Do you start squirming when you think of “natural methods?” Does it feel like someone’s selling you some quack solution? Depending on your answer, you might either hate or love our next topic. Holistic dentistry: what is it, exactly?
Holistic dentistry is a branch of alternative medicine. It looks to solve dental problems to take care of the whole body. Some people call it natural dentistry; other practitioners may deem themselves a biological dentist. But the term “holistic” seems to suit this type of alternative medicine the most. Practitioners of holistic dental care believe that oral disease is a symptom of an underlying health issue. The only way to treat them, then, is to remedy the issue that causes it.
There are, of course, some nuances that set holistic dental care as a form of alternative medicine. Not to mention the subtleties between it, natural dentistry, and the biological dentist. If it’s a lot to take in, no worries—we’ll break it down for you.
Holistic dentistry, natural dentistry, biological dentist: What’s the difference?
It’s tempting to skip to the definition and skim over holistic dental care’s different names. While you can lump them all together, the different names do give us more of an insight into what holistic dentistry is.
- The term “natural dentistry,” for instance, gives us an idea of what options are used in holistic dental care. Holistic dental care noticeably puts a focus on all-natural treatments. It’s for this reason why most natural dentistry practitioners shun conventional procedures like amalgam fillings, root canals, and fluoride treatments. According to them, the substances used for these operations tend to be incompatible with the human body and affect your overall health.
- “Biological dentistry,” on the other hand, looks at how the condition of your teeth and gums affect your body. Biological dentists also note the opposite true as well—to make sure dental problems don’t happen, you need to take care of your body. Much like natural dentists, biological dentists do not approve of typical dental treatments because of the potentially harmful ingredients they contain.
Of the two, however, the term “holistic dentistry” ties up its philosophy and aims. Like most alternative medicine practitioners, both natural and biological dentists ultimately see dentistry as a way to bring balance to the body and puts a premium on the mouth in maintaining one’s overall health.
Not natural? Not allowed
According to The Center for Natural Dentistry, four key issues pit holistic dental care against conventional dentistry:
- Amalgam fillings. Amalgam fillings typically contain mercury, which concerns practitioners of holistic dental care.
- Root canals. Holistic dentistry practitioners argue that root canals do not work unless the pulp chamber has been thoroughly sterilized, making it impossible. They are also against the chemicals used in the sterilization, such as formaldehyde. We did note, however, how important it is to keep your teeth for as long as possible—particularly on life expectancy.
- Fluoride use. Most holistic dentists are generally against ingested fluoride—meaning the fluoride you can eat or drink. Sometimes this extends to topical fluoride. For them, fluoride is linked to cancer and bone problems. We noted, however, that the fluoride consumed doesn’t pose any major health risks. And the only thing that does happen is fluorosis, which clears up once you stop overconsumption.
- Biocompatibility. Holistic dentists advocate testing for biocompatibility. In other words, how compatible certain substances are with your body.