Alice and Zizi: A visit to the Dentist Part 1 – Whose Teeth are the Healthiest?

We’ve learned that Alice and Zizi are similar, and different.  Two friends, similar height and weight.  Alice gets more colds than Zizi, and they last longer.  Both get the flu every few years.  Neither has any ‘medical’ problems.

Who has the healthiest teeth, Alice or Zizi?

You might talk to their dentists – not that it will help. Alice’s dentist tells her that her teeth are strong and healthy.  Zizi’s dentist reports the same. But whose teeth and gums are healthiest?

You might check their medicine cabinets for toothbrush, toothpaste and floss – but you won’t find any useful information. Dentists, dental floss and brushing are all about ‘prevention’ of disease.

They don’t create healthy teeth.

Health grows from the inside to the outside. Teeth grow from the inside to the outside. Like your hair, your skin, your fingernails – they all come from the health inside of you. If a tooth dies, it stops growing and healing. If your skin is cut it grows healthier, if some of it is cut off, it dies.

Dentists, like hairdressers, and manicurists treat the outside, after it has grown.   They don’t treat the source of health in teeth, gums, skin, hair, or nails.

We might ask, for example, if taking your dog to a dog groomer makes your dog healthier?  Does getting your hair washed, coloured, cut and permed regularly make it healthier?

Health of your hair, and health of your teeth, comes from within, not from the outside.  Cleaning your teeth regularly may prevent cavities and gum disease. But it does nothing for the ‘health’ of your teeth.

Brushing your teeth, flossing, and regular visits to your dentist are powerful actions to prevent and even stop illnesses in teeth and gums – but they don’t create healthiness. They don’t improve the ‘health’ of your teeth – unless your teeth are ‘sick’.  Alice and Zizi don’t have any dental illness at present – whose teeth are healthier?  We don’t know.

If you ask your dentist how to improve the health of your teeth, you might be surprised to learn – he simply doesn’t know.  Improving the health of teeth and gums that are ‘not sick’ is not taught in dental college.  Courses named ‘health’ that are actually courses in illness prevention.

Dentists spend their careers treating unhealthy or diseased teeth.  They advise patients on how to prevent disease – whether their teeth are healthy or unhealthy.  They advise patients on how to prevent gum disease – whether the gums are diseased or healthy. But they don’t make any recommendations for improving the ‘health’ of your teeth and gums.

Teeth are living, growing, healing parts of your body. Teeth that are weak can become healthier.  Teeth that are healthy can become healthier. But if you ask the dental profession how to improve the health of your teeth, you might be surprised – and you will come away unsatisfied.

The American Dental Association, for example, claims, on their web page to be “America’s Leading Advocate for Oral Health”.

They suggest you visit: MouthHealthy.org for more information. They have a page on nutrition, where you might search for information on foods and eating habits to build healthy teeth, but…. no, instead you find the first sentence:

“Everyone knows that a balanced, nutritious diet is essential to healthy living. But did you know that eating patterns and food choices play an important role in preventing tooth decay and gum disease, too? ”

That’s all they have to say.  A balanced nutritious diet is essential to healthy living.  Then they give a link to the “My Food Plate” site managed by the Department of Agriculture. Should we really surf to the Department of Agriculture to learn how to grow healthy teeth?

And then MouthHealthy.org jumps to ‘tooth decay and gum disease’.  That’s what the Dental Association is all about.  That’s what they know about mouth health.

If we check their ‘top ten’ topics at MouthHealthy.org – maybe we can learn how to grow healthy teeth?  But no. The top ten topics on the Dental Association’s page are: baby teeth, sensitive teeth, dentures, root canals, wisdom teeth (removal), thumbsucking, baby bottle tooth decay, gum disease, dental sealants, and finally – Antibiotic Prophylaxis or Premedication.

Not a word about growing healthy teeth and gums. If they do know anything about creating healthy teeth and gums they’re not telling us. It almost makes me think of a conspiracy theory.  I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, but it is surprising that virtually all of the recommendations on the Dental Association page are associated with illness, not with healthiness of teeth.

So, who has the healthier teeth – Alice or Zizi?  Who has the healthiest gums?  What can Alice and Zizi do to actually improve the healthiness of their teeth and gums.

I suspect they have no idea.  If they both go to the same dentist, it might be possible for the dentist to judge who has ‘healthier teeth’, but more likely – they will get a cleaning, inspection, and be told “your teeth are in fine shape”, and sent home.  If one of them has a cavity – they will learn whose teeth have the most serious ‘sickness’, but that won’t say a word about tooth healthiness.

The dentist doesn’t know and doesn’t care who has healthier teeth – as long as there is no indication of disease.  I suspect that many dentists do know – and do care who has healthy teeth, but that’s not their job. The dentist will be happy to recommend brushing and flossing ‘to prevent disease’, but will not, in most cases, make any recommendations to improve the ‘health’ of the teeth.  It’s as if health does not exist.  Dentists study tooth and gum illness, not tooth and gum healthiness. Dentists treat tooth and gum illness – and that keeps them very busy.

But no one studies tooth and gum healthiness  (well, there are some people who do, but I challenge you to find one in your city).

We don’t know if Alice, or Zizi has the healthiest teeth.  And we have no way to find out. We can measure their height and get a fairly exact number. We can measure their weight, although it changes throughout the day, and get a useful number.   But there are no tests, there are no professionals, there is no science of healthy teeth.

As it is with health – there are no scientists of heathicine. We need some.

See Part 2 of Alice and Zizi and the dentist here.

to your health, tracy

 

About Tracy Kolenchuk

Founder of Healthicine.org. Author of two books about healthicine; Healthicine: The Arts and Sciences of Health and Healthiness Healthicine: Introduction to Healthicine
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