Holistic dentistry takes a different approach to dentistry and it’s become more popular in recent years. But what is holistic dentistry? And how does it differ from traditional dentistry practices? If you’re curious about the holistic approach to dentistry, you’re in luck. You’ll find everything you need to know about this natural form of dentistry, to help you decide if it’s best for you.

What Is Holistic Dentistry?

dentist during a consultation

So, what is holistic dentistry exactly? It can also be referred to as alternative dentistry, biologic dentistry, or integrative dentistry. This type of dentistry focuses on considering a patient’s dental health alongside their entire physical and mental well-being. Holistic dentistry functions by not just caring for a patient’s oral health, but for their oral health in the context of a patient’s overall well-being.

The term “holistic” does not necessarily reflect a specific practice or technique. Rather, the term refers to an overall philosophy. Holistic medicines of all types focus on the overall well-being of a person, where the whole of a person is treated. A person’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being are considered in a holistic approach.

Basic Principles of Holistic Dentistry

Holistic dentists educate patients on their overall health and perform dentistry that is good for not just the teeth and gums, but for the whole body. When learning about “what is holistic dentistry,” you’ll need to understand the basics. For the most part, holistic dentists adhere to the following principles:

  • Education of overall health to patients.
  • Proper nutrition for prevention and reversal purposes.
  • Treating dental issues with biological procedures.
  • Complete avoidance of toxins or unnatural, dental procedures.

How to Approach Your Oral Health with a Holistic Lifestyle

woman with a green apple

Holistic dentistry is just like every other holistic approach. If you want to start a holistic approach to dentistry, you’ll need to understand the holistic lifestyle as a whole. This means living a more natural, healthy life.

The first step to a holistic lifestyle is diet. The planet provides everything you need in your diet, and in holistic dentistry, your diet has an incredible impact on your oral health. Eating healthy can not only prevent oral problems, but maybe even reverse them. In fact, your nutrition-intake can have an incredible impact on your psychological and physical well-being as well.

In addition to diet, you’ll need to avoid certain behaviors that are unhealthy for your mouth and body. Smoking cigarettes, drinking, or doing drugs will increase the risk of oral complications. Certain medications can also have an ill-effect on your teeth and gums.

How Is Holistic Dentistry Different from Traditional Dentistry?

What is holistic dentistry like in comparison to traditional dentistry? Traditional dentistry focuses mainly on the immediate problem and treating symptoms of the teeth and gums. Holistic dentistry helps treat the underlying causes of the symptoms, eliminates the problems, and also works to ensure the procedures done do not have a poor effect on overall health. While traditional dentists work to simply solve the immediate problem, holistic dentists try to look at the problem from a broader point of view and solve it completely.

Differences in Procedures

Holistic dentists do not perform many of the same procedures as traditional dentists and may not use the same materials or solutions. The treatments and procedures they perform focus on an overall healthiness and they do not use any solution that could be unhealthy for any part of the patient. Some examples of how a holistic dentist would treat a patient differently include:


Holistic dentists do not use mercury fillings. Traditional dentists use this option because it is covered by insurance and easier to place. Mercury however, is a toxin and holistic dentists find it to be too big of a risk to a patient’s overall health. In fact, a holistic dentist may recommend removing a mercury filling that is already in-place.

Root canals

Many traditional dentists perform root canals as a treatment for teeth that are decaying or dying. Root canals involve toxic chemicals used for sterilization and can leave behind bacteria that can cause serious problems in the future. Holistic dentists typically do not recommend root canals, and often recommend other non-toxic treatment options, like extraction instead.


The use of fluoride is a highly-debated topic. Traditional dentists are typically pro-fluoride, in both topical and ingested forms. They claim that fluoride helps decrease the risk of cavities. Holistic dentists however understand that fluoride has been linked to a variety of health concerns, including bone problems and even cancer. Holistic dentists recommend decreasing the amount of fluoride ingested as much as possible.


This term refers to a patient’s compatibility to materials or substances. Traditional dentists typically do not test to see if a certain material will cause a reaction in your body. Holistic dentists are concerned about the entire well-being and often perform biocompatibility testing to see which choices are right for a patient’s specific needs.

Is Holistic Dentistry the Right Choice for You?

After reading more about what is holistic dentistry and how it’s different from traditional dentistry, you’ll find that your choice is mostly philosophical. If you are simply looking for someone to fix the immediate issue, turn to your traditional dentist. However, if you have questions and concerns about your overall well-being and how your oral-health plays into it, a holistic dentist could be best.

A holistic dentist provides a more-personalized experience; offering education, advice, and treatment options for the specific patient. They hope to provide patients with healthier, better solutions that will keep your mouth, body, and mind in-sync.

Wrapping Up

Your oral health should be a top priority in your life and if you see the benefits of coordinating your overall health with the health of your mouth, a holistic dentist may be right for you. Holistic dentistry can help you make the best decisions for not only your teeth and gums, but for your entire well-being. As always, be sure to stay educated, ask lots of questions, and always consult licensed professionals with all of your dental needs.