From dentistry to oral hygiene – caring for your smile the holistic way in Moonee Ponds
The team at Smile in Style have a common goal, and that is your wellbeing. We are proud to offer quality holistic dentistry for families in and near Moonee Ponds or Sunbury. Our approach to dental care is different, because we recognise that oral health is inseparable from whole health.
Why dental materials matter
“Don’t put that in your mouth!” You probably heard your mum say this many times when you were a small child. It turns out, your mum was right – and the same advice applies to many of the things that adults commonly put in their mouths.
There is a dangerous misconception that restorative dental materials, toothpastes, mouth rinses, and other products that you don’t swallow, must be harmless. After all, you are not consuming them – or are you? In reality, you probably are, albeit in small quantities.
The mouth is the gateway to the body, and not just through the stomach. What goes in your mouth is likely to affect the rest of your body for several reasons:
- Digestion – Anything you choose to swallow is processed by your stomach, and components of it eventually enter the bloodstream. However, you are probably swallowing more than you realise. If a restoration leeches chemicals, or if it sheds any particles, those mix with saliva and are swallowed. The same is true of residue left behind when you spit out toothpaste.
- Inhalation – Not all breathing is through the sinuses. We routinely inhale through our mouths. The air that we breathe in can carry bacteria, vapours, and fine particles from the mouth to the lungs.
- Absorption – Has your doctor ever recommended a sublingual (dissolved under your tongue) medication? If so, they probably explained that this technique allows medication to enter the bloodstream more quickly than taking it orally. The mucous membranes readily absorb medication, and an abundance of small blood vessels in the area enable fast absorption directly into the bloodstream. While that effect is advantageous when taking medications, it can be harmful if the absorbed substance is a toxin.
How oral and systemic health are linked
We aren’t robots and our body parts aren’t separate pieces. They are all part of a whole, single system. Yet, the common approach to medicine often fails to account for this fact.
For example, imagine a patient with a toothache, who recently suffered a heart attack, who also has a vitamin deficiency. Typically, these issues would be treated separately by three different specialists with little, if any, coordination or thought given to the possible connection between conditions. However, deficiencies can weaken the immune system, which increases the risk of gum disease. Multiple studies have linked gum disease with coronary disease, and a host of other medical problems such as cancer, stroke, respiratory disease, and diabetes.
The holistic approach to treating this patient would include taking a comprehensive medical and dental history, assessing for potentially related medical conditions, and working with other healthcare practitioner to assist the patient to take steps to improve the individual’s overall health.
You might be wondering just how gum disease and heart disease are linked. The answer can be summarised quite simply – The human body is one, infinitely complicated, complete system. We aren’t robots, and the mouth isn’t an independently functioning component. The health (or disease) of any body part is going to affect the whole person.
While the concept is simple, the detailed answer is quite complicated. Even scientists don’t yet have a complete answer. Like many aspects of human health, the medical community is still piecing together the puzzle with painstaking research. However, here are a few known ways that oral health and systemic health are linked:
- Harmful bacteria in the mouth can be inhaled, impacting the lungs and respiratory system
- Gum disease is a chronic infection. It causes a long-term inflammatory response in the body, which is destructive to localised tissues. Growing evidence suggests that the systemic response to chronic inflammation may be a factor in coronary and other diseases.
- Diabetic individuals are known to be more susceptible to oral disease. Similarly, untreated oral disease makes stabilising glucose levels difficult.
- Thoroughly chewing food is essential for good digestion and getting maximum nutrition from your food.