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Protecting the Immune System with Biological Dentistry

It’s not uncommon to walk into a dental office and find yourself surrounded by some of the best modern-day comforts. Nowadays, many dental practices offer patients spa-oriented environments and services—but fail to treat the entire person. While modern dentistry can mend problems manifesting in the mouth, it doesn’t consider the mouth-body connection, even though there is substantial evidence showing an intimate relationship between dental health and overall health. A study published by the British Dental Journal in 2016 “presents evidence from a large group of patients (attending general dental practices) demonstrating that worsening oral health correlates with worsening general health.” The study included 37,000 patients examined by 493 dentists.

According to the books Holistic Dental Care: The Complete Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums, and Nutrition and Integrative Medicine: A Primer for Clinicians, German physician Dr. Reinhard Voll studied the relationship between physical and oral health for more than 40 years, and estimated that over 80 percent of human disease was related in some way to the mouth. It’s a connection that some clinicians have been aware of for many years, but which has more recently been indicated by numerous research studies. According to the National Institute of Health, a paper released in 2000 entitled “Oral Health in America: a Report of the Surgeon General” stated that recent research has indicated “possible associations between chronic oral infections and diabetes, heart and lung disease, stroke, and low birth weight or premature births.”

Diabetes is an excellent example of the oral and systemic connection. It is a disease that is becoming more prevalent, and a recent study suggested periodontitis (gum disease) is often a complication of pre-diabetes. The study, performed by the University of Amsterdam and published in 2017 by BMJ Journals, concluded, “The dental office, with particular focus on patients with severe periodontitis, proved to be a suitable location for screening for (pre)diabetes; a considerable number of suspected new diabetes cases were identified.” Early diagnosis gives the patient more time to make changes in order to prevent the development of the disease.

Biological dentistry, also known as holistic dentistry, identifies symptoms of poor oral health and their implications for overall health. Symptoms including gum problems, dry mouth, mouth ulcers and snoring can all indicate dental and general health problems. Poor occlusion where the teeth don’t bite together correctly can cause more generalized problems including chronic headaches, facial pain, and pain extending into the neck and shoulders. A physician presented with these conditions could well struggle to make the correct diagnosis and to provide the proper treatment. A holistic dentist can determine a great deal about the patient’s overall health during an initial examination, looking beyond the symptoms of poor oral health.

Treating the Entire Person

Holistically oriented dentistry takes a different approach than conventional dentistry. It considers the entire person while combining the very latest technologies and most advanced techniques, and determines the most appropriate treatment for providing a long-term solution. It recognizes the importance of using non-toxic materials with excellent biocompatibility, reducing stress on the immune system. Treatments provided are minimally invasive, preserving more of the natural tooth structure and surrounding tissues. Laser dentistry and ozone therapy are both excellent examples of effective natural treatment/non-chemical procedures for killing bacteria, resulting in a high-quality outcome that benefits oral and overall health.

Education and Restoring Physical Health

Once optimal dental health is achieved, the process of restoring physical health continues. Biological dentists consider the person’s overall nutrition, work closely with patients to eliminate harmful habits like smoking, and may collaborate with other health practitioners to restore a harmonious relationship between the patient’s mouth and body. Holistic dentistry also places more emphasis on education, ensuring that patients understand potential risk factors, why a dental disease develops, how to avoid it in the future and the consequences for general health. Patients receive dental care and advice tailored to meet specific oral and general health needs.

Everybody’s mouth is unique; “one size fits all” dentistry cannot achieve the best outcome. Holistic dentists have often invested significantly in continuing education and technology, so they can treat the entire person more effectively and not merely focus on just the oral cavity. A healthy body begins with a healthy mouth.

Dr. Supriya Shetty is a practicing holistic dentist at Integrative Dental Solutions and is an accredited member of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology. Integrative Dental Solutions has two locations, at 23770 Capitol Dr., Pewaukee, 262-691-4555; and at 6789 North Green Bay Ave., Ste. M1, Glendale, 414-206-0071. For more information, visit WINaturalDentist.com.

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