Natural Selection: Earthy Dental Techniques Finally Crack the Mainstream
A couple of bizarre news items I came across this week got me thinking about holistic dentistry, and how it’s come full-circle from necessary workaround pre-technology to today’s tech-enabled return to more naturalistic dental methods.
First was a story from September 2012 about the discovery of what’s believed to be the earliest dental filling – 6,500 years ago, to be precise – which was made out of beeswax. Discovered in 1911 in what’s now known as Slovenia and only now analyzed by radiocarbon methods, the Neolithic jawbone, it’s thought was used as a “third hand” for holding things. The piece notes that tooth drilling dates back as far as 7,500 years. It would seem, however, that most of these techniques were meant only to alleviate pain. Only in recent centuries has dentistry evolved enough to prevent deaths by infection, such as we’ve seen in Ramesses the Great and other historical achievers who were felled by tooth problems.
The idea that we’re coming back around was made clearer by last week’s announcement that Tom’s of Maine, a maker of natural personal care products, is unveiling a “plant-based” toothbrush.
“With a plant-based handle made from renewable castor oil plants instead of petroleum,” the announcement reads, “the Naturally Clean toothbrush also has dye-free, multi-height bristles to clean between teeth and along the gum line.” It’s made of BPA-free No. 7 plastic, and the bristles are colored by mineral-based pigments. It is, of course, recyclable.
By its purest definition, all of this can be placed under the umbrella of holistic dentistry, an approach that incorporates modern science with the world’s natural healing traditions, taking into account the mind, body and spirit of the patient, not just their teeth. Calabasas Dental Spa keeps up with the ever-changing methods and attitudes toward dental maintenance, encompassing unique strategies such as “microdentistry” (minimally invasive), laser dentistry whenever possible and white-filling bonding. All of this, I believe, leads to not only healthier teeth, but a healthier all-around person.
I’m not alone in this belief. It seems that with every new study on overall wellness, oral health and hygiene is connected to any number of body health factors, as I’ve said in a previous blog entry. This is not to say that objective science is not the primary factor in formulating an oral health plan: The holistic movement has been greatly helped by associations like the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology started out in 1984 with the motto “Show me the science!” and has since become expert witnesses in the area, they claim, before Congress, the FDA, state legislatures and more.
Just this month, the popular Dr. Oz show tackled a topic as old as beeswax: mercury fillings making people sick. Holistic dentistry has become mainstream! That’s what facts and long-term case studies will do to a movement – it earns legitimacy. Strange that the methods used by early man have, with the aid of technology, come all the way back around.