Could your mouth charge your iPhone?

Have you ever had a metallic taste in your mouth, like you just took a bite of aluminum foil? Maybe it only lasts a short time, or maybe it appears for no apparent reason and sticks around. This is something quite a few people experience and something we get asked about on a regular basis.  This abnormal taste in the mouth is considered a condition, not a disease or disorder and it is called “dysgeusia”. As with many things in the human body, there are several reasons why dysgeusia could occur.

Some of the causes for this condition include: side-effect of some medications (this happens to be the #1 cause!), nutrient deficiencies or excesses (such as Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Zinc, and Calcium), periodontal disease, allergens, dry mouth, pregnancy, systemic disease, hyperparathyroidism, diabetes, and renal failure to name a few. Another cause, which we will go into more detail about, is oral galvanism. 

So, what is oral galvanism you might be asking? It is the generation of electrical currents in the mouth caused by electro-chemical differences between various types of metal restorations (such as mercury-amalgam fillings, crowns, inlays, onlays and partial dentures). Oral galvanism can also be caused by the corrosion of mercury-amalgam fillings. In more simple terms, different metals in your dental restorations have different voltage numbers, and when they are connected by saliva (an electrolyte) they can create a battery with an electrical current that can then pass through your oral anatomical structures.

Let’s consider a possible scenario where someone has a gold crown on one tooth and a titanium implant replacing another tooth. Gold has a voltage of 1.69 and titanium has a voltage of -1.63. With these two metals connected through the saliva there is potential to create a battery of over three volts! Our nervous system works on membrane potentials of 0.140 volts and can be easily effected by the electrical current produced from the dental metals.  So, could the electrical charges in your mouth charge your phone…maybe not, but you definitely want to consider making a change if you have metal restorations!

As an office that practices holistic dentistry we look closely at the systemic concerns that could result from oral galvanism. These concerns include chronic fatigue, temporal headaches, jaw tension and loss of memory. We know that not everyone will experience oral galvanism but being aware of the potential and having the knowledge as to why it can happen is very helpful as we walk with our patients on their wellness journeys. We do consider oral galvanism to be a road block in achieving total health. Our goal is always to find root causes, help remove them and see our patients health restored. We hope you learned something helpful. Let us know what other questions you may have about oral health or holistic dentistry. Cheers to wellness!