The internet is abuzz with holistic oral health information these days.
But has anyone created a clear definition of what ‘holistic oral health’ means?
After all, unless we have a clear understanding of what holistic oral health is (and isn’t), we risk just throwing around buzzwords and having a conversation that only leads to more confusion.
So, in today’s article we’ll explore the two main foundations of holistic oral health.
As a baseline, holistic oral health acknowledges the direct impact between mouth health and the health of the whole being.
This leads us to the first foundation…
Foundation #1: We must heal the mental disconnect with our mouth.
We’ve explored this point before, but healing the mental disconnect with our mouth is so fundamental, it’s worth repeating.
The bottom line is, we can discuss the concept of holistic oral health until the cows come home, but we won’t create any lasting positive change until we really heal the mental disconnect that most of us have with our mouth.
This shows up in our lives in so many ways, and it can undermine both our oral and whole-body health.
Let’s do a quick quiz to see how you’re doing at healing your own mental disconnect with your mouth…
Without counting, how many teeth do you have in your mouth?
Notice we didn’t ask how many teeth are in a human mouth; we asked how many teeth are in YOUR mouth?
If you weren’t able to answer this off the top of your head, don’t feel bad. You’re definitely not alone.
In fact, most of the people we ask aren’t able to quickly answer this.
Here’s another, slightly tougher question…
Do you have any crowns, root canals or implants in your mouth? If so, can you point to each one?
To be able to answer this question, you need to have spent some time getting to know your mouth.
If you want to massively improve your oral health, here’s the very best way to get started. No, it’s not buying some products or information. It’s just a tool for supporting your oral health by getting to know your mouth. And the best part is that it’s FREE!
Here’s a link to the article and FREE download to get you heading in the right direction.
As we distill all this down, we come to a very popular MYTH that’s at the core of this mental disconnect.
One version of this myth is…
Oral health myth: “What goes in the mouth, stays in the mouth.”
In other words, if you put something into your mouth, as long as you don’t swallow it, you can spit it out and it won’t make its way into the rest of the body.
But wait–research has proven this isn’t true. It’s a myth! (If you’d like a fun read, here’s more on oral health myths.)
In fact, what we put into our mouths gets absorbed through the gum and cheek tissue, and it ultimately winds up in the bloodstream.
Anyone who has taken homeopathic medicine knows that you simply put the medicine under your tongue and it’s absorbed into the system.
The same goes for anyone with angina–just put the drug under your tongue and you’re good to go.
As you’ll see in a bit, this myth has very powerful implications when it comes to keeping toxins out of our body.
But first, let’s circle back to the discussion of healing the mental disconnect regarding mouth/body health.
So why is it so important to heal this mental disconnect?
As a whole, our modern culture ‘over-compartmentalizes’ the body. This is especially true when someone has been trained in a medical (or dental) system.
The problem is, the mouth is part of the body, and everything is connected. So, you can’t treat the mouth separately from the rest of the body.
We may think that we can treat the mouth separately, but it doesn’t work at all.
In fact, our mouths are THE main pathway for how we introduce new ‘stuff’ into our bodies.
And when you ponder the impact of the human microbiome, the mouth is the very beginning of the entire digestive tract (which is home to 80% of our immune system).
So, whatever we do in the mouth has a direct impact ‘downstream’.
This is why there is such a HUGE connection between oral disease and systemic disease.
Gum disease and tooth decay (the lion’s share of oral health diseases) have been connected to all of the major diseases that plague our modern culture, including:
I mean, with a list like this, wouldn’t you think that oral health would be much more important to our culture?
But conventional medical science quickly points out that ‘correlation does not equal causation’.
In other words, the science may suggest that people who have gum disease have an increased risk of heart disease, but that doesn’t mean that having gum disease contributes to the cause of the heart disease.
Ugg, part of the mental disconnect.
The mouth is the furthest upstream part of our immune system. Whatever we do in our mouths flows downstream.
Which leads us to the second major pillar of holistic oral health…
Foundation #2: Keep toxins out of your mouth.
In this case, toxins can take on lots of different forms, including:
- Dental restoration materials
- Chronic hidden infections in the mouth
- Oral hygiene products
- The words we speak
Let’s unpack each of these to grasp how they impact our broader health.
Dental restoration materials
If we (mistakenly) believe the myth we shared above that, ‘what goes in the mouth stays in the mouth’, we’ll (also mistakenly) believe that we can use all dental restoration materials in the mouth without harming the body.
Hmm… Lots of holes here… Don’t even get me started…
So, the first step is to stop gum disease and tooth decay in your mouth so you can avoid the need for additional, ‘questionable-at-best’ dental restoration materials.
Once you get this under control, it’s time to turn your attention to what you can do to clean up any collateral damage from old dental work.
We’ve covered this subject extensively with articles like, “How to safely remove mercury amalgam fillings” and in FREE expert interviews like, “How to safely remove mercury from your brain and body” and “The connection between gum disease, mercury and Alzheimer’s“.If you want to take an even deeper dive into this subject, you can download a FREE e-book, the OraWellness Guide to Safe Dentistry, here. And while we’re at it, here’s another FREE ebook: How to stop tooth decay and remineralize your teeth.
Chronic hidden infections in the mouth
When we get an infection, our immune system tries to help by creating an inflammatory field around the invaders.
However, if the infection becomes chronic, this ‘solution’ can turn into a problem.
Chronic infections bring on a state of chronic inflammation. And chronic inflammation is the stuff that brings disease.
In the mouth, chronic infections can exist from root canals, cavitations (infections at sites where we’ve had teeth pulled, like wisdom teeth), or even just plain ol’ gum disease, our original ‘elephant in the room’.
The inflammatory cascade of chronic oral infections involves many factors.
Part of the issue is what we touched on above, that our immune system creates inflammation when it becomes aware of an infection.
Another part of the problem is toxins. The thug bugs implicated with these chronic infections produce toxins and dump them into our systems, and these toxins also cause inflammation.
So, it’s really important that we identify and clean up any chronic infections in the mouth. Here’s an article that discusses one idea for how to find chronic infections.
Oral hygiene products
Of course this is part of the story. We’re going to do our best to keep this really short and sweet…
It all comes down to whether or not the people who formulated an oral hygiene product believed the myth, ‘What goes in the mouth stays in the mouth’.
If they did believe this myth to be true, they would be ok with their oral hygiene product formulation including ingredients that cause trouble ‘downstream’ (yes, we’re referring to ingredients like fluoride, SLS, coloring agents, and the infamous plastic microbeads).
On the other hand, some oral hygiene product creators (deep bow of gratitude and humility) are more holistically-minded. They (we) formulate their oral hygiene products knowing full well that whatever we put into our mouths goes into the whole body.
So, our products only include ingredients that help in some way, and we make darn sure that every single ingredient is safe for the whole body.
If you want to see how your oral hygiene products stack up, check out these articles where we explain how to tell whether or not your oral hygiene products are holistic and how to tell if a toothpaste ingredient is safe to use in the mouth.
It’s amazing how quickly the body heals itself when we use products with ingredients that are there to help (rather than just fill a tube) and that keep the whole body in mind.
Choose our words mindfully…
Yep, part of holistic oral health may be too ‘fluffy’ for some, but it’s true: the words we choose to speak can either spread love and be supportive or spread poison into the world.
The downside? Well, when we choose to speak poison, we are the first ones to get sprayed with that toxin.
Like our dear friend India Arie states so poetically, “Speak words of beauty and you will be there.”
It’s true. If you want to see your oral (and whole body) health skyrocket, speak words of beauty. Validate others honestly and sincerely from your heart. And if you need to, bite your tongue.
We are each responsible for what comes out of our mouth. (Yep, science even backs up the health-giving impact of this ‘softer’ kind of stuff, like how smiling increases health and happiness.)
Ok, so this is a starting outline for holistic oral health, but it is by no means a complete definition.
There are many other pieces to the puzzle, but these two pieces (healing the disconnect with your mouth and keeping toxins out of your mouth) will definitely help you stay healthy and happy.
If you want to explore more of the mouth/body connection, please consider signing up for our FREE video tutorial course, the 5 Steps to a Healthy Mouth.
We hope this helps you along your path!
Thank you for being here. It’s an honor to serve you. 🙂
Helpful, Related Resources:
What’s the differences between biological, functional and holistic dentistry anyway? [article]
The first step of dental self empowerment [article and Free download]
Debunking 3 common oral health myths [article]
How to balance your oral flora [article]
How to safely remove ‘silver’ mercury fillings (without damaging your brain) [article]
How to safely remove mercury from your brain and body [[FREE expert interview]]
The connection between gum disease, mercury and Alzheimer’s [[FREE expert interview]]
The OraWellness Guide to Safe Dentistry [[FREE resource guidebook]]
How to stop tooth decay and remineralize your teeth [[FREE e-book download]]
4 steps to stop gum disease from causing an autoimmune disease in your life [article]
3 questions to ask your dentist about root canals [article]
The common, unknown risk of having wisdom teeth removed [article]
Is it wise to have your wisdom teeth removed? [article]
How to brush your teeth to reduce gum disease [[article and video tutorial]]
Is Thermal Imaging the Solution to Screen for Problem Root Canals? [article]
Is Fluoride Safe to Use? [article]
What’s in the HealThy Mouth Blend? [article]
How to Tell if Your Oral Hygiene Products are Holistic or Not [article]
How to determine if a toothpaste ingredient is safe to use in the mouth? [article]
Smile your way to greater health and happiness [article]
5 Steps to a Healthy Mouth [[FREE video tutorial course]
The link between gum disease and cardiovascular disease – Pubmed
Poor periodontal health – a cancer risk? – Pubmed
Periodontal disease and diabetes – a two way relationship – Pubmed
Periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis: the evidence accumulates for complex pathobiologic interactions – Pubmed
Gingivitis and periodontitis as a risk factor for stroke – Pubmed
Association between MS and chronic periodontitis – Pubmed
P gingivalis in Alzheimer’s diseased brains – Pubmed