Saturday, March 20, 2010

Holistic Dental Health, How To Stick It To The Man

Many of you know that I like to rant on occasion. I've gotten going on tooth health numerous times in the past months and everyone in ear shot wants to know more, so here it is...

I was once a dental train wreck, 1 cavity after the next for years. Then I got smart.

About 8 years ago I was walking down the street in Tijuana, on pain killers, with my Mexican American friend and translator Ivan Vejar. I had just had a mexican tooth extraction of my rear left top molar. The plan was to get the tooth extracted, and walk a mile or two over to Tijuana's "Casa de Mole" for a solid meal. I was spitting huge globs of blood on the ground, and the whole left side of my mouth was stuffed with cotton. Walking seemed to make me bleed more so we caught a cab. At the Casa de Mole I realized I could not eat in this condition, so I ordered a small bowl of Mole sauce and slurped it down the right side of my mouth. This was all courtesy of a bastard dentist I had gone to 4 years earlier in Long Beach. He was bored, and depressed, and lamented the fact that he had not had a vacation in a while. He gave me an amalgam filling on a minor cavity that was so half ass, it ended up getting infected under the filling and needing a root canal a couple years later. The root canal then went bad after another couple years and I found my way to Mexico, where prices are low, and quality is high, because it is a cash based system. It was then that I realized I never wanted to have another cavity or tooth problem. I had done it the conventional American way, and it had failed. I started to do some research and learned the following. Dental amalgam contains mercury. The American Dental Association states on their website: "The ADA recognizes dental amalgam (silver-colored filling) as a safe and effective restorative material and will oppose efforts to ban or otherwise restrict its use." On the same website they state that this wonderful safe restorative material cannot be put in the drain as it will contaminate the environment and the city water treatment facilities. Apparently our bodies are impervious to its adverse effects. Regardless of this, I opted to start removing this toxic metal from my mouth. I did several more trips to Mexico, and cleared the left side replacing them with composite fillings, largely recognized to be the safest and most similar to ones own teeth.

More recently, for fear of being raped and killed by Mexican drug cartels, I started the search for an over priced local dentist who was not a mercury peddling ignorant fool. I visited a dentist in Orange County who said he would remove my remaining amalgams, but not because they were harmful. I protested this notion, and ironically, sitting right next to us on the counter, was a yellow and black hazardous waste box for putting the mercury waste in to have it carefully and properly disposed of. I asked him if he thought the mercury somehow became mystically not hazardous when placed in our mouths. He was not amused. Such an ass. Despondent about my situation I did an internet search and found a decent dentist who understands the dangers of mercury here in Long Beach. They do not take up front insurance, because then they have to deal with all the rules and regulations of the government approved ADA views on amalgam and other unhealthy aspects of dentistry. They do however have good rates, and at the end of the day, why would I not want to spend a little extra on my teeth, we buy nice clothes and cars, yet no one wants to step up to the plate and invest in better quality dentistry, food, medicine etc. Not to open a whole other can of worms, but the notion that the government and the ADA know best about your teeth and your body is frightening. The food pyramid, amalgam fillings, pharmaceutical companies with more power than big oil, this is what "the man" has given us... we got to fight against the man. After Mexico, I banned all dentists for 8 years and researched the holistic approaches to dental health. I figured my teeth were already falling out of my head and it could not get any worse. I then did the opposite of what the ADA and Crest and our government are telling us to do. At my first dental check up in 8 years my teeth were flawless, my gums were strong and healthy, and the dentist said she has almost never seen someone with such an absence of gum pockets. All ones and twos. I was ecstatic, my 8 year experiment on myself had worked. You want lower cost health care and better dental health? Here is how to stick it to the man, the following is my dental health protocol.

Read the back of your corporate toothpaste. It states roughly, "If you take more of this than you need to brush call the poison control center immediately". This is a huge problem for me. This is because of fluoride. There are some grand conspiracy theories about fluoride in our water supplies and toothpaste but I will not get into those. So supposedly fluoride can harden teeth, but at what cost? Suffice to say fluoride has been linked to all kinds of diseases, and it is poisonous to human beings. The other problem with your toothpaste, is Glycerin. It is not a poison, it comes from vegetables usually, and it is used to coat your teeth and give them a glossy feeling. The problem with this is, your teeth are living things, they have the capability to absorb minerals and to rebuild enamel. The glycerin coating prevents your teeth from absorbing minerals from food for hours after you brush. It also can trap plaque and create tarter build up by helping to adhere bacteria to your teeth. What I look for in a toothpaste is: 1. No Poison 2. No Glycerin.
This is hard to come by, there are a few brands at your local health food stores that will work. I personally use: I believe they are the best. Browse their website, you can continue your tooth education there.  (2013 update.  I have switched to Oralive Dental Elixir from Ascended Health, I also use the Living Libations Tooth Serum.  Both are fantastic and not as soapy as Tooth Soap, though I do still endorse Tooth Soap.

The food you eat has everything to do with your health and the health of the planet. You need to eat greens everyday. Not iceberg lettuce, but proper greens, kale, spinach, romaine, anything green and leafy. These are the basic building blocks of life. Chlorophyll is only one atom different from our own blood, greens are mineral rich. Get rid of the sugar and add greens. Juicing is also fantastic. Treat yourself to a green juice a couple times a week and swish it around your teeth, now that they are not covered in glycerin your bodies natural re-mineralization process can begin. If you eat acidic things like pineapple or lemon, be sure and rinse well afterward. Acidic foods will break down your enamel and eventually create weak points for bacteria to cause cavities. I love a good pineapple based smoothie but I always rinse well or brush with my tooth soap afterward.

Brushing and Flossing
I floss every other day, if I'm burned out at night every 3 days. I brush every night, sometimes in the morning. For 8 years I have done this combined with the toothpaste and food I have already mentioned. I also have a tongue scrapper. I do that once a week. I've heard it is good for you, it does not take long and makes me feel morally superior to my friends.

The Extras
I have a few different mouth washes and essential oils that I use regularly. My favorite mouth wash is EcoDent Daily Rinse. It is a little pricey but works great, you only need a small sip as opposed to the recommended amount so it will last for months. Also, after brushing I use Yogi Tooth Serum from, this is a bunch of cleaning and germ killing oils like Neem and Clove. Neem has been used for centuries for dental health, add one drop to your tooth brush and get it on your gum line and teeth. You can also put a little on your floss and get it between your teeth. This website and some of the others are great starting points on your journey to optimum dental health and sticking it to the man.

I now go to the dentist once every 2 years just for a check up. I have found a few dentists in both Long Beach, Mexico and Orange County who are to my liking. My current dentist is Dr. McBride, in Long Beach. ( He spent an entire hour with me answering questions and discussing and debating tooth health. I have never had another doctor even spend 10 minutes with me. He is not 100% holistic, but pretty darn close. He does not take up front insurance or medicaid so as not to be forced by the government and ADA to use unhealthy dental practices. As a result his cash prices can be lower than you would expect. But if you are really in a pinch and need dirt cheap dental, these Tijuana dentists are both phenomenal.

Dr. Oscar Solorio
(he has dissapeared, but he was good.)
this place is coming highly recommended these days.

Dr. Juan Carlos Hernandez, DDS
Tijuana, Mexico
Tel. 011+ 52-6646-963716

And for a top notch oral surgeon:

Dr. Benjamin Arechiga, DDS

Thoughts On Oral Surgery
The dental industry largely thinks everyone needs their wisdom teeth out. I was told this 16 years ago and it's one of the reasons I stopped going to the dentist. I could not afford to get them out and it was better to ignore the problem. Years later when I went to the Mexican dentist they told me everything was fine. They did not need to come out, this was confirmed by my current dentist here in Long Beach. In short I think it is a scam. Think about every ancient skull you've seen. Full head of teeth, wisdom teeth in tact. They were brushing with neem oil, eating more natural foods, and largely keeping their teeth. Life expectancy was also lower so you did not have the time to get bad teeth, and certainly people did die from tooth related problems. I'm not saying that wisdom teeth never need to come out, but largely it is not the case. I'm glad I kept mine, I am that much richer, and my wisdom tooth has dropped down into the place my molar used to be. They hold your teeth in place, and help to keep your jaws bone structure. My advice, find a good reputable honest minimally invasive dentist and find out if they really need to be removed.

Disclaimer: Matt is a freelance photographer and music producer and is not a dentist nor should he be mistaken for a dentist or health guru.