The field of Holistic Dentistry involves studying the whole person – in addition to understanding an individuals oral cavity. This involves using techniques to understand an individuals mind/body connection as well as an emphasis on four major principles such as the prevention and treatment of dental problems through proper nutrition, the elimination of toxic fillings and other dental materials, the identification and correction of bite problems and the treatment of gum disease as a biological problem.
The Practice of Holistic Dentistry
Holistic Dentistry is based on the premise that the human body is a single integrated system, and that what happens elsewhere in the body can affect the gums and teeth, and vice-versa. A decayed tooth can cause a headache, but equally stress may cause us to grind down our teeth. Holistic dentists may discuss nutrition in the context of healthy teeth and suggest homeopathy as an alternative to invasive dental surgery. They will use antibiotics and anesthetics sparingly, try to avoid root canal treatments and recommend the use of bio compatible dental materials even though these may be more expensive.
Proper nutrition is as important for healthy teeth and gums as it is for the other parts of our bodies. Following a healthy diet that is rich in dairy, fresh fruit and vegetables will not only promote dental health, but is also good for cardiovascular health too.
Holistic dentists also consider the things that they leave behind in our mouths very carefully. While amalgam fillings are relatively cheap and easy to use, they also contain mercury, which is believed to be bad for our bodies and does not evaporate. Advanced countries including Norway and Sweden have banned the use of amalgam fillings because safer more modern materials are available that also give a better final finish.
Bite problems – where upper and lower teeth do not work well together – can result in far more complications than simple wearing down your precious tooth enamel and causing tooth decay. This is because an uneven bite puts unhealthy strains on the muscles of your jaw, which can be expressed through referred headaches, migraines, neck and shoulder aches, and even lower back pain. A Holistic dentist will ask about these things during a normal dental check-up, and use this information as input to where tooth and gum problems could be developing.
A good holistic dentist will also understand that gum disease is a biological problem that our bodies can resolve themselves when a healthy diet and proactive dental care are followed. A holistic dentist will never attempt invasive dental treatment until all natural remedies have been exhausted. Depending on what your needs are a holistic dentist may be the right choice for you.