Reason to Ditch the Soft Drinks #189

crushed Sprite canIn news that should surprise exactly nobody, yet another large study has shown a relationship between soft drink consumption and death risk.

Published earlier this month in JAMA Internal Medicine, the study analyzed data from more than 450,000 European adults whose health habits were followed for 11 years or more. Compared with those who drank 1 soft drink or less per month, those who drank 2 or more servings a day were found to be at greater risk of early death.

When the researchers analyzed their data, accounting for factors that could increase the risk of death, such as body mass index and smoking, they found that participants who consumed two or more glasses of soft drinks per day were 17% more likely to die early compared to those who drank less than a single serving of soft drinks per month.

There was one surprising detail, though: It didn’t matter if the drinks were sugar-sweetened or relied on artificial sweeteners. Both had a negative impact.

In fact, the jump in risk of early death was even greater for those who stuck with diet drinks. While those who regularly had sugary drinks were 8% more likely to die early compared with those who drank little or none, regular consumers of diet drinks were 26% more likely to die early compared with those who steered clear of the stuff.

As Dr. Bicuspid reported,

Consuming sugary drinks was also linked to death from several diseases, including circulatory diseases, digestive diseases, and Parkinson’s disease. However, no association was found for deaths associated with cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition, participants with a healthy body mass index (BMI) who consumed sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened drinks had a higher risk of death. The researchers suggested that the associations between sugary drink consumption and mortality may be independent of any role that body fat may play.

Of course and as ever, correlation doesn’t equal causation. This type of study can’t tell us a thing about causes. It can only show that a relationship exists.

It also doesn’t account for many other factors that might explain the relationship. For instance, it’s quite possible that soft drink consumption is a proxy for a bad diet, heavy in hyper-processed products, low in nutrient-dense whole foods.

“There are only so many things you can account for when it comes to different types of factors,” [Dr. Bruce Y.] Lee [of Johns Hopkins University] said. “These are very complex systems.”

But one thing IS clear: Soft drinks certainly don’t help.

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Brushing Your Teeth Matters, but It Isn’t Everything

So yes, of course, oral hygiene matters. But it’s not everything, as new research in the BDJ reminds.

The study was just the latest to look at the oral health of elite athletes. It included Olympians and pros alike, representing 11 sports all together. But when it came to the state of their teeth, those 352 participants were a lot less elite.

Nearly half had untreated tooth decay. Almost all had early signs of gum disease. About a third reported their oral health having had a negative impact on their training and performance.

What makes this all the more surprising is that most of these athletes also reported practicing good oral hygiene. Nearly all said they brushed twice a day, while 44% reported flossing daily – figures much higher than for the general public. They don’t smoke. They tend to eat healthfully.

Yet, as a group, their teeth and gums were a mess.

And for that, much of the credit can go to the sports drinks, energy gels, and energy bars they frequently consume. Nearly 90% reported drinking the beverages regularly, with another 70% using gels and 59% using the bars.

Constantly consuming these often sugar-packed products mean a feast for the harmful microbes that live in even the cleanest mouth. That means more and longer exposure to the acidic waste they produce. Those acids destroy tooth enamel, leaving the teeth more vulnerable to decay.

Sugars also fuel the chronic inflammation that’s the hallmark of gum disease and acidify the extracellular matrix (terrain), further paving the way for a variety of health issues in the future.

These results echo those of earlier studies we’ve blogged about, which also pointed to other potential reasons for poor dental health among elite athletes. These include

  • Dry mouth, with less saliva protecting the teeth.
  • Carb-loading.
  • Bruxing (clenching and grinding), during times of exertion, as well as during sleep.
  • Stress.

In many cases, it may be a combination of factors, with high sugar/carb consumption being the most constant. All the toothbrushing and flossing and dental visits in the world are only going to be partly helpful at best if the body is constantly taking in sugars.

Those things still matter, of course. But there’s still bound to be plenty of damage to deal with. As one researcher has put it,

Without sugars, the chain of causation is broken, so the disease does not occur (Sheiham 1967). So, it is clear that sugars start the process and set off a causal chain; the only crucial factor that determines the caries process in practice is sugars. The other factors are additional factors that alter the primary effect of sugars, not alternative contributors (Sheiham 1987; Scheutz and Poulsen 1999)….

Image by Michael McCullough, via Flickr

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Another Toothbrush Option: Is It Worth It?

When it comes to cringe, it’s hard to beat a show like 90 Day Fiance, but this recent fleeting moment of Darcy’s oral hygiene was enough to make a dentist shudder:

Darcy brushing teeth

The whole point of a power toothbrush is that it does the scrubbing for you. You just need to hold the brush and move it from tooth to tooth, quadrant to quadrant. No matter what kind of toothbrush you use, proper technique is everything.

As ever, the bottom line is that you find a good quality brush you like and use it correctly and regularly.

Recently, BESTEK offered us a new power toothbrush to try out, which we said we’d be glad to, adding that we couldn’t guarantee a positive review or even coverage on this blog. So they sent us a sample unit, and here we are.

BESTEK M-Care sonic toothbrushThe BESTEK M-Care Electric Toothbrush is a nifty little sonic brush with three cleaning modes available – Standard (medium), Soft (low), and Whitening (high) – and three timer settings, though the shortest, at 2 minutes, is more than sufficient. (Overbrushing can cause its own problems.)

The device also comes with three brush heads, one U-shaped and two wavy. They’re soft, compact, and especially comfortable in the back of the mouth. They also have a nubbed rubber back that’s perfect for cleaning the tongue.

On the downside, its straight, rigid shape can make cleaning the front inner arches a little tricky – but, then, this is an issue with nearly all power toothbrushes. (To our knowledge, Kyoui makes the only angled electric toothbrush available.)

On the upside, there’s one thing we really like about the brush, which is also something that sets it apart from the others: Not only is the brush extremely lightweight, but its slim carrying case acts as a wireless charger, making it perfect for travel. A full charge takes about 10 hours, with a duration of 21 standby days. If recharging is needed on the road, the case can be plugged into any standard USB port.

It’s the most compact unit we recall ever seeing, and that makes it a pretty nice option for those who prefer a power brush and want something easily portable.

The BESTEK M-Care is priced just below $50, but they’re currently seeking testers who can try the product for free. (They say all who submit a request for a free trial will be given a 40% off coupon code, as well.)

If you opt for it, though, just please don’t be like Darcy. Here’s the right way to use a sonic brush:

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Getting the Mercury Amalgam Out Is One Thing…

mercury-freeWhen Dr. V began phasing out mercury amalgam from his dental practice back in the mid-1970s, it was kind of a radical thing.

How times have changed!

These days, about half of all dentists here in the US no longer use the stuff. The reasons are many: mercury’s neurotoxicity, improvements in composite quality, aesthetic concerns, patient demand, and more.

Meantime, the other half of dentists continue to rely on amalgam – even as the EU and nations around the globe have already taken steps to phase out dental mercury as required by the Minamata Convention.

Clearly, work remains to be done, which is why Dr. Mercola and Consumers for Dental Choice team up each year around this time to host Mercury Awareness Week. It’s an opportunity to highlight the dangers of amalgam to personal and environmental health alike, and celebrate the progress that’s been made towards finally ending the use of this antiquated material.

All this is good and important. But it’s also crucial to know that simply choosing to have your amalgams replaced isn’t necessarily enough on its own. This is an issue Dr. V addressed in one of his first articles for our website, and the piece remains as pertinent today as it did more than a decade ago.

So in acknowledgment of this year’s event we’ve decided to re-publish the piece here…

The Only Thing that Matters Is Getting the Mercury Out, Right? (Not Quite)
by Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN
We humans are natural pattern-seekers and storytellers. When something happens to us – especially if it’s unexpected or undesired – we instinctively use these traits to help us find the cause and meaning of our experience. As we discover patterns, we build an explanation – a “story” – that satisfies us and that we can believe in.

Perhaps you’ve been having health problems that conventional medicine has been unable to explain. Maybe you’ve even been told that, despite your symptoms, there’s nothing really wrong: “It’s all in your head.” Dissatisfied, you sought a story that made more sense. Your search led you to information about the systemic illnesses that can be caused by dental situations such as the presence of mercury amalgam fillings, root canals and cavitations. And perhaps you suspect that one or more of these is the cause of your persistent health problems. Nothing else has made sense; this does. And so you reasonably, rationally conclude that you should have the disturbances removed.

Before doing anything, though, it must be fully verified that one or more of these situations – the presence of mercury, root canals or cavitations – is the actual cause of your systemic health problems. The conscientious dentist will never assume that just because mercury fillings are present, they are generating illness throughout the body. Close clinical examination and extensive testing are needed. The body’s toxic load must be determined. All possible sources of the toxins must be considered. The extent of toxication and its effects on the biological terrain must be understood.

In short, a thorough diagnosis must be made and the source of illness, pinpointed.

fixing carSay you’re driving one day and your engine begins to chirp. You take your car to a mechanic and explain the noise. No doubt, you would be quite upset if the mechanic just went under the hood and replaced the alternator, no questions asked – even if you knew that 9 times out of 10, a faulty alternator is the cause of the sound you heard. You’d be especially upset if, despite this, the engine kept chirping.

In dentistry and medicine, too, it is vital that the actual cause and nature of the problem be fully understood. Only then can a proper solution be determined.

Let’s say that, having run all of the appropriate tests and conducted a thorough examination, your dentist concludes that mercury fillings are indeed the problem. Even then, the careful dentist won’t just start drilling and filling. He or she must be sure that the new restorative material is biocompatible: that it won’t cause a toxic or allergic reaction that can lead to further health problems. If you are sensitive to mercury and a dentist replaces it with a direct composite that contains a substance you’re also sensitive to, you may be somewhat better off than you were, but your immune system remains under siege.

Think again of the car with the chirping engine. Testing has determined that the problem is, in fact, a faulty alternator. But say the mechanic replaces it with an alternator built for a different kind of car – one built for a Chevy truck but not your Mazda sedan. Obviously, you car still wouldn’t run very well. More, it could wind up having many problems beyond the original one.

What you replace with is just as important as the replacement itself. Compatibility tests should always be performed prior to any restorative procedure. IgA mercury saliva and blood serum tests are standard. If you prove especially sensitive to mercury and other materials, electro-dermal testing is also recommended. It can verify and refine the results of the initial tests, helping you and your dentist find the best possible match.

dentist examining patient

If your systemic illness is due to dental situations, it’s likely that your immune system and biological terrain have been greatly compromised. Your body has probably taken quite a beating from the toxic load. (Remember: with dental materials, there’s no escape from exposure. The offending materials are in your mouth 24-7, 365 days a year.) So also before replacement, measures must be taken to improve and strengthen these systems so they will be able to more efficiently detoxify your body once the offending materials have been removed. Your body is a self-regulating system. It must be prepared for the process of self-healing. While the exact measures to be taken will depend completely upon your unique situation, they commonly include dietary/nutritional changes and adding supplements and homeopathics to your daily nutritional regimen.

Mercury, root canal or cavitation removal is almost always beneficial. However, it is not an instant cure. Detoxification and healing are processes. They require a thorough understanding of the current situation and all possible routes to recovery. Because of the relationship among the dental situation, energetic health and systemic health, all aspects must be considered and treated together. Quick removal largely ignores the systemic issue: only the dental aspect is addressed. Likewise, treating the bodily symptoms without considering the dental or energetic components means that you will be fighting the problem constantly, continually, never addressing the cause. Dealing with illness in an integrative, biological manner is more time-consuming and, in the short term, more expensive. But the final goal must always be to ensure long-term health and wellness – which is always less time consuming and cheaper in the long run.

For a full description of our mercury removal protocol, click here.

Image: dental exam via USAF

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Stress Isn’t Going Anywhere. So What to Do About It?

stressed man pulling hoodie over faceIf you feel more stressed out than ever these days, you’re hardly alone.

Take our country’s current political climate and recurring episodes of mass violence, top it off with the more typical stress-inducers of money and work, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for feeling totally maxed out.

According to the American Psychological Association’s most recent Stress in America survey, younger adults appear to be feeling it most of all.

Slightly more than nine in 10 Gen Zs between ages 18 and 21 say they have experienced at least one physical or emotional symptom due to stress in the past month, compared to around three-quarters of adults overall who say they have experienced at least one symptom. Among Gen Z adults (ages 18 to 21), common symptoms of stress include feeling depressed or sad (58 percent), lack of interest, motivation or energy (55 percent) or feeling nervous or anxious (54 percent). During the prior month, adult Gen Zs also commonly reported laying awake at night due to stress (68 percent) or eating too much or eating unhealthy food (58 percent).

Only Millennials say they’re more stressed out, with their average reported stress level at 5.7 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Overall, “nearly three-quarters of adults (74 percent) say they have experienced at least one symptom of stress in the past month.” About half say the stress has disrupted their sleep. A little more than a third say it has a negative impact on diet.

Unfortunately, things like poor diet can actually make matters worse. So can other aspects of our modern way of life. While time in nature can lower stress, for instance,

Bright light or blue night exposure late in the evening from the use of LED screens can delay the release of melatonin, a hormone that has been shown to reduce anxiety. Low-intensity exercise reduces circulating levels of cortisol, yet the need for frequent movement is often redundant.

Urbanisation is increasing the consumption of processed food and an ultra-processed diet has been linked to the incidence of depressive symptoms in at least two large cohorts. Our dietary habits modify the micro-organisms living in the digestive tract and these micro-organisms, through cross-talk with immune cells and other routes, can influence how the mind reacts to stress.

There is some evidence that modulating gut microbiota with specific foods or taking probiotics can help reduce symptoms of anxiety. Early results suggest taking either a single strain or a combination of probiotics may reduce mental fatigue and improve cognitive performance during stress – but not in the absence of stress.

(Aside: The whole book excerpt the above quote comes from is fascinating, and we encourage you to take a few minutes to read the whole thing.)

Naturally, this raises the question of what to do about all this stress, for chronic stress has been well documented not just to impact the mind, but body, too, oral and systemic health alike.

But it’s not like we can just banish stress completely, nor should we want to. As Hans Selye, the doctor who first identified the stress response, once wrote, “No one can avoid stress. To eliminate stress completely would mean to destroy life itself. If you make no more demands upon your body, you are dead.”

What we can do is develop strategies for dealing with ongoing negative stress in healthy ways – and there are lots of great ones out there, such as the ones on this tip sheet. Some supplements may also be helpful. Vitamin D, valerian root, B complex, lavender, and lemon balm, for instance, have all been proven to help alleviate stress and anxiety.

bottle of NEU-regen Pekana remedy with box Additionally, Dr. V recommends a trio of homeopathic-spagyric remedies by Pekana. These German-made medications are high-energy remedies that have been developed to successfully treat many individuals for mental strain and emotional exhaustion. Where the allopathic drugs, stimulants, and sedatives many often reach for place even greater demands upon an already worried and exhausted body, the combination of remedies below helps restore proper organ function and energetic balance to the performance of the body through gentle auto-regulation.

  • Neu-regen syrup, for mental and physical exhaustion
  • PSY-stabil drops, for anxiety, lack of concentration, restlessness, and nervous exhaustion
  • coro-CALM drops, a sedative for circulatory function which frequently accompanies anxiety, worry, and psychic unrest

These medications are most commonly available through doctors – we keep a full range of Pekana remedies available here in our office – though there appear to be some online sellers now, as well. Feel free to reach out to us if you need help getting the three listed above – or if you want to learn more about the role these and other measures might help you in your quest towards optimum health.

Top image by Erik F. Brandsborg, via Flickr

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What the Top 10 Causes of Death Say About the Usual Ideas of Illness & Health

tagged feet of a body in the morgueEarlier this summer, the Department of Health and Human Services released their latest rankings of the top 10 causes of death here in the US. Unsurprisingly, heart disease and cancer once again appeared in the top two spots, accounting for 44.3% of all deaths in 2017.

In fact, the whole list was pretty familiar, though there were a couple of twists.

Reflecting trends we’ve blogged about before, suicide made the list, coming in at #10. Also, accidents jumped from the five-spot to #3.

Here’s the whole list:

  1. Heart disease
  2. Malignant neoplasms (cancer)
  3. Accidents
  4. Chronic lower respiratory disease
  5. Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke)
  6. Alzheimer’s
  7. Diabetes mellitus
  8. Influenza & pneumonia
  9. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, & nephrosis (chronic kidney diseases)
  10. Suicide

Now, that list isn’t all that different from back in 2011 when Dr. V was writing about the historical shift in health across the 20th century in our free quarterly newsletter Biosis. In fact, the most notable difference is what suicide displaced on the list: yet another infectious disease.

This is a far cry from how things stood at the start of the last century, when roughly half of the leading causes of death were infectious diseases. As hygiene, sanitation, and diet began to really improve for the masses, such conditions became far less prominent.

Today, the list is dominated by diseases of modernity – chronic inflammatory conditions; conditions that are largely preventable through our lifestyle choices.

There’s plenty of blame to go around for this state of affairs, but one critical factor is that, despite what we know of causes, the medical establishment continues to focus on treating symptoms, creating the appearance of – but not the conditions for – optimal health.

“Conventional Western practice,” wrote Dr. V back then, “understands very little about the mechanisms involved” in the development of chronic illness. But German biological or regulative medicine, he noted, “tells us a lot.”

Founded on solid science, German biological medicine shows that by stimulating the
immune system – the living matrix – to remove bioaccumulations of toxins, the body can self-regulate and return to healthy homeostasis. The toxins come from both external sources (e.g., pollution, diet, drug use, infection) and internal (e.g., byproducts of metabolic processes). The body’s reaction to them – all its attempts to remove them, successful or not – triggers the cell aging associated with chronic disease.

By the time that process has begun, the terrain is already very disordered and polluted. Its attempts to self-regulate appear as pathological reactions – like mistakes or malfunctions. But in fact, it’s behaving exactly as we’d expect, as I discuss in detail in my e-book How Illness Happens: An Introduction to the Biological Terrain.

It’s not just about clean eating or using homeopathics or botanicals instead of drugs or doing periodic cleanses in hopes of getting well. It’s about changing your understanding of why illness or dysfunction arises in the first place so we can finally get to the root of the problem.

Only by first addressing the health of the extracellular matrix or biological terrain, which drives illness and health alike, can anything like real healing occur.

Image by Adrian Clark, via Flickr

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A Few Pro Tips for Eating Organic & Local on a Budget

Recently spotted on Facebook:

quote about health priorities

There’s a lot of truth in that – but it doesn’t negate the fact that making healthful choices can strain the budgets of more than a few people. This may be especially so when it comes to diet. Organic and local are ideal, but they can also be spendy.

A pound of organic apples, for instance, can cost double (or more) than conventional. While they taste better, carry less pesticide residue, and may have a better nutritional profile, your bank account doesn’t necessarily care.

But eating well doesn’t have to break the bank. It just takes a little knowledge and planning.

Check out this New Zealand chef’s tips for stretching your food dollar while still going for organic, local food:



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When Big Food Embraces Mindfulness

There was an interesting read over at The Nation last week – an interview with SF State professor Ronald Purser about his new book McMindfulness, a critique of the ways in which corporations have embraced mindfulness.

Stripped of all ethical and religious tenets, mindfulness meditation has morphed into a market-friendly practice, adaptable into any context. Even the US military deploys mindfulness among its commanders and troops, teaching them how to focus on their breath as they pull the trigger.

So it should surprise exactly no one to learn that at least one manufacturer of food-like products is embracing mindfulness as a way to encourage people to go right on buying their stuff.

OreosThat company, as as the Wall Street Journal recently reported, is Mondelez, owner of brands such as Oreo and Chips Ahoy, Swedish Fish, Cadbury, and many, many more. Suddenly, they’re all about “mindful snacking, or the practice of slowly and deliberately eating food.” The goal? “Convince increasingly health-conscious consumers that indulging in cookies, crackers and candy is OK to do sometimes.”

Mindful eating emphasizes awareness of physical hunger and satiety cues. “So many times people reach for food based on signals other than hunger—they’re bored, stressed or lonely,” says Lynn Rossy, president of the Center for Mindful Eating, a web-based forum for health-care professionals and individuals. “Part of mindful eating is stopping before you eat to ask ‘am I hungry?’” she says. “I like to say in general ‘eat when you’re hungry, don’t eat when you’re not hungry.’”

All well and good. But despite the WSJ spin, mindful eating involves more than just slowing down and paying attention to hunger and satiety cues. The Center for Mindful Eating lists other key principles, as well, including

  • Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom.
  • Using all your senses in choosing to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body.

Though they can give you a quick lift, candy, cookies, and crackers are scarcely nourishing, nor are they particularly satiating. Such hyperprocessed products typically deny the body the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients it needs to thrive while often delivering artificial ingredients that can, over time, interfere with how it was designed to function.

Why not a handful of nuts or a slice of real cheese instead? How about some trail mix or jerky? Why not some whole fruit? Something that will actually feed you?

No, there’s nothing wrong with the occasional treat. There’s nothing wrong with snacking either. In fact, snacking can actually be a great opportunity to give your body more of the nutrients it needs.

They’re just not going to be found in an Oreo, no matter how mindfully consumed.

Image by Natasha, via Wikimedia Commons

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Dental Insurance Isn’t Really Insurance

One of the many problems with the “health care” biz in this country is the simple fact that so many decisions are driven not by patients or doctors but insurance companies.

Dental insurance isn’t much better, but for reasons that many well-intentioned folks seem to ignore when they suggest that better access to dental insurance would help improve access to dental care and, thus, oral health.

Over on Facebook, Dr. Paul Henny posted a terrific commentary about some of the biggest misconceptions about dental insurance today and how ill-served patients are by its “benefits”-driven approach. Though he shared it in a discussion group geared toward dentists, we think it well worth repeating here in full:

What precisely are dental insurance companies selling, and do their customers even know? In the vast majority of cases, dental insurance is nothing more than a set of false assumptions deceptively promoted:

False Assumption 1: Dental insurance is associated with health promotion, when it’s primarily associated with minimal cost repair promotion.

False Assumption 2: Dental insurance saves people money, when in fact it often promotes focusing on issues-of-the moment and resolving them as cheaply as possible, along with no reflection on how that decision might negatively influence long-term health, as it may very well cost the patient significantly more money in the long-run.

False Assumption 3: Only people who have dental insurance can afford dental care, when many patients are “code mined,” and “up-sold” by practices which are forced into a fee structure which is out of alignment with their true costs.

And all of this is made possible through propaganda machines which 90% of the profession supports through passive aggression strategies.

Let’s suppose car insurance was exactly like dental insurance, and it covered everything from oil changes to body work and engine repair. And it allows access (with their prior approval of course) to $1500.00 /year in services, beyond that – you are on your own.

car with a front end built badly out of wood Now, let’s say that on your way to work, a person pulls in front of you and significantly damages your pride-and-joy-of-a-car. The repair bill comes to $4500.00, and the insurance company wants to choose the parts and repair center.

What would you do? Would you repair only $1500.00 per year and eventually get it all finished in three years?

And what other problems could occur during that time? And how would the long-term value of your car be influenced by this approach?

Would you consider this to be “insurance”?

And if so, what is actually “insured,” as the only thing truly insured is the insurance company’s bottom line.

As a profession, we need to find ways to turn away from these arrangements, as they are clearly lose-lose-win. We need to make dentistry about something much more important than just the cheapest parts delivered at the lowest, fastest, and most limited rate possible.

Health-centered / relationship-based dentistry is that alternative. But it requires a very different approach to people and problems; one that insurance companies will try to undermine at every turn, yet represents the only professional future for dentistry.

This is the kind of approach we were talking about last week, what we called “slow dentistry.”

Sure, we take insurance as a convenience to our patients who have dental benefits, but the kind of care we provide always begins with developing a positive relationship with you, with clear, open, and honest communication on both sides. It’s about trust and respect. It’s about doing what’s best for you. It’s about working with you and teaching you so that you can make the best decisions for your care – decisions that align with your own needs, priorities, values, and desires, not ours.

Want an idea of how we work with the patients who turn to us for help? Check out this video made by wellness coach Kori Anne Nuerge.

Questions about how we might be able to help you on your own path to optimal health and wellness? Just give our front desk a call at 209-838-3522.

As for why dental insurance is the way it is? Check out “The Trouble with Dental Insurance” over at HuffPo.

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And No Sooner Had We Posted About Implants…

If you’ve followed our blog for a while, you may recall the race to make the fastest toothbrush ever. (If you don’t, here’s a recap).

Now there seems to be a similar “speed stakes” going on in the wonderful world of dental implants, too.

No sooner had we published last week’s post on the number of serious injuries caused by dental implants, this turned up in our inbox:

screenshot of news release

Bear in mind that, despite all the hoopla about one-day implants, the norm is still to place them in stages, allowing weeks for healing between each surgery.

And placing implants is a surgical procedure. Can you imagine doctors advertising other implant surgeries by touting just how fast they can be done? Get a new hip in just one hour! Knee replacement surgery in mere minutes!

In this way, the stress on speed seems to reduce dental implants to a mere cosmetic matter, a surgery done with seemingly little concern for its impact on the rest of the body.

But not everyone is seduced by this approach. Just as “slow food” has come to be valued within a landscape dominated by foods of convenience, so, too, is “slow dentistry” coming to be valued by more and more people.

After all, a three-minute procedure of any kind isn’t just, as the marketing materials tell it, for the benefit of patients who believe they have better things to do with their time. The faster the dentist can do the procedures, the more patients they can see and the more money they can make.

In that scenario, patients can seldom be seen as the unique and complex human beings as they are – even as time and a more comprehensive understanding of health and wellness are what increasing numbers of people crave.

Recently, a married couple came in for their first exams and cleanings and were each happily surprised when Dr. V sat down to do their cleanings himself.

“You don’t use a hygienist for this?” they asked.

“No,” said Dr. V. “I like doing it myself. I like to get to know you better and to know your mouth better. Doing the cleanings myself gives me the opportunity to do both.”

Yes, we do dentistry differently here.

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