Holistic Dentistry – A Whole Body Approach to Oral Health
True or false: the human body is made of many unique parts that work together and affect each other.
True or false: dentists only treat oral health and do not consider other parts of the body.
It is well-documented in the scientific and healthcare communities that oral health is closely linked to wellness throughout the body. Certainly, a diet high in sugar will ruin both your teeth and your nutrition. Some illnesses lower your immune system and increase your risk of infection in the mouth, and plaque in the mouth can be an indicator of plaque on your arteries.
Harmful bacteria in high levels in the mouth can travel through your bloodstream and negatively affect the health of the rest of your body. And a good look at your teeth placement could ease regular jaw pain and headaches!
Holistic dentistry is a philosophy (not a single procedure) that considers oral health as a component of the health of the rest of the body. The word holistic actually comes from the word “whole.” Holistic dentists are energetic problem-solvers eager to treat you for overall health, nutrition, and well-being.
Is holistic dentistry right for me?
Holistic dentistry can partner well with your primary medical care. If you are someone who tends to think of yourself as a whole being (or you’d like to start), holistic dentistry may be right for you. You may be surprised at what health concerns can be addressed at the dentist. It’s always worth a call to the dentist when you are really seeking answers to a problem. Not every dentist knows the long-term effects of oral care in the overall body, so seek a dentist who specifically encourages “holistic dentistry.”
Don’t be fooled by advertising that simply claims to be holistic. Be sure to look for a dentist whose practices address causes and symptoms throughout the body (especially the face, head, neck, and digestion). Sometimes holistic practices take more time and require lifestyle changes, but the benefits are long-lasting and well worth it. If you enjoy taking an active role in your health and wellness, you may enjoy working with a holistic dentist who educates you and engages your opinion.
How will my experience in a holistic dentist office be different?
From cleaning to diagnostics and treatments, some parts of holistic dentistry will feel familiar and some will feel different. Holistic dentists look at the big picture and encourage your participation. When it comes to active care, holistic dentists diverge from conventional dentistry in four common ways.
- They usually don’t use mercury for fillings. Mercury is the strongest and traditionally the most common material for fillings and is covered by insurance and regulated by the FDA. But the strength of the material that contains mercury is believed by some to put too much pressure on teeth, and holistic dentists believe exposure to mercury at any level is considered toxic.
- They usually don’t encourage root canals because of toxic chemicals in routine preparation (sterilization) of the root.
- They may or may not support topical fluoride (like rinses and in toothpaste) but are always against ingesting it (like in public water or drops for infants) due to health concerns regarding too much exposure, and lack of consensus on proof that fluoride is necessary.
- They often test for the biocompatibility of materials used in the mouth (like bridges and fillings) to see how well the material reacts to your mouth and personal biology.
Remember, holistic dentistry is not just a procedure—it’s a whole perspective. To find a dentist whose values match yours, ask good questions! Contact Dr. Tyler Twiss at Twiss Dental in Highlands Ranch to ask about holistic practices and dentistry that benefit your smile and much more!
The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
About Tyler Twiss, DMD, MBA
Dr. Twiss grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is married with four children and loves being involved with them as they grow up. Dr. Twiss has spent extensive time in advancing his dental education. He received his Fellowship with the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, spending over 150 hours in training with world-renowned implant pioneer Dr. Carl Misch. In addition to dental implants, Dr. Twiss has extensive training in orthodontics, Invisalign®, laser gum surgery, and CEREC® one-visit porcelain crown technology.