In this podcast, Dr. Nammy Patel talks about how holistic dentists treat periodontal disease. She explains the connection between whole body and oral health, and she outlines the importance of discovering the true, root cause of periodontal disease.
John: Hi, I’m John Maher. 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 & Healthy Living and Total Wellness, understanding the link between your teeth and your health. Today, our topic is natural treatments for periodontal disease with holistic dentistry. Welcome, Dr. Nammy.
Dr. Nammy: Hi, John, thank you for having me here.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
John: Sure. Dr. Nammy, what is periodontal disease?
Dr. Nammy: John, periodontal disease means that there is bacteria in the gums that have overgrown and the balance of good bacteria versus bad bacteria has tipped, so now there are more pathogenic bacteria that are in the mouth that are growing. What they do is they build up this tartar-like material that releases acids, and what it does, is it dissolves the gum tissue and the bone, and makes the tooth loose.
The second thing that it does is that because all this bacteria is in the mouth, it goes to the rest of the body and it causes a lot of problems. For example, heart attacks, diabetes, cancer are all linked to specific type of bacteria that are not good for you, and they are the same bacteria that are found in periodontal or gum disease.
Holistic Vs. Traditional Care for Periodontal Disease
John: Okay. How does a holistic dentist approach periodontal disease versus traditional dentists?
Dr. Nammy: The most important thing a holistic dentist is going to do is take periodontal disease seriously. Most dentists are concerned about making teeth look pretty. Most holistic dentists are looking at how to avoid these bad bugs and get them out of your body ASAP, and also test to make sure that these bacteria are all gone. That is how a holistic dentist is going to approach it. First, they’re going to go ahead and mark the pocket depths, so looking at, is there markings zero to three, which is really good? If it’s zero to four, then it’s the beginning of gum disease. If it’s four and higher, that’s more advanced gum disease.
The most important thing a holistic dentist is going to do is going to take bleeding seriously. They’re not just going to look at bleeding and saying, “Hey, brush and floss better, and I’ll see you in three months.” They’re going to be like, “Oh, there is a lot of bleeding going on because that means that there is an infection here. We really should look at what is the reason why you’re having so much bleeding? Is it that you have a vitamin C deficiency, or is it that there’s actually an overgrowth of bacteria we may not be aware of?
And since bacteria are microscopic, it’s really hard to tell what kind of bacteria they are, so a holistic dentist is going to go a step deeper and try to figure out what is the root cause of these bacteria and focus on how to eradicate them.
Root Causes of Bad Oral Bacteria
John: What are some of the root causes of bad bacteria growing in your mouth?
Dr. Nammy: The main causes of bad bacteria coming into the mouth is one acid reflux. So, that when there is bacteria coming from the belly, when you belch, they actually come up to the mouth and at the backs of the tongue, and the back of the molars is where we typically find these snake-like bacteria that live in the belly.
The second one is actually due to oxidative stress. What that means is that body is not getting enough oxygen. People are mouth breathing, and when you’re mouth breathing, the mouth becomes really, really, really dry. And when the mouth becomes really dry, it makes these pathogenic bacteria grow more. Of course, the third is because if somebody isn’t going to the dentist and getting cleanings frequently, it’s going to make the bad bacteria grow.
It’s like cooking in an industrial kitchen. We eat what? Four or five times a day and never cleaning it. So, all the crumbs kind of grow in there and all the bacteria overgrow, and that’s what causes the disease, or these bacteria that overgrow is what eats away the gum tissue and the bone tissue and also causes havoc in the body.
Holistic Treatments for Periodontal Disease
John: So, what are some of the tools or maybe treatments that a holistic dentist would use to treat periodontal disease?
Dr. Nammy: Holistic dentists use a lot of different things to treat periodontal disease. Number one, they’re going to test. They’re going to use microscopes. They’re going to figure out the type of bacteria that actually exist, and once we figure out the type of bacteria that exists, we are going to do usually a deep cleaning, remove these bacteria, and make sure the surface of the teeth are really smooth, so bad bacteria cannot adhere to it. And then, also, we’ll utilize different modalities like lasers, ozone, probiotics in order to eradicate these bacteria.
Contact Green Dentistry to Talk About Holistic Care
John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Dr. Nammy. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Dr. Nammy: My pleasure.
John: For more information about Green Dentistry, visit the website at sfgreendentist.com or call (415) 433-0119.