Oil Pulling – A New Approach to Removing Oral Toxins

Oil Pulling – A New Approach to Removing Oral Toxins

A simple practice known as ‘oil pulling’ may be one of the very best ways to prevent or treat mouth and gum disease. It has been a popular and practical exercise of Ayurvedic medicine for ages and was more recently introduced to Western cultures by a Dr. F. Karach, M.D. in the early 90s. Karach advocated oil pulling due to the results he detailed in the treatment of a variety of of illnesses including everything from migraine headaches and bronchitis, to gum disease, leukemia and heart disease – just to name a few.

A 2009 study conducted by researchers Asokan, Emmadi, Chamundeswari seemed to back up earlier claims and highlight the effectiveness of oil pulling on the treatment of gum disease. This trial involved swishing sesame oil to test it against plaque-induced gingivitis in 20 test subjects, and to compare its efficacy with chlorhexidine mouthwash. Results concluded that there was a significant reduction in “… the plaque index, modified gingival scores and total colony count of aerobic microorganisms in the plaque of adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis.”

How oil pulling works

Longtime practitioners of oil pulling recommend using sesame, safflower, sunflower or vegetable oil but recently the anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties of coconut oil has made it the preferred go-to oil to use. Practicing oil pulling is a simple process that starts with swishing a tablespoon of your preferred oil back, forth and around the mouth and teeth for anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes –followed by a thorough rinse and routine brushing. By adopting this practice into your oral care routine – and doing it first thing in the morning, you may begin to reap some of the benefits including:

• Healthier gums
• Whiter teeth
• A significant reduction of plaque and tartar
• Fresher breath

Killing bacteria with oil pulling

At any given moment, the human mouth contains an assortment of active microbes, with bacteria being the most prolific. Experts estimate that more than 100 million microbes thrive in every milliliter of saliva – containing upwards of 600 different species of bacteria — some beneficial, others harmful. Without following a regime of proper oral hygiene, the nastier bacteria will eventually collect and form a sticky film on teeth and tongue. Left untreated plaque and other bacteria can flow into the digestive tract and potentially cause, or aggravate, a wide variety of chronic health issues.

The enzymes naturally found in food grade oils are thought to help pull toxins, pus and mucus away from not only teeth, gums and tongue, but also from the body’s cells, blood and digestive tract. Ayurveda suggests that oil pulling works by purifying, cleansing and detoxifying the entire system by removing harmful toxins. In Ayurveda each section of the human tongue is connected to corresponding vital organs of the body such as lungs, kidneys, stomach, colon, liver, spine, heart and small intestines. By keeping the teeth and tongue free of toxic buildup through the practice of oil pulling, you’re actually helping to keep the whole body healthy.

Conclusion

Proper dental hygiene is not only important for oral health, it is essential to all aspects of wellness. Adding oil pulling to already established oral care techniques including brushing and flossing and avoiding sugars and processed foods, it is even more possible to maintain a healthier mouth and body.

More Information:

http://www.jaim.in/article.asp?issn=0975-9476;year=2011;volume=2;issue=2;spage=64;epage=68;aulast=Singh#ref19

http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/article%20oil%20pulling.htm
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/08/coconut-oil-combats-tooth-decay.aspx
http://www.oilpulling.com/
http://www.earthclinic.com/Remedies/oil_pulling.html
http://hubpages.com/hub/Health_Benefits_of_Oil_Pulling_
http://www.homemadebodycleanse.com/cleanse-recipes/sunflower-oil-pull.htm
http://www.jonbarron.org/article/oil-pulling-detoxing

And — How Coconut Oil Can Be Used As A Mouthwash (VIDEO)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/02/coconut-oil-mouthwash-video_n_2375038.html

Resources: Asokan S, Emmadi P, Chamundeswari R. – Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Indian J Dent Res 2009;20:47-51.

 

There is Weird Stuff in Your Toothpaste – The Bad News and the Good News

If you are among the growing number of people who are actively reading labels in order to avoid harmful additives in food products, then you are probably also concerned about maintaining a healthy oral environment without using minty commercial toothpaste loaded with unpronounceable ingredients.

There are common ingredients in toothpaste today that, by their names alone will give a person pause at the very thought of even putting them in the mouth, much less accidentally ingesting them. A few of these might include:

  • Formaldehyde 
  • Paraffin 
  • Limestone 
  • Saccharin and other artificial sweeteners 
  • Aluminum 
  • Fluoride 
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and other detergents 
  • Triclosan (a highly toxic and carcinogenic chemical) FD&C Blue Dye No. 1 & No. 2 

Most of us have learned over the years to avoid ingesting toothpaste and other over-the-counter dental hygiene products, but when you consider the potential health consequences associated with ingesting any one -much less a combination of the above – avoiding these ingredients altogether begins to make a lot of sense. Symptoms of these products when ingested may include:

Intestinal irritation, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, constipation, bleeding
Muscle tremors
Jaundice
Kidney damage
Liver damage
Slow heart rate
Cancer (a variety)
Auto-immune disorders – lower IQ, exacerbation of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms
Disruption in the endocrine system and eventually; death

Carrageenan

Another ingredient commonly found in toothpastes – both those label ‘natural’ as well as the more conventional varieties is carrageenan. There is quite a bit of controversy over this product at the moment, although it is found in many of the products we use today including;

Toothpaste
Beer
Shoe polish
Shaving cream
Gummy products
Dairy products and plant-derived milks

Hailed as mostly harmless, carrageenan has a variety of recognized and worrying side effects including; colon cancer, inflammation and a depressed immune system. This ingredient is a polysaccharide made from red seaweed. On a molecular level it resembles plastic and is prevalent in consumable products for just that reason. Carrageenan first began being used as a food additive as far back to 600 BC in China and it began to be used commercially in the west in the 30?s. Today it is also found in milk products to improve viscosity, especially plant-based milks to boost cream-like qualities.

Carrageenan is used medicinally to treat coughs, bronchitis, tuberculosis and intestinal problems. The French use a form that has been changed by adding acid and high temperatures and is used to treat peptic ulcers, and as a bulk laxative. Although carrageenan is believed to be safe for most people there is a chemically altered variety of carrageenan that is increasingly believed to be unsafe – and linked to occurrences of cancer. Since you can’t necessarily tell by reading the label which variety of carrageenan is in a tube of toothpaste, this is one more product that needs to be put into the ‘potentially harmful ingredient’ category.

Avoid the Shiny Film Associated with Glycerin Additives

Most brands of toothpaste, including many labeled ‘natural’, contain the product glycerin. Glycerin is a significant problem in toothpaste precisely because it leaves a long-lasting, difficult to remove, clear coat on teeth. This is a problem due to the fact that a glycerin coating creates a physical barrier that prevents calcium and other essential minerals from working with saliva to rebuild or restore the natural healthy surface of teeth.

Current research shows that, given the proper environment, teeth can actually regenerate to some degree. However, teeth coated with glycerin commonly found in toothpastes are essentially sealed under a slimy, resilient coat that completely prevents re-mineralization and regeneration.

Healthy Homemade Teeth Cleansers

Found in most kitchens, perhaps one of the best ways to clean teeth is baking soda. When combined with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide (three percent) and aluminum free baking soda (which is less abrasive than common toothpaste) a surprisingly refreshing and effective teeth cleaner is created. Not only is this combination a natural whitener it is also safe for the gums.

Baking soda has the added effect of increasing alkalinity in the mouth, thereby reducing the harmful effect of acids produced by bacteria that leads to dental plaque and tooth decay, and it naturally helps to preserve tooth enamel.

More information:

Dr. Gerard F. Judd, PhD (re-mineralization)- http://www.healingteethnaturally.com/tooth-remineralisation-demineralisation-saliva-ph.html

Re-mineralization – http://www.healthpartners.com/files/34749.pdf

Carrageenan – http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-710-CARRAGEENAN.aspx?activeIngredientId=710&activeIngredientName=CARRAGEENAN

Common ingredients in toothpaste – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toothpaste

 

Fluoride is bad enough, but combined with aluminum – a highly toxic combination

Fluoride has been dumped into most U.S. municipal water systems since the 1940’s –
well before anyone thought to conduct clinical trials to determine potential health and environmental hazards associated with such a practice.

Declared as “safe and effective” by U.S. government officials, and somehow necessary to the long term dental health of Americans, it was originally introduced as a means of curbing tooth decay. At that time essentially no dental or food product contained fluoride (toothpastes, mouth rinses and gels) – so exposure was likely much less than it is today.

Since that time a myriad of fluoride laced dental products have hit the market, that fact combined with processed foods made with fluoridated water, fluoride-containing pesticides, bottled beverages, fluorinated pharmaceuticals, Teflon pans and mechanically deboned chicken – exposure to fluoride has increased alarmingly. But the concern for overexposure to fluoride becomes even more disturbing when you consider that a companion element in most of the above mentioned products is aluminum – and aluminum combined with fluoride creates an extremely damaging byproduct – to the human body directly and particularly to the immune system.

Back in 1976, a Dr. D. Allman from Indiana University School of Medicine conducted an experiment that involved feeding animals 1 part-per-million (ppm) fluoride. He found that in the presence of aluminum, (as little as 20 parts per billion), “… fluoride is able to cause an even larger increase in cyclic AMP levels. Cyclic AMP inhibits the migration rate of white blood cells, as well as the ability of the white blood cell to destroy pathogenic (disease-causing) organisms.” The fact that fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses are now packaged in aluminum only emphasizes the adverse effect on the human body. Concerns become even more apparent when you consider that fluoride used in the water fluoridation process is a direct byproduct of aluminum production.

Research confirms earlier studies pointing to a toxic connection when combined with aluminum

The increased rate of fluoride sources in the modern diet has exacerbated human exposure creating an extremely harmful mix, resulting in a dramatic increase in dental fluorosis (a to

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oth defect caused by excess fluoride intake), for one thing. In the mid-90s researcher Mullenix discovered that rats treated with low doses of fluoride caused – at the very least – behavioral aberrations and hyperactivity. These and other effects were confirmed in 2001 when another study combining sodium fluoride with drinking water produced both behavioral and dental toxicities as well as suppression of spontaneous motor activity.

Things began to get really scary in 1998 when Julie A. Varner conducted a study at the Psychology Department of Binghamton University (NY) that clearly defined growing number of neurotoxic effects is enhanced by the synergetic action of fluoride combined with aluminum. Varner describes “alterations in the nervous system resulting from chronic administration of the fluoroaluminum complex or equivalent levels of fluoride in the form of sodium-fluoride. The rats were given fluoride in drinking water at the same level deemed “optimal” by pro-fluoridation groups (1 part per million). Most pronounced damage was seen in animals that got the fluoride in conjunction with aluminum. The pathological changes found in the brain tissue of the animals were similar to the alterations found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The authors speculate that fluoride enables aluminum to cross the blood-brain barrier. These results are especially disturbing because of the low dose level of fluoride that shows the toxic effect in rats – rats are more resistant to fluoride than humans.”

And finally, a Czechoslovakian study underscores the idea that aluminum may very likely act synergistically with fluoride in the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This study demonstrated that some of pathologic changes associated with Alzheimer’s are not induced by aluminum alone, but by the aluminofluoride complexes. ” these complexes may act as the initial signal stimulating impairment of homeostasis, degeneration and death of the cells. By influencing energy metabolism these complexes can accelerate the aging and impair the functions of the nervous system. In respect to the etiology of AD, the long term action of aluminofluoride complexes may represent a serious and powerful risk factor for the development of AD,” the authors conclude.

What exactly is fluoride?

Fluoride is a byproduct of the aluminum and fertilizer industries and contrary to what we want to believe, the chemicals used to fluoridate the water are not pharmaceutical grade – rather they are a hazardous waste product of the phosphate fertilizer industry. In fact, this substance is recognized as being so toxic that it is against the law for the general public to leak this combination of chemicals into natural waterways or to release the parent gases into the atmosphere.

According to a report released by the IAOMT (International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology), “This product, along with its salt form used in 91 percent of the fluoridation schemes, contains numerous contaminants, including arsenic and lead, which have never been factored in to any risk assessment.” If you look up the descriptions for fluoride you will likely run across references that recognize it as a ‘lethal poison’ and as a substance used extensively as an insecticide and rodent poison.

Steering clear of fluoride and aluminum products

The automatic fluoridation of public water systems combined with the resulting contamination of processed foods, is enough to cause not only concern but make a person wonder how you can avoid the stuff to begin with. It is helpful to know that most fresh foods and fresh water contain only small amounts of fluoride. It is also possible to remove fluoride and other contaminants from drinking water using a filtration system. Wherever possible, drinking spring water and only buying unprocessed fruit, vegetables, grains, as well as dairy and meat products will also help. Exceptions would include seafood, tea and fresh produce that are sprayed with fluoride pesticides.

And the bottom line would be to avoid dental products that contain fluoride as well as those that are packaged in aluminum containers. Also, eliminating the practice of preparing food in aluminum or Teflon cookware should help cut back exposure. Ultimately, buying locally grown food from trusted sources and reading labels will help you to avoid unintended fluoride consumption – thereby protecting you and your family from the harmful effects of combined fluoride and aluminum.

Resources & More information:

Should You Be Afraid of the Dentist?

Should You Be Afraid of the Dentist?

80% of the Population is Afraid of the Dentist… Here’s why they are right to be worried

The one thing mainstream or traditional dentists don’t seem to realize is that the human mouth is the gateway leading to all systems of the body including the brain, liver, heart, lungs, reproductive organs and everything else in between. As holistic dentists we understand that oral healthcare isn’t a practice isolated to just teeth and gums. What goes into the mouth — be it a dental product or a substance ingested — can, and does have profound effects on the overall long-term health of our patients.

While holistic dentists are well versed in the dangers and consequences of silver (mercury) amalgam fillings, indiscriminate root canal surgery, ingested fluoride, biocompatibility of dental materials and overzealous use of x-rays we are also very conscious about how a person’s oral healthcare and attention to nutrition can help to restore not only issues of teeth and gums, but help to maintain a healthy, less medically complicated lifespan.

For starters, let’s talk about fluoride.

Heavily influenced by the American Dental Association and FDA’s seemingly oblivious assertions, traditional dentists tend to be in favor the widespread use of fluoride, both for topical use and in the public water supply. Not only do they maintain that fluoridating water supplies is essential for healthy teeth they may also recommend fluoride drops for infants, citing ‘accepted’ research showing a decrease in cavity rates in areas where the water is fluoridated.

Holistic dentists, on the other hand, are better versed on all of the available research and we are not afraid to weigh the facts accordingly. A broader look at current clinical studies clearly demonstrate that ingested fluoride is suspect in a myriad of health problems including cancer, lower I.Q. results  and bone diseases while concurrent research has shown no actual benefit to the teeth from ingested fluoride. They also recognize that too much fluoride can cause dental fluorosis resulting in unsightly and unhealthily stained and pitted teeth that can progress to enamel damage in the advanced stages. Skeletal fluorosis is a more radical and serious case of fluorosis which results in severe pain and gradual weakening of joints, muscles and connective tissue.

The deadly silver filling

Amalgam fillings, or so called silver fillings, have long been the easiest and cheapest product for dentists to use to repair damaged teeth.  However silver amalgam fillings have extremely high mercury content. In fact, amalgam fillings contain more mercury than any other product in use today. We all know that mercury is a highly toxic substance, and something we don’t want to risk exposure to. So why are dentists still using mercury to fill teeth?

In addition to causing irreversible damage to the structure of a tooth (due in part to its tendency to shrink and expand with heat and cold), metal fillings and mercury in particular have been linked to a growing number of neurological disorders including Alzheimer`s, autism, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson`s Disease. It is also associated with cardiovascular diseases, collagen disorders such as arthritis, lupus, bursitis, etc. and immunological disorders such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome.

As the evidence grows and scientific research reflects the undeniable dangers associated with mercury amalgam use, more and more dentists are becoming informed and are opting to stop its use. But despite the evidence about 50 percent of dentists in the U.S. continue to use amalgam fillings simply because they don’t believe – or don’t want to believe — that what they are doing is harmful to their patients.

So, now we know that mercury is extremely toxic, but many people still have mercury fillings in their mouth. What is a person to do? Not only does a holistic dentist practice mercury-free dentistry, we are also trained and highly skilled in the safe removal of existing mercury fillings and we know how to dispose of this hazardous waste properly without inflicting more damage on the environment.

Then, there are root canals …

The notion that root canal procedures are safe, and even necessary, actually comes with no legitimate studies or research to support it. Basically, a dentist’s goal for performing a root canal is to stop a dying tooth’s inflammation and the resultant infection while preserving the tooth. But what a patient is not generally told at the time is that more often than not, the risk of the procedure is much greater than any benefits associated with keeping a dead tooth in your mouth.

A healthy tooth contains a network of very tiny and difficult to reach tubules that, if stretched out, would extend for about three miles. The living pulp within the tooth is – mostly – removed during a root canal and a dental product is inserted to fill the empty chamber – but there is absolutely no way to remove all of the bacteria left behind, and over time this bacteria multiplies and turns into a toxic mess that eventually invades the bloodstream making its way to sensitive organs and tissues of the body.  When the immune system is strong these toxins may not be as harmful, but when a person has a weakened immune system due to health issues or some other stressor, these toxic bacteria can cause some major complications including; heart disease, kidney disease, arthritis, joint, and rheumatic diseases, neurological diseases, and myriad of autoimmune diseases. More recent studies point to an undeniable link between root canals and breast cancer.

What’s the alternative to root canal? Most holistic dentists prefer to offer the simple option of removing a dead tooth altogether – thereby eliminating any potential of toxic bacteria build-up in the future. And if tooth or teeth replacement is to be considered then we will provide information on non-metallic implants to safely replace irreversibly damaged teeth. Metal-free zirconia dental implants is the best option over traditional titanium implants as the human immune system does not react negatively to zirconia. In addition, it is safe, strong, aesthetically pleasing and poses little to no danger of corrosion.

Let’s consider the consequences of using non-biocompatible dental products

Mainstream dentists generally are not concerned about a patient’s product compatibility (determining whether or not a patient may or may not have an adverse reaction to a chemical or component of a dental product) and will adamantly avoid biocompatibility testing. Very likely these dentists will not explain the differences between various composite filling material much less give you chance to make your own decision about which materials will be used.

Again, by looking at all of the available clinical studies, trials and research – and not just those studies that support what we already do — holistic dentists understand that what goes into the mouth can affect the entire body. Using specialized equipment to test for biocompatibility of all dental materials we can offer a variety of composite filling materials and implants as well as more compatible materials for other procedures.

It’s all about education and prevention

Unlike traditional dentist, holistic dentists are interested in more than just what is going on in a patient’s mouth. We tend to ask questions about a person’s overall healthfulness. We may recommend changes in diet and incorporate the use of supplements aimed at reducing the acidity of saliva and retarding oral bacterial growth as a way to help combat and prevent a multitude of oral health issues. A holistic dentist will use the most advanced treatment for gum disease accompanied by the most effective natural approaches to healing including herbal remedies, to promote a patient’s overall wellness.

Our focus is on more than just your mouth

Natural dentistry focuses on treatments that are good for the whole body, including your mouth. We take the time to consider your overall health and we emphasize that disease can be prevented with proper nutrition combined with a good practice of daily oral hygiene. We believe that educating our patients about the importance of good oral care will help them to achieve a higher level of health overall.

Resources:

Three Reasons to End Water Fluoridation http://www.fluoridealert.org/issues/water/

Mercury Poisoning from Dental Amalgam Fillings http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/09/04/mercury-poisoning-from-silver-fillings.aspx

Root Canal Dangers – Weston A Price Foundation – http://www.westonaprice.org/dentistry/root-canal-dangers

Biocompatibility Testing & Dental Toxicity: http://www.biocomplaboratories.com/biocompatibility-Testing-Dental-Toxicity.html

Why Dental Implants are Better Than Bridges

Why Dental Implants are Better Than Bridges

Why dental implants are better than conventional bridges

When it comes to options for tooth replacement patients are increasingly opting for dental implants over the usual dental prostheses such as dentures or conventionally placed bridges. Since an implant sits securely in the jaw and looks like natural teeth, they offer superior durability and outstanding aesthetics when compared to conventional bridges.

There are four major categories of restorations available for tooth replacement:

Bonded dental bridge

Bonded dental bridges use the teeth adjacent to the empty space to help support the missing tooth by using a very thin piece of metal or tooth-colored material to overlay and bond to the back of the adjacent teeth. A tooth replacement is set between these two bonded pieces in order to fill in the empty space. Failure rate is about 25 percent after just five years of use.

Cantilevered dental bridge

A cantilevered restoration uses the closest tooth next to the empty space to support the missing tooth using the either the back of the neighboring tooth or a full crown to help support the missing tooth. Success rate is higher than with a bonded bridge depending on how much pressure the actual replacement endures due to grinding and normal wear.

Conventional dental bridge

This type of restoration uses crowns on the teeth next to the empty space that are hooked together to help support the missing tooth. Unfortunately conventional dental bridges predictably fail at a range from 20 percent over 3 years to 3 percent over 23 years.

Dental implant

A dental implant is created from a high performance material (zirconium oxide) that is inserted into the bone to act like a natural tooth-root. Due to its nonmetallic construction the ceramic dental implant does not interfere with the body’s immune or meridian systems and therefore does not create a potential for rejection. Once anchored into the jaw, the implant integrates directly into the bone to give firm support to the artificial replacement that it is built to hold and should last the lifetime of a patient.

Routine maintenance of a dental implant is exactly the same as a person would follow for normal teeth.

Healthy patients prefer implants

Patients who prefer dental implants say that they are more comfortable and provide a more secure fit than fixed bridges or removable dentures. Dentures tend to make a person feel and look older. They can cause embarrassment in social situations when they slip and click, and hamper the everyday pleasure of eating comfortably.

Reasons to consider a ceramic dental implant:

• preserves healthy natural tooth

• looks and feel like natural teeth

• enhances a sense of self-confidence when eating, talking and smiling

• no gooey denture adhesives to deal with

• no embarrassingly loose dentures

• improves quality of speech

• perfectly natural comfort and fit

Anyone who is missing one or more of their teeth may be a candidate for implants. If more than a few of the teeth are missing, implants in supporting a crown or bridge can replace those teeth and function as normal teeth without concern for decay. If all or most of the teeth are missing, then implants may be placed to fix in place a full-mouth fixture.

Conventional Dental Bridge

Getting fitted for a denture bridge requires the manual modification of the teeth on either side the bridge, a process that significantly weakens adjacent teeth. In order to fit a conventional bridge the structure of the existing teeth has to be ground down to support the false bridge. This practice weakens adjacent teeth while dental implants do not affect the health or longevity of neighboring teeth at all.

Once established, implants are firmly set into the bone making them more natural than dentures or conventional bridges, with none of the shifting that dentures normally display.

Some problems with conventional bridges

• since they are bonded to the adjacent tooth with a glue-like substance, bridges more often become loose and fall out

• Cracks and fissures form over time, due to normal wear and tear, causing them to become fragile and prone to breakage

• Improper fit can lead to either tooth decay or irritation to the surrounding sensitive tissue in the mouth

No such problems with implants

Ceramic dental implants are recommended to patients because:

• Chewing is easy with excellent biting pressure provided by implant

• Dental Implants have a good reputation for providing reliable and long-standing service, providing decades of use with few, if any complications

• Comfortable fit and durability because they are well secured and integrated with the bone and gums

Considering the overall advantages patients can expect to benefit from as a result of choosing a dental implant, they are better able to enjoy a healthier lifestyle without the restrictions many denture wearers face. Ultimately, not worrying about dentures becoming loose or falling out when speaking or eating offers a freedom that simply makes sense. The more secure foundation offered by a dental implant improves biting pressure, making it possible to enjoy the foods that a patient probably would not be able to using a dental prosthetic. With improved chewing ability it is more likely for a person to have a better diet and therefore improved overall healthfulness.

How Are Holistic Dentists Different From Traditional Dentists?

Dr. Marilyn JonesBefore we can get into depth on the differences, I think its important to look at what the word holistic really means. The word holistic is not a reflection of the practices and techniques used by the dentist, but of an overall philosophy of the role of oral care. The word itself comes from “wholistic” meaning the whole.  Truly holistic dentists will educate patients on the importance of overall health and how dentistry can play a role in the overall health.

All dentists to some extent see the importance of the mouth in the overall health of an individual. For instance, studies have concluded a link between gum disease and heart health, diabetes, and pregnancies. However, many dentists are not trained in the long term effects of what dentistry does (or could possibly do) to the whole body. Hence the reason the field of holistic dentistry was formed.

Truly holistic dentists are dentists who perform dentistry that is good for the body as well as the teeth and gums.

There are dentists who call themselves holistic (for marketing or differentiation reasons) but the only thing holistic about them is that they don’t place mercury fillings. On the flip-side, there are conventional dentist who perform complex, comprehensive dentistry that involves more than the teeth and gums it involves the face, head, neck. the whole body hence the “wholistic” nature of what they do, yet they don’t call themselves holistic. To say that a dentist is one or the other is not always accurate.

Dr. Marilyn Jones has placed an emphasis on a more natural or holistic approach to dentistry. But what does this mean? What are the nuts and bolts of the differences between truly holistic dental practices and more traditional dental practices? What are the topical differences? The Issues

When most people think of holistic and natural dentistry, they think of mercury fillings. But there are many more issues that divide most traditional and holistic dental practices. (Please keep in mind that many traditional dentists practice under the philosophies of the holistic side and vice-verse. This is why labels don’t work. But for simplicity’s sake, I’ve divided the issues below.)

Mercury Fillings: Traditional dentistry espouses the longevity of mercury amalgam fillings and the fact that insurance will typically cover the cost of placement. They will also point to the ADA and FDA’s statements that the mercury in the fillings is stabilized and safe, leaking only tiny amounts of mercury. They are also typically easier for the dentist to place than composite fillings.

Holistic dentists understand that mercury is a toxin and even small amounts are too great a risk to the body and your overall health. While amalgam fillings last longer than composites, they put extreme pressure on the tooth and often cause weakening of the tooth meaning that the filling may outlast the tooth it was placed in. Truly holistic dentists do not place mercury and meet or exceed safety guidelines for removal.

Root Canals (or Root Canal Therapy): Most traditional dentists will recommend root canal therapy as a means to save a tooth that has suffered severe decay and has already or will soon die completely. They argue that the procedure has been done for centuries and has been proven safe and effective as a means to keep a natural tooth.

Holistic dentists point to the research that says root canal therapy cannot be effective unless the canal is 100% sterilized and cleaned of bacteria, and the repeated studies have shown that it is 100% impossible to completely sterilize the canal. They also argue that the chemicals used for sterilization are toxic (formaldehyde is one such chemical) and that the bacteria left in the canal can lead to adverse health affects down the road, including breast cancer, heart disease, and more. Holistic dentists typically do not recommend root canals.

Fluoride: Traditional dentists are in favor of using fluoride in both a topical and ingested form. They argue in favor of fluoridating water supplies and recommend fluoride drops for infants. They point to research showing a decrease in cavity rates in areas where the water is fluoridated.

Holistic dentists typically argue against any form of ingested fluoride, arguing that research has linked ingested fluoride to cancer and various bone problems while other research has shown no benefit to the teeth from ingested fluoride. They also argue that too much fluoride can cause fluorosis and that fluoridating public water supplies is forced medication of the general public. Some holistic dentists are for topical fluoride and some are against it.

Bio-compatibility of Dental Materials: Most traditional dentists don’t believe in bio-compatibility testing and will not test you to see if the materials they use will cause a reaction when placed in your body. Most traditional dentists do not explain the differences between different composite filling materials nor do they give you a choice on which materials will be used for your cavity.

Holistic dentists believe that what goes into your mouth can affect your entire body and many have on-site equipment to test for bio-compatibility of the materials they use. Most holistic dentists use a variety of different composite filling materials as well as different materials for other procedures (bridges, crowns, etc.).

Summarizing the Differences: The above is a partial, topical list of some of the philosophical differences between traditional and holistic dentists. The fact remains that many traditional dentists will fall onto the side of holistic dentists in the above instances, and vice-verse. The differences between the two aren’t necessarily topical in nature (although topical differences are easy for us to understand, and easy to pinpoint, so they make a tidy way to differentiate).

The true differences between holistic dentistry and traditional dentistry is philosophical: traditional dentistry is the practice of treating the symptoms in the teeth and gums and attempting to prevent such problems from reoccurring. Holistic dentistry is the practice of treating the underlying problems that cause symptoms in the mouth, attempting to eliminate those problems (and, hence, preventing the symptoms from reoccurring) while ensuring the work done in the mouth does not have an adverse affect on your overall health.

So How Do You Know Which to Choose? So, if the differences are philosophical how do you find a dentist that’s right for you and a dentist whose philosophies match your own? Ask good questions! Ask questions such as “How do you determine which type of filling is right for me? “ and ” If I get cavities in one area of my mouth, can you tell me why?” If you want a truly holistic dentist, their answers will revolve around your entire body and he/she will discuss the role your oral health plays in your overall health. If you want a traditional dentist, look for answers that talk more about the topical symptoms and ask questions about cost/benefit and insurance coverage.

You always have the right to ask questions and know what’s going on. You never have to implicitly trust your dentist. While most dentists are good people who want to look out for your best interests, the fact remains that no two people have the same best interests and there are alternatives out there. Its more than just your right to ask questions of your medical and dental advisers, it’s your duty. It is, after all, YOUR health we are talking about.

Call our office now at (713) 785-7767 to schedule your next appointment. We look forward to meeting you and earning your trust.

 

 

About Wholistic Dental Associates

Wholistic Dental Associates is one of a kind dental practice in Houston.

As true holistic dentists we perform dentistry that is good for the body as well as the teeth and gums.

The true differences between holistic dentistry and traditional dentistry is philosophical: traditional dentistry is the practice of treating the symptoms in the teeth and gums and attempting to prevent such problems from reoccurring. Holistic dentistry is the practice of treating the underlying problems that cause symptoms in the mouth, attempting to eliminate those problems (and, hence, preventing the symptoms from reoccurring) while ensuring the work done in the mouth does not have an adverse affect on your overall health.

Studies have concluded a link between gum disease and heart health, diabetes, and pregnancies. However, many dentists are not trained in the long term effects of what dentistry does (or could possibly do) to the whole body. We at Wholistic Dental Associates educate our patients on the importance of overall health and how dentistry can play a role in the overall health. We put emphasis on a more natural or holistic approach to dentistry.

Call our office now at (713) 785-7767 to schedule your next appointment. We look forward to meeting you and earning your trust.