Updated: 2/13/2020

Root Canal Awareness Week is March 25-31 this year, and we’ll be debunking a popular root canal myth every day this week.

MYTH #2: Root canals cause illness.

One common misconception about root canals is that they can have negative effects on overall health, leading to issues like arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease and more. Because of this, many people may be hesitant to see a dentist if they think they might need a root canal from fear that receiving one may have detrimental effects on the rest of their health. However, recent studies have proven this common concern to be illegitimate and that root canals are actually very safe and effective.

Flawed Study

Between 1910 and 1930, a doctor named Weston Price did some research which led him to state that root canal therapy can lead to nearly any type of disease due to bacteria trapped in the teeth during treatment. Though his research is outdated, some dentists and physicians have started claiming that his research is true and that root canal therapy can, in fact, lead to illness.

However, more recent attempts to duplicate Dr. Price’s research have all been unsuccessful. Researchers now believe that the original results may have been caused by poor sanitation and imprecise research techniques that were common at the time of Dr. Price’s study.

No Disease Connection

In addition to this, further research has been done in later years which shows no relationship between root canal therapy and common illnesses. In fact, researchers found that those who have undergone root canal therapy are no more likely to become ill than any other person.

While bacteria are present in the teeth and mouth, it does not necessarily lead to an infection. Bacteria exists even in teeth that have never had a cavity and is therefore not necessarily a threat to overall health.

Root canals are necessary if tooth decay reaches the dental pulp. It’s actually more harmful to your health to leave the infection than to get a root canal. Talk to your dentist or endodontist if you have any concerns about the process of root canal therapy or possible side effects. Knowing what to expect may help you feel more comfortable with having such an intimidating procedure performed.

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See the rest of the series:

MYTH #1: Root canal treatment is painful.

MYTH #2: Root canals cause illness.

MYTH #3: They are unnecessary if you’re not in pain.

MYTH #4: Root canals are a lengthy process.

MYTH #5: It is better to just pull the tooth.