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861 Willow Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Telephone: (919) 942-2154
A holistic approach to oral health and wellness.

Oral Infections Can Be Major Health Issues

The human body is intricately and wonderfully designed, with different organs co-dependent. When one part isn’t working optimally, it may be that another part is actually out of sync. Over the years, Dr. C. Michael Willock, a holistic dentist in Chapel Hill, has frequently seen how oral health and overall physical health affect one another.

Dr. Willock uses ozone technology to help curb dental infections and effectively treat periodontal infections.

“According to the American Academy of Periodontology,” explains Dr. Willock, “oral infections can cause major health problems in other organs of the body. The bloodstream that moves through the mouth eventually travels throughout the whole body. If you have an infection anywhere in the mouth, such as a tooth or in the tissue, the bloodstream is going to carry this infection everywhere. It’s that simple.

“Most people don’t realize,” he notes, “that each tooth has its own blood circulatory system: a separate nerve and blood supply. If you drill right into a tooth and hit the pulp, the nerve being in the middle, you’re going to see blood spurt out. If there are cavities and decay in the tooth, it’s going to get in the blood and travel throughout the body; if that migrating infection settles elsewhere, in any other bodily organ, it can possibly cause a serious infection.

“It’s the dentist’s job to locate and identify oral infections. Then, depending on what the problem is, I may refer the patient to another specialist, perhaps an oral surgeon, periodontist, or endodontist for root canal treatment. Over the years, I’ve discovered a lot of bad things in the mouth. Then I have to lay it on the table, tell the patient exactly what I’ve seen, and send them to a specialist to verify this and treat it accordingly.”

Dental Health and Heart Disease

Dr. Willock recalls a patient who vividly illustrates the connection between oral and over-all health. “I have a patient who had had three root canals on the right side of his mouth that had gone bad. His wife, a naturopath, had been bugging him for quite some time to have them removed, because he had open heart surgery and his heart was not doing well. In fact, he was getting ready to go back for another open-heart surgery. Neither of them wanted him to have to undergo that. But he didn’t believe that the root canals could be toxic and affecting his heart.

Dry Mouth: Common and Unpleasant

Dry mouth, notes Dr. Willock, is a condition that is both common and unpleasant. Clinically called Xerostomia, dry mouth is a condition in which the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. Saliva prevents tooth decay by neutralizing acids produced by bacteria, and by washing away food particles.

“Commonly, the condition manifests in a variety of ways,” explains Dr. Willock: “dryness or a feeling of stickiness in the mouth; thick or stringy saliva, bad breath, difficulty in chewing, speaking, and swallowing, dry or grooved tongue, and a change in sense of taste.”

He notes that the condition can be caused for a variety of reasons, including reaction to medications, aging, radiation for cancer treatment, tobacco use, or snoring.
Importantly, he points out, “decreased saliva and dry mouth can have a major impact on overall health—especially the health of a patient’s teeth and gums. It triples the risk of developing cavities, of gingivitis leading to periodontal disease, and mouth infections overall.”

There are, Dr. Willock notes, effective remedies for dry mouth, including over-the-counter products and prescription treatments, prescribed by a dentist.

Products of interest, he says, include MI Paste “which contains calcium and phosphate and will help to re-mineralize teeth if used properly, on a regular basis. The acid produced by the plaque on your teeth will breakdown the calcium and phosphate mineral structure of your teeth. That is what causes cavities. If you have had several recent cavities, you can be quite certain that the other areas of your teeth are in the process of demineralizing and you want to reverse the process and rebuild the tooth structure.

“This can be of particular concern if an individual does not produce enough saliva. Dry mouth or xerostomia is a common process of aging. Many medications can make this worse. Saliva is a natural buffering agent to the acid produced by dental plaque and contains calcium phosphate necessary to rebuild teeth. If you do not have adequate saliva, you become much more prone to cavities. MI Paste can help neutralize the acid plaque and provide much needed calcium and phosphate.”

MI Paste is prescribed by a dentist and can be used both with and without a custom tray; it is applied at night.

“Now let me say, not all root canals are toxic. There are new techniques that have been developed and new equipment that can clean the tooth much more thoroughly. But some of the older root canals done the old way—like his—are toxic. His wife and I finally convinced him to go to an oral surgeon here in town and have them removed; we were both sure that they were toxic. Convincing him of the matter was another story. People don’t want to lose their teeth.

“But the teeth finally came out. And his oral surgeon called me and told me what a mess he found up in the bone—how infected it was. He cleaned it all out. The bottom line is that his symptoms went away and the heart surgery was canceled. That made me feel good.”

Mercury Leaking?

“Increasingly, more patients are concerned about the amalgam fillings in their mouths fearing that mercury is leaking from their fillings,” notes Dr. Willock. “And there’s a reason for their concern: the simple fact is that when amalgam fillings are placed in teeth or removed from teeth, they release mercury vapor. These vapors are also released during chewing. Mercury is a highly toxic substance—the second most toxic element on the planet after plutonium. We now have superior materials to place in teeth, such as composite resins and ceramics, which do bond to the tooth and seal it much better.”

Removal of infections and toxic materials does make a difference, Dr. Willock reports. “I’ve had many cases where people tell me that, after getting rid of their decay or amalgam, they felt better. And some people are more sensitive to toxins than others. I once had a patient whose mouth was full of amalgam fillings. She thought she was going crazy because she was picking up radio stations in her head. I had heard of this, but I always thought it was an urban legend until I encountered it myself. I removed the amalgams and the radio died. All that mercury metal in the mouth acted just like an antenna. Over 30 years of practice, I’ve had two instances of this type of unique reaction.”

An accredited member of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (, Dr. Willock is one of the few dentists in the area who has had extensive training in the safe removal of amalgam fillings. He continues to learn about, and be amazed by, connections between oral health and organ systems throughout the body. “The older I get, the more holistically minded I become, wanting to care for the whole body, and not just parts. I believe God created our bodies to be self-healing and one of the best things we can do is get rid of all the known toxins in and around our bodies.”