Holistic Dentistry – Valid Or a Sham?

Some say holistic medicine is all fake, some say traditional medicine is the enemy. Unfortunately, not many people take the time to truly examine each side and draw rational conclusions. They all seem to examine everything through the lenses of what they believe, leading to little or no middle-ground exposure. So here’s my take on the middle-ground for dentistry.

Holistic dentists believe that the mouth is connected, if you will, with the rest of the body. Basically, that means that changes throughout the body will be mirrored in the mouth (especially the teeth) and vice versa. A prevailing theory is that decayed teeth seep bacteria into the rest of your body (some sources claim that each tooth corresponds directly with a separate organ or body system). Also widely accepted throughout the holistic community is the danger of mercury in amalgam fillings – they claim the mercury is released into the body and is responsible for causing a very wide variety of diseases and disorders, including Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.

On the other hand, many traditional dentists refute such claims, saying that the mercury is in small enough amounts that it poses no danger to one’s health (though they do not refute the danger of mercury itself – it is widely known that it is a dangerous substance, in high enough a concentration). You can read a full article dedicated to refuting the claims of the holistic community at quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/holisticdent.html. There is some valid information, but you do need to take it with a grain of salt; sometimes they refute it simply by calling the proponents ‘quacks.’

To give the holistic side fair representation, the site for one of the most outspoken proponents of holistic dentistry can be found at hugginsappliedhealing.com/index.php. However, again, take it with a grain of salt. I believe it is true here, as with anything else, that the truth lies somewhere in between the black and white views held by each side. In my opinion, the truth is that diet plays a major role in the health of both your body and your mouth (somewhat obvious), but you don’t need to take all kinds of dietary supplements to balance things out. Just focus on balancing the nutritional value of the things you eat, try to avoid too many processed foods, and drink plenty of water (my brother always says the body runs best on a gallon a day – maybe excessive, but the reality is, you need a lot to keep yourself properly hydrated, especially if you tend to drink coffee or soda). Do this, and you’ll notice a near-immediate improvement – less physical and mental fatigue especially. It’s only logical to assume that proper hydration and less-processed foods are better for your mouth as well. You don’t need to see a holistic dentist – it seems as though many of their procedures are practically pointless, and with a proper diet, you’ll probably accomplish more than they could anyway. And personally, I’ve never had an issue with seeing a normal dentist; he does a good job, never caused me pain – even wisdom tooth removal (three teeth) went flawlessly, and I was nearly back to normal the same night.

So in my non-expert, but objective, opinion, I have to say that holistic dentistry is largely pointless so long as you hold yourself to a proper diet and practice proper dental hygiene.