The Role of a Biological Dentist
When you hear the word “health,” what comes to mind? Perhaps you think about exercise. Or maybe you think about trying to eat more healthy. Few people would say the dentist. A truly biological dentist knows the impact of a person’s mouth on their overall health. But it isn’t enough for them to simply know the truth; we work hard to educate others, helping our community understand it too.
Most people underestimate the impact of a person’s oral health on their overall health.
While many people separate the two, the body doesn’t.
Experts tell us that oral and overall health are closely linked. Many dentists and doctors have been suspicious of this for years now. In recent research, we’ve seen this relationship in action. Within the past 20 years, a few overall health conditions have been linked to periodontal disease. Because of this, we know the two are related. These include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and a handful of less severe health problems too. The surgeon general has now stated that good health requires excellent oral health.
We use the term “biological dentist” because it takes a comprehensive view of the body to gain optimal health. Your body is a single, complex system. Its ability to function correctly depends on each part. A biological or natural dentist takes this into account. They’ll understand that your oral health is not only crucial on its own, but also as the gateway to the rest of your body. Today, we discuss the impact of your teeth on your body and how Kelly Thelen APRN, FNP at Regeneration PC can help.
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What is Inflammation?
Kelly Thelen APRN, FNP at Regeneration PC explains.
Inflammation is one of the most important topics of discussion that we hear about today in medicine and dentistry. We know that it is connected to almost every chronic disease. We have known about the links to diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but studies are now showing links to even more conditions like mental illnesses, cancer, and autism.
Allergies, asthma, arthritis, periodontal disease, and many autoimmune conditions are increasing at very dramatic rates. As medical providers, we are taught to help patients reduce inflammation by prescribing anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin, Advil, Motrin, steroids and increasingly powerful immune-suppressing medications that come with serious side effects. However, often we are not trained to find and treat the underlying causes of the inflammation related to these chronic diseases. Hidden allergens, infections, environmental toxins, inflammatory diet, and stress, can all contribute to these inflammatory conditions.
It is now estimated that autoimmune disease affects 24 million people. Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, MS, thyroid disease, IBS, and others are among those listed in this category.
Often, these conditions are treated by prescribing powerful immune suppressants like biologics, but unfortunately, this does not address the cause of the inflammation. If we want to control the wildfire that is inflammation of the body, we must find the origin. We should treat the fire, not the smoke. In medicine and dentistry, we are primarily taught to diagnose disease by the symptoms, often missing the underlying causes of those symptoms.
Autoimmune diseases are connected by one central biochemical process: An uncontrolled immune response that results in the body attacking its own tissues.
When patients are able to cure their autoimmune diseases by identifying and eliminating the causes of the inflammation whether it is in their diet or environmental sources it seems that their remissions are dismissed by the medical community as “spontaneous remissions.”
Kelly Thelen APRN on the oral-systemic link
Taking good care of teeth and gums is not only about preventing cavities, gum disease or bad breath. The mouth is the window into the body and can show signs of systemic disease. Two of the most common inflammatory-related conditions we see in the oral cavity that may reflect systemic inflammation are gingivitis and periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a form of an auto-immune condition.
Autoimmune diseases currently affect about 50 million Americans, according to the AARDA. That makes up about 15% of the entire US population.
Research is showing a relationship between periodontal disease and other autoimmune inflammatory conditions such as:
- Heart Disease: atherosclerosis
- Diabetes 2
- Respiratory Disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Hashimoto: Thyroid disease
- Celiac disease
- Premature Birth
Functional Medicine: Biological Dentist and Physician
On the other hand, a biological, functional physician (or biological dentist) focuses on the underlying causes of inflammation and chronic disease: namely, the hidden allergens, toxins, and inflammatory diet options that are so accessible today.
Functional medicine is the modern medical practice of treating the causes, rather than just the symptoms. For example, physicians who practice functional medicine would try to prevent future health issues while also treating current issues related to inflammation.
The biological dentist and physician are looking to solve the greater problems. Specifically, we treat inflammation as the systemic response that it is. The inflammation response is all interconnected within our bodies. To reduce the inflammation response, a biological dentist or physician would search for the causal factors of the inflammation. If you would like to learn about an Anti-Inflammatory lifestyle, click here.
Dr. Kathryn Alderman
is our biological dentist and is a proud member
of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology
Solving Systemic Chronic Inflammation with Kelly Thelen APRN
It isn’t always simple to solve systemic chronic inflammation. However, below are a few steps you can take toward controlling or stopping chronic inflammation:
- Get tested for hidden sensitivities and allergies
- Stop eating processed foods
- Take Vitamin D
- Stop smoking or vaping
- Treat your gut well by eating fresh whole foods and taking probiotics
- Exercise regularly
Kelly Thelen APRN and Overall Wellness
Kelly Thelen APRN, FNP is a fellow believer in functional medicine. Her practice, Regeneration PC in Lincoln, Nebraska, offers a handful of treatments to cover a multitude of health problems. These include testing for metal toxicity, allergies, and many other issues.
“We’re taking a little bit of a different approach than just giving patients medication to band-aid over their problems,” says Thelen of the approach they take with their patients. We offer many preventive tips to improve overall health.
The anti-aging center is working hard to offer a place where patients can learn about their health. Since opening in November 2012, Thelen’s clinic has grown from a one-room office to its current setup with five full treatment rooms. Kelly Thelen says it hasn’t changed too much, though. The team is still small and functions with its patients like a family.
“We like to get to know every single patient,” says Kelly Thelen APRN, FNP
Together with her team, Kelly Thelen has helped many patients feel confident in their own skin. By offering a friendly team and an array of wellness and cosmetic services, her team is working towards a healthy body and mind for each patient.
We often refer patients with periodontal disease to Kelly Thelen to have their blood work done. Her team can test a patient’s level of Vitamin D, which acts as an anti-inflammatory. They’ll also check to see if patients have increased levels of reactive protein C, which is a marker for overall inflammation. For more information about Kelly Thelen and her team at Regeneration PC, find her website here.
A Call to Action: Simple Self-Care with Good Oral Health
If this information seems a little intimidating, don’t worry. Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be as daunting as it can seem. Start small and build off of your strengths! If you’re having trouble taking good care of your teeth, start simple: make it a point to brush your teeth twice a day and then adding flossing. One by one, add good habits alongside each other. All it takes is a few simple habits and some forgiveness for yourself. This will help you make lasting changes to benefit your health.
While you’re still feeling motivated, schedule a cleaning with our biological dentist!
And the next time someone asks what you think about when you hear the word “health,” share your story and tell them why the word “teeth” comes to mind.