“Holistic,” and “Holistic Medicine” in particular, refe to the practice of treating the whole person — including mental, social, and emotional factors — as opposed to only treating physical symptoms. Holistic approaches have grown popular in recent years, and many people are attracted to treatments that emphasize mental health and natural remedies.
What is holistic dentistry?
Holistic dentistry exists as a subset of this type of treatment approach, and it’s common for practitioners to use it in combination with other conventional methods.
A holistic dentist considers how a patient’s oral health affects their whole body, and vice versa. Then, they provide treatment that focuses on all aspects of health, including physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
What's the difference between holistic and traditional dentistry?
Traditional dentists solely focus on dental health, only diagnosing and treating problems related to teeth, gums, jaws, and areas of the head and neck (when affected by the mouth). Traditional treatments’ effectiveness and safety are scientifically proven, and include some of the following practices:
- Dental Fillings
On the other hand, holistic dentists operate under the assumption that all areas of health are connected and can influence each other, including our emotional and spiritual health. Some holistic treatments include:
For example, a holistic dentist may discuss nutritional therapies to relieve a patient’s gingivitis symptoms. A traditional dentist may also discuss nutrition with gingivitis patients, but their holistic counterpart will put a greater emphasis on the effects of nutrition on oral, physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
“Biocompatible” refers to the way substances affect the body — in the context of holistic dentistry, a natural material is considered to be biocompatible if it interacts well with a patient’s body and immune system.
Going back to our gingivitis example, a holistic dentist may offer this patient an herbal mouthwash while a traditional dentist would likely prescribe a medicated mouthwash that has been scientifically proven to reduce gingivitis symptoms.
Some other holistic dental remedies include:
- Herbal tooth powder
- Neem toothpaste (made from a tropical plant)
Propolis (a compound produced by bees with medicinal properties)
Is holistic dentistry safe?
More research is needed in order to determine if the holistic treatment philosophy offers equivalent or better dental care compared to traditional methods. Some risks of the holistic approach include:
Tooth Decay & Cavities
Holistic dentists do not support the use of fluoride, which has been proven to prevent tooth decay.
In the event of an emergency that requires medical attention or a root canal, a holistic dentist is likely to recommend pulling the infected tooth instead of saving it, which can lead to infection.
Some people may have adverse reactions to herbal remedies. These remedies can also interact with prescription medications in a harmful way.
Care goes beyond the teeth and gums in holistic dentistry by focusing on your entire body’s role in your dental health. While this can have some benefits for patiets’ mental, emotional, and spiritual health, more research is required to determine its overall safety and effectiveness compared to traditional dental treatments.
Want to learn more? Fill out our appointment request form or give us a call at 410-431-1768.