When a person has a normally high defense, as expressed by the absence of recurring rheumatic group lesions, he or she tends to make the warfare against the organisms and toxic materials coming from the openings at the apexes of the involved teeth as close to the source of that infection as possible. This seems to be a principal reason why these patients have a large zone of radiolucence. This large zone of radiolucence is generally occupied in these individuals by a highly vascularized, defensive tissue, whose function appears to be chiefly that of a local quarantine station.
When this quarantine station is adequate and efficient, the balance of the body is protected. The production of the local warfare expresses itself as pus, which is eliminated usually through a fistula and contains few, and often living organisms. It is apparently largely because these individuals can make a fight to a finish close by the source, that the balance of the body is safe from injury from these disturbances. When, however, that patient with a normally high defense has an overload, such cis influenza, pregnancy, grief exposure, or poor nutrition, he is unable to continue the maintenance of the adequate quarantine. The warfare is no longer a fight to a finish. Immediately the organisms and their toxic products pass into the body. That warfare, which should have been made in special tissues close to the source of the infection, must now be made in the various organs and tissues of the body.
The local dental involvement now ceases to be uncomfortable because of the absence of local warfare. Since the bloodstream rapidly distributes these materials to the various structures, the final warfare must be made there, and the organ or tissue which has been more weakened by some of the overloads mentioned above, or by that other uncontrollable factor (so far as the individual is concerned) tend to break. His or her inherited susceptibility now proves to be a factor that relates to individual organs and tissues and which apparently is the reason why heart disease, etc., runs in families.
Pathogenic infections of various organs and tissues of the body may have their origin in periodontal and periapical infections of the teeth.
The diseases that have been demonstrated to be more or less frequently caused by mouth infection include the following:
- Rheumatic Fever
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Arthritis Deformans
- Muscle and Joint Rheumatic Infections
- Iritis and other Eye Disturbances
- Focal and Diffuse Kidney Infections
- Blood Vessel Coat Diseases
- Endocarditis, Myocarclitis, and Pericarditis
- Stomach, Duodenal, and Intestinal Ulcers
- Appendicitis, Cholecystitis and Gall Stones
Various Skin Diseases including:
- Erythema Nodosum
Nervous System Infections including:
- Herpes Zoster/Shingles
- Brain Infections
- Psychological Conditions
Glandular Infections including:
These are mostly embolic in their initial planting and a majority are due to the specific selectively or tropism of varying strains of Streptococci. In addition to the infections produced by bloodstream planting, those entering by way of the lymph system and alimentary tract, the latter due to swallowing bacteria. There are also serious disturbances produced as the result of imperfect mastication (chewing), due to faulty dental organs and tissues, and may not only develop their very specific qualities in special infection areas of the mouth but may be transferred through drinking cups, kissing, and other means to other individuals. By finding suitable areas for growth in the mouth, these strains produce their characteristic disturbance or disease.
Just as the organism of mumps, which is infectious, selects the parotid glands, so possibly Cholycystiitis, Peptic Ulcer, Herpes Zoster, Erythema Nodosum, Appendicitis, and Rheumatic infections may be proven to be transmissible.
The lesions of the mouth which produce serious systemic infections are:
- The pyorrhetic pockets due to a progressive degenerative infectious process of the tissues surrounding the teeth.
- The masses of culturing bacteria in decaying teeth.
- The infection surrounding the apexes of the roots with putrescent root canals.
The mechanism of planting from pyorrhea pockets is chiefly done by the passing of the organism throughout the defenseless open inter-cellular spaces of the denuded and suppurating area about the teeth.
Few people realize that a pyorrhetic pocket around each tooth is only 1/8 th of an inch in depth. This would make a total of 31/2 square inches of the defenseless suppurating surface, which, if it existed in any other part of the body, would greatly alarm the internist. When infection passes into defenseless tissue the process of mastication, or of biting, the teeth make a pumping motion and spread it. Though the exercise tends to increase circulation and thereby nourish and strengthen the resistance of the parts, it also tends to distribute the organisms. Having gained entrance to the tissue, the organisms are rapidly transferred by blood and lymph systems to various parts of the body.
Periapical infections are practically always due to either a dead and putrescent pulp or a lowered resistance of the tissue surrounding the apex above an imperfect root filling or an obliterated infection surrounded by epithelial cells. These drain usually quite directly, either continuously or recurrently, into the blood lymph system.