Biological and Holistic Dentistry: A Natural and Comprehensive Approach to Mouth Wellness
Biological and Holistic Dentistry Defined
New research and new diseases are prompting some dentists to question the wisdom of traditional dental materials and dental procedures. These dentists practice what is called holistic or biological dentistry.
1. Recognize the close connection between dental health and such areas as nutrition, body structure such as problems in the dental arch and the temporomandibular joint structure, the craniosacral fluid system of the body, the immune system, and the central nervous system.
2. Understand the materials used in dental fillings and the risks in different types of fillings.
3. Are concerned about the safety of root canal-filled teeth, generally called root canals.
4. Understandcavitations, which are pockets of infections left over from old dental procedures.
5. Understand natural and non-surgical methods of dealing with gum disease.
6. Understand the nutritional balancing science of dentistry.
THE POLITICS OF BIOLOGICAL OR HOLISTIC DENTISTRY
Just as licensed medical doctors and even chiropractors who deviate from the standard practice are often harassed by their medical boards, state dental licensing boards do the same thing to holistic and biological dentists. While they claim to be open-minded, they often censure and harass those who offer holistic dentistry.
In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration has changed their mind about mercury amalgam fillings and is no longer recommending them for children under the age of 6 and for pregnant women. But leaders in the movement to ban amalgams and to re-educate dentists about holistic care have been viciously attacked for trying to inform the public about the dangers of traditional dentistry.
The FDA’s recommendation against mercury amalgam fillings may be the start of the banning of all mercury amalgam fillings. In Sweden, for example, their food and drug regulators began with the same recommendation. Then, a few years later, they said no amalgams for people under 18 and for any woman who might get pregnant in the future. Then, a few years later, they finally banned all mercury amalgam fillings. This slow approach to banning amalgams is probably done more for political and legal reasons than for any health-related reasons. They would claim it gives older dentists time to go back to school and learn the newer techniques for amalgam replacement, which is standard now in dental schools. However, allowing mercury to be used in the mouth is long outdated and banning it is long overdue and a sad chapter in dental history.
THE TOOTH-NUTRITION CONNECTION
According to Biological Dentists
Biological dentists argue that healthcare professionals that take care of your teeth and mouth should be concerned about the connection between dental health and nutrition. Your dentist should be concerned with your diets and the foods you are eating that is affecting the health of your mouth and teeth.
Dr. Weston Price, DDS is best known for his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. In 1900 to 1925, Dr. Price traveled the world, exploring the connection between healthy teeth and nutrition. He found that regardless of the culture or race, wherever Western refined foods (white breads and sugars) replaced native natural foods, dental health quickly and severely declined. Dr. Price’s book makes fascinating and convincing reading regarding the importance of nutrition in dental health. The book is filled with photos and x-rays of the teeth of healthy people before the Western diet and unhealthy people, following the Western diet.
How Foods We Eat Effect Our Teeth
Our teeth require many minerals, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, boron and perhaps others as well. These minerals are missing from refined foods. Refined sugars, white flour and white rice, for example, contain little if any of these essential trace minerals. Sugar in the diet feeds bacteria in the mouth that cause plaque and can destroy the teeth. Acidic cola drinks can damage tooth enamel. Phosphoric acid in these drinks also binds and removes calcium, magnesium and zinc from the body, leading to bone loss. Eating fruit is also damaging for the teeth, due to the combination of its high sugar content. Fruit acids, particularly if the fruit is not picked absolutely ripe, and perhaps the improper balance of minerals in many fruits today, also play a role in damaging teeth.
What Is Good For Teeth?
Biological dentists preach that proper nutrition can prevent tooth decay. Eating right is critical for bone structure to develop properly, for gum health, a healthy bite, and for every aspect of dentistry. Teeth, gums and other structures of the mouth are never isolated organs or tissues, but are integral parts of the entire body and often a reflection of the health of the entire body, which depends heavily upon proper diet, nutrition, and lifestyle. This should be central in biological dentistry, and dentistry in general.
TOOTH DECAY AND DENTAL FILLING MATERIALS
Tooth decay is often easy to curtail by combining a nutritional balancing program with good dental hygiene together. Dr. Weston Price, DDS, amazingly found that he could cause decayed teeth to fill in by themselves, which means one may not even need to ever have a tooth filled, provided one follows a correct healing program.
What about fluoride treatments or pills to prevent tooth decay? Though a very controversial topic, according to biological dentists, there is no need for fluoride treatments or other toxic approaches to prevent tooth decay. They are against dentists who practice applying fluoride to children’s teeth, and are very weary of such an exercise because many times these treatments are given without parental permission or knowledge of the patients themselves.
Other types of chemical sealants for teeth are also not needed (in the opinions of biological dentists) if nutrition is corrected, although this can be a lengthy and involved proposition with some children and adults. In such cases, there may be a rationale for the use of some sealants, but never fluoride.
The Dangers of Mercury Amalgam Fillings
The standard material used to fill cavities for the past century and a half is a mixture or amalgam of mainly silver and mercury, with a small amount of copper, cadmium and other metals. To place the filling, the tooth must be hollowed out. The mixture is then placed in the tooth. The dentist squeezes out some of the mercury, causing the filling to harden. The mercury content makes the filling soft enough to place inside the tooth. Mercury also kills bacteria that might cause infection.
Amalgam fillings have a number of serious drawbacks:
1. First and foremost, mercury is a highly toxic metal.
Placing it in the mouth assures that some will be leached from the filling into the body. Also, the mercury can easily vaporize during chewing and during dental procedures and go to the brain.
Mercury is highly toxic for the brain and the nervous system and is associated with neuromuscular diseases, autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, and many other nervous system disorders. Mercury is called the “mad hatter mineral” because it has such severe effects on the nervous system and affected those who used it in the manufacture of hats over 100 years ago. As of 2009, dentists in America alone placed about 200,000 mercury amalgam dental fillings each day
2. The filling material provides no strength to the tooth.
Hollowing out the tooth to place the filling weakens an already sick tooth even more. This enhances the possibility of cracking the tooth, which often happens, in fact.
In contrast, using a composite resin or gluing in an inlay or onlay actually strengthens the existing tooth.
3. Placing metals in the mouth, particularly several kinds of metal in the same mouth, can generate a flow of electrical current in the mouth.
This can affect the brain and general health in some people. The metals react with saliva like the metals in a battery. In batteries, dissimilar metals in a conducting medium produce electricity. It is desirable in a battery, but not in your mouth, which is very close to the brain.
4. Each of our teeth is connected to an acupuncture meridian.
According to some leading acupuncturists, when metals are placed in a tooth, they can interfere with the flow of meridian energy through that tooth and through the entire body, as a result. The non-metallic dental materials are better in this regard, though not perfect.
5. Other metals in the amalgam such as silver, cadmium, copper and perhaps others are also toxic and have no place in a person’s mouth.
6. Mercury is so toxic that dentists who used it were called quacks.
This is because the German word for mercury is quacksalver. The word has stuck and to this day means a doctor who does not know what he is doing.
Sensitivity to mercury, as to all poisons, varies among individuals. Mercury affects the immune system, the central nervous system, the thyroid gland and other body systems. The “mad hatters” of Alice in Wonderland were actual hat makers who became poisoned with mercury. To make felt hats, workers in the 1800’s rubbed mercury on felt. After several years on the job they became ill, developed mental disturbances, and had to quit their job.
Not just spoken from biological dentist’s mouths, research regarding the toxicity of mercury is very clear. Several nations including Sweden have banned the use of amalgam fillings entirely. Other nations permit them, but not in pregnant women. Studies prove that mercury continues to leach from amalgam fillings for years after they are placed in the mouth.
Toxic Waste In Your Mouth
An odd aspect of modern dentistry is the very material placed in the patients’ mouths, when removed, is considered a toxic waste. The dentist must store removed amalgam under water, in a special container, and cannot dispose of it in the garbage. The material must be sent to a designated toxic waste dump site. You will not find carpeting where a dentist sees patients. If mercury amalgam spills on carpeting, it is hard to clean up and could contaminate the entire office. Therefore it has been made illegal to have carpeting around the dental chair.
The Ongoing Politics of Mercury Amalgams
The American Dental Association and other Dental groups worldwide have been ever so slowly (but trending toward lessening the defending of amalgams, nonetheless) as more research pours in demonstrating their harm. However, they are slow to change and people interested in their health, should be educated on alternatives to traditional dentistry.
Amalgam Removal and Replacement
Biological dentists arouse the wrath of some conventional dentists by recommending that apparently healthy amalgam fillings should be replaced with other, less toxic materials. The materials may include gold or ceramic inlays, or composite resins or other plastic types of materials. Most biological dentists agree that all silver-mercury amalgams should be replaced as soon as possible with safer and stronger materials available today.
The only critically important exceptions are:
1. Anyone with active cancer should wait until the cancer is in remission or gone before starting amalgam replacement. The added stress on the body of the release of a small amount of mercury during the removal process was enough to tip the balance in favor of cancer and greatly raise the risk of death in a person with cancer.
2. The American Dental Association frowns on the replacement of amalgam fillings that appear healthy. However, many people report feeling much better, often immediately, when less toxic material replaces amalgam fillings. The improvement may be due to eliminating the offending material, or eliminating subtle electrical currents
OTHER TOXIC DENTAL MATERIALS TO AVOID
Avoid nickel. Biological and holistic dentists also scrupulously avoid the use of nickel in dental wires, bridges, dental appliances, crowns, braces and other dental uses. Nickel is a highly toxic metal that is used due to its strength qualities, but that should never be used in the mouth. It can cause depression, suicidal thoughts and perhaps cancer as well. Unfortunately, it is still used by some dentists to fit braces, in a few less expensive crowns, and in other applications.
Better materials include titanium and particularly zirconium. Metals are not the best, however, if they can be avoided. More recently, ceramic and resins, which are plastics, basically, are being used more and these tend to be less toxic.
GUM DISEASE OR PERIODONTAL PROBLEMS
Another area of interest to some biological dentists is the natural, non-surgical treatment of gum disease, or periodontitis. Gum disease is extremely common, and a cause of loss of teeth, and other disfigurements. Surgery, namely scraping the gums, a very crude procedure at best, should rarely if ever be required for this condition. Instead, here are two very good alternatives to try first.
1. Nutritional balancing.
Gum disease usually responds easily and quickly to a nutritional balancing program, along with good basic dental hygiene. This tells us that the cause of the majority of mouth infections has to do with a faulty nutritional balance in the body that permits disease in the mouth to occur. Toxic metals such as excess copper, for example, low zinc, high cadmium, and others are also often involved. These are easily resolved with a properly designed nutritional balancing program.
2. The blotting technique.
Another alternative that can be combined with a nutritional balancing program is called the blotting technique pioneered by Dr. Joseph Phillips, DDS. It is simple, inexpensive, and consists of buying a special toothbrush that is designed to absorb toxins into its bristles. This is used in a special way to essentially “blot” or suck toxins out of the gums, instead of using a toothbrush the usual ways, which often pushes the toxins into the gums.
BASIC ORAL CARE ACCORDING TO BIOLOGICAL DENTISTS
✵ The best toothpaste.
A combination of 35% hydrogen peroxide mixed with a little baking soda and plain water. Keep this next to your toothbrush and dip the brush in it once or twice each time you brush your teeth. If the solution seems to strong, just add a little more water
Another option is to brush with some plain soap. This is also not too tasty, but it will remove the film of tartar very well and it kills many germs, as well. It is simple and inexpensive.
Most toothpaste should be avoided, as they often contain fluoride and sodium laurel sulfate, both of which are toxic for the gums and teeth.
✵ Flossing your teeth.
Floss the teeth at least once every day, including and preferably at night before bed so that food particles do not remain in between the teeth all night long. There is some debate over the best method to floss the teeth. The options are:
1. Regular dental floss.
2. Small plastic flossers sold in drug stores called Plackers and others that consist of a plastic handle with a small piece of dental floss fixed to the plastic handle. These are easier to use and avoid wasting a lot of dental floss.
3. An electric Waterpik or Hydrofloss machine. This is a more expensive device that literally shoots a tiny pulsed stream of very high-pressure water between the teeth, something like a pressure washer used to wash car engines. The claim is that they work better than standard dental floss, but some dentists would argue whether it can remove tightly stuck particles of food as well as standard dental floss. Since this is the idea of dental floss, one must be careful about depending on the electric machines.
One advantage of the water flossers is that one can place a little colloidal silver, hydrogen peroxide or other substance in the machine and pressure wash with a medicated solution. Another advantage is it will penetrate in areas where a brush and floss will not. This is helpful if you have infection below the gum line, for example, or are wearing braces and trying to keep the mouth cleaner.
✵ Brushing your teeth.
This should be done at least once daily, and preferably after each meal. It can be done quickly, as the main goal is to remove tartar and plaque before they build up. Brushing the teeth is mainly a way to upset the bacterial colonies so they do not organize themselves into deep and hard plaque deposits.
Brushing can also be used to whiten the teeth by using a hydrogen peroxide solution to brush with. Be careful about other tooth whitening solutions, as they can damage the tooth enamel if one is not careful.
Brush after flossing the teeth to clean out any debris that has been loosened by the dental floss. The best brush has firm bristles, but not so firm that they irritate your gums. Electric toothbrushes in which the head spins in a few directions are probably better than old-style mechanical brushes, although the latter will work fine, as well, if one uses them properly.
Brush across the teeth quickly, and then mainly brush in an up and down motion to loosen and remove plaque and tartar. If you have gum disease, brushing can sweep bacteria under the gums and this is not good. Be sure to use a hydrogen peroxide or soap solution in these cases to kill the germs. Consider a water flosser or blotting the teeth, rather than brushing in a regular way.
✵ Mouthwashes and other common oral hygiene products.
Avoid common mouthwashes such as Listerine that contains alcohol and other chemicals that irritate the gums. These are not needed to have a clean mouth. Rinsing with a little 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide for a really clean mouth is sufficient. It is available on the internet at sites such as www.h202for health.com and others. You may need to dilute it with water if it is too strong. Peroxide, even the standard 3% solution sold in the drug store, kills most germs and is not too irritating to the gums.
✵ Teeth whitening products.
Biological Dentists warn users to be careful with these. Most contain either hydrogen peroxide or a bleaching solution that is somewhat toxic. Do not use any of these products more than about once a year, as they can damage the tooth enamel slightly.
✵ Fluoride solutions and mouthwashes.
Fluorides are all highly toxic for the body. Biological Dentists frown against any and all products containing fluorides including toothpaste, mouthwashes, and others.
Los Angeles Times (2010)
Food & Drug Administration (2009)
International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology (2010)
Dr. Josh Axe, http://www.draxe.com