Netflix Pulls ‘Documentary’ With Unfounded Dental Claims

Dentistry practitioners from the US, including many a Easton dentist, banded together to get rid of a Netflix documentary that contains unfounded claims.

The streaming service quietly took down Root Cause, as well as removing any trace of its existence from their site. Directed by Aussie filmmaker Frazer Bailey, it claimed that root canals led to cancer, heart problems, as well as other chronic health issues, and that the best option for dealing with injured or infected teeth would be to just pull them out.

Soon after the film popped up on Netflix, American dental experts, including many a Easton dentist, fired back against it. The American Association of Endodontists (AAE), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the American Association of Dental Research (AADR) were particularly vocal in their opposition of the film, even sending a letter to Netflix, dated January 29, saying that hosting the film was harmful to the general public as it spreads misinformation about root canals, as well as other, proven safe medical treatments.

These associations were thorough, sending similar letters to Vimeo, Amazon and Apple, which also had the film on their streaming services.

Dental health experts were happy at Netflix’s decision to remove the film, with ADA President Jeffery M. Cole saying that the film contains a lot of misinformation that isn’t supported by scientific evidence, which can stoke unfounded fears in viewers.

The company made no comment on the matter, but Assistant Profession of Media Studies Eleanor Patterson, Auburn University, says that Netflix might’ve removed them to protect its reputation. The streaming service has received several accolades for its documentaries, including several Emmys.

MediaTech Managing PartnerPorter Bibbs says that all those awards could damage Netflix’s reputation, something they want to avoid currently, as the streaming service is attracting a lot of high-quality talent.

Media experts also noted Netflix’s secrecy about viewing ratings, which fit their silence on the matter.

Emerson College Associate Professor of Film and Media Miranda Banks says that digital media platforms, unlike traditional media like cable or retail, can make such decisions in private, leaving people guessing about their motives. The smart guess regarding the decision to quietly pull the film, is, of course, money.