Naturally Healthy Teeth
“Dental X-Rays Linked To Brain Tumor Risk, Study Finds” began a recent story in the Huffington Post. It seems the radiation we have been getting since childhood is yet another potential health threat. How do you find dental diagnostics and treatments that aren’t harmful? What factors figure in good oral health?
As in many fields today, dentistry has its own group of practitioners who refer to themselves as holistic, integrative, organic, or green. They may use one or a combination the following: BPA (Bisphenol A)–free fillings; massage; nutritional and herbal remedies; color or magnetic therapy; and lasers.
Most holistic practitioners agree there is still no better diagnostic tool than the x-ray. They say the technology has improved over the past 20 years and the newer digital x-rays produce far less radiation. Dr. Victor Zeines, a holistic dentist who sees patients in Manhattan and Woodstock, N.Y., uses x-rays only on an “as needed basis” and encourages patients to take antioxidants and vitamin supplements containing spirulina, wheatgrass, flax seeds, acidophilus, mushrooms, echinacea, acai and green tea extract to help neutralize any free radicals released into the body from the radiation.
Some holistic dentists, like Dr. Lewis Gross in New York City, use an intra-oral camera in diagnostics. Pen-shaped, it goes into the mouth easily and transmits a magnified picture onto a TV screen. It is excellent at detecting cracks and inflammation that cannot be seen to the naked eye, particularly in the rear of the mouth.
Dr. Saul Pressner, who has a traditional dental practice in New York City, also uses some holistic techniques. He finds a small laser device called Diagnodent can detect caries in the very early stage, supplementing or in some cases replacing x-rays.
Dr. Zeines designs individual natural treatments for his patients. Author of three books, (Healthy Mouth Healthy Body, Living A Longer Life—Naturally, and Your Tongue Never Lies), he proposes a battery of tests examining the blood and saliva of a patient to diagnose his or her overall health before prescribing any treatments. He also gives new patients a questionnaire to determine their chemical make-up and the best diet when undergoing dental treatments. Utilizing the research of early 20th century dentist and holistic practitioner Dr. Weston A. Price, Zeines often recommends a diet of unprocessed foods including: fats (from animals, olive oil, and cod liver, among others), organic fruits and vegetables, raw dairy products, soured or lacto-fermented dairy and vegetables (such as sauerkraut), whole grains (soaked or soured to neutralize their phytic acid), and bone stocks. (For more details go to www.westonaprice.org.)
Drs. Pressner and Zeines utilize a methodology called Biomimetics, or ‘minimally invasive dentistry.’ Instead of filing down a diseased tooth to the pulp and then filling it, this process preserves as much of the tooth structure as possible. A polyethylene fiber adhesive called Ribbond bonds to the walls of the tooth to strengthen it, allowing weak, fractured, and decayed teeth to be preserved and sealed from further decay. Proponents assert this process alleviates the need for 60% to 90% of crowns and root canals.