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Holistic dentistry focuses on whole-body wellness that starts with the mouth.

Holistic dentistry is an alternative approach to dentistry that believes your oral health is connected to your overall health. Rather than focusing solely on the health of your teeth and gums, holistic dentistry promotes the use of nontoxic, restorative materials to eliminate oral infections and improve overall health. If you’re considering seeing a holistic dentist , read on to learn more about the history of holistic dentistry as well as some of the numerous benefits holistic dentistry touts.

The History of Holistic Dentistry

The word holistic comes from “wholistic” meaning “the whole.” While the world of holistic dentistry is ever changing, here’s a brief look at how holistic dentistry became what it is today.

Early 1800s

Holistic dentistry can be traced back to 1819 when the first mercury-amalgam filling was invented in England. These fillings would eventually go on to be fully endorsed by the American Society of Dental Surgeons (ASDS) in 1930, leading to the widespread use of the material in oral care.

Late 1800s

As more research about the dangers of mercury was conducted, the ASDS withdrew its support of mercury-amalgam fillings and required its members to cease the use of the material in 1840. However, a pro-amalgam faction of the ASDS was created in 1859, eventually splitting off and forming their own group, now known as The American Dental Association (ADA).

Early 1900s

In the 1920s, German chemist, Alfred Stock, discovered his amalgam fillings were leading to mercury toxicity. He published his findings in hopes the use of amalgam fillings would stop. Just a few years later, Dr. Weston Price published Nutrition and Physical Degeneration and concluded that many western diseases, such as tooth decay, were linked to nutrition.

1978

In 1978 the Holistic Dental Association (HDA) was founded. The association aimed to promote methods of treatment which were not traditionally taught in dental school. Five years later, the International Association of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) was founded with the goal to educate the public regarding potentially toxic materials in the mouth.

1987

Prominent Swedish scientists published studies which correlated mercury levels in the occipital lobe brain cortex with the number of amalgam fillings in a person’s mouth. Another study also showed that dentists and dental staff had, on average, 40 times mercury in their pituitary glands than individuals with different professions.

Late 1990s and Early 2000s

As more research is done on the effects of mercury, studies find correlations between amalgam fillings and increased levels of mercury in the body. In 2002, the DFA banned the use of mercury in horse medicine, which left no medically-approved use of mercury for animals—however, the FDA approved a mercury level under 1 part per million (ppm) for humans, with the exception of amalgam fillings, which contain 500,000 ppm.

Present Day

As on 2017, the ADA still claims that amalgam fillings are safe. Dental school students are still taught how to perform amalgam filling procedures and the potential risks involved are rarely discussed. The Holistic Dental Association works to promote the use of non-toxic materials in dental procedures.

The Difference Between Holistic Dentistry and Traditional Dentistry

As healthcare professionals, all dentists understand the importance of oral health in connection to overall health. This is why all dentists emphasize the importance of preventing gum disease as studies show gum disease is linked to diabetes, pregnancy and heart health. However, what sets holistic dentists apart from traditional dentists is that holistic dentists have been trained in the long term effects of what dentistry does or can possibly do to the body as a whole. This is ultimately why holistic dentistry was formed.

Holistic dentists and traditional dentists receive the same schooling in order to practice dentistry. However, holistic dentists will typically continue their education to focus on holistic principles of dental care. While no two holistic dentists are exactly alike, holistic dentists will always choose the safest and least toxic way to achieve great results and effective treatments for patients.

Holistic Dentistry Practices

Holistic dentistry practices share similarities with traditional dental practices but with added principals. Ultimately, holistic dental practices focus on considering health in all factors, from physical and mental to emotional and spiritual. Holistic dentists will typically spend time educating patients on the importance of overall health as well as how dentistry and their oral hygiene habits influence their overall health.

Holistic dentists also forgo certain traditional dentistry practices that they believe do not contribute to a patient’s overall health. Some of these practices include things like avoiding fluoride and mercury filling. Holistic dentists typically avoid the use of fluoride in both topical and ingested forms as research has linked fluoride to cancer as well as bone problems. Many are also against fluoridating public water supplies as this can cause fluorosis.

As discussed earlier, traditional dentistry embraces the use of mercury (also known as an amalgam) fillings. Although mercury fillings are often covered by insurance and considered safe by the ADA and FDA, traditional fillings still secrete a small amount of mercury. Holistic dentists understand that mercury is a toxin no matter how small of an amount released. For this reason, holistic dentists opt to use enamel bonding and fillings. These work to close gaps, repair chips, correct small teeth and more. Best of all, these tooth-colored fillings contain no toxins.

Holistic Dentistry In Lutz, FL

It’s important to keep in mind that every dentist is different and whether you choose holistic dental care or traditional dental care is a personal choice. Ultimately, healthcare professionals are here to ensure you are healthy. If you’re considering making the switch from a traditional dentist to a holistic dentist, the team at Impeccable Smiles would love to answer any questions you may have. We provide the best in oral healthcare and always treat patients with the use of nontoxic, restorative materials. Contact us today to learn more.

Sources: International Association of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, CBS 60 Minutes, Holistic Dental Association, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Food and Drug Administration