Tag Archives: Biological Dentistry

4 Holistic Health & Wellness Blogs to Know About

Allow us to take a break and do a little bit of promotion here – not for our office but a few of Dr. E’s colleagues and past guest writers with new or expanded blogs on holistic health and wellness. They’ve a lot of knowledge and wisdom to share!

  • Biological Dentist is from the office of Dr. Bill Glaros, an outstanding dentist practicing in Houston. Once focused almost solely on dental matters, it’s recently expanded to include more on nutrition, physical activity and other factors in achieving optimal oral and systemic health.
  • Naturopathic physician Dr. Chris Fabricius has just recently begun blogging on his Living Medicine site. If you’re interested in the energetic aspects of health and healing in particular, you’ll want to bookmark this site and visit regularly.
  • The Holistic Woman is Dr. Christina Grant, who you may remember from her post here on acid-alkaline balance this past summer. And don’t let the blog title fool you! Dr. Grant provides information and insight on natural health and wellness for men and women alike.
  • Last, you may also recall Jaymie Meyer from her guest post on reiki. Her Resilience Blog promises to be a great source for helpful tips on mindful, healthy living from this certified wellness professional.

Check them out, say hello and be sure to say how you found out about them!

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Oral Health, Systemic Health: The Connection

A wonderful video by English dentist and naturopath Dr. Alison Adams on the basics of biological dental medicine:

The whole playlist this comes from – Root Canals & Infection – is excellent, giving a good overview of many important concerns in biological dentistry. Topics include mercury and other heavy metal toxicity, cavitations, fluoride, oral galvanism and more. Check it out!

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Health Care, Sick Care & Real Reform

Is it possible anyone missed the news yesterday that the US Supreme Court upheld most of the “Affordable Care Act,” a/k/a “Obamacare”?

Reading about this and response to the ruling, I thought it might be good to repost what I wrote just after the bill was passed…

Biological Dentistry as Real Health Care Reform

It’s interesting how so many people keep refering to the new health insurance bill as “health care reform.” For all the good things it does, it doesn’t reform health care so much as it reinforces profit-driven medicine.

Like many other holistic health professionals, I believe that any real health care reform must begin with broadening our understanding of health itself. For health is much more than the absence of sickness. It is a process – a way of being, if you will.

If we, as a society, made a real commitment to preventive care and the active pursuit of healthy, positive lifestyles, I think we’d go a very long way toward reducing the amount of money we spend on “sick care.” As Deepak Chopra noted in one of his excellent commentaries prior to passage of the health insurance bill,

To borrow a phrase from [former Health, Education and Welfare] Secretary Califano, we’ve become a “sick-care system” that puts all its efforts in developing newer drugs and offering more surgery once a person is ill. Doctors are not trained to keep people healthy. They are also strongly tempted to perform needless procedures that do not extend life span, such as hysterectomies, lower back surgery, heart bypass, and balloon angioplasty.

We are addicted to the sick-care system, and no money is being allocated in any of the reform bills in Congress to breaking this addiction. Massive public education was successful, over a long period of time, in getting people to quit smoking. Now we need the same massive public education to get them to adopt prevention. Will doctors, insurance companies, and big pharma do the job for us? Well, did big tobacco do the job of ending smoking? Without government action, the private sector will push drugs and surgery because prevention doesn’t show up as profit on their bottom line.

He adds, “Right now, health-care reform has been couched in terms of economics first and morality second, with little thought to what should really come first: turning sickness into wellness.”

Sad to say, but mainstream dentistry has a pretty bad track record when it comes to privileging sick care over preventive care. I suspect that much of it stems from the long-standing idea that dentists are little more than “glorified mouth mechanics,” as biological dentist Gary Verigin once put it. They see the mouth in isolation from the rest of the body and serve mainly to fix things when they go wrong: filling cavities, performing root canal procedures, repairing broken teeth and so on. This view has made it easy for some to accept many practices that we now know to be harmful yet still continue to be done. They put mercury fillings into decayed teeth. They soak the teeth and gums in fluoride. They do root canals in a misguided effort to “save” dead teeth (Would you keep any other organ in your body if it were dead?) and in the process create harbors for infection that even just the normal pressures of chewing can push into the body’s circulation where it can wreak havoc elsewhere.

The first step in dental health care reform is to stop these practices that put individuals at risk of illness, just as holistic and biological dentists have done. Deeply understanding the relationships amongst the teeth, gums, soft oral tissues and the rest of the body, they can provide nontoxic, health-enhancing care – whether it’s undoing problems caused by profit-driven dentistry or supporting individual patients in their quest for optimal health and wellness.

The concerns of biological dentistry are spelled out concisely in a [then] new book [2010] by longtime biological dentist Douglas. L. Cook, Rescued by My Dentist: New Solutions to a Health Crisis.

Much of it deals with the typical concerns of mercury, root canals and cavitations, but he also addresses several important issues often glossed or ignored in other accessible books on the subject – issues such as oral galvanism and the potential health effects of implants. He also provides much needed discussion on the damage that high speed drilling can do to the complex and delicate structures within the human tooth, as Dr. Ralph Turk, amongst others, showed in his research. (A translation of Dr. Turk’s important paper on “Iatrogenic Damage Due to High Speed Drilling” is reprinted in this book, but for a quick overview of the topic, see Dr. Verigin’s article “10 Reasons Why Your Teeth Might Hurt – and 7 Things You Can Do about It.”)

Cook also spends a good deal of time outlining the concepts of energy medicine as it pertains to the teeth, especially focusing on the tooth-meridian relationships so vital to the understanding of how problems that begin in the mouth can cause or influence problems elsewhere in the body. (According to the great Dr. Voll, cited by Cook, 80 to 90 percent of all systemic health problems can be traced to the oral cavity.) In short, it offers a solid, general introduction to what biological dental medicine is all about, and the strength of that information is what makes this book valuable.

It’s not entirely clear who this book is intended for, though. While the cover, title and much of the information suggests that it’s written mainly for the layperson, a fair amount of material is directed to dentists interested in learning procedures and protocols, such as electrodermal screening for the detection of dental problems (imbalances) and evaluation of dental materials. For those readers, the more general information may be too general, while for the layperson, such specifics may be distracting or at times create the impression that these are the only valid practices. (For instance, many excellent biological dentists prefer serum testing such as that done by Clifford Consulting & Research to evaluate dental materials – an option Dr. Cook doesn’t mention. In my practice, we strongly recommend it for those with autoimmune disorders, multiple chemical sensitivities or other environmentally- aggravated illness, as it gives the surest and most thorough results.)

One aspect of the book that may be extremely interesting and useful to the lay reader is the collection of case histories Dr. Cook has included. These amply illustrate the range of physical problems and health conditions that can be cured through proper attention to dental conditions. And while some might object to this being little more than more authoritative anecdotal evidence, the doctor does back up that evidence with reference to key scientific literature.

In reading the case histories, though, it’s important to remember that cure is seldom instant, especially when health problems have been chronic for years. Yet the overwhelming majority of histories here suggest that cure came fast, typically reporting a remission of symptoms within a few days at most. While such “miracles” do happen – I have seen them myself – it must be stressed that they are “miracles” precisely because they are not the norm. Just as it takes years of negative health influences to damage one’s health, it takes time to heal, and it’s important for every person who seeks biological dental care to understand this before proceeding with treatment. Great things can and do happen, but more often than not, over time.

Though the book could benefit from a really good edit – there’s a fair amount of repetition here, and sometimes the organization is less than clear – as mentioned, the information is valuable, and the main points, put across powerfully and memorably. I would not hesitate to recommend the book to patients – or potential patients – who are just beginning to investigate the possible connections between their health complaints and their dental health, as well as practitioners who want to understand what the biological approach to dentistry is all about. If they then want to know more, they can turn to the many excellent sources Dr. Cook cites, as well those I list on my practice’s website (scroll to the bottom of the page to the section “For Further Reading”).

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Beyond “Just” Dentistry

It’s funny how people tend to make a distinction between dentists and “regular doctors.” Physicians are, by and large, all considered doctors even if they specialize in some isolated body part – ophthalmologists for eyes, say, or dermatologists for skin, podiatrists for feet – except for the mouth. When you do that, you’re not a doctor but a dentist.

Yet what is a dentist but a physician who specializes in the mouth, teeth and other oral structures?

Currently, 9 dental specializations are officially recognized:

  1. Dental public health, which focuses on dental epidemiology and public health policy
  2. Endodontics, which focuses on the inside of the tooth, or dental pulp (If you’ve ever had a root canal, you may have been referred to an endodontist – a dentist who specializes in this procedure .)
  3. Oral and maxillofacial pathology, which is concerned with diseases of the mouth and jaw
  4. Oral and maxillofacial radiology, which is concerned with x-ray and other imaging of mouth and jaw diseases and conditions
  5. Oral and maxillofacial surgery, which treats diseases, injuries and defects of the mouth and jaw
  6. Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, which focuses on tooth and jaw alignment
  7. Pediatric dentistry, which focuses on the dental health of children
  8. Periodontics, which is concerned with the health and treatment of the gums and related oral structures
  9. Prosthodontics, which involves the replacement of missing teeth

And biological dentistry?

Even as more dentists are pursuing the extra education and training to specialize in biological dental medicine, it remains an unofficial specialty. But considering our ever-deepening understanding of the oral-systemic health connection, its a specialty on the leading edge.

This is because biological dentistry is most intently concerned with that connection. Sometimes called “holistic,” “whole-body” or “integrative” dentistry, it combines the best clinical practices of Western dentistry with the wisdom of other traditions, including Traditional Chinese Medicine. Knowing that local causes can have distant effects, the biological dentist always keeps the big picture in mind: the effect of dental conditions and treatment on the body, and vice versa. Thus, issues of biocompatibility loom large. So, too, issues of toxins such as mercury and fluoride: Their effects go far beyond the teeth.

Acknowledging that treating symptoms is not the same as treating – let alone preventing – disease, biological dentistry prefers therapies that support the body’s self-healing abilities. It favors nontoxic, nature-based remedies and a conservative approach to treating the teeth. As one colleague of mine likes to say, “The best dentistry is the least dentistry.”

Operatory image by Dr. Alper, via Flickr

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Health & Illness: More Than “If A and if B, then C”

One of this blog’s most popular posts is an article I originally wrote for my office website, “Why Doesn’t Everyone with Mercury Fillings Get Sick?”. The short answer – which I also discuss in the video “Silver Fillings, Toxic Teeth” – is that how a person fares with amalgams

tells us nothing about the fillings and everything about that individual’s constitution, immune response and ability to excrete toxins. Consider: if you have a healthy, robust immune system, you can be exposed to many pathogens without getting sick. It’s why not everyone gets the flu each year – or gets the same kind. Likewise, a person in good health and with few other risk factors may be able to bear the burden of mercury…for a time. But if they become ill or take up bad habits (e.g., eating junk food, taking drugs, smoking), their body becomes less and less able to rid itself of the mercury. That’s when you begin to see symptoms of Dental Amalgam Syndrome.

And the same can be said for most any kind of dental toxicity issue.

Several weeks ago, a reader expressed fear and concern in comments on an earlier post about root canals:

I am currently pregnant and have had to get 4 root canals during this pregnancy. I now have 6 total, at the age of 30. After doing research, I am now extremely scared and depressed. I would ideally like to have all of my root canals extracted, but am not sure that I can afford ths, after paying for the root canals themselves. Am I now destined for heart disease and/or cancer?

Strictly speaking, no one is destined for any disease. Yes, we may be genetically predisposed to certain illnesses or conditions. We may be at higher or lower risk due to factors such as lifestyle choices (e.g., diet, drug use) or environmental exposures. We may be constitutionally better or worse at eliminating the various toxins we’re exposed to.

Complex, chronic, multifactorial conditions such as heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disorders and “enigmatic” illnesses such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and multiple chemical sensitivities arise from a dynamic of forces and factors that we’re still just beginning to really grasp. But we do know that the body is a self-regulating organism whose health and healing can be supported through proper detoxification, nutrition and an active, balanced lifestyle. While living healthy is likewise no guarantee that a person will never get sick – we’ve all heard about people who lived as healthfully as possible yet still died young – it’s the best insurance policy we have.

The conventional view of medicine most of us grow up with is, to be blunt, pretty simplistic: For every illness, there’s a single cause; stopping symptoms is the same thing as curing disease. Our socialization into this model is so strong that even when we begin to understand its limitations and the benefits of a holistic, biological approach to health and well-being, we may still find our thinking stuck in its habitual ways. Here, fear becomes easy. We may assume that because we’re sick and have amalgam fillings and mercury is toxic, our illness must be due to the fillings. (Actually, only thorough, proper testing and evaluation can tell us that.) Or we may worry that the presence of root canal teeth is a one-way ticket to cancer.

Yes, there are strong, demonstrated links between health problems and dental foci – and a research record of more than 100 years – but there are no absolutes. There are too many variables.

Let’s go back to an example I used in passing in the mercury article we started with today: the flu. Why doesn’t everyone exposed to the virus get the flu – and why do some who “protect” themselves via vaccination get sick anyway? Because, as authors of a study published last year in PLoS Genetics put it, “Exposure to influenza viruses is necessary, but not sufficient, for healthy human hosts to develop symptomatic illness.” As MSNBC reported,

“Many people might conclude that if you are exposed to a virus and you don’t get sick, it’s because the virus didn’t stick or it was so weak, it just passed right through your system and your system didn’t notice. That’s not a correct notion,” says Alfred Hero, professor at the University of Michigan College of Engineering and author of the study….

He continues, “There is an active immune response which accounts for the resistance of certain people getting sick, and that response is just as active as the response we all know and hate, which is being sick with the sniffles, fever, coughing and sneezing. It’s just that the responses are different.”

And this is the case with all manner of exposures, whether to pathogenic microbes or other toxins: There’s always a response, but that response varies according to the individual. Is their immune system robust? Are they good excretors of mercury and other heavy metals? Do they practice good health habits to keep the body’s self-regulatory mechanisms in good working order?

This is why it’s so vital to look at each person’s situation and tailor treatment to their unique dynamic of factors – likewise, to always keep the big picture in mind: How does the dental situation fit in with and relate to the other health factors in a person’s life? Healing depends on a holistic, individualized approach.

Image by Lumiago, via Flickr

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Hearing What the Body Is Saying

A couple Septembers ago, I wrote about how,

if we begin to listen to the body, we begin to get a deeper appreciation for its intricate workings and an understanding of how our actions affect it – what makes it feel better and work more effectively; what strains and stresses it. We are then in a position to be much more pro-active about our health. We gain more control of it…and our physical destiny.

Yet many people aren’t and don’t, often acting as though health and illness are always and only matters of chance, not choice. Maybe the familiar and sad statistic isn’t all that surprising, then: 70% of all deaths each year are due to chronic disease. Nearly half of all Americans have at least one, and 75% of all health care dollars spent each year goes to treating them. (And we wonder why “health care” costs are so high?!) Most all of them are totally preventable – not through drugs, surgery or other conventional treatment but the lifestyle choices we make.

Two of the most common blocks to good health – dental/oral and systemic – are poor diet and chronic stress. Both keep the body from getting and assimilating all the nutrients it needs to function well. Stress – mental and physical – keeps the body constantly on “high alert,” which interferes with normal metabolic activity and weakens the immune system, making us more vulnerable to disease. It can also aggravate poor food choices, even as poor nutrition can increase stress. (Talk about a vicious cycle!)

Dentally, under these conditions, we may see more gum disease and tooth decay. Where stress-induced clenching and grinding are issues, we see TMJ and other pain problems, as well as damaged teeth and recessed gums, accompanied by tooth sensitivity. (And despite what some ads say, toothpaste for sensitive teeth does not “cure” the problem, which is exposed root or dentin. It just lets you brush sensitive teeth more comfortably.)

Thus, providing comprehensive holistic dental care often means dealing with these related matters of nutrition and stress. We regularly provide testing and consultation to patients – both those undergoing intensive treatment to remove oral blocks to optimal health (e.g., mercury fillings, root canals, cavitations) and those simply wanting to do all they can to support their health and well-being. Previously, I told you about ART for nutritional testing. This week, I’d like to tell you about a couple of other tools that help us provide a higher level of care to the patients we see.

The first is a device called Nano SRT. This bioelectric assessment and therapeutic tool first identifies physical stressors – chemical, biological and environmental – that may be a drag on health. It provides a report showing the substances and substance groups identified, severity levels and the likelihood of negative health effects stemming from the stressors. It can then be used to help correct the body’s response to them by recalibrating the body’s response via frequencies developed as a result of the biofeedback test. Unique to each individual, they’re transmitted by LED light to various meridian points on the body. Nutritional support and supplementation are also used to help restore balance.

The process is safe, non-invasive, fast and painless. Typically, treatment takes from 6 to 8 visits – one for the initial evaluation and then several follow-up visits to monitor changes and make adjustments as needed.

You can learn more about the device here.

The other new scanning tool we use is ZYTO, which gives us a glimpse of the body’s internal communications. Focusing on this gives us another way work with you to develop a proper protocol of nutrition, supplementation and other lifestyle adjustments to improve physical function and overall health and wellness. As the manufacturer explains,

By interacting energetically with your body the ZYTO software will essentially ‘ask your body questions’ and record your body’s responses or ‘answers’. Information gathered in this way can help you be more proactive about your health and help you and your healthcare provider make better decisions regarding your healthcare.

The ZYTO scan is safe, easy and, most importantly, accurate. One pilot study (PDF) showed an 87% “congruity in the disease assessment” between scan results and those from conventional diagnostic workups. The study’s authors include Dr. William Tiller, esteemed researcher and author of Science and Human Transformation, an exploration of the effects of subtle energies on human consciousness.

You can learn more about ZYTO here.

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Filed under Biological Dentistry, Diet & Nutrition

Should You Be Concerned About Aluminum Oxide in Dental Restorations?

Earlier this week, my colleague Dr. Gary Verigin, ran my article on oil pulling as a guest post on his blog, Know Thy Health. In return, he’s allowed me to share his article:

Is There Really Such a Thing as “Metal-Free Dentistry”?

By Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN

As more people become aware of the health risks of mercury amalgam fillings, you see more dental practices marketing themselves as “metal-free.” Sounds great, no?

It’s also inaccurate – and not just because these dentists often do place metal restorations such as gold crowns. As dental materials expert Jess Clifford has noted, “There is no such creation as a metal-free restorative” – not even tooth-colored restorations. All modern composites, glass ionomers (dental cements), porcelain and ceramics contain some metal. It’s not that “metal-free” dental offices are trying to mislead you. They just seem to be using it as shorthand for “mercury-free dentistry.”

But it’s still inaccurate.

And it makes it very easy to think of just about any non-precious metal as dangerous. Consider, for instance, this excerpt from an article on the website of Dr. Hal Huggins, a pioneer in the fight against dental mercury:

I became curious about the composition of porcelain crowns and called one of the manufacturers. I was told their porcelain was pure ceramic. Thanks. I called another and asked what their ceramic was made out of. Porcelain I was told. I called another and asked what their porcelain ceramic was made out of. Natural products. Knowing that mercury was “natural” I went to scientists other than manufacturers. Natural porcelain ceramic is made from clay B kaolin specifically B which is 45 percent aluminum oxide. Oh! So porcelain crowns are really aluminum. The aluminum does come out of the crown and I have personally seen some tragic cases of poisoning from dental porcelain ceramic aluminum crowns. Obviously not everyone has violent reactions, but when they occur, it is not a happy site [sic].

Scary, no? Makes you want to avoid porcelain all together, doesn’t it? There’s just one problem: aluminum oxide is a benign form of the element. As Clifford explains, while aluminum in its “fully reduced (shiny metal) form…will react with a vast number of chemical constituents,” some of which are highly toxic,

not all forms of aluminum are readily reactive, nor do they have appreciable toxicity concerns. In order to be a toxic problem, aluminum must be ionizable or dissociable or otherwise available to bind chemically with tissue constituents. If the aluminum does not have opportunity to chemically separate and bind, toxic constituents are simply not formed. [emphasis added]

In short, it’s not the metal itself but the kind of metal that matters. According to Clifford, “benign” forms of aluminum include alumina and aluminosilicate, in addition to aluminum oxide.

In such fully oxidized forms, the aluminum is either completely bound, or is part of a chemical matrix in crystalline lattice form, or both. Some common occurrences of these forms of aluminum are quartz, mica, feldspar, opal, glass and basic sand. While it is technically possible to force aluminum to chemically separate from any of these materials, it would require extreme furnace heat or high irradiation energy. These conditions are not commensurate with life and tissue survival.

* * *

Dental products are not the only ones where we find the benign forms of aluminum. The glass jars which contain our foods and beverages on the grocer’s shelf are basically barium-boro-aluminosilicates. Sand on the seashore is a rich mix of aluminum oxide and various aluminosilicates. Glass utensils, dishes and vessels in the kitchen (ie., Pyrex, Kimax, Corningware, Stoneware, Anchor-Hocking) are similar aluminosilicates and aluminum oxides. In our bodies, by nature, the bones are comprised of 2.0% – 2.5% aluminosilicate, aluminum oxide or alumina. If the patient can safely have food or beverage stored in glass, or can safely eat food prepared in a Pyrex pan or bowl, or can safely walk on sand, then it becomes immediately obvious that these forms of aluminum are not a threat to good health. The aluminunosilicate / aluminum oxide content of the bones is supplied and replenished daily from the fruits, grains and vegetables of the diet. The aluminosilicate content of lettuces and other vegetables in a single fresh garden salad serving will easily exceed the total quantity of aluminum released in ionized form from a mouthful of porcelain or ceramic crowns over a period of years. [emphasis added]

He adds that only time when even benign forms of aluminum are contraindicated is when an individual tests sensitive to both aluminum and silicates.

You can read his complete paper – “Should I Be Worried About Aluminum in Fillings and Crowns?” – here.

Where sensitivity or reactivity is a concern, we always recommend testing to be absolutely sure we choose restorative materials that the client will be able to tolerate. This includes both energetic and blood serum compatibility evaluations. Energetic testing is done via EAV and matrix imaging. For blood serum analysis, we rely on the Clifford Materials Reactivity Test, which reports on 94 chemical groups and families in more than 11,000 trade name dental products. For assessing material quality, it’s the method of choice for conscientious holistic and biological practitioners. Energetic testing, on the other hand, gives us insight to the quantitative scenario, as well – how much of any given material may be safely used.

To learn more about the stuff that goes into fillings, crowns and bridges, see Dr. Verigin’s articles on dental restorations.

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