Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS • Nutritional Periodontist
May 19, 2016 [printfriendly]
Dentistry (as a profession) and dentists (as professionals) are placing the wrong emphasis in the wrong place. I’m putting my 2¢ in here because I think I am entitled since I have been a practicing periodontist now for 42 years.
Here is how I see it:
Oral health is a result of balance in the mouth and balance in the body. Tooth decay and gum diseases are problems of imbalance – imbalance between good and bad bacteria, imbalance between efficient and inefficient immune system responses, and imbalance between healthy and unhealthy food choices and lifestyles.
I see dentists telling patients to brush harder and floss more frequently. Dental practitioners are placing fluoride on teeth, for both children and adults, to make their teeth harder and stronger. I see filling materials being placed into grooves on the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent tooth decay. There are so many procedures and recommendations to apparently prevent tooth decay and gum disease. WHAT I DON’T SEE is an emphasis to teach patients the real causes of tooth decay and gum disease. In my opinion, it’s elementary – eliminate the causes of disease, and you will prevent the disease.
As an aside, I know a few dentists that have their children patients grab a candy bar from a “Halloween Treasure Chest” following their dental appointment. Can you believe that? I also know of many dental conventions where free sodas are provided to dentists as they walk around the exhibit halls deciding what new gizmos they need to buy for their dental offices.
Here are my recommendations to prevent tooth decay and gum disease:
- Eat nutrient-dense foods to give your body the building elements to support a healthy mouth and balanced bacteria.
- Avoid all processed grains, sugars, and sodas because they feed unhealthy bacteria, increase acid levels in the mouth, and compromise the immune system.
- Clean your teeth and gums efficiently to remove unhealthy clumps of plaque by (1) using a toothbrush angled into the gum margins and (2) using dental floss and a tiny brush that can clean between the teeth.
- Brush your tongue to remove decaying food remnants and harmful bacteria that thrive on the top surface in the back of your tongue and are a major source of bad breath.
I believe the entire medical profession should place a greater emphasis on educating patients about the causes, prevention, and elimination of their disease. Today, in my experience, the medical profession emphasizes the treatment of the manifestations of disease. I get it. It is important to repair the damage that has been created by disease. But ultimately, prevention might avoid the damage.
I challenge my colleagues and profession to learn the real biological causes of dental disease and to implement biological prevention education for every patient that enters their offices.
Stay tuned! My next post will be my take on How to Implement Biological Prevention Education in the dental office.