Dental health is an important part of your overall health. Unnecessary drilling and filling your teeth with toxic materials can have far-reaching, long-term health ramifications.Fortunately, there are options, but it can be tricky finding a dentist that is fully familiar with alternative types of dentistry, such as minimally invasive dentistry and biomimetic dentistry – the latter of which means ‘mimicking nature,’ and involves using tooth restorations and techniques that imitate natural teeth, both in appearance and function.Both of these are covered in Carol Vander Stoep’s book, Mouth Matters. Carol has been a dental hygienist for 25 years.She chose a career in dental hygiene over dentistry because she valued prevention over repair, and her book can be a valuable resource for lay-persons and dentists alike. It discusses whole body health from a dental perspective, along with advanced forms of dental diagnosis and treatment that we should all be requesting from our dentists.“When I wrote the first edition of Mouth Matters, it was all about how gum disease affects heart disease, diabetes, stroke risk – all of those degenerative diseases of the body. I wasn’t all that interested in teeth.”Carol says, “What I started to realize, as the question of root canals and breaking down teeth started to surface, was that if a tooth does break down or catastrophically fail, you’re facing the same issue about introducing germs back into the body.As a result of having written the first edition, it was wonderful for me to be able to be introduced to some of the top dental researchers, clinicians, people who are really trying to start a revolution in dentistry and trying really hard to do it.But we all know that revolutions don’t start from the top-down; they have to start from the bottom-up. That’s why I’m here today. Because really, we need to educate people as to what it is that we want in dentistry. We need to know the kind of care that we want.”Naturally, preceding technological developments in dental tools is the foundation of diet. If you get your diet right, which includes avoiding sugars, processed foods and grains, then you’re creating an environment in your mouth that will be resistant to dental decay.Fermented foods, such as fermented vegetables, can be tremendously beneficial for your oral health. I’ve had a significant problem with tartar buildup on my teeth, having to get a cleaning once a month. Once I added fermented vegetables to my diet, I’ve been able to extend it to every two months. So diet is really the foundation of healthy teeth and gums.
Modern Dentistry Really Isn’t as Advanced as it Could Be
Modern dentistry is still fairly primitive in many ways. About half of American dentists still use amalgam, half of which is neurotoxic mercury – not silver as the name “silver fillings” would imply.
But that’s not the only problem. The act of drilling into a tooth is in and of itself very destructive to the tooth, especially when using a high speed drill. It can create tiny little cracks that lead to further deterioration of the tooth over time. Low-speed drilling is not as destructive to the tooth but is still far from optimal.The conventional strategy to “drill and fill,” regardless of the restorative material used, is an impermanent solution. An estimated 70-80 percent of the work done by dentists is re-repairing previous dental work.“It’s important to really understand – and one thing that I didn’t appreciate was – that teeth are one of the most complex structures in your body,” Carol says. “It takes a full nine years for them to even form. It’s a series of arches.
If you would think about masonry, anytime you cut an opening in masonry in order to handle the compress of strengths, a mason has to build an arch to hold that strength. If you were to take the keystone out of that arch or to cut the leg out off of that arch, the whole arch would collapse; the whole structure would collapse.What I think is so beautiful about a tooth – an adult molar – is that it is a series of arches. There are at least four to five arches built into the tooth. They’re actually made of different layers.You have an outer, very tough shell called enamel. That’s only two percent organic, and it doesn’t flex a lot. But the internal part of the tooth, the body of the tooth, is 55 percent organic. It’s made of collagen and water. It’s made to shake, rattle, and roll, as we put all these compressive strengths on it. Chewing is a very, very tough thing. We want these teeth to last a hundred years and stay in function, and they’re designed to do that.”The concept of minimally invasive dentistry is still in its infancy, although Dr. Tim Rainey has been tirelessly lecturing on the subject, all over the world, for the last 25 years. He has also written about it in dental journals. He still has a dental practice in Refugio, Texas where the majority of his patients are underprivileged children on Medicaid.“The beauty of this dentistry is that it doesn’t require shots. It doesn’t take a lot of time. It’s not painful. In fact, since he introduced ozone into his practice, he has never had a child come in with an asymptomatic tooth (meaning a tooth in pain) that has ever needed a root canal or an extraction. He’s never even needed to anesthetize them,” Carol says.
The Importance of Early Diagnosis
Early diagnosis is essential if you want to avoid invasive restorations. Unfortunately, conventional dentistry still has a lot to learn in this respect. According to Carol, traditional means of diagnosis, using an explorer, and x-rays only have a 25 percent success rate in terms of accurate diagnosis. False positives and false negatives can occur and do so quite frequently. Carol explains:“You can have a tooth to be completely stain-free… It cannot stick with an explorer. If we take an X-ray of the tooth, nothing shows up. It looks completely pristine.However, [decay] can be hiding up under those pits and grooves – some rather significant decay. In fact, when the enamel is forming, a lot of times there are little folds, fractures, and not completely mineralized enamel. There are defects in the enamel that we can’t catch for many, many years. You can’t really diagnose or treat an unopened fissure. That’s really the first most important thing – I think – that people need to know.…The decay has to get pretty deep into the tooth before we can diagnose it. In fact, X-rays are very late-stage diagnosis. Decay has to be at least two millimeters into the second layer of tooth under the enamel before an X-ray can begin to catch it. Then you have to be much more invasive in treating it. You want to be able to catch diagnosis early.”Fluoride is commonly thought to be a primary prevention strategy against tooth decay, despite the fact that, like mercury fillings, it is a highly toxic substance, shown to lower IQ in children. According to Carol, fluoride also makes early diagnosis more difficult.“When that outer shell is heavily infused with fluoride, it changes the way an X-ray goes through a tooth,” she says. “I think it delays diagnosis, because we’re not able to see that decay as easily.”…………………….
The Benefits of Ozone in Dentistry
Now, most people get concerned when they hear ozone, equating it with ozone pollution. When ozone levels rise, we’re likely to get sick. But this is due to the pollutants caught in the ozone – ozone itself is actually nature’s way of cleaning the air. Granted, ozone gas, by itself, should not be breathed as it’s toxic to lung tissue in high concentrations. But when selectively applied, it can provide significant benefits in dentistry. In fact, according to Carol, ozone is the only way to predictably re-mineralize the tooth. The conventional thought is that this is the function of fluoride, but this is not true.Another component of minimally invasive dentistry is the use of ozone. “I can’t believe I didn’t hear of ozone until about a year and a half ago,”Carol says. “But it’s wonderful.“Fluoride actually has a powerfully detrimental effect, because while it can strengthen the tooth, that’s not the most important factor in preventing decay. While making the enamel denser, it also makes it more brittle by destroying the surface crystal matrix that helps protect the tooth. It’s a very similar process as osteoporosis drugs that make your bones denser but more brittle…“We are using it close to the mouth, so there are precautions that you have to know,” Carols says. “You have to take a course in it. You can’t just start using it. But since we deal with microbes in the mouth, I can’t imagine a better place for ozone. I use it all the time in gum disease.