A Holistic View of People and Oral Hygiene
Dr. Hauschka Med Interviews Anthroposophic Dentist Dr. W. Güldenstern, DMD
What is the difference between holistic dentistry and conventional dental medicine?
Our teeth are more than just mechanical tools that form part of the digestive system. They express our individuality and our multifaceted approach to life. In anthroposophic medicine, we therefore not only look at patients physically, or mechanically, but also as permanently developing spiritual and mental beings. I refer to this as ‘hearing-based medicine.’ As a dentist, I have to ‘listen’ to the teeth to determine the healing needs of the person as a whole.
Is it enough to simply clean the teeth with any old toothpaste, toothbrush and dental floss?
From my experience, a toothbrush and dental floss alone are not enough for effective prophylaxis [prevention of disease]. Mouthwashes play a very important role in cleaning the hard-to-reach areas of the mouth. However, not all mouthwashes or toothpastes contain ingredients that I would recommend.
Does that mean that there are ingredients that people should avoid? Fluorides and surfactants, for example...
An increasing level of fluorides can today be found in water, the air and food. As such, there is certainly no lack of fluoride. In view of this, additional fluorides should not be constantly absorbed via toothpastes, but instead only if specifically prescribed by a dentist as medically necessary. Surfactants [foaming agents] are not necessary for toothpaste to properly clean the teeth. I therefore recommend the use of surfactant-free toothpastes.
What natural ingredients do you recommend in toothpastes and mouthwashes?
Essential oils, in particular, can unfurl their nourishing effects in toothpaste and mouthwashes. Sage extracts are helpful. Ratanhia is an outstanding plant that can support dental health following treatment. Horse chestnut extracts have extremely positive effects. They fortify teeth and make the mouth more resistant to disease. Green chlorophyll is equally valuable. It strengthens and regulates for healthy tooth formation. For sensitive teeth, I have also had good experiences with white clay in toothpastes.
Is balanced salivation important for a healthy mouth?
Yes, saliva is the vital element in the mouth. Our mouth ‘watering’ is a sign of good mental and physical health; our teeth are supplied with minerals and the increased levels of acid caused by meals are balanced out. Over four hundred medicines have the side effect of causing the mouth to become dry. Dentists who take a holistic approach to their work therefore look to communicate with the patient’s general practitioner in order to work together to find alternatives.