ADA promotes chewing gum which increases mercury vapor released from silver mercury fillings by 15%

orbit_gum_ada_sealOn September 25th, 2007 the associated press wrote:

The nation’s largest dentist group now says gum can be good for you, as long as it’s sugar-free.

The American Dental Association said Tuesday it has awarded its seal of acceptance to Wrigley sugar-free gums Orbit, Extra and Eclipse – based on studies funded at least partially by the maker of Wrigley gums, Chicago-based Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.

It’s the first time the ADA has allowed its seal to appear on gum after clearing it for thousands of other products since 1930.

The ADA said its independent review of the studies confirms those three gums have been shown to help prevent cavities, reduce plaque acid and strengthen teeth. (Although they make no mention of increasing mercury vapor and particulate matter releases in the 120 + million people who have “silver” mercury fillings – ME)

It said studies submitted by Wrigley showed that chewing those gum products for 20 minutes three times a day after meals increases saliva production. Saliva, the ADA said, helps neutralize and wash away plaque acid and bathes the teeth in minerals such as calcium, phosphate and fluoride, which are known to strengthen tooth enamel and help prevent cavities.

Clifford Whall, director of the ADA seal of acceptance program, said its council on scientific affairs found the studies, which focused solely on Wrigley products, had followed scientific principles.

“The council has looked at the body of data and concluded that there are some health benefits to chewing these products three times a day for 20 minutes,” he said.

Wrigley paid $36,000 to submit its evaluation material – $12,000 per product. ADA also said Wrigley spends $35,000 to $45,000 in exhibit booth space at its annual meeting, advertising in its publications and on other sponsorships. It also pays $25,000 to help sponsor an ADA health screening program.

Consumer advocate Peter Lurie said the dental association should test other products before issuing such a seal, with the system appearing to be biased in favor of large companies that can afford the clinical studies.

“As long as the testing process and the criteria for receipt of a seal is unclear, the exact meaning of the ADA’s seal will remain obscure,” said Lurie, deputy director of the Health Research Group at Public Citizen, the nonprofit consumer advocacy group founded by Ralph Nader.

Whall said the program exists solely to inform consumers and dentists about whether products do what their manufacturers say they do. The seal currently appears on various toothpaste, dental floss and oral rinse products. (and previously the ADA Seal endorsed mercury amalgam products until the ADA withdrew the seal for them sometime around 2004)

d-kennedy-lIndividual Intraoral Exposure to Mercury Vapor from “silver” Mercury Fillings.

by David Kennedy

Although evidence that mercury was leaking from dental fillings was previously discovered in 1926 by the aforementioned Dr. Alfred Stock, and

again noted in 1979,27 in 1981 Dr. Carl Svare(28) partly by chance made a rediscovery that shocked the dental community. To conduct a series of experiments on the amount of mercury in expired air, he had asked for volunteers from among his dental students. One woman waiting at the end of the line saw that

it would be some time before she was to be tested. So she went across the street the have a pizza for lunch. When she returned, the line was gone and Dr. Svare

tested the mercury in her exhaled breath. Her mercury measurement was so high it blew out his equipment. When he learned that she had just eaten a pizza, he recovered some of the uneaten pizza and could find no mercury contamination. With further experi-mentation, Dr. Svare noted that the student’s mercury vapor level began to drop.

He then gave her a piece of rubber tubing and instructed her to chew on it for a while. He was amazed: her mercury level shot right back up. The other students were recalled and remeasured after chewing sugarless gum with similar results.

This landmark study became known as the Chewing Gum Study. It led to subsequent findings that mercury release from fillings increases dramatically by 15-fold whenever the fillings are stimulated by chewing, brushing, hot fluids, bruxism, etc. Numerous other investigators have confirmed these results.29 30 31 32 33

Low doses of mercury are almost completely absorbed from the lungs before exhaling. Therefore, Dr. Svare’s exhaled air measurements represent

only a small fraction of the dose absorbed by an individual. We also know that personal habits such as night grinding, gum chewing, and mouth breathing can

greatly affect the rate of release of mercury from fillings. Because of wide variations in such personal habits, it is not possible with present technology to

predict which patients will release the most mercury. But an average daily dose can be estimated.


27. Gay DD, Cox RD, Reinhardt JW. Chewing releases mercury from fillings. Corresp Lancet 1 (8123):985-86, 1979.

28. Svare CW et al. The effect of dental amalgams on mercury levels in expired air. J. Dent Res 1981 : 60: 1668-71

29. Reinhardt JW, et al. Exhaled mercury following removal and insertion of amalgam restorations. J Prosth Dent. 1983 : 49(5) : 652-6

30. Cross JD, Dole IM, Goolvard L, Lenihan JMA, Smith H: Methyl mercury in the blood of dentists.(Corresp) Lancet 1978 2(8084) :312-3

31. Svare CW, Peterson LC: The Effect of Removing Dental Amalgams on Mercury Blood Levels. J Dent

Res 1984, 63: 896 (Abstract)

32. Fredin B., Studies on the mercury released from dental amalgam fillings (1985) submitted for publication

33. Patterson JE et al. Mercury in human breath from dental amalgams. Bull Envir Contam Toxicol 1985: 34: 459-68


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