Root canals….at the root of much disease?

Over 20 million root canal surgeries are done each year in the U.S. alone. I unfortunately have had two of them, before I knew that I had any other option. Dr. James Howenstine says, “Many chronic diseases, perhaps most, are a result of root canal surgery.”

This week I’ve been studying literature on cancer clinics in Germany and Switzerland to see if I want to visit any of them. Dr. Rau of the clinic Paracelsus, said that 147 out of 150 breast cancer patients had root-canal infected teeth on the meridian that includes the breast. Of non-breast cancer patients, only 35 percent had root canals on that meridian.

A root canal is done to save a deeply infected dead tooth that would otherwise have to be removed. You have 3 miles of tubules in every tooth, so it is not believable if a dentist says he cleaned and sterilized everything before capping the dead tooth. Bacteria, viruses, yeasts, fungi, and molds, are then trapped there.

White blood cells do not travel so deep. These organisms, then, morph to learn to live in the absence of oxygen, causing all kinds of health problems. Dr. Hal Huggins writes of those pleomorphic organisms becoming thio-ethers, the strongest poisons on the planet that are not radioactive.

Dr. Weston A. Price most famously discovered that if you implant a diseased tooth in an animal, that animal develops the diseases of the host. Other experts have written extensively about the problem of leaving a dead tooth in the mouth and sterilizing and packing some of the channels but not others.

Most of the research I have seen linking root canals to a phenomenal amount of seemingly unrelated disease is indirect, such as what I quoted from Dr. Rau above. It predominantly notes that those found to have a variety of diseases have a much higher-than-average rate of root canals. Though the links are indirect, there are many of them—it seems unwise to me to ignore them.

Medical and dental sources you may wish to consult confirming what I’m writing about today are Dr. Weston Price, Dr. Karen Shrimplin, Dr. Frank Jerome, Dr. Josef Issels, Dr. James Howenstine, Dr. Hal Huggins, and Dr. George Meinig (author of The Root Canal Cover-up, summarizing the 1200 pages of published work by Dr. Price).

Any reader who would like to point us to root-canal alternatives, please do!

if you want alternatives to root canals, fluoride, and amalgam fillings, or if you want your amalgam fillings removed, you may wish to find a holistic dentist, also known as a biological dentist. In Utah County, we have Dr. Wendell Robertson.  In Salt Lake County, try Dr. Mark Flack. Holistic dentists nationwide are invariably involved in the fight against fluoridation of the water supply.

Locally, Dr. Flack calls attention to some of his patients’ allergic reactions to fluoride, and to a Massachussetts study of 280,000 children that fluoride in water caused children to absorb lead.

Incidentally, I do not know either of these dentists so I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a recommendation—I know they’re holistic, and I know they’re brave to stand up to the ADA. But I don’t know if they’re good, so you’ll have to find this out for yourself. Should a root canal be advised for anyone in my family, I will definitely be contacting them in the future.


31 thoughts on “Root canals….at the root of much disease?

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  1. Hi Robyn…thanks for this very helpful post. When you talk about the DMSO, do you mean 1 part DMSO (as it comes from the bottle from VitaCost or wherever) in 3 parts water?

  2. A note about drilling amalgam fillings: in Germany, dentist routinely protect the gums with plastic while they’re drilling. They basically use a rubber sheet and just have the tooth they’re working on exposed so none of the amalgam powder gets deposited in the gums or travels down the digestive tract. Out of 5 or 6 American dentists I’ve spoken to, nobody had ever heard of this. So if you’re going to have amalgam fillings drilled, ask your dentist to research this (may need to learn German :))

  3. A couple of years ago,my dentist suspected there was something going on with one of my back teeth above the gum level even though nothing showed on an x-ray and I had no pain. He referred me to a specialist a few hrs drive away for me… ended up missing the appt. A couple of years later and with some new hi-tech x-ray and dental equipment he recommended that we should investigate further with a possibility of replacing the filling or doing a root canal if required even though I was still having no pain or any indication that there was anything wrong with the tooth. So up under the gum he went. After he got in, he told me he could not save the tooth…. nothing to drill into… so he extracted the tooth. After he got the tooth out, he was amazed to find that one horn (not sure if that’s the right word– each root is in 3 parts) of the root of the tooth was completely missing and the nerve was exposed. He couldn’t believe I hadn’t been in excruciating pain previous to this…. I can only surmise that my attention to my health using lots of greens, proper diet, lots of coconut oil, and oil of oregano when required for other issues had something to do with the lack of pain???? After reading your article am pleased that it didn’t go the root canal route. Unfortunate though that I am now missing a back tooth… however…. Am also now noticing that in the short period of time since having the tooth extracted, a number of food intolerances which I had been experiencing the past several years are beginning to lessen. Am hoping that is only the beginning of resolving some issues which I’ve been dealing with for several years.

  4. This all makes sense, but I finished reading this, and now I’m all stressed out. Tell me if I’m wrong here, but this is the path my brain is following after reading this…

    You find yourself with an infected tooth, and the dentist is recommending a root canal. You don’t have the root canal and have the tooth removed instead. Veneers cannot cover a missing tooth, so you’d have to get a bridge put in or a dental implant. I’m pretty sure all of those things are considered “cosmetic” dentistry and wouldn’t be covered by insurance — I doubt they’d cover those costs just because you refused the recommended root canal.

    It is frustrating because for the average person one a budget, there are no real options here. I don’t think most people have a few thousand dollars sitting around to pay for an implant (my dentist charges $3,000 – I don’t know if that is standard though). So, since you can’t leave the infected too IN, if you can’t afford the implant you’re basically forced to choose between having a missing tooth or getting the stupid root canal since it would be mostly or partially covered by dental insurance. My particular insurance covers 80% of root canals, so at the $900 my dentist charges I would pay just $180. For people without dental insurance at all, $900 is still a lot less than $3,000.

    Am I jumping to conclusions here? Are there other options?? And maybe the moral of the story is to just keep my (and my kids’) teeth healthy so we never have to deal with this!

  5. I had a route canal done 2 years ago, and I have had swollen glands, stuffiness in my ear and head and discomfort ever since. My internist can’t figure it out and I just try to live with it. The problems are on the side where the route canal was done. How do you plan to handle the two route canals you have? Is there any way to help alleviate the problem without extracting the tooth? I mean, following your recommendations above, would that make a big difference even if I kept the tooth? Or do you believe it is imperative to have it removed? Thanks!!

  6. Great series of posts, Robyn! Thank you for the great info, I can’t wait for the ACS.

    About what Nathalie said about the rubber sheet, yes make sure the dentist you see to remove amalgams uses a rubber dam or something so you are not exposed to more mercury when you are getting them out. Seek out a dentist that takes this precaution. I asked my dentist and he said they got in the way and he didn’t believe in the dangers of mercury anyway. Because of that I sought out a holistic dentist/naturopath in my state and found one that I LOVE. In fact, I had a whole bunch of cavities that my local dentist told me needed fillings for which he wanted an outrageous amount of money so I said no thank you. I traveled several hours to the holistic dentist and he told me most of my cavities would “heal” (imagine that!) and that the rest he could fill and take out my amalgams safely all for less money than my local dentist quoted me just for the fillings. He also told me if you eat a plant-based, gluten free, sugar free diet that you will have healthy teeth and gums. I can’t say enough about him. He practices in the Pacific Northwest but he has patients come from all over the US. His website has a lot of good information and alternatives to root canals etc.

    Lastly, I found a “toothpaste” made from essential oils about 6 months ago and have been using it with great results. I have recessed gums and this product has taken away all the pain and tenderness. When I ran out and had to use regular toothpaste before I ordered more, it was like night and day difference. My mouth was like, “What are you doing putting this artificial stuff in my mouth? Go back to the oils.” So I did!

  7. My husband is a Dentist, so I have to be careful how I skirt around this issue, but I was able to help my daughter with a huge molar cavity (very visible to the naked eye and diagnosed with X-rays) by using an herbal poultice made with Dr. Christophers Tooth and Gum powder (purchased online at and a tea tree oil mouthrinse that I made by adding 10 drops tea tree oil into 2 ounces water and having her swish it around for 1 minute, focusing on the tooth with the cavity after she had the poultice on for 20 minutes. I did this 2 times a day for a week, and the cavity disappeared. Adding Complete Tissue and Bone Capsules to the routine for a month can really help as well.

  8. No dentist schooled in the U. S. has “never heard of a plastic sheet” because it is called a rubber dam and is used in many dental procedures including root canals. Also, most insurance companies will pay their percentage of having amalgam fillings replaced with composite fillings if the appropriate amount of time has elapsed since they fillings were originally done and the limitations of the insurance contract with the employer. Sometimes a person just gets some replaced then more in 6 months etc..The insurance company usually does not ask if it is cosmetic in this situation but of course would have to be truthful if asked. In my 32 years as a dental hygienist I am thinking back on my patients who have had breast cancer and I would say that I have not seen a correlation in root canals and breast cancer, and even in my own family, the ones I have seen with breast cancer have NOT had root canals. I personally would have one if it meant saving a tooth. The tubules are not necessarily sterilized all the way through, but the inside of the tooth is filled and sealed.

  9. Dr. Marc Flack removed my amalgam fillings in the 1990’s, but that Dr. Flack died suddenly a number of years ago. He was a leader in the fight against the use of fluoride and of amalgam fillings. I just did a quick Internet search and couldn’t find a current listing for a dentist by that name in Salt Lake City.

  10. Hmmm . . . .all of this is very interesting to me, as my husband just came back from the dentist with a recommendation to go to a periodontist. Apparently he has a tooth with a cracked filling and there is a big infection there.

    That said, I read in the book “Be Your Own Doctor” by Rachel Weaver that using black walnut powder on your teeth can heal cavities. I haven’t tried it yet, but I think we’ll order some and have it on hand. I believe there is black walnut powder in Doctor Christopher’s tooth powder.

  11. Thanks for the articles on dental health. I have had 2 root canals and ended up having to have both teeth removed at later dates, plus was left with a lot of health problems from them, so I can definitely identify w/ a lot of what’s being said here.

    Will you let your readers know when the ACS is available in your store? I’ve not heard of that product before…..maybe because, as you mentioned, you normally need to get it from a doctor.

  12. Just wanted to chime in that I have been to Dr. robertson and he is really good. he is highly trained and implements his training with great care. He is very, very thorough with every tooth. I recommend him highly. I don’t have time to explain all his training and methodology, but look up his web site to read about it or call his office.

  13. Have all of your root canals taken out? Then replace with an implant or bridge? I somehow think you have a problem with them as well. By the way, when you had your amalgom fillings removed 10 years ago, you introduced more mercury into you system than would have ever been introduced by leaving them in there. You also increased your risk for needing a root canal by removing them. Sounds like no teerh and no fillings are the answer. Good luck

  14. I had a root canal on the tooth that is connected to my pericardium meridian when I was 19 years old. At age 29 My heart started pounding in my chest. At that point I started on my journey to health. Now at age 41 I have been seeing a local chiropractor who did naet to get rid of the infection that was in my mouth and weakening my pericardium. He tells me I don’t need to have the tooth extracted. I can definitely tell a huge difference in how my heart is beating. There are several qualified practitioners in the Utah county area if anyone out there doesn’t want to incur the expense of implants and bridges.

  15. I agree with Steffani. I come from a different country, where dental care used to be very bad. Most of my girlfriends have most of their teeth crowned. I have had root canals on almost all of my teeth. What do I do???? Take them out and have removable dentures in at the age of 40? So sad….

  16. Dear Robyn,

    I have follwed you for severla year and respect you and your knowledge. I wanted to comment on the dental debate.I have been in the dental field for 17 years. I agree with you on the silver filling’s and that is why all dentist’s go with compostie unless requested otherwise by the patient. I however don’t agree with the root canal article. I feel that there are many of your followers that will take this as fact. The only other option in extraction of the tooth, and this has a very large set of problems. Bone loss, gum loss and changes in bite. These cannot be reversed. You can get an implant done that is very expensive and depends on the amount of bone and tissue you have left. There is also a great deal of metal that you are putting in your mouth if that is a concern. I adore you but feel there was a level of irresponsibility with this article

  17. Hi, Well this is all very interesting conversation to me as I am a mother who follows most of what Green Smoothie Girl promotes but I am also a practicing dentist. I have much respect for Robyn and her goals of sharing important life saving information with all of you. Her willingness to stand up for what she believes in is admirable. I would mention a word of caution though about jumping on ban wagons before you’ve done your own due diligence as there are always consequences for the decisions we make.

    A few things first in response to what has been mentioned. The thing that you are calling a “Plastic Sheet” is indeed actually called a rubber dam and today using this device is actually the norm contrary to what has been posted here and I would be surprised to hear of a dental school in CANADA or the USA that does not use it. Especially for root canal treatment. Infact, a lot of my patients will ask that I not use it and yet I insist. If you have a dentist who does not use it the majority of the time, then I would consider going some where else.

    As for amalgam, indeed there are gases that are given off from amalgam fillings however it is very minute and your exposure to mercury from air pollution, car exhaust, among other things, particularly if you are big fish eaters is much MUCH greater than what is given off from metal fillings. Infact the greatest exposure to mercury when it comes to amalgam fillings is in the process of putting them in OR TAKING THEM OUT for all of you considering this procedure.

    Trust me, dentists LOVE doing composite (plastic) fillings and usually are more than happy to do this if you insist. You know why? Because they tend to not last as long as amalgam fillings (often replacing in the range of 5 or so years) as compared to metal which many times last 20 plus) and because they can charge you more to put them in. (They are more technique sensitive, take longer to put in and thus they can charge more). Just know there are pro’s and con’s to both. Just as there are some studies that show this leakage of gas, there are many more studies that show that the exposure is VERY minimal in comparison to other routine day to day practices. Especially with todays techniques of placement. Unless you are planning to make a radical life style change you will not notice a difference as you are unfortunately exposed in so many other ways where with much higher loads than than a filling would give off. Also for interest sake, there are studies that show blood levels of mercury being the same for people who have never had a metal filling before and those who have a mouth full of them.

    Now, am I saying that I would put amalgam in my own children’s mouths? No I plan on never doing that but I also plan on doing everything I can to prevent them from getting a cavity in the first place and that is the reason I love the things that Robyn is teaching about whole food and healthy eating because I believe this is the first step in prevention.

    Which brings me to the topic of root canal therapy. Before you start walking into your dentist and refusing root canal treatment, you need to understand why it is done and what the alternative is.

    Root canal treatment is done (MOST TIMES) because a person has a cavity that has gone so deep that it has eventually gone into the nerve of the tooth. It takes a lot to get to this point and is usually because someone has neglected to see a dentist sooner to deal with the cavity before it got too big. And then we must look at why that person got a cavity in the first place? In MOST cases it’s because they don’t take proper care of them, they have a poor diet and perhaps at no fault of their own, were never taught how.

    So a root canal is a dentists last attempt basically to save a tooth that in most cases has not been properly taken care of in the first place. Unfortunately the alternative to root canal therapy is extraction of the tooth or in other words pulling that tooth. For those of you who have had root canal therapy done, are you now considering pulling all those teeth? Do you think that you would be better off having NO teeth? Do you think that your standard of living would go up having no teeth to chew with and trying to eat a plant based diet? Trust me, dentures are not a bed of roses. If you decide that you don’t want dentures but that you would rather have implants placed (titanium posts drilled in your jaw bone with a fake tooth built on top)? Are you prepared to pay $3000 to 4 or 5000$ (depending on the dentist) PER TOOTH to have each of these teeth replaced? And that entirely depends on whether you are even a candidate for implant placement in the first place. Do you recognize that as you start loosing tooth there is a tendency for things to break down more rapidly and that you can start having more jaw joint issues? There are a lot of other consequences to pulling teeth.

    About those studies, I will not dispute their validity however I think it’s very difficult to determine that root canals are the cause of cancer in those cases. I think there are way too many other factors. Consider for example the fact that generally speaking those who have need for a lot of root canal therapy, usually have had in the past or do have a poor diet and could that have not been the possible cause of the cancer? I’m curious how many of those people were smokers, or ate high meat diets, or highly processed diets…I just think there are much bigger fish to fry here. If you compared the number of people out there with root canals who have never had cancer, I don’t know how convincing that material would be. Anyhow,

    I guess what i’m trying to say is that one must consider the alternatives. Yes having fillings and root canal treatment is unfortunately a compromise and it would be better if we never had to do them, but it is what it is and the alternative is not any better.

    I would agree that most dentists don’t do a very good job of promoting prevention and that is what this really comes down to: Being educated on how to prevent cavities and the need for root canal treatment in the first place.

    A few of my personal suggestions are as follows:

    -Make sure you are brushing at least in the morning after breakfast and at night before you go to bed.

    -Floss at least once a day (preferably at night)

    -Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice or anything but water (I’ve pulled enough teeth on 1 and 2 year olds to know this is important). Breast feeding, that is a different story but you still must wipe out their mouths as there is still sugar in breast milk and they can still get cavities from it.

    -Definitely try to have a diet that is whole foods based. Eating more of what Robyn promotes and less of what she doesn’t will definitely steer you in the right direction.

    -Have regular check ups to the dentist so that if you do get a cavity you can catch it while it’s small and before it turns into root canal therapy.

    -A couple of cautions about a whole foods diet is that if you like to eat dried fruit such as raisins, you are still at risk of decay because these chewy sticky foods are very good at sticking in the grooves of teeth as well as between them and if you don’t get it cleaned out, bacteria will break it down into simple sugars and cause cavities. So brush brush brush.

    -If you are a big vegetable and fruit juicer, be careful, drink it in one sitting and don’t sip it all day long. Fruit juice especially is still sugar and if you are bathing your teeth in it all day long, you are much more likely to get cavities.

    -Also watch the amount of acid intake. Vinegars, lemon and lime juice, they all have acid and can break down & weaken tooth structure rapidly. So be cautious, rinse with water, and brush about 30 or so minutes after.

    -Please help your children brush their teeth as they cannot do it on their own. Until they can hand write their name legibly or tie their own shoe or maybe even longer, they literally do not have the manual dexterity to get everywhere so you need to help them…and don’t forget to floss their teeth too ?

  18. Robin,

    I read your post about root canals. I have a mouth full. I was wondering if you could give me a little information about the food grade DMSO. When I saw your suggestions for preventative care, I googled DMSO. Lots of information, and I wondered what your experience is with it. Many thanks, Janee

  19. I have actually had two circumstances with my own children where a tooth became infected so deeply into the root that a largely visible, round ulcer swelled in the gum next to the affected tooth. I’ve seen enough root canals in my older children that I recognized the signs and knew what the dentist would recommend…a root canal.

    In both cases I simply placed a small leaf from a Comfrey plant on the gum through the night and occasionally in the day. (one occasion was in the summer so the leaf was fresh from my garden, the other was in the winter so I had a dried leaf and quickly re-hydrated it for a minute in warm water). In each case, the ulcer reduced and pain (!) went away in one day with complete healing in 5 to 7 days.

    It’s been years and the teeth are still there with no pain, no ulcer, and no root canal needed. (Of course an alkaline diet with vegetable, fruits, whole grains and no refined foods was emphasized).

  20. Hello Robyn. Thank you for all of your research on your topics.

    I found out years ago about fluoride poisoning. I fully agree with you.

    My question: How can I make a copy of your article on Root Canals for our Bible study class?

    I’m not able to print it off. I understand it you don’t want me to do that. Please let me know if it is possible.

    Thank you very much for caring for people you don’t even know.

    Most Grateful,


  21. To say nothing of long-term effects, I had a root canal about 7 years ago and developed an awful fever and sinus infection (on the same side as the tooth) immediately afterwards. Then, I was given antibiotics and really couldn’t shake feeling ill for weeks until I finally traveled to a different environment for a week-long holiday. I would encourage anyone who has to have a root canal to work on taking really good care of yourself, getting good sleep, and boosting your immune system before having it done. Otherwise you may be in for a much longer recovery than expected.

  22. Robyn,

    I love your blog and appreciate your thoughtful insights. Thought you might like to know that Dr. Flack is deceased. Dr. Pyper is a holistic dentist who practices in the Salt Lake area. He is absolutely the best in the industry. He is gentle and patient, great with children. He carefully tests as he does fillings to make sure he has removed any decay. Because of this, patients who see him regularly have healthier teeth throughout their lives and are able to avoid root canals. He will even do fillings without anesthesia if you like, though this requires him to take a little more time to care for you. He is gifted at repairs that most often last many years. He uses only holistic filling products, X-rays sparingly and does not use fluoride.He worked with Dr. Flack when he (Dr. Pyper) was beginning his practice, about 17 years ago. His number is : Bruce Pyper 801 277-8233. His secretary is prompt to return phone calls if you leave your name and number. I cannot say enough good about how well he has cared for our family over the past 17 years. We are moving to St. George, but will be up to see him twice a year. It is wonderful to have someone I can trust completely care for our family’s oral health.

    1. Noni, good to know on both counts, thanks! We want to have a resource section on the site for everyone to submit good holistic practitioners of all types. Thanks! I didn’t know Dr. Flack had passed away.

  23. Candice,

    You can get the complete tissue and bone at any health food store which carries the Christopher line.

    Good Luck!

  24. Hi Robyn,

    Thank you for taking the time to bring up this important subject of root canals. It is an important subject and worthy of a good amount of discussion.

    I am a practicing holistic/biological dentist for the past 17 years, and I firmly do not believe in performing root canals for any of my patients, ever. The bottom line is they are dead teeth, and inside they are gangrene. Unfortunately, this is true in all cases where there is a dead body part, and in all cases of gangrene the treatment has always been amputation.

    Root canals are the only procedure in all of medicine and dentistry combined that saves a dead body part. How we get away with it in dentistry is because the tissue is so “hard”. But what happens inside the tooth after the blood supply has been taken away is there is no oxygen, because there is no blood supply! Once the anaerobic environment is set up, the worst kinds of bacteria and fungus will thrive, and thus create the internal environment acidic. With all the millions of dead tubules inside the tooth now in an acid and oxygen-deprived environment, the tooth will begin to rot from the inside out. And the body can do absolutely nothing about it nor will antibiotics EVER work because again…. there is NO blood supply. That’s why dentist say the tooth is “weak” after a root canal, and needs a crown. Ask any dentist which teeth rot the fastest, or are harder to extract because of breakage, and they will say a root canal treated tooth. I know this because I have extracted thousands of teeth in my professional career, and I can tell you this is true.

    Furthermore, I was a participating doctor in a study done ten years ago on extracted root canal teeth where we overnighted the teeth to the University of Kentucky biochemistry department to see what was in there. What was found was a toxic dose of methyl mercaptan and hydrogen sulfide, both of which cause cell death upon contact. These gases outgas from root canal teeth. The body can do nothing to prevent this because there is no blood supply in a root canal tooth.

    Every time someone bites down on their root canal, and physical pump is created to push those toxic gases into the body, creating health damage or at the very least, chronic inflammation. So do root canals cause health problems, and to me is an obvious YES.

    But probably what even more important to not having a root canal in the first place (which there are some really creative ways to save the life of even badly decayed teeth), is HOW the root canal is extracted, removed, amputated, etc. It is very important to protect the blood from the toxic event of having that root canal pulled. How this is done is the use of megadose intravenous vitamin C, along with trauma homeopathics. We also use oral supplements like herbs and enzymes to help the body manage the inflammatory response. This is what prevents a huge toxic dump at the time the root canal is pulled, and helps the body powerfully and properly utilize the inflammatory response, from which pain comes from. Protecting the body with these protocols minimizes greatly the amount of pain people will have afterwards because we have minimized the toxicity from the event of having a dead tooth pulled.

    I can go on and on with this subject, but the main points here have been covered. For more information, anyone can go to my web site and learn more about this.

    I hope this will help any of your readers gain more information about their health, so that in any and every case people can make proper decisions about their personal health goals and strategies.

    Thank you!

    Dr. John

  25. Root canals become necessary when the nerve, becomes inflamed, infected or dies. If the tooth is not treated it will lead to pain and eventually an abscess. This can be caused by deep decay, repeated dental procedures, or a chip or crack in the tooth. Trauma or a blow to the tooth can also cause this.

  26. HI Robin, I need a root canal, am afraid to get it done now, but have no holistic dentists in my area! My gum is swollen and my dentist wants me to go on penicillin and get the root canal. Do you have any suggestions? I am pretty sure my aunt died from a brain tumor that was caused by her dental treatments. She had done A LOT of research before she passed away. It is my third tooth from the back so I could possibly get it removed without it showing when I smile. That makes me nervous too. I feel it needs to be there to support my other teeth. I live in Upper Michigan so if you know of any holistic dentists near me please let me know as well! Thanks so much I am kind of desperate to know what to do. Michelle

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