Are mercury fillings safe? Mercury-based fillings have been used by dentists to repair teeth for well over a century. But in recent decades, their use has become controversial due to concerns about exposure to potentially toxic mercury.

In North America, the traditional view is that the advantages of mercury-containing amalgam outweigh any possible health risks, and for this reason, mercury-containing dental amalgams are still widely used because they get SAFER as they get OLDER: Those old fillings you got when you were a kid are safe now because the chemical forms of mercury at the surface of fillings change over time. Researcher Graham George says, “The dental amalgam on the surface of an old tooth filling may have lost as much as 95% of its mercury but what’s left is in a form that is unlikely to be toxic in the body.”

And going to the dentist isn’t just good for your teeth: A new study indicates dentists can prevent bad things from happening by identifying patients at risk of fatal heart attacks and referring them to physicians for further evaluation.

The study followed 200 patients in Sweden whose dentists used a computerized system to calculate the risk of a patient dying from a cardiovascular event within a 10-year period. All 200 patients enrolled in the study were 45 years of age or older with no history of cardiovascular disease. None of them took medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes and they had not visited a physician during the previous year to assess their glucose, cholesterol or blood pressure levels. The dentists took a blood pressure reading, then evaluated their patients’ height and weight, and determined whether or not they were smokers, then fed this data into the computer system.

Twelve patients in the study, all of them men, had HeartScores of 10% or higher, indicating that they were at risk for a heart attack. All the women participating in the study had HeartScores of 5% or less. Of the 12 male patients with HeartScores of 10% or higher, nine sought further evaluation by a medical care provider who decided that intervention was indicated for six of the patients.

According to the researchers, “With emerging data suggesting an association between oral and non-oral diseases, and with the possibility of performing chairside screening tests for diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, oral health care professionals may find themselves in an opportune position to enhance the overall health and well-being of their patients.”

A lot of strange things went on at a lonely little cabin in upstate New York owned by Whitley Strieber. He recently returned there for the first time in over a decade. What happened? How did he feel? Subscribers can listen to him tell all about it. They can also listen to him tell about what’s REALLY going to happen in 2012!

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