In this podcast, Dr. Nammy Patel explores holistic dental hygiene. She outlines which products to use, practices to do, and more. She also explains the link between oral and overall health.
John Maher: Hi, I am John Maher, and I’m here today with Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, California, helping patients recognize the vital connection between dental, health and whole body health, and author of the bestselling books, Age with Style: Guide to a Youthful Smile and Healthy Living, and Total Wellness: Understanding the Link Between Your Teeth and your Health.
Today, our topic is holistic dental hygiene. Welcome, Dr. Nammy.
Dr. Nammy Patel: Thank you for having me, John.
Connection Between Oral Health and Overall Health
John: Sure. Dr. Nammy, what’s the connection between oral health and overall health, especially in the context of holistic dental hygiene?
Dr. Nammy: The number one thing between oral health and overall health is that they’re directly linked. We used to think disease was belly up. We actually now have found that the oral cavity is the most important in overall health.
And the main reason for that is because when we breathe through the nose, we actually create nitric oxide, and the nose is part of the oral cavity, believe it or not, because we call it the oralpharynx, the nose, the back of the throat down. So that’s part of our airway. And so number one key is nose breathing.
Second is your microbiome, so your saliva. There are bacteria in your microbiome that are key to overall health for many reasons. One is that the bacteria actually help convert the food into nitric oxide, which helps fight heart attacks, diabetes, decreased immunity, diabetes, and all of those things, and really allows cellular function.
Now the second reason is these bacteria. So now you have good bacteria and bad bacteria. That’s what we call the microbiome. When there is a large amount of bad bacteria, they are known to cause heart attacks, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, ectopic pregnancy. So there are specific bugs that can overgrow in the mouth that can cause these specific conditions and/or diseases. And so it’s really important that we really focus on oral health and systemic health.
Natural Alternatives to Traditional Oral Care Products
John: And so what are some natural and non-toxic alternatives to conventional oral care products?
Dr. Nammy: For non-toxic alternatives or better or natural or holistic products that are out there, I have some favorites. I definitely like Cocofloss. Cocofloss has coconut oil infused into the floss, so that is really wonderful to use on a daily basis.
I also like Waterpiks because a Waterpik is just water, and you squirt it between the teeth, and it gets rid of the bacteria, which is fantastic.
When it comes to toothpaste, I really love the Boka toothpaste, B-O-K-A, Boka. They have a toothpaste with nano-hydroxyapatite. Now what the nano-hydroxyapatite does, it helps remineralize your tooth structure, making it stronger and more resistant to decay. And that makes me very, very, very happy.
Now we have to think a little bit beyond just floss and toothpaste. We also need to start looking at probiotics. So there are wonderful probiotics that I really like to use, and the company is called BioGaia. They are wonderful. It’s a nice way to be able to make sure your own microbiome is happy and healthy, especially if you have dry mouth. There are wonderful companies like StellaLife that have substitute saliva as well that can be utilized for mouthwash and give you fresh breath and keep your mouth moist all day long.
Ingredients to Avoid When Buying Oral Care Products
John: Are there some specific ingredients or substances that people should watch out for in traditional dental products?
Dr. Nammy: Yes, there are so many to be looking out for. The number one is SLS, sodium lauryl sulfate, and that comes in toothpaste. Second is the alcohol that comes in a lot of mouth washes. It is known to dry the mouth out and mess up the microbiome by dehydrating it. So those are the two big ones to look for.
But in general, when you’re looking for any sort of product, look for a minimal amount of ingredients. Three to five ingredients is very healthy, and you don’t want a lot of flavoring. You don’t want a lot of fancy words, but just simple products that will do the job.
The Role of Diet and Nutrition in Holistic Dental Care
John: And then how does diet and nutrition play a role in holistic dental hygiene?
Dr. Nammy: Well, diet and nutrition are very key because there are things that you can eat that will get stuck in between the teeth and will cause this microbiome to be bad. So if you were eating peanut butter all day long, peanut butter is good for you, but it’s sticky.
Now, if you had something like that that’s super sticky, it can cause cavities and gum disease. So you really want to be careful with what you’re eating.
And then also, if you are having that, make sure you’re brushing and flossing and cleaning out the mouth so that carbohydrate or that sticky stuff isn’t sticking around on your teeth for a long period of time.
Recommended Daily Oral Hygiene Practices
John: And what daily oral hygiene practices do you recommend for everybody?
Dr. Nammy: Honestly, floss first at night before you go to bed. Then brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush and also scrape your tongue. I feel like those three simple things are so key and really make a big difference.
John: You recommend flossing first. Why is that?
Dr. Nammy: Well, when you floss first, you actually get rid of the bacteria in between the teeth. And then when you use an electric toothbrush, you’re able to brush them away. So you actually better get a better clean. And that’s my preference.
John: All right. Well, that’s really great information and great advice, Dr. Nammy. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Contact Green Dentistry to Make an Appointment Today
Dr. Nammy: My pleasure.
John: And for more information about Green Dentistry, visit the website at sfgreendentist.com or call 415-433-0119.