Living in an industrial world, we are exposed to many environmental pollutants and harmful chemicals on a daily basis. They can be present anywhere from the air we breathe to the food we eat.
While mercury is a naturally occurring element, industrialization has increased the additional risk of the chemical being released into the environment. This is why precautions must be taken to safeguard yourself and your family from the dangers associated with mercury exposure.
Mercury poisoning is a problem that can have serious harmful health effects on the body. It can be caused by eating contaminated foods or by coming into contact with materials that contain or have been exposed to mercury, including traditional dental amalgam fillings used to treat cavities.
If you notice any mercury poisoning symptoms, it is imperative that you seek dental or medical help immediately.
How You Can Get Mercury Poisoning
The two most common ways to become exposed to mercury and its toxic effects include eating foods containing high levels of mercury or by using mercury amalgam fillings to treat tooth decay.
Usually, there are certain types of cold-water fish that contain high levels of mercury. These include:
- Spanish mackerel
- Golden Snapper
Although mercury gets into the water mainly through polluted rainfall, larger fish accumulate it through their diet. For example, a predatory shark may eat smaller fish that have high mercury levels and thereby absorb some of it themselves.
Additionally, silver fillings have been used for decades to treat cavities and tooth decay in people. They comprise of a fusion of elements such as mercury, copper, tin, and silver. Bits of mercury are often released in the mouth as you chew or talk and can be absorbed throughout the body over time, leading to the worsening of one’s overall health.
Symptoms of Mercury Poisoning
It is important to note that symptoms can be physical or neurological and many can appear automatic while others may be more subtle.
Some symptoms can present themselves as:
- Physical tremors
- Memory problems
- Bad temper or mood changes
Increased depression or anxiety are also common. Other physical manifestations may include trouble standing or walking straight, trouble breathing, and impaired speech, hearing, or vision. You may also experience a loss of sensation in your face, hands, or other parts of your body.
There can also be poor motor skills, muscle weakness, queasiness, and vomiting. Some patients also complain about a metallic taste in their mouth.
For women who are of childbearing age, there is a greater risk of experiencing infertility issues if exposed to mercury.
Implications of Extended Exposure
If you are exposed to mercury poisoning over a long time period, there are possible long-term effects. That is why it is important to act immediately if you notice any of the symptoms.
The Journal of Preventative Medicine and Public Health states that mercury poisoning can affect a pregnant mother and her child. The baby would have effects that may significantly impair their long-term development. Nerve damage to both the fetus and the mother can also occur.
This can lead to issues like:
- Memory problems
- Impaired motor skills
- Decreased reflexes
- Lower IQ or intelligence problems
Your heart health can also suffer. Toxic chemical byproduct levels increase with the presence of mercury and this, in turn, increases chances of having coronary heart disease.
Thankfully, in recent years, more legislation has been enacted to help mitigate these problems. Progressive banning of these products is forcing manufacturers to find safer alternatives through new technologies. This has helped to reduce the chances of people coming into contact with or experiencing mercury poisoning symptoms.
Find Out More Information
The lasting effects of exposure to mercury can seriously affect your daily life. If you have even the slightest concern or any questions regarding symptoms, Dr. Shauna Palmer is here to help. Paralysis, numbness, memory loss or even ADHD are just a few of the permanent effects of this dangerous element.
You may also benefit from a holistic dental approach, like replacing silver fillings with white composites or ceramics and thereby limiting overall health issues that may occur with the use of mercury amalgam fillings.
If you suspect that you are dealing with any dental problems or even mercury poisoning symptoms, please contact our offices for an appointment and examination.