Want better oral health? It goes beyond your teeth and gums…
Also called ‘biocompatible’, ‘integrative’, ‘progressive’ or natural’ dentistry, holistic dentistry aims to combine traditional dental health approaches with alternative treatments and holistic elements.
Think of it this way: Holistic Dentistry is a form of treatment that acknowledges and deals with the mind, body, and spirit of the patient, not just his or her ‘Teeth’.
This makes a lot of sense. After all, oral health and general well being are intimately connected.
The mouth/body connection
Regular neglect of oral health – such as failure to brush daily, floss and maintain a healthy diet – is dangerous. Bacteria build up in the mouth negatively affects heart and brain health, not to mention lungs, kidneys, and, of course, your teeth. (Gum disease has linked to poor health outcomes including diabetes, heart disease and stroke).
The fact is, your gums act something like a natural barrier that helps prevent general inflammation that can damage the body.
“Oral bacteria could also harm blood vessels or cause blood clots by releasing toxins that resemble proteins found in artery walls or the bloodstream,” says researchers from Harvard Medical School.
“The immune system’s response to these toxins could harm vessel walls or make blood clot more easily.”
“It is also possible that inflammation in the mouth revs up inflammation throughout the body, including in the arteries, where it can lead to heart attack and stroke.”
Holistic dental aims, therefore, consider the whole individual during treatment.
So what do holistic treatments include?
Holistic dentistry operates on the idea that the mouth can affect – and is affected by – your overall health in profound ways that we don’t necessarily fully understand. It therefore makes sense to treat the whole body – and any specific health issues you may be experiencing – in parallel to your dental care. While traditional approaches focus on the specific problem with the teeth, gums or mouth, and instead consider the whole person – physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
This may include:
- Whole-health treatment
- Natural remedies
- Dentistry using biocompatible materials
- Avoidance of amalgam in dental practice
- Other alternative therapies
Holistic dentists pay particular attention to the underlying causes of oral health problems. Are there diet problems at play? Stress? After all, lots of things can affect well being – what you eat and drink, how much exercise you get, how much sleep do you get, how long you spend sitting, stress, underlying health issues and hereditary traits – so expect your holistic dentist to ask about lifestyle, health and well being issues.
Minimally invasive dentistry
Holistic dentists practice Minimally Invasive techniques, sometimes known as ‘minimal intervention dentistry’ or ‘microdentistry’. This approach emphasizes the preservation of natural mouth tissue – preferably by preventing disease from occurring in the first place. At Simply Dental, we are Minimally Invasive Dentistry practitioners, meaning we can help you find the least invasive treatment that stops further problems and restores the tooth to its normal state/function.
To find out more about minimally invasive dentistry, click here.
Holistic dentists favour biocompatible materials in place of dental amalgam (aka “silver fillings”).
“We are an amalgam-free practice,” says Rachel Bridgeman, Simply Dental CEO.
“Instead, we use tooth coloured fillings which are smaller and more compatible with the natural environment of your mouth. These are composite materials similar in hardness to tooth enamel, unlike amalgam which is significantly harder and can cause fractures on opposing teeth from biting or eating forces.”
(Simply Dental do offer amalgam replacement if required).
A focus on the basics
From digital X-ray to early cavity detection using sound pulses and lasers, modern dentistry is capable of some amazing things. But for all that scientific know how, nothing beats the everyday basics, diligently applied.
- Brush daily with good technique
- Floss (gently) every day
- Avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes
- Get regular dental checkups and cleaning
To find out more about holistic dentistry, contact Simply Dental.