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A Holistic View on Oral Hygiene

November 3, 2012

There are more connections between your dental health and your entire body than what you would think. Think of it like this: If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then the mouth is the front door to our body, the teeth windows to our health.

Studies show that one’s oral health plays a big part in one’s risk for heart disease, diabetes and even the health of a newborn. There is an actual link between oral health and general health and it goes both ways – poor oral health affects general health and poor general health affects dental health. According to Dr. Weston A. Price’s book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, countries whose cultures have the best dental health enjoyed the best overall health as well.

This comes as no surprise since our whole body is connected. A good example is how a dentist can assess the probability of certain illnesses based on oral symptoms. A thick white coating on the tongue can be from an internal yeast infection. Peridontal disease is a good indicator of diabetes. Because of this, there has been a noticeable shift towards a more natural or “holistic” approach in oral health care in the last few decades.

Why choose a holistic oral health care approach?

Holistic oral health care takes care of not only the health of one’s teeth, but focuses on health promotion. This approach takes on a preventive stance, instead of a curative or treatment-based approach. Holistic dentistry, for example, conducts general dentistry procedures to correct problems but also investigates the underlying causes for those problems. Habits of eating, sleeping, and other unique characteristics of an individual patient's body composition are all examined to explain the underlying cause of oral hygiene problems.

Holistic professionals concern themselves with the wellness of the overall human body.  Since it focuses on prevention and takes care of the “whole” system, it supports the total health and wellness of the patient, the practitioner (dentist) and the environment. You would be assured that all necessary treatments and procedures are safe for both you and your dentist.

Maintaining Oral Hygiene – The Holistic Way

Overall wellness needs to include a healthy diet, a regular fitness regimen and good nutrition. The same applies to achieving good dental health and some more tips outlined below:

Rinsing with Salt Water

Combining warm water and pure quality sea salt like the Himalayan sea salt ensures that your oral pH balance stays alkaline, since microorganisms and bacteria thrives in an acidic environment.

Daily Flossing

Flossing daily prevents cavities, removes plaque and promotes clean healthy gums. It ensures that the tiny food pieces caught in teeth crevices are removed, something brushing alone can’t do.

Tongue Cleaning

A tongue cleaner is a U-shaped wire with rubber grips you can buy at convenience stores. Use it to scrape the surface of your tongue to remove any residue. This helps to remove any toxins that are staying in your mouth. As mentioned earlier, consistent white coating on your tongue is a sign of an internal yeast infection.

Oil Pulling

Rinsing your mouth with a tablespoon of coconut oil for 15 minutes “pulls” out the toxins and microorganisms that are hiding in your teeth, gums and tongue. Remember coconut oil has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties – it can even improve your sinus congestion. Spit the oil out after rinsing. Make sure you do not swallow. Here's a full guide on oil pulling.

Having Regular Check-ups with a Holistic Dentist

Choosing the right dentist is as important as choosing the right doctor. As a holistic dentist comes with a prevention standpoint, it is important to see him at least twice a year for cleanings. Some dentists insist that they see their patients every four months for check-up.

Choosing a holistic dentist ensures that he will employ nontoxic treatments and methods that will be beneficial to your overall health instead of treating a specific problem alone. As a dentist that cares for your over-all well being, he will also see to it to check on your eating habits, dental cleaning routine and advises you on how to best preserve your teeth in its original and permanent form.

A True Holistic Dentist

A dentist can advertise that he uses a holistic approach in treating his patients but his practices say otherwise. Here are signs of a true holistic dentist:

He doesn’t use amalgam fillings. Amalgam fillings have been found to contain mercury and can have long-term effects towards the patient and doctor.

He doesn't offer fluoride treatments. Fluoride can bring about white spots on your teeth, harm your thyroid and weaken the bones.

He avoids crowns whenever possible. He tries to leave as much of the tooth intact and uses non-toxic fillers. This is called biomimetic dentistry.

He uses low-radiation X-rays and uses them as little as possible on children. Radiation exposure has a cumulative effect, so the less amount of time you are exposed to it, the better.

He uses IV therapy for surgery and post-operative surgery healing. While we cannot avoid painkillers especially during operations, healing is jumpstarted with natural herbs, vitamin-C IVs, and a round of probiotics after antibiotics.

Indianapolis Holistic Dentist

Dr. Reese is an Indianapolis holistic dentist specializing in fluoride-free cleanings, biocompatible dental implants, and pain-free sedation dentistry. If you are wanting to get the amalgam removed from your mouth or are looking for an integrated biological dentist in the Indianapolis area, consider calling Dr. Reese at 317-882-0228.