Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, sits down with John Maher, and they talk about the connection between sinus surgery and your immune system. Then, Dr. Nammy discusses natural and holistic alternatives to surgery.

John Maher: Hi, I’m 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 full body health and author of the best-selling book Age With Style: A Guide to a Youthful Smile and Healthy Living. Today, our topic is sinus surgery and your immune system. Welcome Dr. Nammy.

Dr. Nammy Patel: Hi, John.

Why Do People Get Sinus Surgeries?

John: Dr. Nammy, What are some of the reasons why people might have to have a sinus surgery done?

Dr. Nammy: The main reasons patients end up needing sinus surgery is a deviated septum or they have polyps, overgrowth tissue that is so occluded that it blocks breathing. Those would be some things that would cause patients to need to have sinus surgery. I actually try to avoid sinus surgery as much as we can. I like to first focus on expanding their palates and opening the sinus base so it can naturally drain and see if the body can heal a lot of these polyps or sinus issues on its own, because it can. The main reason for that is once we get better breathing through the nose, we actually activate nitric oxide, which is our body’s own immune system, which helps fight disease. It really helps lower inflammation. So, that’s my first go-to when it comes to patients with sinus issues. Sometimes I have to send patients over for sinus surgeries and things like that, but we really try to avoid them as much as we can.

Benefits and Risks of Sinus Surgery

John: What types of oral health benefits or risks to people face after sinus surgery?

Dr. Nammy: After sinus surgery, actually, things are really good for the patient because they’re breathing through the nose and that’s really what we’re wanting. We just want to make sure that their inner lining of the sinuses is removed because the Schneiderian membrane is where we actually have a lot of those cells that create that nitric oxide and create that immune function. Your nose is your immune function, so we want to protect it as much as we can. When sinus surgery is done, patients do find themselves breathing better should it be necessary, and if done correctly and they actually find that, they’re not getting as much cavities. They’re not getting as many breakage of teeth or root canals or anything like that. So, those are all really, really, really good things for patients to get.

Connection Between Your Immune System and Sinuses

John: You mentioned that there’s a connection between your immune system and your sinuses. Tell us a little bit more about that.

Dr. Nammy: Yes. The main thing about the sinus is they’re designed to help to increase and really absorb the oxygen throughout the nose. As it takes that oxygen, it converts it into nitric oxide and nitric oxide is a vasodilator, so it actually controls blood pressure. It actually controls red blood regulation. It actually controls a lot of healing hormone function in many aspects. The nitric oxide, it goes throughout the entire body and helps your body function better. That’s the reason why I say that your nose is your immune system, because as you take in the air, the air is converted into nitric oxide, and that nitric oxide goes throughout the entire body and lets it work properly and actually boosts function, so it makes your body work better.

So, it helps your immune system scavenge all the bad bugs and fight it off like cancer. That’s a common one. Or people with gut issues, a majority of the time people when they fix their sinus issues, they’re finding that their gut issue’s resolved or when their sinuses are fixed we’re finding that hormone issues are resolved. It’s basically because that nitric oxide is circulating throughout the entire body and it’s naturally generated through the nose.

Holistic Alternatives to Sinus Surgery

John: If my doctor is telling me that they think that sinus surgery is in my future and that, that it might benefit me. I come see a holistic dentist like yourself first to take a look at my jaw and see if there’s other ways that I might be able to fix my sinus problems first.

Dr. Nammy: Absolutely, and that’s our rule of thumb. So, we work with a lot of ENTs in the area and we actually find a lot of the ENTs actually refer patients to us versus us referring to them, because they too don’t want to have to do surgery unless it’s absolutely necessary. So, we want to do surgeries in those really advanced cases, it’s like one or 2% of the population, but majority of the time we want to do, 80% of the time we want to be able to take care of things naturally. That’s why they send patients to us all the time and we’re expanding their sinuses and getting as best as we can, and many times we find that patients, their issues or their symptoms have gone away. So, they’re very comfortable, and we combine that with a better diet because that’s the other issue that’s really key, is with sinus, chronic infection and things like that, being vegan, gluten-free, we start adding a nutritional component to it, which really helps the patients adopt a lifestyle, which makes a huge difference in lowering the amount of inflammation that’s present in their sinuses.

Contact Green Dentistry to Learn More

John: All right. That’s 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.