It’s that time of year in our household: time to visit the dentist. This year we started seeing a different kind of dentist. Biological dentists differ from traditional dentists in a number of important ways:
- A biological dentist looks at the teeth and oral tissues as part of the whole human body. What happens in your mouth is indicative of other systemic dysfunction and the procedures and materials used in treating dental problems affect the rest of the body as well.
- They do not use mercury amalgam fillings and can usually safely remove such existing fillings.
- A biological dentist can and will use alternative materials to clean your teeth or during other procedures if, for example, you have allergies or sensitivities to certain substances.
- Biological dentists don’t use fluoride. Fluoride has been shown to have a negative impact on enzymes, human tissues, female fertility, male fertility, the neurological system and thyroid function to name just a few.
- They will avoid procedures that could cause systemic infection in the body.
- They are committed to biocompatibility in all areas of their practice.
Going to a biological (or holistic) dentist is just like going to a regular dentist. We didn’t notice much of a difference aside from not having to make a special request for them to not use fluoride. I avoid fluoride because of my hypothyroid issues and have for several years now. I also use non-fluoridated toothpaste and the only exposure I get to fluoride is what is absorbed in my skin when I shower (we have not been able to get a whole-house water filter yet). I have not had a cavity in years.
Our biological dentist is covered by our dental insurance, takes x-rays and cleans our teeth just like a traditional dentist. Of course, I did notice some differences in the way she conducted the exam. Aside from examining my teeth and gums she also conducted a thorough examination of my neck and the part of my face around my mouth. She noticed that my lymph nodes were slightly swollen, something that my regular doctor at the time did not. We discussed overall health issues and how they might be related to my teeth and gums. All of this is a preference for me so if you’re interested in holistic health, this type of dentist may be for you as well.
One thing that is especially important wherever you choose to go to the dentist is to avoid mercury amalgam fillings. This 2011 opinion paper by the scientific committee of the European Commission explores the areas where mercury amalgam fillings have serious negative consequences for human health and several other studies have explored the relationship between amalgam and hearing loss, thyroid hormones, soft tissues of the face, the neuromuscular system and neurological system, especially in children.
It is also important to avoid nitrous oxide when undergoing dental (and other medical) procedures, according to Dr. Ben Lynch and Dr. Charles Ray Jones. The drug can cause elevated homocysteine, so this is a particular concern for MTHFR patients who already have high homocysteine levels or who are unsure of their current homocysteine levels. Your biological dentist should be able to help you design an anesthetic program that will work for your individual body and sensitivities.
Resources for further information:
List of Holistic Dentists from Organic Consumers
Have you been to a biological dentist? What was your experience?