Holistic dentistry, also known as biological dentistry, takes a person’s complete physical and emotional health into consideration compared to just considering their oral health. Holistic dentists often use natural treatments, which are often times combined with conventional methods, to care for the oral health of their patients.
Many oral treatments today contain toxic elements which can cause issues. For example, the product amalgam, which is frequently used in fillings, consists of more than half mercury. Mercury, which is a heavy metal, can damage the central nervous and immune systems.
Additionally, bacteria can enter the bloodstream as a result of gum cleanings and root canals. Gum cleanings are an important aspect of oral health. Therefore, holistic dentists opt to use natural antibacterial agents to prevent decay and help minimize this risk.
In 1978, a group of dentists formed the Holistic Dental Association (HAD). Their mission is to support the knowledge of holistic practices across dentists and to inform the public about its health benefits.
Risk factors associated with traditional dentistry
For the general public, amalgam fillings are the primary source of mercury exposure. Mercury can also remain in your body for up to a year.
In addition to the potential exposure to mercury and bacteria, environmental concerns should be considered. The improper disposal of dental waste can release heavy metals into our water sources. This poses a threat to wildlife and can affect the food chain.
Relationship between oral health and overall health
Oral health is critical and can be the entry point for infections to enter the bloodstream. It is undeniably related to an individual’s overall health. Oral health issues can be a risk factor for and indicate the presence of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The human immune-deficiency virus (HIV) often exhibits its first symptoms in the mouth. Nearly all Americans who have diabetes, are also found to have gum disease.
Poor oral health can contribute to depression and other mental health conditions. It can impact social interaction, physical attractiveness and impact a person’s confidence.
Holistic dentistry vs. traditional dentistry
Holistic dentists evaluate a patient’s complete health and don’t focus solely on the teeth and gums. They may encourage patients to participate in preventative care beyond oral hygiene such as improved nutrition, moderation of alcohol and encourage them to stop smoking.
As with anything, the views and beliefs of holistic dentists can vary. Some holistic dentists are against the use of fluoride as they don’t believe it prevents tooth decay and presents concerning long-term health problems. From a political standpoint, holistic dentists are against water fluoridation because they view it as the government forcing medicine on the general public.
Many holistic dentists are also against performing root canals. The dentist kingwood texas believe the use of chemicals in sterilizing agents can also cause long-term health effects.
Holistic dentists do not use amalgam, nickel or other metals to fill a cavity. They opt to use composite resin. The use of composite resin is gaining popularity in traditional dentistry as well. Holistic dentists may encourage patients to remove their existing amalgam fillings and replace them with healthier materials.
Holistic dentistry also encourages the use of digital X-ray equipment. This method exposes patients to far less radiation than a traditional X-ray. Conventional dentists are also beginning to use this type of equipment to reduce the exposure to radiation.
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