The September issue of Martha Stewart's Whole Living Magazine has an interesting article titled, 'Mouths Wide Open'. The writer, Melinda Wenner Moyer, who has not had any cavities, went to see a holistic dentist at the insistence of her husband, who has had many cavities, restorations, and other dental work. (I am sorry, I was unable to access the article through www.wholeliving.com)
Holistic Dentistry is based on the premise that the mouth, in particular, the balance of the oral flora, is like the canary in a coal mine when it comes to our overall health of the body. The dentist she saw, Dr. Reid Winick, says, 'I want my patients to learn what it takes to be healthy for their mouths and their bodies.'. He focuses on nutrition, environmental pollutants, structural imbalances and stresses affect the mouth and the body.
In Melinda's case, although there were no cavities (there is one type of bacteria that eats residual sugar in the mouth, which creates plaque--and she was very immune to this type of bacteria), her gums were inflamed. In his opinion this was setting her up for inflammatory systemic disease. He advised her to change her diet, to come back, and it worked.
My dentist is an oncology dentist. We are friends from working together at the same university many years ago on staff. He told me to avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol, since they are linked with causing oral cancer. The holistic dentists give this same advice.
Fluoride is an active area of discussion. Dr. Mercola, on his website, says that fluoride, in particular, fluoridated water is very bad for the health. Some go so far as to say that fluoridation of public water supplies is an example of doing something against people's consent, like a police state. There is concern that fluoride is known to lead to mental illness, including depression. Holistic dentists are against fluoride for this reason. There is also concern about the chemicals in dental floss, and the poor outcome of studies linking flossing to effective prevention of dental disease.
I also know that mouth disease, infection especially, is linked to heart disease such as endocarditis. All diseased teeth must be pulled before operating to replace the infected heart valve, or else it will get infected too. Others have connected cavities and atherosclerosis, a chronic inflammatory systemic condition.
The truth is not known yet, but I suspect the Holistic Dental Community may be on to something important.
The recommendations in the article are:
1) Brush twice a day with soft bristle brush like Sonicare DiamondClean
2) Choose a toothpaste free of fluoride and sodium lauryl sulfate, like Burt's Bee's
3) Eat alkaline foods like beans, fruits, and greens to maintain a good body pH
4) Rinse mouth with warm water and a few drops of clove or mint oil
5) Clean gums with a oral irrigator like water pic or HydroFloss
6) Get plenty of rest, sleep and exercise daily.
The Holistic Dentistry website is not helpful. Neither is Wikipedia. Here is a link from Quackwatch that is actually informational:http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/holisticdent.html
In the end, we are going to find out more about this. As Reiki Doc I see a lot of teeth, look in a lot of mouths, and smell a lot of nasty smells in my work. Diabetic breath is horrible. It is sweet and rotten. Next is Trauma Breath because there is usually alcohol on it. Kidney disease has a totally different scent of the breath, almost metallic. It turns my stomach. And Liver disease, like in a liver transplant, smells like burnt plastic and makes me want to gag. I know dogs can detect disease by scent, because their noses are far superior to ours. With my nose, I can tell a difference in the mouth, and since I already know the medical history, I can recognize a pattern. I also know from a metaphysical point of view, the soul enters and leaves the body through the mouth, at first breath in the delivery room, and last breath in the hospice. I see it happening, and I feel it. That is how I know. Mouths are important, in my opinion, and I look forward to learning more about the mouth-body-health connection.
Anyway, I hope this makes for discussion, and possibly some new findings for all of us. Comments are welcome!