I’m a little miffed after visiting what I thought was a holistic dentist. I’m especially cavity-prone and have had more than my fair share of fillings and crowns. No root canals or extractions yet (knock on wood). What I hoped to do was get to the bottom of why I develop cavities more than other people and take steps to correct it. Instead, the doctor recommended fluoride treatments. That’s not the least bit natural, and that’s the whole reason why I specifically searched for a holistic dentist- to find natural ways to curb my cavities. I challenged him on this and he cut me off, saying any other dentist would recommend the same. I know there’s a fluoride-free movement. If I can’t find this through a holistic dentist, where can I go to sort out my troubles?
In this case, there’s, unfortunately, no “all” when it comes to holistic dentists, also referred to as biological dentists. It’s not a recognized specialty and there are differing schools of thought.
Some Holistic Dentists Use Fluoride
It’s never really been a question of whether fluoride works or not. We know it prevents cavities. Countless studies have shown that it’s effective and can be a vital tool, especially when someone is particularly cavity prone. Furthermore, all reputable studies and governing bodies in the US consider it safe. That in mind, most will recommend it.
Some Recommend Alternatives
The problem comes in that, although most signs show fluoride is safe, some studies question it and some people have concerns. Moreover, if there’s a way to treat a condition naturally, a biological dentist will likely leverage the natural cure first.
The Cause of Your Cavities Can Change Treatment
At a fundamental level, we can say your teeth have demineralized and that set the stage for decay. However, countless things come into play. Maybe you have more bacteria than others or have a different strain. Maybe your pH is more on the acidic side, resulting in greater demineralization. Maybe you sip on sugary sodas all day. Maybe you have dry mouth. Maybe you have genetically weak or thin enamel. Sometimes, it’s easy for a dentist to pinpoint a cause. Sometimes, it’s not.
Fluoride can help prevent cavities in all these situations, but if you’re looking for a custom solution, you have to address the root cause. For example, if dry mouth is contributing to your decay rate, then you’d need to address that. It could be that you’re taking a medication which causes it, in which case, you’d need to talk to your primary care physician about changing up your meds, or you’d have to address the symptom. The same is true for any potential cavity trigger—you must identify the root cause and treat it, and there are always lots of potential causes and potential treatments.
Use Fluoride or Get a Second Opinion
If you can’t figure out the underlying cause or you’re battling with genetics, which can sometimes make prevention an uphill battle, fluoride is going to be your best bet. Your dentist knew this and made a recommendation based on conventional wisdom. He wasn’t wrong. At the same time, the two of you are at odds. Perhaps it’s just that you were anti-fluoride out of the gate or maybe he didn’t spend enough time discussing things with you, but either way, you’re not happy. If you don’t want to use fluoride, get a second opinion. However, do be clear when you book your appointment and when you talk to the dentist that you’re hoping to uncover the root cause before you start on any treatment. That might help put the next doctor in a detective mindset rather than the standard treatment mindset.
This blog is sponsored by Huntsville Dentist Dr. Steve Murphree