An Interview with George Meinig, D.D.S.
Dr. Meinig brings a most curious perspective to an expose
of latent dangers of root canal therapy - fifty years ago he
was one of the founders of the American Association of
Endodontists (root canal specialists)! So he's filled his
share of root canals. And when he wasn't filling canals
himself, he was teaching the technique to dentists across the
country at weekend seminars and clinics.
About two years ago, having recently retired, he decided to
read all 1174 pages of the detailed research of Dr. Weston
Price, (D.D.S). Dr. Meinig was startled and shocked. Here was
valid documentation of systemic illnesses resulting from
latent infections lingering in filled roots. He has since
written a book,
Root Canal Cover Up Exposed
- Many Illnesses Result", and is devoting himself to radio,
TV, and personal appearances before groups in an attempt to
blow the whistle and alert the public.
MJ Please explain what the problem
is with root canal therapy.
GM First, let me note that my book is based on Dr. Weston
Price's twenty-five years of careful, impeccable research. He
led a 60-man team of researchers whose findings - suppressed
until now rank right up there with the greatest medical
discoveries of all time. This is not the usual medical story
of a prolonged search for the difficult-to-find causative
agent of some devastating disease. Rather, it's the story of
how a "cast of millions" (of bacteria) become entrenched
inside the structure of teeth and end up causing the largest
number of diseases ever traced to a single source.
MJ What diseases? Can you give us
GM Yes, a high percentage of chronic degenerative diseases
can originate from root filled teeth. The most frequent were
heart and circulatory diseases and he found 16 different
causative agents for these. The next most common diseases were
those of the joints, arthritis and rheumatism. In third place
- but almost tied for second - were diseases of the brain and
nervous system. After that, any disease you can name might
(and in some cases has) come from root filled teeth.
Let me tell you about the research itself. Dr. Price
undertook his investigations in 1900. He continued until 1925,
and published his work in two volumes in 1923. In 1915 the
National Dental Association (which changed its name a few
years later to The American Dental Association) was so
impressed with his work that they appointed Dr. Price their
first Research Director. His Advisory Board read like a Who's
Who in medicine and dentistry for that era. They represented
the fields of bacteriology, pathology, rheumatology, surgery,
chemistry, and cardiology.
At one point in his writings Dr. Price made this
observation: "Dr. Frank Billings (M.D.), probably more than
any other American internist, is due credit for the early
recognition of the importance of streptococcal focal
infections in systemic involvements."
What's really unfortunate here is that very valuable
information was covered up and totally buried some 70 years
ago by a minority group of autocratic doctors who just didn't
believe or couldn't grasp - the focal infection theory.
MJ What is the "focal infection"
GM This states that germs from a central focal infection -
such as teeth, teeth roots, inflamed gum tissues, or maybe
tonsils - metastasize to hearts, eyes, lungs, kidneys, or
other organs, glands and tissues, establishing new areas of
the same infection. Hardly theory any more, this has been
proven and demonstrated many times over. It's 100% accepted
today. But it was revolutionary thinking during World War I
days, and the early 1920's!
Today, both patients and physicians have been "brain
washed" to think that infections are less serious because we
now have antibiotics. Well, yes and no. In the case of
root-filled teeth, the no longer-living tooth lacks a blood
supply to its interior. So circulating antibiotics don't faze
the bacteria living there because they can't get at them.
MJ You're assuming that ALL
root-filled teeth harbor bacteria and/or other infective
GM Yes. No matter what material or technique is used - and
this is just as true today - the root filling shrinks
minutely, perhaps microscopically. Further and this is key -
the bulk of solid appearing teeth, called the dentin, actually
consists of miles of tiny tubules. Microscopic organisms
lurking in the maze of tubules simply migrate into the
interior of the tooth and set up housekeeping. A filled root
seems to be a favorite spot to start a new colony.
One of the things that makes this difficult to understand
is that large, relatively harmless bacteria common to the
mouth, change and adapt to new conditions. They shrink in size
to fit the cramped quarters and even learn how to exist (and
thrive!) on very little food. Those that need oxygen mutate
and become able to get along without it. In the process of
adaptation these formerly friendly "normal" organisms become
pathogenic (capable of producing disease) and more virulent
(stronger) and they produce much more potent toxins.
Today's bacteriologists are confirming the discoveries of
the Price team of bacteriologists. Both isolated in root
canals the same strains of streptococcus, staphylococcus and
MJ Is everyone who has ever had a
root canal filled made ill by it?
GM No. We believe now that every root canal filling does
leak and bacteria do invade the structure. But the variable
factor is the strength of the person's immune system. Some
healthy people are able to control the germs that escape from
their teeth into other areas of the body. We think this
happens because their immune system lymphocytes (white blood
cells) and other disease fighters aren't constantly
compromised by other ailments. In other words, they are able
to prevent those new colonies from taking hold in other
tissues throughout the body. But over time, most people with
root filled teeth do seem to develop some kinds of systemic
symptoms they didn't have before.
MJ It's really difficult to grasp
that bacteria are imbedded deep in the structure of
seemingly-hard, solid looking teeth.
GM I know. Physicians and dentists have that same problem,
too. You really have to visualize the tooth structure - all of
those microscopic tubules running through the dentin. In a
healthy tooth, those tubules transport a fluid that carries
nourishment to the inside. For perspective, if the tubules of
a front single-root tooth, were stretched out on the ground
they'd stretch for three miles!
A root filled tooth no longer has any fluid circulating
through it, but the maze of tubules remains. The anaerobic
bacteria that live there seem remarkably safe from
antibiotics. The bacteria can migrate out into surrounding
tissue where they can "hitch hike" to other locations in the
body via the bloodstream. The new location can be any organ or
gland or tissue, and the new colony will be the next focus of
infection in a body plagued by recurrent or chronic
All of the "building up" done to try to enhance the
patient's ability to fight infections - to strengthen their
immune system - is only a holding action. Many patients won't
be well until the source of infection - the root canal tooth -
MJ I don't doubt what you're
saying, but can you tell us more about how Dr. Price could be
sure that arthritis or other systemic conditions and illnesses
really originated in the teeth - or in a single tooth?
GM Yes. Many investigations start with the researcher just
being curious about something - and then being scientifically
careful enough to discover an answer, and then prove it's so,
many times over. Dr. Price's first case is very well
documented. He removed an infected tooth from a woman who
suffered from severe arthritis. As soon as he finished with
the patient, he implanted the tooth beneath the skin of a
healthy rabbit. Within 48 hours the rabbit was crippled with
Further, once the tooth was removed the patient's arthritis
improved dramatically. This clearly suggested that the
presence of the infected tooth was a causative agent for both
that patient's and the rabbit's - arthritis.
[Editor's Note - Here's the story of that first patient
from Dr. Meinig's book: "(Dr. Price) had a sense that, even
when (root canal therapy) appeared successful, teeth
containing root fillings remained infected. That thought kept
prying on his mind, haunting him each time a patient consulted
him for relief from some severe debilitating disease for which
the medical profession could find no answer. Then one day
while treating a woman who had been confined to a wheelchair
for six years from severe arthritis, he recalled how bacterial
cultures were taken from patients who were ill and then
inoculated into animals in an effort to reproduce the disease
and test the effectiveness of drugs on the disease.
With this thought in mind, although her (root filled) tooth
looked fine, he advised this arthritic patient, to have it
extracted. He told her he was going to find out what it was
about this root filled tooth that was responsible for her
suffering. "All dentists know that sometimes arthritis and
other illnesses clear up if bad teeth are extracted. However,
in this case, all of her teeth appeared in satisfactory
condition and the one containing this root canal filling
showed no evidence or symptoms of infection. Besides, it
looked normal on x-ray pictures.
"Immediately after Dr. Price extracted the tooth he
dismissed the patient and embedded her tooth under the skin of
a rabbit. In two days the rabbit developed the same kind of
crippling arthritis as the patient - and in ten days it died.
"..The patient made a successful recovery after the tooth's
removal! She could then walk without a cane and could even do
fine needlework again. That success led Dr. Price to advise
other patients, afflicted with a wide variety of treatment
defying illnesses, to have any root filled teeth out."]
In the years that followed, he repeated this procedure many
hundreds of times. He later implanted only a portion of the
tooth to see if that produced the same results. It did. He
then dried the tooth, ground it into powder and injected a
tiny bit into several rabbits. Same results, this time
producing the same symptoms in multiple animals.
Dr. Price eventually grew cultures of the bacteria and
injected them into the animals. Then he went a step further.
He put the solution containing the bacteria through a filter
small enough to catch the bacteria. So when he injected the
resulting liquid it was free of any infecting bacteria. Did
the test animals develop the illness? Yes. The only
explanation was that the liquid had to contain toxins from the
bacteria, and the toxins were also capable of causing disease.
Dr. Price became curious about which was the more potent
infective agent, the bacteria or the toxin. He repeated that
last experiment, injecting half the animals with the
toxin-containing liquid and half of them with the bacteria
from the filter. Both groups became ill, but the group
injected with the toxins got sicker and died sooner than the
bacteria injected animals.
MJ That's amazing. Did the rabbits
always develop the same disease the patient had?
GM Mostly, yes. If the patient had heart disease the rabbit
got heart disease. If the patient had kidney disease the
rabbit got kidney disease, and so on. Only occasionally did a
rabbit develop a different disease - and then the pathology
would be quite similar, in a different location.
MJ If extraction proves necessary
for anyone reading this, do you want to summarize what's
special about the extraction technique?
GM Just pulling the tooth is not enough when removal proves
necessary. Dr. Price found bacteria in the tissues and bone
just adjacent to the tooth's root. So we now recommend
slow-speed drilling with a burr, to remove one millimeter of
the entire bony socket. The purpose is to remove the
periodontal ligament (which is always infected with toxins
produced by streptococcus bacteria living in the dentin
tubules) and the first millimeter of bone that lines the
socket (which is usually infected).
There's a whole protocol involved, including irrigating
with sterile saline to assure removal of the contaminated bone
chips, and treating the socket to stimulate and encourage
infection-free healing. I describe the procedure in detail,
step by step, in my book [pages 185 and 186].
MJ Perhaps we should back up and
talk about oral health - to PREVENT needing an extraction.
Caries or inflamed gums seem much more common than root
canals. Do they pose any threat?
GM Yes, they absolutely do. But let me point out that we
can't talk about oral health apart from total health. The
problem is that patients and dentists alike haven't come
around to seeing that dental caries reflect systemic - meaning
"whole body" - illness. Dentists have learned to restore teeth
so expertly that both they and their patients have come to
regard tooth decay as a trivial matter. It isn't.
Small cavities too often become big cavities. Big cavities
too often lead to further destruction and the eventual need
for root canal treatment.
MJ Then talk to us about
GM The only scientific way to prevent tooth decay is
through diet and nutrition. Dr. Ralph Steinman did some
outstanding, landmark research at Loma Linda University. He
injected a glucose solution into mice - into their bodies, so
the glucose didn't even touch their teeth. Then he observed
the teeth for any changes. What he found was truly
astonishing. The glucose reversed the normal flow of fluid in
the dentin tubules, resulting in all of the test animals
developing severe tooth decay! Dr. Steinman demonstrated
dramatically what I said a minute ago: Dental caries reflect
Let's take a closer look to see how this might happen. Once
a tooth gets infected and the cavity gets into the nerve and
blood vessels, bacteria find their way into those tiny tubules
of the dentin. Then no matter what we do by way of treatment,
we're never going to completely eradicate the bacteria hiding
in the miles of tubules. In time the bacteria can migrate
through lateral canals into the surrounding bony socket that
supports the tooth. Now the host not only has a cavity in a
tooth, plus an underlying infection of supporting tissue to
deal with, but the bacteria also exude potent systemic toxins.
These toxins circulate throughout the body triggering activity
by the immune system - and probably causing the host to feel
less well. This host response can vary from just dragging
around and feeling less energetic, to overt illness - of
almost any kind. Certainly, such a person will be more
vulnerable to whatever "bugs" are going around, because
his/her body is already under constant challenge and the
immune system continues to be "turned on" by either the
infective agent or its toxins - or both.
MJ What a fascinating concept. Can
you tell us more about the protective nutrition you mentioned?
GM Yes. Dr. Price traveled all over the world doing his
research on primitive peoples who still lived in their native
ways. He found fourteen cultural pockets scattered all over
the globe where the natives had no access to "civilization" -
and ate no refined foods.
Dr. Price studied their diets carefully. He found they
varied greatly, but the one thing they had in common was that
they ate whole, unrefined foods. With absolutely no access to
tooth brushes, floss, fluoridated water or tooth paste, the
primitive peoples studied were almost 100% free of tooth
decay. Further - and not unrelated - they were also almost
100% free of all the degenerative diseases we suffer -
problems with the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, joints, skin
(allergies), and the whole gamut of illnesses that plague
Mankind. No one food proved to be magic as a preventive food.
I believe we can thrive best by eating a wide variety of whole
MJ Amazing. So by "diet and
nutrition" for oral (and total) health you meant eating a
pretty basic diet of whole foods?
GM Exactly. And no sugar or white flour. These are (and
always have been) the first culprits. Tragically, when the
primitives were introduced to sugar and white flour their
superior level of health deteriorated rapidly. This has been
demonstrated time and again. During the last sixty or more
years we have added in increasing amounts, highly refined and
fabricated cereals and boxed mixes of all kinds, soft drinks,
refined vegetable oils and a whole host of other foodless
"foods". It is also during those same years that we as a
nation have installed more and more root canal fillings - and
degenerative diseases have become rampant. I believe - and Dr.
Price certainly proved to my satisfaction - that these
simultaneous factors are NOT coincidences.
MJ I certainly understand what you
are saying. But I'm still a little shocked to talk with a
dentist who doesn't stress oral hygiene.
GM Well, I'm not against oral hygiene. Of course, hygiene
practices are preventive, and help minimize the destructive
effect of our "civilized", refined diet. But the real issue is
still diet. The natives Dr. Price tracked down and studied
weren't free of cavities, inflamed gums, and degenerative
diseases because they had better tooth brushes!
It's so easy to lose sight of the significance of what Dr.
Price discovered. We tend to sweep it under the rug - we'd
actually prefer to hear that if we would just brush better,
longer, or more often, we too could be free of dental
Certainly, part of the purpose of my book is to stimulate
dental research into finding a way to sterilize dentin
tubules. Only then can dentists really learn to save teeth for
a lifetime. But the bottom line remains: A primitive diet of
whole unrefined foods is the only thing that has been found to
actually prevent both tooth decay and degenerative diseases.
For More Information
You can order
Root Canal Cover Up Exposed
for more information.