgam fillings is banned in Norway, Denmark and Sweden; find more info on our Mercury Fillings post.
The UNEP recently drew up a global treaty aimed at reducing mercury use worldwide, including in dentistry. You can read the British Dental Association’s response to the “phasing down” of the use of amalgam as requested by the treaty here.
I particularly noted the BDA’s concern on how “restrictions on the use of amalgam would damage the financial stability of health systems as well as impact on individual patients’ ability to afford dental care”.
One doctor’s perspective
As a qualified doctor and dentist, my primary and utmost concern is for patient’s health, and not financial stability of health systems. From my experience of treating patients for IBS in both a medical and dental capacity, it is my recommendation that patients consider the safe removal of amalgam fillings as part of their recovery. This ideally should be done along with the removal of mercury in the body, through methods discussed with your dentist.