A wide variety of elements that surround us every day, such as the food we eat, the water that we drink, and a multitude of environmental factors, actively predispose us to dental diseases. Therefore, working to prevent them is fundamental to maintaining our teeth healthy.
Holistic dentistry integrates these preventative measures into changes we can all make to improve our health and fortify our bodies. The general principle is that the way we treat our body virtually dictates its ability to resist these damaging elements.
Preventing Dental Diseases
Dental diseases are complex conditions determined by a multitude of factors. This is why preventing them requires daily efforts and working towards improving one’s health. From a holistic standpoint, the body needs to be treated as a whole to get the best results from any targeted treatment plan.
In regards to diseases of the mouth and teeth, the local treatment conducted by a specialized dentistry professional needs to be correlated with various measures of restoring the body’s ability to heal itself. Moreover, patients need to be able to understand fully and have confidence in the fact that treating the source of the ailment will improve the general state of the body and that strengthening the body will also have an effect on the local ailment.
Diseases Caused by Bad Teeth
Gum disease and tooth decay can have a dramatic impact on a person’s general health. Bad teeth can directly affect a person’s choice of food and the efficacy of the chewing process. Therefore, they also influence the quality of the digestive process and the individual’s nutrition.
As teeth become affected by various diseases, avoiding local pain becomes a priority. Therefore, people begin a thorough selection process of the food they can eat without experiencing sharp pains. Tough foods such as apples suddenly become less and less attractive and people end up limiting their nutrition prospects considerably.
When dental diseases cause a particular tooth or group of teeth to become highly sensible to mechanic stimuli, people limit their chewing to the opposite sides of the mouth. However, this often leads to damaging the other teeth as well because of the strain put on them.
Systemic diseases are yet another category of illnesses caused by bad teeth. Most of these are triggered by oral infections through the following two mechanisms:
- Metastatic Infection
When bacteria from an oral infection site manage to enter the bloodstream, it can be transported virtually anywhere in the body. The immune system is generally capable of eliminating the transient bacteria, but favorable conditions could enable them to settle and eventually begin multiplying, thus leading to non-oral infections.
- Metastatic Injury
Some of the bacteria from oral infection sites that enter the bloodstream have the ability to release exotoxins, which have a damaging effect on the human body. The consequences of the toxins can be observed far away from the oral cavity because the bacteria travels through the blood. Among the most important systemic diseases caused by bad teeth are the following conditions, which have no link to oral illnesses at first glance.
Periodontitis, which is the inflammation and the infection of the tissues around the teeth, as well as dental abscesses, can actively contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease. The presence of these inflammations leads to atherosclerosis and could lead to heart attacks or strokes.
If the bacteria from oral infection sites enter the bloodstream and find suitable conditions in the heart, such as damaged tissue or abnormal heart valves, then it could cause endocarditis, which is the infection of the endocardium, the inner lining of the heart.
When bacteria from oral infection sites make their way to the lungs and encounter favorable conditions, it could cause bacterial pneumonia, which is an extremely dangerous condition.
Severe periodontal diseases has recently been linked to diabetes. Current studies are assessing whether periodontitis exacerbates diabetes or if it actually has a role in its etiology.
Holistic Tools for Preventing Dental Diseases
As explained above, the holistic approach to the prevention of dental diseases includes items related to the oral cavity specifically, as well as tools meant to strengthen the entire body. It is only through correlating these two types of tools that patients can achieve a successful prevention.
Tools that Target the Oral Cavity
Patients need to care for their teeth every single day in order to maintain their health for a long time. This entails that they have to develop a daily routine which should include the following elements:
Brushing the Teeth
Patients need to brush their teeth at least twice a day in order to prevent food from lingering in between the teeth for an extended amount of time. They must learn how to brush their teeth correctly so as to eliminate as much of the deposits as possible.
Patients also need to include flossing in their daily routine because this is the best way of eliminating minute fragments of food from places that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush. The best time to floss is in the evening before going to sleep.
Periodic Professional Cleaning
Regardless of how thorough patients are with their oral care, professional cleaning will always be even more thorough. Therefore, including cleaning sessions periodically can boost the patients’ oral hygiene status and enable them to successfully prevent the early onset of plaque-related dental diseases.
Periodic Scaling and Root Planning
Scaling and root planning are fundamental for eliminating dental plaque successfully. The dentist will schedule patients for these sessions according to the amount of plaque accumulated. It is highly recommended that they are done at least once a year in order to maintain plaque levels to the minimum.
Periodic Dental Check-Ups
Patients are advised to include periodic check-ups with their dentists in their schedule to identify any dental diseases from their early stages. This is very important for preventing complex conditions of the teeth because a dentistry professional needs to adapt the specific care routine conducted by the patient so that it covers all the conditions that the patient suffers from.
Tools that Target the Body as a Whole
Strengthening the body enables it to fight any illness, including dental diseases. Therefore, including measures that can actively boost the body’s energy will have a longstanding effect on coping with disease. Here are the main aspects that need to be integrated into a successful holistic prevention plan.
Switching to a Healthier Diet
The quality of the food we eat greatly influences the amount of energy we have throughout the day. The amount of food we consume is also extremely important. It is ideal that we focus on the beneficial effects of the food, as well as its flavor and that we stop eating once the hunger is gone.
Renouncing Unhealthy Habits
Smoking, drinking alcohol and substance abuse take a significant toll on the body and reduce its ability to cope with stressing factors and disease. This is why it is crucial that such habits are eliminated in order to prevent disease and dental disease in particular, as these have direct effects on the oral cavity.
This is the ideal way of increasing the body’s energy. On one hand, it has a beneficial effect on the muscles and the cardiovascular system. On the other hand, it can improve a person’s mood and the general state of mind.
The endorphins released during exercise can help patients prevent the onset of depression, which actively increases the body’s ability to fight stressing factors and disease.
A fundamental component of an efficient holistic prevention plan is meditating. Patients need to be able to visualize how every single aspect of their daily activity contributes to their objective of preventing dental disease.
The simple fact that patients acknowledge that exercising or eating better can play a part in preventing dental issues can boost the overall effect of the entire plan. It is recommended that patients include a daily meditation routine in their schedule to maximize the efficacy of the plan.
From breathing exercises to yoga, patients can choose from a wide range of methods to enable them to reduce stress. This actually contributes significantly to the holistic prevention plan because stress is one of the most dangerous predisposing factors for disease.
In regards to dental diseases, relieving stress can help reduce conditions like bruxism, which is the grinding of the teeth during sleep, and even gingivitis or periodontitis. While it might not seem to have direct connections to gum diseases, stress contributes significantly to their development because it has the ability to affect the circulatory system.
An efficient prevention plan for dental diseases needs to involve the whole body because only this way it can be prepared to cope with factors that affect the teeth. Local treatment is extremely useful, but when paired with these general methods, the value of the plan and its success rate are increased considerably.