The Dental Connection to Health

Learn how oral health affects your overall well-being

Think back to any time you filled out a health history form as a patient in a practitioner’s office or hospital. Were there any questions about your dental health or any procedures you had? When your physician looks in your mouth, it’s generally to look at your throat, and maybe your tongue. How your teeth occlude or jaws align may have a great impact on your posture, joints and painful muscles. Periodontal disease can be a reflection of inflammation elsewhere. Oral structures, being at the point of entry of food into the body are certainly a factor in the digestive process. And perhaps the most disregarded by health practitioners, including dentists, is the systemic effect of dental materials that may be toxic.
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Oral Health Overview

Oral health is a mirror into your body. Systemic inflammation shows up as gum disease. Dental decay occurs as a response to imbalance in body chemistry. Likewise, an infection, such as an abscessed tooth, stresses the immune system and of course pain affects the entire body and emotions.

Dentistry Definition

The dictionary describes dentistry as “the profession or science dealing with the prevention and treatment of diseases and malformations of the teeth, gums, and oral cavity, and the removal, correction, and replacement of decayed, damaged, or lost parts, including such operations as the filling and crowning of teeth, the straightening of teeth, and the construction of artificial dentures.” Pretty much excludes the TMJ and orofacial pain, which is also excluded for payment from both dental and medical insurance.

Dentists can inject anesthetics, prescribe medications on a short-term basis for pain, infections, and anxiety resulting from dental treatment, but dentists can’t practice medicine. And because other health practitioners know very little about dentistry, there is a void in healthcare. Enter the Holistic Dentist to provide the missing link.

Holistic Dentistry Definition

The dictionary defines Holistic Dentistry as “the dental practice that takes into account the effect of dental treatment and materials on the overall health of the individual”. Quite different than just being a dental carpenter.

More specifically, Holistic, also known as Biological Dentistry is considered a field of alternative dental healthcare which treats the teeth, jaw, and related structures with particular regard to how the therapy will affect the entire body. Holistic Dentists also recognize that oral health reflects the state of health of the whole body.

Holistic Dentistry Addresses the Whole Person

There’s a whole person attached to the mouth. Dental problems such as periodontal disease, hidden jawbone infections, or toxic fillings can have systemic effects. A biological dentist will consider the following:

  • Take extensive dental and health histories and work cooperatively with the patient’s health practitioners
  • Take thorough precautions to safely remove mercury containing “silver” amalgam fillings with respect to patient protection and environment with proper air and water filtration and waste disposal
  • Recognize the relationship of specific teeth to acupuncture meridians and the autonomic nervous system
  • Understand the effects of electrogalvanism and ion migration from dissimilar metals in the mouth
  • Preserve natural teeth as much as possible
  • Restore teeth with non-toxic biocompatible dental materials utilizing blood tests for medically compromised patients to determine dental materials that will not weaken the immune system
  • Utilize atraumatic tooth extraction techniques and thoroughly cleanse the socket
  • Utilize non-surgical treatment of many periodontal problems
  • Consider and test some root canals for toxicity in unresolved health problems
  • Treat temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) effecting total body alignment, referred pain, and bruxism. Also work with Chiropractors, Physical Therapists, and body workers.
  • Work with health professionals for detoxification of heavy metals
  • May work with professionals or use acupuncture, biofeedback, craniosacral therapy, herbal medicine, homeopathy, EFT, hypnosis, aromatherapy, nutritional counseling and other alternative techniques

Why Aren’t There More Holistic Dentists?

Guess what! Your mouth and teeth and jaws are connected to the rest of your body. Of course you know that, but when it comes to being a factor in your overall health, medicine doesn’t even give dentistry a back seat. Emergency rooms are ill-equipped for dental complaints and can give palliative treatment only for pain and infections. Health insurance doesn’t cover dental procedures. Physicians, or any health practitioner for that matter rarely factor in oral health in diagnosis or treatment of systemic health conditions. Why? The answer is they don’t learn about it in their training. Any why is that? Well that’s a history lesson.
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Health focused dentistry is really not a new concept. In fact if you go back to the 1800s you’ll see that dentists were physicians that specialized in dentistry. They were called Medical Dentists. It was the introduction of the first filling material that could be placed in the tooth at room temperature that split the profession. That filling material contained mercury, a known poison. Present day dentistry still promotes mercury containing amalgams as safe for everyone, including pregnant women, children, and medically compromised individuals. The mainstream professional dental associations seek to discredit the dentists who believe otherwise and many holistic dentists have been disciplined by their State Boards of Dentistry. Lucky there are holistic health-focused organizations that continue to train biological dentists and also help to protect your right to choose the dental treatment you seek.

What You Can Do

Read about the history of dentistry If you have health issues that are mysterious or unresolved, determine if you had dental work done previously. Look in our directory for a holistic dentist. Travel if you must to work with a dentist who is health focused and will work with your practitioners.

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