Condition Spotlight

Oral health myth: “What goes in the mouth, stays in the mouth.” In other words, if you put something into your mouth, as long as you don’t swallow it, you can spit it out and it won’t make its way into the rest of the body.

But wait–research has proven this isn’t true. In fact, what we put into our mouths gets absorbed through the gum and cheek tissue, and it ultimately winds up in the bloodstream.

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Holistic dentists work closely with a wide range of other complementary practitioners.  They realize that oral health is related to many chronic health issues. They look at the underlying causes for gum disease and cavities: Is it your diet, or hormonal changes or acid reflux?
That may mean prescribing a head massage, acupuncture session, meditation lessons or dietary counseling. They may run blood tests for biocompatibility of materials and incorporate approaches from Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, herbology, homeopathy, iridology, craniosacral therapy and energy medicine. They will look for signs of sleep apnea and often treat it. However, with the added tests and consultations, they tend to be more expensive, with many procedures not covered by dental insurance. Their numbers are small: Only 391 of 199,000 American dentists belong to the HDA, or about one in 500.
Yet the natural health movement that drives holistic dentistry is having an effect on the profession at large. Many dentists nationwide, pressured by patients and aided by new technology, are abandoning toxic and invasive options for less harmful methods. Controversial mercury amalgam fillings are being edged out by less toxic options like resin composites that match teeth color; the amount of mercury sold in the U.S. for dental amalgams fell by half between 2001 and 2013.
Another factor regarding oral health  is that people tend to visit dentists more often, so find one who can use what they see to improve your overall health. Taking care of our teeth and gums is simply worth the daily time and trouble to facilitate long-term health. Your oral care should be taken just as seriously as watching your diet.