The title of this article may have made you run your tongue over your teeth and realize that you forgot to floss this morning, and it turns out that it may be more detrimental to your health than you think. The field of holistic dentistry studies the relationship between a person’s oral health and overall physical health. A holistic dentist believes the two are not mutually exclusive, but one in the same. They believe that certain dental practices have harmful long term side effects for our body. To know what holistic dentistry is you must first understand how this specialization differs from your typical run of the mill dentist. Holistic dentists do not use several products that could harm our bodies, they do not expose patients to unnecessary risk, and they may recommend holistic remedies in lieu of over the counter drugs.
There has been a growing trend in most developed countries that we need to be aware of what we are putting into our body, and the toll it takes on our long term health. Fluoride is one of the most prominent substances that natural dentists have unanimously agreed is harmful to the human body. They believe that there are very clear signs pointing to: lowered IQ in children exposed to fluoride, a weakening of the bones, and damage to the thyroid. Since this is still such a small specialization, there are a limited number of studies to empirically prove the validity of these claims. As the field continues to grow, I’m positive that general dental practices will evolve and find healthier forms of treatment.
Holistic dentists feel very strongly about the dangers associated with dental practices. An unavoidable danger is the exposure during an x-ray. Taking x-rays is such an important step to understanding the extent of decay in a tooth, so holistic dentists use low dose x-ray machines as sparingly as possible. A common theme with all holistic dentists is that they do not like to perform surgery or make cosmetic alterations unless it is absolutely necessary. In our society, many people have their wisdom teeth surgically removed before they become a more painful problem down the line. What most people don’t know is that every day 11,000 people will sustain permanent paraesthesia, which is numbness in the lip, tongue, and cheek area caused by nerve damage from the surgery.
A large portion of holistic medicine is offering natural remedies for physical ailments. A very real and painful dental procedure having a root canal performed. Many holistic dentists will only perform a root canal if they have tried other homeopathic approaches. These alternative techniques include mineral supplements, vitamins, and herbs. The FDA has recently approved Red Light Therapy which is a proven method of using infrared lights on a body part after surgery to decrease swelling and pain. It is important to note that if you experience significant pain after surgery, then you should probably consult your doctor for a more potent remedy.
Written by: Quintin Bentley Crevling