In medicine, there are all kinds of doctors who specialize in treating just one part of the body – podiatrists for feet, ophthalmologists for eyes, dermatologists for skin, and so on. Yet mouth specialists – dentists – are the exception to the rule. And that’s pretty weird.
Part of the reason for that is the historical fact that dentistry was once treated as a skilled trade, done by “barber-surgeons” who focused mainly on solving mechanical problems: extracting teeth, fixing those that were broken or decayed, and so on. It evolved as a separate profession, as 19th century attempts to bring the two fields together failed.
And even though dentistry has evolved a lot, much of its focus remains simply on fixing problems, without seeing the mouth in relation to the rest of the body it’s a part of. Yet as the great German medical doctor and researcher Dr. Reinhold Voll taught, up to 90% of all systemic health problems have an oral component.
The good news is that conventional dentistry seems to be catching up with this fact, mostly with respect to the links that science has uncovered between periodontal (gum) disease and other inflammatory conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, cognitive decline, and some cancers.
But the mouth/body relationship is much more expansive than that, as holistic and biological dentists have understood for some time now. We know that the mouth is a mirror of the body – and that what happens in the mouth doesn’t necessarily stay in the mouth.
This is why, for instance, we use only biocompatible materials when we need to restore or replace teeth. The common “silver” fillings are actually about 50% mercury, a potent neurotoxin. It doesn’t stay locked in the amalgam. Small amounts are off-gassed and inhaled with every bite and swallow. From the lungs, it’s a short trip to the brain, kidneys, and other issues where it tends to accumulate, contributing to a wide array of health problems.
Instead, we use BPA-free tooth-colored composite resins and ceramic/porcelain. If there’s ever a question about whether a patient might be reactive to certain materials, we order compatibility testing. And when you need or choose to have old amalgams removed, we follow the IAOMT’s stringent SMART protocol to protect you, ourselves, and our environment from mercury pollution.
As a biological office, we also favor effective natural therapies such as ozone and nutritional interventions. Our focus is on prevention first, helping you support and sustain your whole body health and well-being through optimal oral health. When problems arise, we strive to identify and treat root causes rather than simply easing symptoms. When a tooth needs repair, we favor minimally invasive procedures that help you keep as much natural, healthy tooth structure as possible.
We even go a step further than many other holistic and biological practices with our awareness of the impact your airway in particular can have on your oral and overall health alike. When an airway is too small – a result of underdeveloped jaws, often due to poor nutrition, among other factors – teeth come in crowded and crooked. More crucially, the body doesn’t get all the oxygen it needs to truly thrive. It was long thought that there was nothing you could do about this in adulthood other than try to mitigate the damage with various oral appliances and CPAP during sleep. But with the Vivos appliances we have available today, we can actually widen airways gently and effectively in adults and children alike, laying a foundation for better oral and systemic health.
These are just some of the ways in which biological dentistry and support your total health – and some of the topics we’ll surely be returning to from time to time on this blog, as we want you to learn as much as you can about the mouth/body relationship. After all, the more you know, the more you can make truly informed decisions about your care and create the healthy, vibrant future you desire.