An Introduction to Holistic Dentistry
A normal trip to the dentist for most of us often includes the usual routine. It starts with an examination and hygiene treatment, perhaps some x-rays, and typically concludes with a discussion on your oral care. But what if we told you a trip to the dentist could also include advice and guidance for many different aspects of your overall health and well-being? Well, get ready to learn more about the world of holistic dentistry.
In this article, we will explain what holistic dentistry is, and what makes the approach different from traditional dentistry practices. You will learn the different aspects of oral health and general health that are encompassed within the realm of holistic dentistry, as well as some of the key elements that make holistic dentistry so popular among the patients who experience it. First, let’s begin by taking a look at what holistic dentistry really means.
What does ‘holistic’ mean?
The term ‘holistic’ is defined as the understanding that the sections or components of something are inherently linked and interconnected as parts of a whole. In simpler terms related to the human body, this means that all parts of our bodies are connected and can have effects on other areas, both positive and negative. It recognizes that illness in one part of the body can negatively affect the health of other parts, and as such the treatment and prevention of illness goes outside the confines of the specific part and extends to encompass the whole body.
Holistic dentistry, by definition, is an approach to oral health that also encompasses many other areas of our health and well-being in order to provide care that extends beyond the confines of the mouth and throughout our entire selves. The guiding principle of holistic dentistry is that by taking care of the entire body, along with proper dental care, our total health will improve and have a positive impact on our lives.
Holistic dentistry has several other names that you may have heard. It is also known as alternative dentistry, biologic dentistry, or integrative dentistry. Nevertheless, the dentists that practice these principles and approaches are dedicated to the same outcomes of improved oral health and complete well-being.
How does holistic dentistry work?
Holistic dentistry begins first and foremost with a focus on proper oral health and good habits for cleaning the teeth and mouth. Regular dental checkups and hygiene treatments are essential, along with all the dental care practices you are already familiar with such as brushing, flossing, and oral rinses.
In addition to these, holistic dentistry also places a great deal of emphasis on avoiding use of mercury in any dental treatments, such as fillings. The toxic effects of mercury are well documented, and yet it is still contained in a common dental filling material known as ‘amalgam’. Mercury in the human body causes an effect known as ‘metal toxicity’, and it has many recognizable symptoms. Some of the short-term symptoms of metal toxicity include cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, nausea, high blood pressure, and even a metallic taste in the mouth. These symptoms if left unchecked can progress to other effects such as anxiety, sleeping disorders, fatigue, vision problems, tremors, and more.
You might ask then, why does amalgam continue to be used in dental procedures despite these risks? Well, the answer is not quite as simple as that. There have been many studies done on the effects of amalgam and mercury fillings on the human body, and the conclusions are varied. Even this study on amalgam dental fillings published by the Government of Canada does not definitively state that amalgam should not be used in dental procedures. However, holistic dentists unanimously agree that even the smallest risk of metal toxicity is not acceptable for their patients, especially since alternative filling materials exist that do not carry the same risks.
Holistic dentists will not use amalgam in any of their treatments, relying on alternative and non-toxic filling materials. In the event that you do have any amalgam dental fillings containing mercury, a holistic dentist will make it a top priority to have these fillings removed and replaced with a safer, non-toxic filling material.
Fortunately, the effects of mercury toxicity can be treated and even reversed through a detoxification method. This is a precise process that requires the skills of a trained dental professional in order to make sure it is done safely and effectively. The process helps remove the toxins through a variety of treatments including a specialized diet and medications designed to draw the toxins out of the body.
What else does holistic dentistry include?
Holistic dentistry takes an expanded approach to dental health by incorporating guidance and advice on other aspects of our healthy living activities. One of the most critical aspects of our lives that impacts our total health, including our oral health, is our diet and nutrition. Holistic dentists are trained in many facets of proper diet and nutrition and understand the significant links between them and our oral health. You can expect in-depth discussions with your holistic dentist on your diet and will receive detailed explanations on how it can impact your overall health and well-being, in addition to your dental health.
In addition to these areas of your life, holistic dentists will also speak to you regarding other factors that can have significant impact on your overall health, and therefore on your oral health as well. For example, smoking and heavy alcohol use are major contributing factors to our state of health. Holistic dentists will advise you on the potential short-term and long-term impacts that these habits can have on your dental health and overall well-being. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are major factors that are attributed to early onset periodontal disease and many other oral health issues such as cancer, tooth decay, and more.
While a few years old, the YouTube video by Living in Libations, offers some great insight into what Holistic Dentistry is, and why you should care if your dentist offers this as part of their practice.
How do you know what dental materials are best to use?
One aspect of holistic dentistry that is beneficial to patients is the dedication to testing the compatibility of a wide array of dental materials with each patient in order to ensure there are no adverse effects or negative biological reactions that they may have to materials used in dental treatments. Holistic dentists work closely with certified naturopathic doctors to evaluate the suitability of a vast number of different dental materials for each patient. This is done using a sophisticated electromagnetic testing method to analyze the potential reaction of the patients’ body to samples of dental materials. The test is completely pain-free, and once complete will inform your holistic dentist on the best materials to use, and which ones to avoid, for your unique biochemistry.
Where can you get holistic dentistry?
There are only a small number of dentists in Ontario that offer holistic dentistry to their patients, as it requires a unique set of skills and training above and beyond traditional dental procedures.
If you feel that holistic dentistry is of interest to you, and you would like to learn about its many potential benefits in greater detail, feel free to reach out to the team here at Georgian Dental®.
We are proud to offer complete holistic dental care and would be happy to explain the unique benefits that holistic dental treatments can offer you – contact us today and learn more.