Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS • Nutritional Periodontist
June 26, 2017
We all have personal stories to tell that may prove a point. Sometimes, telling these stories may sound like “sour grapes”. Stories like these could expose our vulnerability by forcing us to move outside the box. Often, moving outside the box is risky. But, this may be necessary in order to get the word out. It’s almost like “whistleblowers” who put ethics and morals above security and the status quo.
So, here are a few personal stories that take me outside the box. Some readers may agree; others may be shocked.
My Article About Mercury Fillings
In January 2017, I wrote an article about the harm of mercury restorations. In that article, I summarized a conversation I had with a department head of a major dental school. He told me that there was no proof that mercury in existing dental amalgams was harmful to humans.
After publishing that article, I received several emails that refuted what I wrote and stated unequivocally that I was out of line by bucking the position of organized dentistry. The gist of those emails was that amalgam restorations continue to be an excellent filling material for many teeth.
I categorically disagree with those who continue to place amalgam restorations. The science is strongly against mercury in the body.
My Article About Food & Lifestyle
In an article I posted in April 2017, I described how improving diet and lifestyle might improve the health of the mouth as well as overall health in a very significant way. Again, I got emails from naysayers who stated I should be treating just the obvious problems in the mouth.
Of course, the obvious and acute infection in the mouth must be treated ASAP. However, my point in the article was to investigate potential common causes of disease rather than just treating manifestations of various diseases.
Could there be underlying and treatable factors responsible not only for diseases in the mouth but also diseases in other areas of the body? Peer-reviewed research published in prestigious journals has uncovered some common causes. My personal experiences in my body, as well as the experiences of countless patients who have embraced my ideas, are proof that healthy food and lifestyle are medicine for the whole body, including the mouth.
As health professionals, dentists must be aware of the health of the total body and all that goes into making that body healthy.
My Patient With Chronic Diseases
Six months ago I saw a patient who had significant periodontal disease along with various chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and oral lesions called lichen planus. I suggested to him that I could treat his gum disease, but I would like him to consider some other factors that could be affecting not only his gum disease but also his other medical diseases. I gave him some information about food, the gut, and chronic inflammation. After he left my office, he called the receptionist to transfer his records to another dental office where he could be treated traditionally.
My Marathon Runner Patient
Just four months ago, a prominent business woman made an appointment with me. She was an ardent marathon participant and trained almost everyday. She had severely advanced periodontal disease. In addition, she had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease. I suggested that her periodontal disease and autoimmune disease might have a common cause. Also, I proposed that her constant and exhaustive marathon training could be causing excessive oxidative stress that might be a contributing factor in her Hashimoto’s as well as periodontal diseases. I recommended some changes in her rigid training program. When she left the office, she told my receptionist that she would never give up her daily marathon training. She never scheduled another appointment with me.
I am passionate about treating my patients appropriately. I also am passionate about sharing knowledge that I know to be true that will not only help their mouths but also help the rest of their bodies. It is difficult because there is so much misinformation being promoted by the “medical community”. When a person like me speaks outside of the box, he or she might be labeled as a “fanatic” or “on the fringe of medical science”. The science is there, but medical clinicians are slow to get educated.
Fortunately, many patients are thirsty for this information. Following my initial periodontal examination, most of my patients say they never have received such a thorough examination and so much useful information from any medical or dental professional in their life.
I will keep thinking and moving outside the box to get the word out. Most chronic diseases have common causes, which need to be addressed. Specifically, nutrition (for the most part) starts with the mouth. And, the mouth is where dentists are experts. Well-informed dentists are in a perfect position not only to treat dental diseases but also to help patients put together many of the puzzle pieces of chronic disease.