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Why Root Canal Infection is More Common Than You Think

Robyn Openshaw - May 12, 2018 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

Before I discovered I had root canal infection from bacteria that had started a war in my mouth, and that this was compromising my overall health, I’d started to become very curious about the common side effects of fossilizing a dead organ in one’s mouth.

Have you ever thought about that?

That, first of all, your tooth is an organ, and is connected, by the body’s energy meridians and blood supply and function, to the rest of your body? It’s not just a separate entity.

And, second, that it’s the only organ that, when it dies, we fossilize it, try to sterilize it, and leave it there for life?

What would you think if you heard that instead of removing a diseased gallbladder, doctors were now just hoping to contain the bacteria inside it as it rots and leave it in the body? Until it got so bad that you developed another disease, at which point they’d take it out?

Sounds like a horrifying and impossible proposition, right?

This post dives into the problems with the root canal approach and what your alternatives are if you find the complications of root canals to cause you unacceptable risk.

I’ll start with my own story. It actually had everything to do with ten years of research, which led me to start the Holistic Dentist Answers website for biological dentists to weigh in about how dentistry needs to change, for the sake of the patient’s health.

As Dr. James Howenstine says, “Many chronic diseases, perhaps most, are a result of root canal surgery.”1

And Dr. Weston A. Price discovered that if you implant a diseased tooth in an animal, that animal always develops the disease of the original host.2

On my lecture tours, whenever someone I talked to after a lecture would tell me how excellent their diet was and how many things they were doing right, I’d always ask this:

“Do you have any root canals?”

Xray of a failed root canal
A root canal is an attempt to “save” a dead tooth, but preserving it in the mouth can lead to chronic disease.

Root Canal Infections

When a tooth dies, an American finds the loss of that tooth unimaginable.

More than any people in the history of the world, we demand to have a bright, white smile, until we’re old.

And we’re willing to put up with those teeth being fake. Nothing can get in the way of aesthetics.

As I challenge us to think about this more deeply, you may sense some irony. The fact is, I’m no different. I didn’t want two of my molars pulled when I was in my early 40s!

Our cosmetic demands, though, may come into conflict with our health interests.


Well, when a tooth dies, it has potentially 100,000 yards of dentin tubules in it (some dentists estimate up to 3 miles of tubules) where microscopic bacteria reside.

And there’s no way for a dentist to truly sterilize, and seal from outside forces, the entire tooth, with that intricate internal structure.

So, knowing that you want your pearly whites until you’re 102, above all else, the dentist fossilizes the tooth.

Some “biological” dentists go further and use ozone treatments to kill more of the bacteria than a traditional endodontist has the equipment to do.

However, the more I learn, the less convinced I am that even ozonation of the dead tooth could be enough to keep that tooth sterile and prevent it from eventually compromising your overall health.

The more I learn, the more astonished I am that endodontists and dentists don’t educate their patients about two important things:

One: that a root canal represents a risk to their overall health.

And two: that it has a shelf life and categorically will “fail” eventually. And when it does, it will cause a massive sinus infection, cavitation, and spreading bacteria that may lead to autoimmune diseases. Root canal infection is inevitable.

Pleomorphic Organisms

You see, the micro-organisms inside the tooth are being constantly managed by the tooth’s and body’s vascular systems, but this is only the case while the tooth is alive.

When it’s dead, you can seal the tooth, but you cannot keep the bacteria from getting out. And these bacteria can actually morph in the anaerobic environment of the dead tooth, becoming some of the most deadly pleomorphic pathogens known to man, ranging the body and potentially causing autoimmune problems where the immune system is constantly challenged.

Petri dish filled with bacteria and micro-organisms
Bacteria from root canal infections can morph and become systemic, potentially causing autoimmune disease and other problems.

Quite a few years ago, I began having daily rashes on my torso and arms. They were terribly itchy and visible, and they went on for months.

At the same time, I noticed a blister on my gums, above one of my two root canal teeth. One of my root canals was at least 10 years old, and the other one was 4 years old.

Due to my awareness of the issues, I wondered if the two were connected. My teeth weren’t hurting, and I was unaware of having a sinus infection, as I had no maxillary pain. However, my last conventional dentist, looking at my x-rays years before, had asked, “Do you get sinus infections?”

He pointed out that my x-rays showed a sinus infection. I felt no pain—then, or ever—and didn’t know what to do about it at the time, so I left my dental appointment that day and didn’t think much about it.

But the rashes, and the blister on my gum above my root canal, made me think of this incident when my previous dentist told me I had a sinus infection.

My intuition told me that the skin rash wasn’t about my skin.

Instead, I suspected it was about some kind of pathogen my entire body was fighting, manifesting on the skin. This, too, is common—I’ve heard these stories from dozens of “failed root canal” patients since my experience—but I’ve yet to hear about an endodontist telling people what they all already know:

That eventually, the root canal tooth will become so rotten, and full of bad bacteria, that it has to come out.

At best, a root canal is a stop-gap solution.

And it’s for purely cosmetic reasons.

Dentists performing a tooth extraction
Root canal infection is inevitable, since all of a root’s miles of tubules can’t be sterilized.

I certainly understand the trauma of losing teeth, and for a while, looking in the mirror and feeling like I was raised in the Ozarks on Pepsi Cola rather than mother’s milk was incredibly stressful. I didn’t like it. It challenged my notions of beauty, youth, and who I am relative to what I look like. I was humiliated and discouraged as I went through the process of removing my root canal teeth. I gave public lectures with a “flipper” in my mouth for well over a year, as a bone graft healed and the implant post stabilized enough to be ready for a crown.

It was difficult. But you should know that when I woke up from surgery, minus two back teeth, I never had another rash.

My intuition and basic assessment was right: the rash came from my body being in a constant fight with systemically ranging pathogens.

Dentists such as Drs. W. D. Miller, William Hunter, Weston Price, and Edward Rosenow have studied and documented how a focal infection in the mouth becomes a systemic disease in the body.3

Dr. Hal Huggins studied how the bacteria, viral cells, yeasts, fungi, and molds trapped in the tooth can become thio-ethers, which are the most devastating poisons on the planet, except for those that are radioative.4

In the name of science, I asked my biological dentist to send my two teeth away to be tested at a lab. (It cost me $400.)

When the lab results came back, I had detectable levels of two of the pleomorphic bacteria known to cause significant autoimmune conditions.

I’m so glad that I knew about these issues early. Most people don’t, and so for them, the rash becomes a chronically toxic, inflammatory condition, which eventually becomes advanced autoimmune disease and cancer.

And many people in the same boat I was in, facing the “failed root canal,” still unaware how significant this problem is for their overall disease risk, will pay an endodontist a lot of money to do an apicoectomy.

This is where a “failed” root canal is treated by cutting the lower gum tissue to expose the bone covering the tip of the rotten tooth. Then, mercury filling is implanted inside the body of the tooth, in contact with the jawbone and its blood supply.

Dentists such as Drs. Kulacz and Levy say that in addition to the toxic heavy metal offgassing into blood and bone, the tooth is still infected, as these procedures cannot sterilize the infected area.

They warn that bacteria will continue to grow, and their toxic byproducts will circulate to other parts of the body, just as with a root canal.5,6

Now you’re just re-mummifying the dead organ that is already taking your health down.

If you don’t have a “biological dentist,” you’ll want to get one. Don’t just get a “mercury-free” dentist. That’s not good enough.

There are about 800 dentists in the U.S. who identify as “holistic” or more likely, “biological,” and they are professionals who have become frustrated with the toxicity in traditional dental practices and the limitations of their medical school training.

This is often, tragically, because their own health has failed due to mercury exposure! They have discovered what they weren’t taught in dental school, trained in the additional modalities, and invested in alternative training and procedures and diagnostic equipment, to serve you better.

These procedures, and underlying theory, aren’t taught post-graduate school, not in regular dental school. They are discovered by dentists talking to each other, seeing the widespread problems in their patients, and seeking answers.

Most dentists don’t question the American Dental Association (ADA) and keep assuring their patients that their mercury fillings are fine, their root canals are fine, the sealants are fine, the fluoride treatments are fine, the radioactive x-rays are fine.

Why won’t dental schools teach these holistic-oriented alternatives?

Well, to do so, they would have to admit the failings of mercury fillings in the mouth, or root canal procedures, or high-radiation x-rays, and other standard practices of dentists.

If they did this, they would be highly exposed to many legal ramifications. The American Dental Association and other protectors of the orthodoxy won’t admit to the failings in their profession anytime soon.

Sick & Tired? Dental Work May be the Culprit

What Are Your Options?

Recently, after going to a few of Utah’s biological dentists over the years, I asked the one I respect the most, Dr. Michelle Jorgenson, DDS, to make a video masterclass with me. To teach you what both she and I have been studying for many years.

We didn’t build this 10-video masterclass to tell you to brush and floss, avoid sugar, and see your dentist every 6 months.

We did it because the health of the mouth is linked to 80 percent of our disease diagnoses!7

A problematic procedure can lead to consequences far worse than a “failed root canal.”

And you should know what cutting-edge procedures actually have the potential to help you regain or maintain your health, versus a stopgap, risky solution.

Research shows that some of dentistry’s most common procedures are highly linked to cancers, heart disease, and many autoimmune conditions.

Dr. Thomas Rau, of Germany, studied 150 breast cancer patients, and 147 of them had  cancer on the breast aligning with a root-canal-infected tooth.

Of non-breast-cancer patients, only 35 percent had root canals on that meridian.8

We made The Holistic Dentist Finder to help you find a dentist near you who can get your extracted root canal teeth tested. If you have a tooth extracted that you believe has caused systemic health problems, have your biological dentist send the extracted tooth off to a lab.

I have met many patients in my research over these many years whose symptoms cleared up immediately after following the protocols Dr. Jorgenson and I discuss in this video masterclass called “Healthy Mouth, Healthy Life.”

Take the video class, and you’ll get the “reader’s digest” version of what I’ve been studying for 10 years and what about 800 American dentists now practice.

Dr. Jorgenson and I have shared the most important parts of our knowledge that we feel you must know to stay healthy and keep your loved ones healthy and safe, too.

robyn wearing purple

Robyn Openshaw, MSW, is the bestselling author of The Green Smoothies Diet, 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and 2017’s #1 Amazon Bestseller and USA Today Bestseller, Vibe.

Why Root Canal Infection is More Common Than You Think | Green Smoothie Girl


  1. Howenstine, James M.D. What You Need to Know About Root Canals. News With Views. 10/2005.
  2. Huggins, Hal DDS. DNA Studies Confirm Dr. Weston Price’s Century-old Findings. The Weston A. Price Foundation. 06/2010.
  3. Kumar, Purnima S. From Focal Sepsis to Periodontal Medicine: A Century of Exploring the Role of the Oral Microbiome in Systemic Disease. The Journal of Physiology. 01/2017.
  4. Huggins, Hal A. DDS and Levy, Thomas MD. Uniformed Consent. Hampton Roads. 1999.
  5. Kulacz, Robert DDS and Levy, Thomas MD. The Toxic Tooth. MedFox Publishing. 2014.
  6. Kulacz, Robert DDS and Levy, Thomas MD. The Roots of Disease. Xlibris. 2002.
  7. Breiner, Mark A. DDS. Whole-Body Dentistry. Quantum Health Press. 2011.
  8. Leviton, Richard. Interview with Dr. Rau. The Arthritis Trust of America. 04/1996.
  9. Root Canals. The Gerson Institute. 08/2017.

This article may contain affiliate links, which allows you to support our mission (as well as demonstrate market demand for safer products) without costing you extra.

Posted in: Dental Health

8 thoughts on “Why Root Canal Infection is More Common Than You Think”

Leave a Comment
  1. Chrissie says:

    Wow! I developed dyshidrotic eczema on my palms two years ago after starting celery juice. It has spread and manifested into rashes and hives all over my body. It’s been two years and I finally saw a holistic dentist last month and had a 3D X-ray today. I don’t wish for problems in my teeth but it would be wonderful to have an answer!! This is the first blog where I’ve seen similarities to my situation. Thank you for sharing!

  2. A says:

    Curious about your thoughts on implants made w out metal/ to have a permanent solution after extraction and healing.
    Will the new grafted and healed zirconia root substitute offer the function of a healthy tooth eco system? Will it stay clean/ or more so than a root canal?
    What about leavibg the gap- dors that deteriorate your jawbone and cause issue with the bite in tje long run?

    Thanks for your post! Much Aloha

    1. Rose Butler GSG says:

      Hi, these are all great questions. We recommend you ask a holistic dentist near you for consultation on these matters.

  3. Chris says:

    Hello, fascinating read Roybn , thank you for sharing. Do you know of any biological / holistic dentists in the U.K ??? I think l had a few health problems recently linked to failed root canal treatment.. Best Wishes, Chris

  4. Maha M.F Mounir says:

    I have invented a protocol that converts infected failed root canal teeth to become vital again, abolishing all infection and inflammation, regenerating the pulp anew in addition to regenerating the resorbed bone and lost periodontal tissues and securing the tooth attachment.
    Although I have published in the Journal of Endodontics and received an award in 2017… but my work has not been translated to an established clinical procedure yet.
    Maha M.F Mounir

    1. Diana Baxter says:

      Wow! I am beyond glad I found this post.
      I had 2 bottom molar root canals 44 years ago! #19&30. Most of my life strange I’ve had illnesses that doctors can’t find answers to. Thyroid, swollen lymph nodes, cysts on my ovaries, breasts, liver, and thyroid.
      Last year, sudden rashes appeared between my fingers. maddening itch. then on my knees and bottom of my foot began to itch. Adding to that, terrible debilitating joint pain. My knees hurt to touch, my elbows stung, my sacral joint pain would bring me to tears.
      I try to stay healthy. I was going for acupuncture, to the chiropractor, I went to a spine specialist and so on.
      Still, terrible body pain and weird rashes.
      About a year and a half ago I couldn’t eat shellfish. Shrimp, scallops, crab meat, caused violent stomach cramping. Clams made my lips swell. Now, I’m wondering what is happening with my body?
      All of my blood work comes back normal.
      I go for my teeth cleaning every 6 months. last year, I couldn’t go twice because of covid. So, I went in December when the new dentist. She said to me one of your root canals at the gum line feels mushy. So they rescheduled me 4 weeks later to come in and have the crown taken off. as I was there, I asked her to look at the other molar with the crowned root canal because I feel like there’s a hole or something starting.
      She took the crown off the first one and gasped
      She said we cannot fix this the tooth is totally gone. they took a picture of it and I have it. It is absolutely disgusting. It is green, black, gold and filled with Mercury and rotting. Now mind you, I had no taste, no pain, nothing.
      I asked her to look at the one on the other side. She took an x-ray and said it’s got to go since one of the cemented roots is totally disintegrated and it’s heading to your jawbone if it already hasn’t started damage.
      I went to see the periodontist a few weeks later. I told him about the rashes and he said we had to get these teeth out immediately. Since they were backed up due to covid, which meant another month.
      2 weeks before the extraction date, I went out to dinner with some friends and bit into a piece of goat cheese and the crown collapsed on the tooth with the hole in it. FYI, they did put a temporary crown on the other tooth they opened up. I called the periodontist and they got me in two days later and extracted both molars.
      I was under miles sedation and asked them if they could show me the teeth when they came out. What I do remember, is probably 10 pieces of large looking splinters. Apparently, when root canals are that old, it’s a very complex surgery to remove them since they are highly brittle.
      Recovery has been pure hell.
      I had bone grafting and collagen put in. The pain is something I would not wish on my worst enemy even though I’m on many antibiotics and painkillers.
      Today marks 2 weeks since the extractions. I have hardly any pain in my right jaw. The biggest miracle of all, my joint pain is gone!!!
      My rashes have disappeared!!
      Root canals are bad news. My immune system was under stress for 40 years! Imagine the old fashioned poison they filled them with? And the Mercury!
      I’m now researching implants.
      my body is healing!!
      Thank you for your post! Awareness is needed.

    2. S. Miller says:

      Could you comment more on your procedure? I had 2 root canals 2 years ago against my better judgement. I am now experiencing symptoms of an occasional mild ear ache, sinus infection & mild jaw pain. I don’t know if this could be related to the root canals but it seems logical because symptons are on the same side where they were performed. The only reason I chose to have the root canals was to save 2 fixed bridges associated with each tooth. If there is any way to correct these procedures and save my teeth, I would be very interested in your advice. Thank you in advance for your recommendation on how to correct this issue.
      S. Miller

  5. V. Strandebo says:

    I had full blown staph infection all over my body for 8 months. Simply put, after months of suffering with rash and yellow puss coming out in my hands, ankles, legs, arms, and back, I needed help. One dental surgeon xrayed root canaled tooth, said no issues with it. Second dentist said same, third, said same. I prayed, was getting very seriously ill by now, God told me to bite on clove of garlic. It shot through root canaled tooth. Had it pulled and in 2 weeks my infection was 95 percent cleared up. A couple years later I had hip pain (couldn’t sleep, tossed every hour). Had bone scan ( xrays showed nothing). Crowned tooth infected. Had pulled, most hip pain now gone.

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