Beyond the Mouth: Exploring the Benefits of Holistic Dentistry

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1. Introduction

Dentistry has been around for thousands of years, with the first recorded practice of dental care taking place in Egypt around 3000 BC. The modern era of dentistry began in the 19th century, when new discoveries in oral microbiology and chemistry led to the creation of more effective and efficient dental treatments. The modern era of dentistry, though it has led to scientific advances and many beneficial pieces of knowledge, is often extremely damaging to the human body. The reason for this is because the modern philosophy of dental care is based on the treatment of disease through the use of surgery and pharmaceutical drugs. This is a reductionist method of treatment that often ignores the causative factors of disease in the first place, and fails to acknowledge the effects of such treatments on the overall health of the patient. Traditional dentistry is the modern philosophy of general medicine applied to the oral cavity. Holistic dentistry is an attempt to treat the underlying causes of disease, using a philosophy similar to that of naturopathic medicine. It is a philosophy which takes into account the systemic nature of oral disease and the close connection between the health of the oral cavity and the health of the rest of the body.

Holistic dentistry is an approach to dental treatment that takes into account the health of your entire body, including all physical and emotional aspects. Holistic dentists use natural therapies (often in combination with conventional ones) to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases of the oral cavity. This can lead to a more cooperative approach between patient and practitioner. The fact that holistic dentistry is so different from traditional dentistry often results in patients’ questions. This paper will attempt to answer many of the patients’ questions, and to explain why holistic dentistry is a far healthier and safer option for everyone.

2. Understanding Holistic Dentistry

Holistic dentists are in support of the research of the SAFEST, MOST BIOCOMPATIBLE materials to be utilized in the practices and methods for treatment. Material reactivity and harmfulness is a significant subject which is eloquently interesting to dentistry, because many dental materials are set near flow, the heartbeat, and distinct major pathways, and are specifically absorbed into the subacute doses long-term effects. The holistic dentist is concerned about hostile reactions to dental materials and is an individual who is quick to understand the future bearing of new materials. The comprehension that everything placed in the mouth will have an impact on the body is a critical supposition of holistic dentistry. This may be an intriguing subject for research in the various dental schools across the country, tests focus on material safety and biocompatibility. Because of the work of holistic dentists, our patients will have to comprehend that it is critical what materials are being utilized in the methods for treatment.

Holistic dentistry, adapted and described as alternative dentistry, biologic dentistry, progressive dentistry, or unconventional dentistry, is a troublesome awakening in patients that the interests might not be the top necessity of their dental health. The fundamental theory of biologic dentistry, or what we call holistic dentistry, is that the oral health is critical to the health of the whole body. The holistic dentists are wellbeing providers that are interesting in the effect of dental treatments and materials not just on the teeth and gums, yet additionally on the general health. This is an extraordinary presumption and not found by some other finding in traditional dentistry. The dentistry is the dentistry of today, and the learning and practice of traditional dentistry is dependently the normal and accepted dental practice. Anyhow, holistic dentistry could have a significant impact on the present day dental practice and mainstream approval of changing the focus to oral systemic health.

2.1. Definition and Principles

Holistic dentistry is often criticized to be quackery or only for those very interested in alternative health and is based on philosophies that are not scientifically supported. One of these philosophies is the concept that the amalgam fillings have a negative effect on an individual’s general health and that removal of amalgam fillings can preventatively alleviate disease in other parts of the body. This contradicts with modern dentistry philosophy and research that the most effective way to manage tooth decay is the immediate restoration of teeth and the long-term prevention of disease. Although there is yet to be substantial scientific evidence to support this philosophy, it is important to remember that holistic dentists are always working in the best interest and good intention of the patient.

Holistic dentistry is based on the assumption that the body is a self-healing organism and that all parts are interconnected and affect each other. It is a philosophy of dental care that promotes dental health and wellness instead of the treatment of disease. This entails the use of minimally invasive treatment techniques and materials that are biocompatible with the body. Holistic dentists often research the potential toxicity of dental materials and view the oral health of the patient as a reflection of their total body health.

Holistic dentistry, sometimes referred to as alternative dentistry, is widely defined as an approach to dental treatment that considers the patient’s dental health in the context of their entire physical as well as emotional or spiritual health. The holistic dentist is also commonly defined as one who uses safe and appropriate materials and procedures that will minimize the toxicity and invasiveness of dental treatment.

2.2. Focus on Whole-Body Health

Holistic dentistry is an alternative means of dental care that seeks to provide care for the patient as a whole person, not just as someone with oral health problems. A holistic dentist may implement a number of unconventional methods such as homeopathy, but perhaps the chief feature of holistic dentistry is the fact that it will always try to use a minimally invasive approach. Whole-body health is the focus of holistic dentistry. There is a realization in the medical community in general that oral health is connected to the health of other aspects of the body. With the knowledge that bacteria in the mouth can lead to infections in other parts of the body, or can exacerbate pre-existing conditions, the mouth is no longer seen as an entity isolated from the rest of the body. Where holistic dentistry takes a different approach to conventional dentistry is in treating these problems. A conventional dentist will try to solve such a problem through the use of antibacterial agents such as mouthwash or antibiotics. If there is an infection in the body, a doctor might prescribe antiseptics or antibiotics to help the healing process. Holistic dentistry will always take a more natural approach, and this is also what separates it from alternative dentistry. In alternative dentistry, the approach may be similar to conventional dentistry, but the methods or the materials used will differ. For example, a holistic dentist may not want to use an amalgam filling to solve a problem because amalgam fillings contain mercury which is toxic to the body.

2.3. Natural and Alternative Approaches

They make use of a wide variety of natural therapies, including homeopathy, herbal remedies, and aromatherapy. Basically, the holistic dentist takes a different approach to dental treatment than traditional dentists, more so in the prevention than in the treatment. As we know, our teeth are an integral part of our body and our overall health. Our oral health is the mirror to our general health. Instead of treating problems, which are already present, holistic dentists seek to prevent dental problems and other diseases by emphasizing on oral health. This approach to dentistry is based on solid scientific research, and it is becoming increasingly the area of dentistry that more dentists are turning to. In a world where everything is changing, people are now becoming more aware of the connection between their oral health and their general health. Holistic dental is safe, and does not contain toxic materials. Since it is an approach to dental treatment, which respects and honors the body, you will find your dental health being revitalized. In some cases, treatment may take longer, but it is to ensure the job is done to perfection, and will last a lifetime. With holistic dentistry, you can achieve an extraordinary level of health and vitality, which reaches far beyond just your mouth. Gone will be the days when you dread a visit to the dentist. A holistic dentist creates an environment in which you will feel calm and positive. This is dentistry with a difference.

3. The Benefits of Holistic Dentistry

Today, a new treatment modality called “holistic dentistry” has been creating some interest within the dental community. The major concept of holistic dentistry is that it is an overall treatment that works with patients’ health and wellness in mind, not just going after the ‘disease’ in the mouth. It acknowledges the connection of oral health to general health. The main philosophy is about prevention and it is guided by the idea that the mouth can either build health or disease. This is a very different approach from traditional mainstream dentistry. Holistic dentistry follows these key points: a) It is mercury-free and discourages the removal of silver amalgam fillings unless there are special concerns. b) It involves an understanding of each patient’s toxic susceptibility, usually through blood tests, to see which materials are best suited for the patient in dental work. c) Practitioners of holistic dentistry often use nutritional counseling as it is believed that diet and nutrition can prevent the development and progression of dental diseases. d) It will consistently recommend and use dental materials and procedures that are safe and compatible with the natural systems of the body. e) Holistic dentistry is also about treating each patient as an individual, taking into account that person’s needs and predispositions when planning treatments. f) Lastly, holistic dentistry promotes dental healthcare as a necessity for the maintenance of overall health and wellness, not just as a treatment to stop pain or repair damage.

3.1. Minimizing Toxicity

It is well-known that a variety of medical symptoms and illnesses in patients can be directly attributed to materials and devices which are in or near the oral cavity. The traditional dental profession has long recognized that the toxicity of various dental materials is a concern. With the increase in public awareness and concern in this area, several studies have been conducted which address the issue of amalgam toxicity. In the face of conflicting opinions and data, it is generally agreed that the release of mercury from dental amalgam is of concern due to the health risks. While the FDA has stated that the amount of mercury exposure from dental amalgam is well below the level that would cause any adverse health effects, it should also be noted that the same report concluded one of the main uncertainties lies in identifying populations at increased risk from mercury exposure, and public health would be better protected if that source of exposure were lower. Several other studies have confirmed that mercury released from dental amalgam can cause damage to the brain, kidney, and developing fetus. Other research has shown that mercury from amalgam can accumulate in high levels in the oral cavity and intestines. This can affect the immune system, antibody production, and autoimmune responses. With an ever-increasing number of other studies showing the potential of adverse health effects from mercury amalgam, it is difficult to ascertain exactly what the health effects are and how severe they may be; yet it is prudent to minimize exposure to mercury and mercury-based dental materials.

3.2. Promoting Overall Wellness

There is a significant amount of scientific evidence to suggest that an individual’s oral health is a window to their overall health. It has been proven that there are strong connections between good oral health and having a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes. Poor oral health can also have an adverse effect on a pregnancy. Dr. Michael Mangan is primarily concerned with children’s oral health and providing special care to patients with disabilities and often sees that these types of patients have a higher risk of developing infection and other oral diseases. Holistic dentistry means consideration of the patient’s entire state of physical and emotional health. It can also mean highly individualized care. This kind of maintenance is fundamentally about disease prevention. With the use of regular screenings, exams, and cleanings, the objective is to catch harmful bacteria and decay in the early stages, before it has a chance to spread and cause damage. This is quite similar to conventional dentistry; however, holistic dentists are generally more focused on the effects that dental care has on the rest of the body, using materials and techniques least toxic to the mind and body. At many conventional dental visits, you may find yourself inundated with information about the quick fixes and treatments that can be made; however, more often than not, your dentist won’t provide you with a real understanding of why your problem occurred in the first place. Holistic dentists will spend a great deal of time and effort talking with their patients and educating them about the factors that have led them to their current state of oral health. This includes a discussion about the possible effects of diet and nutrition on the conditions of teeth and gums. With improved understanding of the relationship between cause and effect, many patients can then make changes to their lifestyles, which can result in improved oral and overall health.

3.3. Enhancing Oral-Systemic Connection

Poor food regimen, digestion, and the increased ingestion of sugar and starches can lead to tooth decay. Bacteria in the mouth break down simple sugars into acid. The acid then combines with the calcium in the enamel and causes decay. The good news is if the decay remains only in the enamel, the calcium and phosphate can be redeposited into the enamel. A bigger problem occurs if the decay reaches the dentine. Dentine is softer than tooth, so it is easier for acids to move through it and reach the pulp located within the tooth.

Saliva is a necessary substance for digestion. It is a physiological reaction for the breakdown of food. Saliva helps to make meals moist and swallowing simpler. Saliva contains enzymes that help with digestion. It also helps to keep the mouth clean and fight tooth decay and different mouth illnesses. The quantity of saliva that the salivary glands produce varies between people. Some individuals may produce more or less saliva than the regular individual. Reduced saliva production can increase the risk of dental decay and infections in the mouth. High glucose levels can also reduce saliva production, increasing the chance of decay.

3.4. Reducing the Risk of Chronic Diseases

Prevent has been part of standards of holistic treatment. It is dependably said that one really spares cash when one keeps away from any issue and it is the situation here. Dental sicknesses particularly gum illnesses have been related to many systemic infections, for example, diabetes, coronary illness, stroke and untimely, underweight newborn children. The contamination and irritation in the issue. Periodontal infection is a continuous bacterial contamination in which the body’s resistant framework assaults the microorganisms and the bacterial poisons, in this manner causing harm to the gum tissue and bone which if left untreated in the long run prompts the misfortune the teeth and supporting tissue. Microorganisms from the mouth can go into the circulatory system and fuel fundamental sicknesses. Oral diseases are additionally a matter of awesome sympathy toward cancer patients. These patients regularly have debilitated invulnerable frameworks which make them more defenceless to diseases. An all-encompassing dental specialist uses their healing abilities, main to keep away from these issues. It is vital for the patient to comprehend the etiology of their issue, and also the elements which added to the issue. It is very nearly a standard in current pharmaceutical that is there is adequate comprehension of how a malady is brought on, then avoidance will take after. In examination to conventional dental saga, a wide range of holistic methodology will figure out what the element or reason for the condition, for example, poor vitality, an unevenness in the body or harmfulness, and diagnose for this change. This will most profit patient as we totally comprehend the long haul influences of numerous dental medications, case in point Mercury fillings has long be referred to for its harming impacts, come have gone so far to say it adds to different sclerosis. A patient with disease or a perpetual ailment will profit extraordinarily from these methodology, particularly the individuals who have had points of reference of the condition being fuel by a dental methodology.

4. Holistic Dental Treatments

Mercury amalgam fillings are known to constantly release mercury vapors into the body. These vapors are absorbed and can damage the kidneys, immune, and nervous systems. Holistic dentists believe that removing amalgam fillings from patients must be done in a safe way that minimizes the patient’s exposure to mercury. Ideally, the removal of amalgam fillings should be done in as few steps as possible. Each individual filling should be removed in one visit. Complete removal of amalgam fillings in a single visit minimizes the patient’s exposure to mercury. The dental office should be equipped with amalgam separators that catch the mercury before it is released into the environment. The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology offers recommendations for the safe removal of mercury amalgam fillings. They include suggested protective measures for the patient, office, and clinical staff. These measures are aimed at minimizing the patient’s and dental staff’s exposure to mercury during the removal process. Holistic dentists will be familiar with these recommendations and may also employ other measures to reduce the risk of mercury exposure.

4.1. Mercury-Free Fillings

Amalgam fillings are an inappropriate material to use in the teeth for several reasons. Because of its softness, amenability to expansion and contraction, and its ability to wear, tooth decay can take place. Often, the tooth is destructively removed by drilling and the filling is packed into the space left. In addition, amalgam fillings have been known to cause teeth to fracture. They also do not strengthen teeth; instead, they weaken them. There is a higher risk for teeth that have silver fillings to experience cracks and fractures. But more importantly, the negative effects of mercury fillings extend beyond the teeth and into the entire body. Studies have shown that mercury vapor is released from the fillings and absorbed into the bloodstream, with higher rates of release occurring during the consumption of hot liquids, chewing, and teeth grinding. Mercury is an extremely toxic substance and in a sufficient dose can cause damage to the brain, kidneys, and developing fetus. Mercury fillings have also been known to cause autoimmune disease and multiple sclerosis. Because of these risks, it is advisable to remove amalgam fillings and replace them with a safer alternative.

Mercury is a known toxic material and has been used in dental fillings for more than 150 years. It is typically mixed with other metals such as silver, tin, zinc, and copper to form a compound known as amalgam. It is estimated that 100 million silver fillings are placed in the United States every year, and a large percentage of these fillings consist of mercury.

4.2. Biocompatible Materials

Some holistic dentists believe that the composite resins used in tooth-colored fillings are not healthy (or holistic) because they contain BPA, and they can also contain other fillers and carcinogens. These dentists prefer to use composite resins that are BPA-free and do not contain these other potentially harmful chemicals. However, an even more holistic alternative to resin-based composites are fillings made of porcelain. Ceramic or porcelain fillings are biocompatible. This means that they are inert and non-reactive in the human body. They are also very durable and can last between 15 and 30 years. While they can create a high level of aesthetics in the mouth, they may also create functional and biological problems if they are not done properly. Ceramic inlays and onlays have become a far more favorable and prevalent restoration method than fillings because they preserve the remaining tooth structure. They can also be used to replace existing fillings. Finally, crowns are another form of porcelain restoration that are biocompatible. With all of these better alternatives to the traditional resin-based composites, removing “silver” fillings is becoming an increasingly popular trend among holistic dentists to prevent future dental problems caused by mercury.

4.3. Non-Invasive Techniques

In recent years, orthodontics has placed an increased emphasis on dental and facial appearance causing a rise in the number of children and adults seeking orthodontic treatment. In response to consumer demands, a variety of appliances are now available which specialize in the movement of teeth without in any way affecting the teeth, surrounding tissues or the jaw. With regard to non-invasive techniques the best outcomes are achieved if the treatment is sought from an orthodontist who understands the importance of a healthy mouth and has a thorough understanding of the biological effects of moving teeth.

Orthodontics is the field of dentistry which is concerned with the treatment of improper bites and crooked teeth. Traditional orthodontic treatment usually involves the extraction of 4 healthy premolar teeth to make room and the straightening of teeth with the use of a variety of different techniques usually involving invasive procedures such as jaw surgery. Avoidance of extraction of healthy teeth and jaw surgery are the factors to be considered when looking for non-invasive orthodontic treatment.

Non-invasive techniques consider the general health and well-being of the patient to be of paramount importance. Biological dentists often avoid invasive treatments such as root canals, which may have systemic effects, and prefer to use materials and techniques which they consider to be less harmful. A non-invasive approach to dental treatment is often used in conjunction with other holistic health practices with the intention of achieving overall good health.

4.4. Biological Tooth Extractions

This safe and natural technique of extraction protects the patient from unnecessary harm and larger dental problems later on in life.

Once the tooth has been removed, the site of any conventional extraction will heal with a blood clot, which turns into soft tissue and bone in the space of 6-8 weeks. This is because the blood supply to the remaining bone will be from the soft tissue, which has taken the place of the blood clot. This leaves a larger chance of infection, and a painful periodontal pocket will form. This process is unnecessary and can be harmful to patients. Biological extractions eliminate this by using a technique that cleanses the site of the extracted tooth and restores it back to its original state. This is done by filing the socket and filling it with various substances that promote healing, such as growth factors.

Biological tooth extraction specifically looks at the way an extracted tooth is removed, the type of anesthetic used, and the site where the tooth once was. When a tooth is extracted, it is sometimes divided into smaller pieces to make the removal easier. This is not biological, as the process of dividing the tooth causes trauma to the surrounding bone and the patient. In conventional extractions, local anesthetics such as lignocaine are used. These contain nerve-blocking agents and synthetic adrenaline. Lignocaine is known to be toxic and allergenic. Furthermore, it leaves the patient’s mouth numb for hours after the extraction. The added adrenaline is used to increase the numbing effect and lessen bleeding post-extraction. This is not natural, and the patient’s health is not being considered. Biological extractions use only anesthetics free from nerve-blocking agents, for example, procaine. These anesthetics do not leave a patient numb and do not need to be used in large quantities due to being combined with vasoconstrictors.

5. Integrating Traditional and Holistic Dentistry

The collaboration between conventional and holistic practitioners in general medicine has been growing, and dentistry is no exception. Due to the slow but steady emergence of an evidence base for some of the holistic dental practices, it is becoming increasingly less appropriate to have a gulf between the two approaches to dentistry. There is a growing movement towards an integrative model of healthcare where the best of both conventional western and holistic complementary health care systems can be used, and this can provide a constructive and progressive way forward for a profession dogged by decades of inter-professional conflict. This can only be a good thing for patients who seek choice in their healthcare options. For the potential benefits are not limited to the conventional dentistry patient seeking an alternative therapy for a specific dental issue. There is a substantial proportion of the population who use alternative medicine providers as their primary care givers. Up until now these patients may have been forced to seek two separate providers if they want a dental check-up or treatment with a holistic dentist. This is not a practical situation and it would be beneficial to these patients if their holistic health care providers had an easier referral option to a dentist who practices an integrative model of dentistry. Lastly, it is a truism that good communication between health care providers is of benefit to the patient. An integrative model of dentistry provides an ideal environment for dialogue and understanding between practitioners of vastly different dental and health care backgrounds. Step one for an integrative future is improved understanding and mutual respect between the varied dental professionals themselves.

5.1. Collaboration with Medical Professionals

In a collaborative approach, dentists receive guidance or directives regarding dental treatment of medically complex patients. The 1990s saw enormous growth in the number of dentists seeking hospital-based training in internal medicine or family practice. As our “baby boomer” generation ages, hospitals are employing increasing numbers of family practice and internal medicine physicians with training in geriatrics. These physicians are accustomed to working with teams and usually are delighted to have a dentist as part of the team. As dentists work with these physicians, it becomes clear that many geriatric patients considered medically complex are just suffering from polypharmacy where multiple physicians have prescribed multiple medications. In some cases, a simple reduction in the number of medications prescribed or a slight change in timing can alter the patient’s medical condition dramatically. A daily aspirin contains enough acetylsalicylic acid to suppress platelet function, which can increase the chances of a fatal subdural hematoma, especially if the patient is prone to a fall. Knowledge of this from the patient’s MD can prevent an unnecessary hospitalization for a dental extraction.

5.2. Combining Conventional and Natural Therapies

Combining natural therapies with conventional dental procedures can yield optimal results. While conventional dentistry focuses only on the areas above the neck and uses toxic dental materials, holistic dentistry considers the impact of dental treatment on the entire body and employs healthier, less toxic materials and more biocompatible testing procedures. For the purposes of this essay, “complementary” and “alternative” have been defined as they are in the publication “Exploring the Biological Contributions to Human Health: Does Sex Matter?”, wherein a “complementary” therapy is one used in conjunction with conventional medical treatments and an “alternative” therapy is used in place of a conventional treatment. Specific examples of complementary therapies include using a shower to relieve aching muscles induced by stress and a specific diet to lessen the side effects caused by chemotherapy treatment. Alternative therapies include herbal medicine, massage, and acupuncture. As defined in the Journal of the American Medical Association publication “Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States”, these definitions are used without implications concerning the ultimate substitution of alternative therapies for conventional medical treatments and with the understanding that “alternative” therapy used to treat a potentially life-threatening condition should be considered quite differently from alternative therapy used to modify a lifestyle or enhance well-being. Referred to as CAM, complementary and alternative medicine can be an effective tool in enhancing conventional dental care. In a study published in the Journal of Periodontology, periodontal patients were instructed to use alternative stress-reducing therapies such as meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi. After six months, patients using the alternative therapies showed a significant decrease in periodontal pocket depth compared to a control group using conventional treatments with no adjunctive therapies. This result demonstrates that using CAM to treat oral diseases can have positive effects on oral conditions. An earlier study published in General Dentistry showed that dental patients using CAM therapies such as dietary modifications, vitamin supplements, and acupuncture exhibited a lower rate of complications from surgical procedures compared to those using only conventional treatments. CAM therapies can also help prevent oral diseases and limit the utilization of conventional dental treatments. In a study published in Gerodontology, elderly patients using alternative therapies had a lower rate of root caries and subsequently consumed less dental services than patients relying solely on conventional treatments. By using CAM to both treat and prevent oral conditions, less invasive and toxic conventional dental treatments can be considered, and the overall risk of harmful side effects can be reduced.

5.3. Addressing Oral Health from a Holistic Perspective

Holistic dentists work with nutritionists and other allied health professionals to coordinate the best overall health outcomes for the patient. They recognize the impact that dental diseases and treatment can have on the rest of the body, and vice versa. Holistic dentists will always take into account the larger picture, and work towards the long term health outcome, not just in the oral cavity. With the knowledge that a good nutrient dense diet is essential for healthy teeth, and that certain nutrients are required for optimum wound healing, a holistic dentist will always screen the patient’s diet, and may sometimes work with a nutritionist to provide dietary advice or offer supplementation. Patients who have a lot of decay or chronic gum problems are likely to benefit from dietary analysis and advice. In some cases it may be helpful to conduct a study of the bacteria types in the mouth and/or the saliva pH in order to better understand how to create an oral environment that is hostile to decay causing bacteria. This information may also be useful in preventing the transmission of decay causing bacteria to children or other family members. The high incidence of systemic diseases such as diabetes and problems such as osteoporosis and allergy in the community mean that there are many people who are at higher risk of oral diseases and/or adverse treatment outcomes, and therefore in need of special help. A person who is suffering from a systemic disease will often benefit from the services of other health professionals who can help manage their medical condition. In some cases the dental treatment needs to be modified in order to do this, and a holistic dentist would be looking to improve communication with the patient’s other health carers in order to achieve the best treatment outcomes.

6. Holistic Oral Hygiene Practices

Mouthwashes are typically designed to kill bacteria. Unfortunately, they do not discriminate between harmful and beneficial bacteria. This can weaken the immune system over time. A salt and water mixture is a simple and effective mouthwash. It is an old treatment for gum infections and is recommended by many dentists. Herbal mouthwashes are popular, as they avoid the use of chemicals. Tea tree oil is an effective antimicrobial agent. A few drops can be added to a glass of water for a strong mouthwash. Echinacea is good at fighting infections. A few drops of the tincture can be added to water, which is swished around the mouth. It is important to note that the preservatives in natural products are still being researched, and some may have weak antibacterial properties.

Many dentists assert that natural toothpaste is the best kind of toothpaste. Most commercial toothpastes contain toxic chemicals such as sodium fluoride, sodium lauryl sulfate, and triclosan, which are all harmful when absorbed in large doses. For example, sodium fluoride is highly toxic and has been used as a pesticide. In the case of accidentally swallowing a small amount, immediate medical attention is needed. Proponents of natural toothpaste opine that it cleans teeth just as well as commercial toothpaste, minus the harmful effects.

6.1. Natural Toothpaste and Mouthwash

The concept of putting something in our mouths that is meant to be poisonous is absurd. Lime was used as a primitive tactic for prevention of scurvy but many sailors of the time realized that eating limes stopped them from getting scurvy. Why then must we use poisons to swallow and toxin our bodies in an effort to prevent cavities and gum disease? Many chemicals found in toothpaste and mouthwash today have been linked to more harm than good. One of these chemicals is fluoride. Fluoride is incredibly toxic to the human body and can cause a variety of health problems. Swallowing a tube of fluoride toothpaste can kill a child and a small pea-sized amount of toothpaste has the same amount of fluoride as a glass of water. Many studies conducted in various countries have shown that there is an association between chronic fluoride intake and adverse effects on brain development. Fluoride has also been linked to improved dental health but only when used topically and there are other safer alternatives for this. High doses of fluoride have actually been proven to cause dental fluorosis and weaken the bones.

Natural toothpaste and mouthwash are products of the modern era. The traditional “toothbrush” was simply a chew stick or twig frayed at the end. This small point was softened by chewing and water was released which was used as a primitive mouthwash. Tooth powder was first made in the 19th century and was commonly used in a salt or baking soda base. Just like the rest of the modern world, health care became a high tech, profit-based industry. Toothpaste and mouthwash then became filled with synthetic ingredients in an attempt to kill as much oral bacteria as possible. It is only recently that the potential harm of these products has become an issue.

6.2. Oil Pulling

This technique has been used for oral hygiene for thousands of years in Ayurveda. Oil pulling was introduced as an alternative way to cleanse the mouth. It involved swishing either sesame or sunflower oil around in the mouth for 15-20 minutes and then spitting it out. This process should be done on an empty stomach, and it is thought to draw out toxins in the body to improve oral and overall health. The mouth is home to many microorganisms, some of which are healthy, and some of which can cause diseases as said by Asokan S. et al, in his article on oil pulling. The undesirable microorganisms can cause oral problems, ranging from simple bad breath to systemic diseases like diabetes and pneumonia. These microorganisms have a lipid (fatty) cell membrane that is attracted to the lipids in the oil that allow them to be pulled and held in the solution, as stated by R. Nagarathna and H.R. Nagendra, in the article Integrated approach of yoga therapy for ojasvin health. In addition to that, the swishing action with the oil is said to activate enzymes that can pull toxins from the blood.

6.3. Tongue Scraping

Copper has been used for centuries as a healing metal. In Ayurveda, it is thought to balance all three of the doshas in the body (vata, kapha, and pitta). Harsh metals such as stainless steel have an inhibiting and heavy quality about them. If these qualities are transmitted to the mouth, this will affect the energy of the oral mucosa. Often the tongue is tense and there is too much pain to scrape effectively. If the tongue is scraped gently, there will be a noticeable change in the level of tension and the pain will be reduced. This is because the tension in the tongue has subsided and has been replaced by a relaxed feeling. This active exchange is another example of how the scraping technique works to reestablish the body’s natural state of health. Scraping should be done from the back of the tongue to the front, do not scrape from side to side. After scraping, it is useful to rinse the mouth to remove any residue that was lifted during the scraping process.

Tongue scraping has been used in traditional medicine to treat bad breath, enhance the sense of taste, and remove unhealthy organisms. Unhealthy coatings on the tongue are thought to be a toxic mucus that is the result of inadequate digestion and a reflection of how much ama (toxins) are in the body. This coating can be white, yellow, or brown in color. A coated tongue harbors bacteria and other organisms below the surface, so the first step is to assess its condition. Providing that there is a coating on the tongue, it is advised to scrape the coating with a copper tongue scraper to effectively remove the bacteria and toxins from the mouth. As the coating is a bacterial layer, using a toothbrush to remove it will not be effective and may further damage the taste buds and stimulate a gag reflex. Although more force can be used to scrape the tongue with a plastic or stainless steel tongue scraper, these can damage the tongue and should not be used.

6.4. Herbal Remedies for Oral Health

An exploratory investigation of traditional Chinese herbal therapy for dental diseases provides evidence that a significant number of herbs have been efficacious for dental diseases. This shows that the traditional medicinal systems may have a wealth of knowledge that modern science is only beginning to recognize.

Studies carried out by Hamilton-Miller have validated these findings, and it is likely that the tea plant will become more frequently used in oral healthcare products. The tea plant is cultivated in many areas of the world and should be easily obtainable in the correct form for oral consumption and topical application in the near future.

Camellia sinensis, or the tea plant, is another plant that has shown great promise. Specific constituents of tea have been found to inhibit the growth and activity of oral bacteria and their acidic products. Clinical studies show that the in vitro activity of tea extract has led to a 47% reduction in the incidence of dental caries. It has also been shown to relieve symptoms of periodontal disease and mucosal disorders due to its anti-inflammatory and inhibitory effects on enzymes such as collagenase and elastase.

Studies of the traditional medicinal systems, including Ayurveda, reveal that the plants from many different habitats have shown promise for their antimicrobial activities. What they all have in common is that they are bitter, such as neem (Azadirachta indica), great burdock (Arctium lappa), and goldenseal. These plants have been shown to have direct bactericidal activity, which shows potential for their use in the treatment of oral infections.

7. The Role of Nutrition in Holistic Dentistry

Foods containing calcium, protein, and phosphorus are the best for tooth remineralization. This is the process by which minerals are redeposited in tooth enamel after being removed by acids. This is an important process in ensuring that teeth are kept strong and healthy. Calcium is found abundantly in many foods and is essential in forming and maintaining strong teeth. Foods highest in calcium are milk, cheeses, yogurt, salmon, clams, and oysters. Protein is very much required for cell repair and immune function, which is why it is so vital to gum health. Lean meats, poultry, fish, milk, peanuts, and cheese are just a few examples of protein-rich foods. Phosphorus also works in conjunction with calcium to ensure optimal bone and tooth mineralization. It can be found in plentiful amounts in food items including meats, nuts, and milk. Other minerals vital to tooth health include magnesium, zinc, iron, and copper, which can be obtained through consuming a variety of legumes, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. This highlights the importance of a well-balanced diet to ensure the consumption of all essential vitamins and minerals, some of which have components essential to oral health.

Nutrition is essential in maintaining optimal oral health, specifically through the foods and drinks which we actually put into our mouths. Teeth are nourished through what we eat and drink, and in turn, they provide us with the ability to chew and digest our food. More importantly, if the teeth do not receive adequate nutrition, the surrounding tissues, including the gums, are affected. The gums are tissues that are responsible for supporting and anchoring the teeth. When the gums lack proper nutrients, they lose their firmness and are more susceptible to periodontal disease.

7.1. Nutrient-Dense Foods for Strong Teeth and Gums

Calcium is a key nutrient for the health and strength of teeth in the normal diet. In the diet, dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are the best source of bioavailable calciugyv yym – that is calcium that is easily absorbed by the body. Other sources of calcium include canned fish with edible bones such as sardines, salmon, and anchovies. Additionally, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and legumes all contain significant amounts of calcium. However, the calcium from these foods is not as easily absorbed due to the high content of oxalates, which inhibit calcium absorption. Foods that are acidic, for example, fruit and fizzy drinks, cause the enamel on the teeth to soften after eating and make the teeth more susceptible to damage from tooth brushing. To prevent damage, it is recommended to avoid brushing the teeth for at least half an hour after consuming acidic foods. A similar situation arises with acidic gastroesophageal reflux, which causes gastric acid to come up from the stomach and into the mouth. This causes dissolution of tooth enamel over time and may lead to extensive tooth wear. In terms of foods to avoid to maintain good oral health, it is important to limit the frequency of foods containing fermentable carbohydrates. This is because bacteria in dental plaque break down the carbohydrates to produce acid, which in turn may lead to tooth decay over time. Fermentable carbohydrates are found in a wide range of foods, including bread, crackers, breakfast cereals, and many other snack foods. It is not only the quantity of sugar in the diet but also the frequency of sugar intake that increases the risk of tooth decay. Global studies have shown that dental caries is lower in low sugar societies compared with high sugar societies where dental caries is increasingly becoming a major public health problem.

7.2. Avoiding Sugar and Acidic Foods

It is well documented that sugar is a major cause of tooth decay. This is because every time you eat a sweet food, the bacteria in your mouth mixes with the sugar to form acid. This acid attack then lasts for around 20 minutes, but it can start again if you eat something sweet before the 20 minutes is up. This can eventually result in tooth decay. The link between sugar and acid is also important as a great deal of today’s food contains sugar, which means that many acid attacks. Modern living today usually involves snacking and sipping on drinks over a long period of time, never giving the mouth a chance to recover from an acid attack. High sugar content drinks such as fizzy drinks, squashes, and even some fruit juices can be very damaging on teeth if consumed regularly. Sugar is often not always visible in products and is given many different names, so it is important to check food labels. Eating sugar in smaller amounts at meal times is less harmful as the production of saliva increases. This can help cancel out the effect of the acid and it can also help rinse away food particles. On the other hand, the more frequently sugar is eaten, the more chance there is for tooth decay. Lollipops, toffees, and sweets may taste great but in terms of teeth, the longer they stay in the mouth, the greater the risk of tooth decay. When you consider all these points, it is easy to see that cutting down on sugar intake is important in maintaining oral health. Depending on your current diet, it may not be realistic to cut out all sugar at once. Making gradual alterations and setting achievable goals will have greater long-term effects than sudden drastic changes. After eating, some sugar-free chewing gum can be a good alternative to sweet foods as it can help increase saliva flow and prevent tooth decay. The British Dental Health Foundation recommends that sugar-free gum be chewed for around 20 minutes after.

7.3. Importance of Proper Hydration

There is no doubt that the benefits of maintaining good hydration go well beyond the health of the mouth. Considering that the health of our teeth reflects the health of our bodies, it is wise to take seriously the role of hydration in preventing dental illness and promoting overall wellness.

In the United States, where studies have shown that over 75% of individuals have some level of chronic dehydration, a case-control study of over 300 adults published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that frequent consumption of fluids, particularly water, was associated with a reduced risk of oral and pharyngeal cancer. Excessive cavities and extraction were more apparent in those with less fluid intake. High doses of fluoride, a mineral supplement, and modern health and dental care practices were ruled out as causes of the marked differences in health between the groups, leading researchers to believe that hydration status plays a large role in oral health outcomes. This outlines the importance of proper hydration in maintaining dental health and indicates that many dental problems may be preventable.

Studies have consistently shown that being well-hydrated is crucial for the maintenance of healthy teeth and gums. In one report by the European Journal of Nutrition, researchers concluded that diseases caused by inadequate water intake have far-reaching public health implications, as dehydration is a frequent but commonly overlooked precursor to dental illness and often plays a significant role in periodontal disease. In a study published in the Journal of Dentistry, researchers found that even a mild level of dehydration reduces saliva flow and increases the osmotic pressure of the saliva, which could affect the oral mucosal tissues and promote certain oral diseases. An increased risk of oral cancer has also been associated with chronic dehydration.

A hydrated body is the cornerstone of good health, yet hydration frequently goes unnoticed as a key factor in dental health. Our bodies are composed of about 60% water and we lose large amounts of it daily. This fluid must be constantly replaced and dehydration can take place if insufficient replacement occurs. Water is the primary component of saliva, which is our first line of defense against the damaging effects of bacteria. Saliva serves as a buffer, particularly in the presence of sugars, acids, and other harmful substances in the mouth. It also bathes the teeth in a constant supply of calcium, fluoride, and other minerals which helps to strengthen tooth enamel. Dehydration will reduce saliva flow, leaving the mouth susceptible to harmful bacteria and increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

8. Holistic Dentistry for Children

It might seem that since baby or primary teeth are going to fall out, that they are not important. After all, they are just practice teeth for the permanent teeth. A holistic dentist, however, will tell you that a child’s 20 primary teeth are just as important as the 32 permanent teeth. It might even be said that the health of a child’s teeth are even more important, as they act as place holders for the permanent teeth before they are lost. If a child’s baby tooth is lost early due to decay, and space maintainer may be necessary in order to prevent future spacing or crowding problems with the permanent teeth. By using holistic prevention methods with a child from an early age, harmful dental interventions can be avoided and this will promote a child’s lifelong health and well-being. Children learn by example and repetition. As a parent, you are your child’s first teacher and role model. By practicing healthy dietary and oral hygiene habits yourself, you are setting the foundation for your child to follow. Holistic dental theories suggest that dental disease can be prevented in a child by providing them with a healthy diet and good oral hygiene practices. This should involve limiting refined and processed foods, which are known to cause tooth decay and many other health issues. The mother and father should aim to provide their child with a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, which contain nutrients essential to strong teeth and tooth structure. By creating a diet plan early on for a child, the risk of the child consuming foods that are detrimental to their health can be reduced. A child should also be taught from a young age, the importance of food and how it affects their body. Providing education to a child about nutrition will allow them to make informed decisions about the foods they eat.

8.1. Promoting Healthy Habits from an Early Age

To minimize the risk of tooth decay and demineralization in children, it is advised to limit consumption of sweet or acidic food and drink to meal times only and to substitute them with unsweetened, calcium-rich alternatives between meals. When consumed as part of a meal, these foods/drinks cause less harm because they increase saliva flow, which acts as a natural defense by helping to remineralize the teeth. It is important not to allow children to sip and snack on sweet or acidic foods/drinks over long periods, as this continually exposes the teeth to the acids that cause decay. Frequent consumption of these foods can also lead to ‘baby bottle tooth decay’, a pattern of severe decay in infants caused by frequent exposure to sugary liquids. Juice, sweetened milk, and even breastfeeding a baby at sleep time can cause this condition. The best prevention is to only give water between meals and at sleep time and not to let a child fall asleep breast or bottle feeding.

Encouraging healthy habits in children from a young age is key to maintaining good oral health throughout life. Holistic dentists believe that this can best be achieved by instilling an understanding of the relationship between diet, oral health, and general health. They also believe that it is important to educate children and parents on the hazards of a sugar-laden diet and the risks of acidic foods and drinks on tooth enamel. Authors of the ‘Textbook of Natural Medicine’ suggest that primary teeth act as guides for the correct eruption, spacing, and alignment of permanent teeth. They also suggest that tooth decay in early life can lead to systemic infections and an increased risk of childhood illness. It is therefore important to look after primary teeth and promote healthy dietary and oral habits throughout childhood.

8.2. Non-Toxic Dental Care Products for Kids

Another step that parents can take to ensure the health and well-being of their children is to eliminate the use of toxic dental care products. Many parents are unaware of the high toxicity of commonly used dental products for children. The chief component in toothpaste is fluoride, a toxic waste produced from industrial manufacturing of aluminum and fertilizer. The FDA requires a poison warning on all fluoride toothpastes sold in the US, stating that if more than a pea-sized amount is swallowed, immediate medical attention is required. Only a small amount of fluoride can cause symptoms of poisoning. Young children are less capable of spitting out all of their toothpaste and often end up swallowing more than intended. Chronic ingestion of fluoride can lead to dental fluorosis (mottling and loss of tooth enamel) and an increased risk of bone fractures and skeletal abnormalities. Scientific studies have shown that swallowing fluoride can be detrimental to overall health and intelligence. Fluoride is only one of the many harmful ingredients found in toothpaste. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (detergent and surfactant), saccharin (artificial sweetener), and hydrated silica are just a few other harmful ingredients. All of these can be toxic if swallowed, and seeing as kids are rarely able to avoid swallowing toothpaste, it is safest to keep it away from them. Given that many of the diseases and disorders that holistic dentistry aims to prevent in children are a result of exposure to toxins, it is imperative that parents practice safety and prevention when it comes to choosing dental health care products for their children.

8.3. Preventive Measures for Childhood Dental Issues

Root canal treatment on a baby tooth should always be questioned. If a dentist recommends pulling any teeth, first consider why the tooth needs to be pulled and what the consequences are. If you are not satisfied with the answer, get a second opinion. Often, baby teeth are pulled preemptively and unnecessarily. If a baby tooth is lost too early, adjacent teeth may drift or tilt into the space, causing permanent teeth to come in crooked. Also, baby teeth are nature’s space maintainers and hold the place for permanent teeth. If a baby tooth is lost too soon, an adult tooth may come into the mouth in the wrong place. In this case, orthodontia becomes necessary. There are also health consequences to pulling teeth. The upper back baby teeth are very close to the sinus cavity and a hole in the sinus can result from a pulled tooth. A space left from a pulled tooth can also cause food impaction and possible infection. Your child’s teeth should last as long as they are supposed to and no part of the tooth is “expendable”. Always seek the least invasive and most conservative treatment.

9. Holistic Dentistry and Mental Health

The oral cavity is often seen as the mirror to the rest of the body. The presence of oral bacteria and infection has been associated with a variety of disease states. In the web article “The connection between oral health and disease,” author M.A. Elabbasy states, “Scientific evidence is beginning to emerge that oral bacteria are associated with various disease states.” In 2010, an article was published by the American Dental Association which explained the associations between periodontitis and diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. This information is not surprising to a holistic dentist. At the Paracelsus Academy in Lustmühle, Switzerland, it was detailed how harmful oral bacteria and infection can affect one’s overall health and particularly those who have a weaker immune system. It featured a method of live blood microscopy to help educate the dental profession on the importance of recognizing signs from the oral cavity in the blood which could indicate systemic diseases. The methods of nutritional and immune support, and recognizing and elimination of toxic dental materials were also explored as preventive measures for at-risk patients or to help those with chronic health conditions.

Stress, anxiety, and depression are very common among people. These problems can be brought on by demanding lifestyles, work stress, family conflicts, and personal disappointments. When we are feeling stressed or down, our bodies react in a way that makes it difficult to fight off infection and changes how the body handles disease. The holistic approach to healthcare focuses on the connection between our body, mind, and spirit. Holistic dentists use a variety of therapies to help improve the state of mind and overall health of their patients.

9.1. The Oral Microbiome and Mental Wellbeing

This study suggests a mechanism by which bacteria in the mouth (oral microbiome) has a role in mood and mental wellbeing, through the HPA axis and changes in neural biochemistry in the brain.

The mice raised in a sterile environment also had altered expression of GABA and NMDA receptors in the frontal cortex. GABA and NMDA receptors are the main inhibitory and excitatory receptors, they are the most common target of drug therapy in psychiatric disorders and the change in these receptors is consistent with anxiety and depression.

The mice raised in a sterile environment also had higher levels of stress and anxiety and lower levels of BDNF in the hippocampus compared to the controls. Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is a protein that is important in long-term memory, learning, regulation of stress response, and has been implicated in depression and anxiety.

Studies have shown that mice raised in a sterile, bacteria-free environment have exaggerated hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis responses to stress compared to controls. The HPA axis is a set of connections between the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands. This system controls reactions to stress and regulates digestion, the immune system, mood and emotions, and energy storage and expenditure. An exaggerated HPA axis is seen in depression and anxiety.

The mouth is home to millions of bacteria. Some bacteria are linked to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. But bacteria in the mouth can be helpful! Research suggests that healthy bacteria in the mouth are the same bacteria that are found in the gut. These bacteria outcompete the bacteria that are linked to gum disease and have a role in breaking down complex carbohydrates.

9.2. Addressing Dental Anxiety and Phobia Naturally

First and foremost is the issue of safety and restraint for the anxiety patient. It is of little use treating these patients physically or philosophically if the outcome is going to be an exacerbation of their dental anxiety and phobia. We are perplexed at reports of patients who have been trigger-happy with a script for sedatives and tranquilizers, or even general anesthetics have been advised for phobic patients. This is not the safest alternative, especially in cases of extreme dental phobia. Referral to a psychologist for behavior modification therapy or sedation with a specialist in dental or oral surgery are safer options. A safe and effective method to the problem is the use of homeopathic remedies and treatments that will not necessarily restrain the patient but will reduce their general tension and, in the long term, slow the progression of their dental anxiety.

People suffering from dental phobia and severe dental anxiety are incredible candidates for holistic dental services. This population frequently suffers needlessly. Extractions and fillings are frequently prevented until serious pain is the only option. Dental phobia patients will frequently be affected by aesthetic concerns because they will be embarrassed to smile due to the appearance of their teeth. The intention in holistic dentistry is to address the concerns of the patient as well as their oral health. The major concern for a phobic patient is the fear of pain, which frequently prevents them from seeking needed treatment.

9.3. The Connection Between Oral Health and Stress

There is no doubt that stress has been associated with the onset of several diseases and conditions, primarily because of the impact it has on the immune system. It is highly likely that individuals under stress are at a higher risk for periodontal diseases and that these people may be more negligent towards their oral care. When our immune system is compromised, the body is less able to fight off infection, including periodontal disease. Resulting gum disease will often lead to discomfort in chewing and eating, and perhaps even tooth loss. Researchers at the University of California studied the connection between stress, immunity, and oral infections. Chronic stress and the resulting immune dysregulation can lead to increased rates of periodontal disease. This is just one example of how the body’s reaction to stress can lead to an increased risk of oral health issues.

10. Holistic Dentistry and the Environment

Amalgam is environmentally damaging because it is a heavy pollutant. It is harmful to aquatic life and ecosystems; amalgam waste from dental practices has been found to be the largest source of mercury in the wastewater of a treatment plant. Although dentists are the primary source of mercury discharges, when it comes to environmental contamination, mercury is actually more likely to be released once it has been removed from teeth. This occurs because dentists are not implementing the use of amalgam separators for the safe removal of waste amalgam. In the UK, there is currently an EU feasibility study exploring the possibility of phasing out dental amalgam. The study highlights two main strategies for preventing the release of toxic mercury from dental amalgam: use of alternative materials and best management environmental practices. The more dentists understand the environmental implications, the more likely they are to switch to alternative materials.

Holistic dentistry understands the connection between oral health and general health and understands that the mouth can affect the entire body. When materials and techniques used for dental treatment are harmful to the environment, they can also be harmful to the body. Mercury amalgam is still being used in many dental practices as a filling material, despite being potentially toxic and damaging to health and the environment. Strict safety precautions for amalgam removal to prevent harmful exposure to the patient, dentist, and the environment are outlined by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT).

10.1. Eco-Friendly Dental Practices

‘Green Dentistry’ is the title given to the movement to make dental treatment and offices more environmentally friendly. It is a term used not only for dental practices that are specifically designed to benefit the planet, but also for dentistry that implements any number of strategies to make it more environmentally friendly. As an example, a dentist running their practice partially off solar power would be seen to be implementing green dentistry practices. At the other end of the scale, a dentist using paperless billing would also be considered to be implementing a green dentistry practice. So green dentistry, in the broadest sense of the term, can be something for everyone in the dental industry to consider. By modernising aspects of dental practices and making them less reliant on paper and harmful chemicals, it is possible for any dentist to implement strategies that benefit the planet.

Dentistry tends to have a substantial impact on the environment. Fortunately, eco-friendly dental practices are becoming more popular and are a step in the right direction. Many dental offices are striving to ‘do no harm’, and for an increasing number this means implementing practices that are less wasteful and less harmful to the planet. Eco-friendly dental practices are better for the planet and better for patients and practitioners too.

10.2. Reducing Waste and Pollution in Dentistry

Holistic dentistry integrates medical practices with a concern for the environment. A very important aspect of holistic dentistry is the concept of reducing waste and pollution. Most amalgam fillings used in dental procedures are made up of 40-50% mercury. Everyday, mercury from dental practices is washed into the public sewer system and enters the environment. Once in the environment, bacteria can change this mercury into a more toxic form called methyl mercury. In the past, elemental or methyl mercury has been used in fungicides and pesticides. In the marine environment, this type of mercury can build up in fish and shellfish. Pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children are advised not to eat certain species of fish due to the concern of unsafe mercury levels. Mercury is toxic to the central and peripheral nervous systems. It also has been attributed to kidney damage. By replacing mercury fillings with a more environmentally friendly composite, it can be ensured that mercury will not escape into the environment. Amalgam separators can remove the amalgam before it enters the sewage system. These devices can save approximately 3.7 tons of mercury from entering the environment.

10.3. Sustainable Dental Materials and Technologies

Dental practices have come under fire in recent years for their high contribution to pollution and waste. As discussed earlier, mercury amalgam removal leads to a release of mercury into the environment. Dental clinics are also known to be contributors of medical waste, discarding needles and anesthetic cartridges that are harmful to people and the environment if not disposed of properly. The study “Factors Affecting Waste Production by Dental Offices” published in the Journal of the American Dental Association concluded that larger dental practices that provide prosthodontic services produce more waste. These services are largely composed of crowns and bridges that require significant tooth reduction. The study found that these practices produce an overwhelming amount of gypsum plaster and impression material waste. These materials, because they are often contaminated, are not accepted by recycling agencies and because of this and the lack of an accessible disposal option may end up in the regular trash and ultimately in the environment. Amalgam has once again proven itself a contender in this field, adding up to 50% of the waste mercury in the wastewater from dental practices. With these facts in mind, it is clear sustainable technologies in all areas of dentistry are essential and this is an area of a lot of potential improvement.

Experience the Difference with Holistic Dentistry at Smile Magic Dentistry! Visit us today at to schedule your appointment and embark on a journey towards holistic oral health and wellness


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