Oral Galvanism

oral galvanismTo make a battery you need two or more dissimilar metals in a liquid medium. This battery effect can occur in the human mouth with the placement of dental fillings. The amalgam fillings, which normally contain silver, copper, tin, and zinc, provide the dissimilar metals, and the saliva provides the liquid medium. These elements produce electrical currents in the mouth called oral galvanism.

Oral galvanism increases the process of corrosion and breakdown of amalgam fillings. These electrical currents increase the amount of mercury vapor and abraded particles released into the mouth.1 Oral galvanism also causes the release of free-mercury droplets from the filling.2 Furthermore, this electrolytic process is exacerbated when gold crowns are in contact with mercury fillings.3

In addition to amplifying the process of corrosion and the release of mercury into the mouth, scientific evidence exists that these internal electrical currents can cause unexplained pain, ulcerations, and inflammation in susceptible individuals.4

More About Mercury Fillings


  1. Schriever, W. and Diamond, L.E. Electromotive forces and electrical currents caused by metallic dental fillings. J Dent Res. Vol 31(2):205-208, 1952.
  2. Schneider, P.E., Sarker N.K. Mercury release from dispersalloy amalgam. IADR Abstract #630, 1982.
  3. Phillips, R.W. Skinner’s Science of Dental Materials. (7th ed.) W.B. Saunders Co. Philadelphia, 1973.
  4. Hyams, B.L. and Ballon, H.C. Dissimilar metals in the mouth as a possible cause of otherwise unexplainable symptoms. Can Med Assoc J. Vol. XXIXX:488-491, 1933.