More and more people are waking to the awareness that our bodies are not comprised of compartmentalized systems that work independently of one another. It is true that modern medicine has made incredible advances thanks to the study and comprehension of how our nervous, digestive, circulatory, and other systems operate. But these systems all work together to support the health of one body. They are integrated, and damage to one system can have far-reaching impact to the rest of the body. This is the basis for holistic dentistry at our San Diego practice.
The clinical research is piling up, demonstrating just how deep the connections between all systems in our bodies go. There are several studies that have shown that prolonged periodontal infection (gum disease) can nearly double the risk of heart attacks and other vascular problems. Mercury fillings have been linked to poor mental health later in life: patients with dementia had an average of 8 fillings in their lifetime, compared to only 3 fillings for patients without dementia.
Another example is how nutrition affects our health. We know that a poor diet can lead to all sorts of problems, from diabetes to weight issues to fatigue and memory loss. But malnutrition can also affect our mouths: not getting enough vitamins B6 and D, for instance, can accelerate tooth decay.
Traditional Pain Management
Even some seemingly tried-and-true innocuous health remedies are being shown to have potential negative impact to our overall health. Take ibuprofen, for example: it is one of the most readily accessible pain relievers and fever reducers around. Yet new studies are showing that the benefits of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen may not outweigh the negative impact they can have.
Ibuprofen works by affecting prostaglandins. These hormones help to trigger the body’s inflammatory response in an injury. But prostaglandins are also involved in the production of collagen, a critical component in how our bodies build skin, muscle, bone, and more. Recent research indicates that ibuprofen can actually slow the body’s natural healing process. Inflammation is our body’s way of delivering blood, oxygen, and nutrients to injuries. Yes, it causes pain, but even the pain can serve a purpose by encouraging us to rest the affected area so it can heal properly.
Holistic Solutions for Pain
The modern health system reinforces misconceptions about our bodies: many people, both practitioners and patients, view dental and medical care as being distinctly separate, each addressing different needs and problems in the body. Yet the paradigm is slowly shifting, reflecting a more inclusive approach to our well-being.
One way this shift is reflected is in new solutions to pain management. For instance, just recently in April of this year, a group called Holistic Technologies shared promising data on its new biofeedback headband, a possible solution for patients suffering from temporomandibular disorders (TMD) – problems associated with the jaw including grinding one’s teeth while asleep. This biofeedback headband may one day prove to be a more effective (and less expensive) solution than nighttime mouth guards.
There are many more holistic and natural solutions for tooth pain and other dental problems. (Read more about my services for TMD here!) The good news is that biological dental offices like mine are equipped with the latest research and technology to help you manage pain, heal your mouth, and bring out the best in your smile. Call my office today to schedule a consultation!