Why choose a holistic dentist over a regular one?
That you prefer organic chicken, as opposed to "plofkip" is understandable. But why would you choose a holistic dentist over a "regular" one? Holistic dentist Maartje from Dental Practice De Liefde in Amsterdam was eager to answer this question and more.
What's the difference between a regular dentist and a holistic dentist?
As holistic dentists, when we treat our clients we look at them from a wider, holistic perspective. When you look at someone’s teeth, you can see that they are inextricably linked to the rest of the body and do not stand-alone.
Another difference is that a holistic dentist often uses other materials. For example, we do not like to use metal in the mouth, and we choose white fillings without BPA specifically. BPA is a chemical that is used to produce plastic, but can also be used for fillings. BPA is known to interfere with your hormonal balance. It's something that you’d prefer not to have in your mouth in large quantities.
Some holistic dentists are about integrated dentistry. What does this mean exactly?
Integrative dentistry is derived from "Integrative Medicine". It is already widely applied in the United States and refers to medicine where several therapies are combined.
Simply put, integrative dentistry combines Western evidence-based dentistry, as it is taught at the university, with complementary therapies that, although not widely accepted in our society, have already proven themselves. Think about homeopathy, meditation and acupuncture.
This type of dentistry is based on four dimensions: your physical body, your mental condition, your social environment and your spirit. Together, these dimensions determine the health of your teeth. Having a supersonic electric toothbrush can help with the health of your teeth, but if you are under a lot of stress, are depressed or do not deal with your diet properly; the toothbrush might not be enough.
What do you mean when you talk about "spirit"? And how does this dimension affect your teeth?
You can best see "spirit" as the psychology or collective consciousness of society. We are all connected and affected consciously and unconsciously. Just take a look at how many people have started being more aware of what they eat, practising yoga and meditation. Closing yourself off from the collective consciousness, as an individual, can lead to isolation and you can become depressed from the lack of sense you then have.
Often, people with depression are not so good at maintaining their teeth, and because their teeth are deteriorating they avoid visiting their dentist and end up in a downward spiral. These are often the worst cases.
What prejudices do you deal with as a holistic dentist?
Prejudices often come from other dentists. When I speak with colleagues who I studied with, I often notice how Western-oriented the dentistry field is.
If I drop the word "meridian", suddenly no one understands me, whilst meridians (a set of pathways in the body along which vital energy is said to flow) are very important in Eastern medicine. All teeth and dials are connected to the meridians that flow through the entire body. Problems with a particular tooth may be the cause of complaints in your arm or intestines, for example.
Also, people often think that we are absolutely against fluoride. That is not the case. We think in terms of balance and look at the individual. Last week, we treated a girl who is very prone to cavities but does not brush with fluoride. I advised her to brush her teeth in the morning with fluoride and in the evening without, this way she balances the two. Fluoride is toxic if you use it too much, but it also enhances your teeth.
That there are many prejudices about integral dentistry, I understand. I only came into contact with Oriental medicine when I had problems with my hands and there were no good medicines available.
Western and Eastern dentistry are likely to agree upon the importance of nutrition
What you eat is important, but also when you eat. My best advice for healthy teeth: limit how often you eat or drink! Each time you eat or drink something (even a nut), an acidic environment is created in your mouth and increases the PH value. It is only after 30-45 minutes, that this value is neutral again and your teeth are restored or re-mineralised.
So, try to eat or drink up to five times a day, not more. You can also drink tea or water throughout the day, without the PH level increasing.
Does eating organic food have an impact on healthy teeth?
What I’ve noticed is that many parents give their children organic apples, raisins and fruit drinks because they should be healthy. However, many children often have one cavity after another. Your teeth don’t distinguish between an organic apple and an ordinary apple. It is, and remains, an acid attack.
If you really want to do something for your teeth (and for those of your child), limit the frequency of snacks or meals, eat as healthy as possible and take good care of your teeth.
Maartje Damen-Brands works at Amsterdam's holistic dental practice De Liefde. As a holistic dentist, she treats clients from a holistic perspective. This means Maartje sees your teeth as part of a larger whole (your body) and not as something self-contained. Interested in holistic dentistry? Please contact Tandartspraktijk de Liefde via the form below.