Monday, November 17, 2014

Holistic Dental Care 101

Welcome to the latest installment in the Healthy for the Holidays series! I'm so thankful you're here - and I'm really excited about the opportunity to introduce you to some of the wellness industry's top experts, wellness enthusiasts and health warriors, as well as share what I've learned through my own research and experience! The goal of the series is to provide you with information that will allow you to make this holiday season the healthiest ever! Check back every Monday and Thursday in the coming weeks for brand new, original content.

I'm really excited to introduce you today to Jan Lemoine, a wonderful RDH/AADP certified Health Coach and dental hygienist at a biological dentist in Rocky Hill, New Jersey. 

Today and next Monday, November 24, Jan will be sharing much of what she knows about holistic, also called "biological" dentistry. I've personally been impacted by biological this year - taking better care of my teeth has helped my overall health tremendously! 

This week, Jan is sharing some basic info about holistic dentistry - and next week, she'll be back on the blog with specific "things we can do" to help keep our mouths naturally healthy. 

Without further adieu….


As a holistic dental hygienist and board certified health coach, I often get questions as to what all that means and how the two work together. How is a holistic dental hygienist/dentist different than a traditional one? What does the mouth have to do with the body? What practices are helpful/harmful?

Dentistry has always acknowledged the relationship between oral and systemic health. It works both ways: the health of the mouth affects the health of the body and compromised systemic health can affect the oral cavity. For example, infections in the mouth can travel throughout the body and to the brain, increasing inflammation and compromising the immune system as it fights to keep us well. Untreated infections, in rare cases, may even cause sepsis or death! 

Poor oral health also may increase your chances of dementia (one study involving a group of nuns, therefore equal in lifestyle,  revealed that those who developed dementia also had the fewest remaining teeth), pulmonary health (pneumonia and COPD) and heart health. Periodontal (gum) disease also makes it much more difficult to maintain healthy blood sugar. So…next time your dental hygienist instructs you to floss, acting as though it is a life-or-death matter, I suggest you heed the call—as it just may be the case! I know we dental hygienists are an insistent bunch, but we really are a caring group, attempting to motivate, rather than chastise!

An inversely proportionate relationship also exists, as I already mentioned, in that systemic health challenges also affect (and become evident) in the oral cavity. Certain health conditions such as diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, leukemia, parasitic invasions and AIDS may be reflected in the mouth. With diabetes, leukemia (in the later stages) and AIDS, we may see more bleeding than can be explained by the patient’s homecare (or lack thereof). Sjogren’s patients exhibit (along with other symptoms) extreme dry mouth syndrome, often developing gumline caries (cavities along the gumline) due to lack of salivary flow. Medical treatment such as radiation therapies and certain medications (particularly drugs for depression, anxiety and blood pressure) may also cause dry mouth symptoms, along with often painful ulcerations.

Holistic dentistry recognizes the impact of health on the oral cavity and vice versa, in addition to recognizing the impact of many conventional dental practices on patients, particularly those with compromised health. While all dental professionals pledge the Hipporcratic oath to “above all, do no harm,” holistic dentists (often referred to as biological or integrative dentists) go further as they  endeavor to minimize the usage of materials which cause harm and are potentially toxic, opting instead to use biocompatible materials wherever possible. Bioindividuality is key: no one treatment is right for every patient. Each patient must therefore be assessed as to their level of overall health, keeping in mind their unique challenges, medications and sensitivities before prescribing treatment. 

Have I whet your appetite (punny again) for holistic dentistry? Do you want to know how to find a holistic dentist in your area? Visit the International Academy of Biological Dentistry & Medicine (IABDM) at or the Holistic Dental Association at

Stay tuned for more information next Monday, or, if you'd like to know more, contact Jan at or call her at (609) 865-0936 to set up a free health consultation.  Jan works at Dr. William Megill’s office in Rocky Hill, New Jersey. Call at (609) 924-9411 to set up an appointment and get started on your way to dental health!

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