|Chapter One - "Let's Get Honest"
From 'Money by the Mouthful' by Dr. Robert O. Nara
Before anyone can hope to learn the truth about oral health and about America's most shocking public health scandal, we must get rid of several mis-truths, half-truths and outright lies. Together, these things make up the public's "common knowledge" about this subject. Every one of us views the world through what is sometimes called "frames of reference." In other words, we hear and see and understand based on previously established information.
The frame of reference, then, is sort of a foundation upon which we continue to build our house of knowledge on any given subject. If the foundation is bad, the knowledge will be defective no matter how well-constructed it appears to be.
The public frame of reference to oral health, teeth, dental disease and dentistry is a foundation built on quicksand. No other aspect of health today suffers from so many misconceptions and professional deceptions.
First, and most important: Teeth are meant to last your whole lifetime. No other part of your body is as tough, as well-constructed and capable of recovering from disease. Given half a chance, your mouth would be --and should be --the healthiest part of you, forever.
It is "common knowledge" that teeth will get cavities while young and need to be replaced when old. This is worse than a misconception: It's an outright lie. In the absence of dental disease none of these things happen to teeth --which brings us to public misconception number two:
"There's nothing anyone can do about dental disease." How many times have you heard that? TV advertising, for example, makes a virtue out of minimizing disease, not doing away with it. Later in this book you will discover the causes of disease and how to prevent it. For now, let's just do away with the belief that dental problems are inevitable and replace that with the truth: There is no longer any reason for anyone to have bad oral health. The disease doesn't have to be feared; just eliminated.
Another incredibly damaging misconception is that dentures are an acceptable replacement for natural teeth. False teeth are one of the most lucrative tricks in the dentist's bag, but they are dangerous to your health. More about this in another chapter; for now, however: Dentures can cost you up to ten years right off the top of an otherwise normal lifetime. Aside from cosmetic problems and a host of mental problems; aside from the inconvenience and expense and actual decrease of longevity, dentures will rob you of physical health and vitality for the balance of your life. People think of dentures as "not bad." They should think of dentures as poison.
People are taught to think of proper care (when they think of it at all) as being something like this: "Brush after meals, use floss, avoid sweets and see the dentist every six months." Later you'll discover that formula to be virtually useless; people whose health depends upon it, and who use it as a guide, are fooling themselves.
We are told, or assume, that cavities are caused by sugar. That's a lie. Cavities are caused by disease, and the disease is caused by germs. You can avoid sugar all you wish but you will not escape dental disease because of your abstinence.
Let's take a second glance at the preceding paragraph. It says, "...disease is caused by germs." Is that true? --It sure is! In another chapter we will go through the disease mechanism step-by-step, and you can understand, then, not only how the germs do their dirty work, but exactly which germs are guilty...and how to get rid of them.
If that seems familiar to you, it's probably because you are familiar with germs and disease processes elsewhere in your body. When you think about it (when the misconceptions are gotten out of the way), it seems simply obvious that oral health would not be too much different from physical health. Excellent conclusion! You are already beginning to uncover the truth.
Are you ready for this: Disease-free teeth which have been damaged by former disease can heal themselves. If that surprised you, think about the preceding paragraph again. Oral health, logically and reasonably, has many parallels with physical health. Broken bones knit; damaged hearts heal, torn muscles or cut skin mends...the body's ability to heal is the norm, not the exception. Why should the mouth be different? --It isn't.
For many reasons --mostly because of our gigantic misconception about oral health --this aspect of our overall health is not considered important by most of us. It should be. Aside from basic nutritional balance, which has its origin in a healthy mouth and affects the whole body, we should know that oral health is responsible for an amazing share of our "whole" health.
Oral health can be a matter of life or death for diabetics, hemophiliacs, and others. Your oral health can protect you from a host of frightening things such as hepatitis or even venereal disease. Bad oral health is a gateway for diseases elsewhere in the body, including but in no way limited to the two just mentioned.
By now you may be wondering why this information isn't more widely discussed. If public knowledge is so flagrantly incorrect, why isn't it corrected?
The question is this: Who would do the correcting? If the establishment of professional dentistry doesn't do it, how will it get done? And that is one of the most startling, scandalous parts of what you are going to discover. Conventional dentistry has abdicated its responsibility as healers and doctors; has traded its honor for a fat bank account. Dentistry today doesn't want you to prevent dental disease because there is too much income to be had repairing disease-damaged teeth. The profession teaches and performs services designed to repair or replace symptoms; the dentist does nothing to attack the disease itself.
Professional dentists don't even have a name for dental disease. They have classified all of the symptoms, but there has been so little interest in the disease itself they haven't bothered to name it. They simply call it "dental disease," with the implication that there is nothing to be done about it. It is, today, a violation of dental professional ethics --and of most state laws --to advertise to the public that a dentist is interested in preventing disease and its problems. Dentists can advertise various specialties (when recognized by the association), but these all deal with repair of damages. The association that makes and enforces the rules has adamantly refused to sanction preventive (medical) dentistry as a specialty, even though medical doctors have long considered prevention one of the more ideal forms of health care and treatment.
Throughout this book you will read about discoveries made by Oramedics International and about methods used by dentists who are practicing Oramedics Fellows. In no way should this be interpreted that the book is trying to "sell" Oramedics, either to the public or to the profession.
Preventive medical dentistry is the sole hope of our national oral health disgrace. Oramedics International has preventive medical dentistry --disease prevention --as its single purpose. Oramedics does not pretend to be the only path to oral health, nor is its attitude that Oramedics International has some corner on preventive knowledge.
Oramedics International is, however, the most visible vehicle for this "new" information and is, as far as can be determined, the only agency in this country still willing to withstand the court battles, the incredible organized resistance, the discouragement and punishment met by anyone who espouses these ideas.
Others have tried, and have been slapped down. If this truth is to reach the people --and, for our health's sake, it must reach the people --Oramedics is today the most logical and viable method of carrying the message. If any others follow after with different names, different concepts; but with prevention of dental disease as their central theme, they are more than welcome.
Finally: You will see forms and charts used by Oramedics Fellows; there will be patient testimonies and Oramedics statistics, we will discuss Oramedics laboratory testing and procedures.
These are not meant to advertise the "Oramedics Way," as if there was some magic in the name. Instead, we use these things because they are, today, perhaps the only valid proofs that we can eliminate dental disease in this generation, if we want to.
There will be many detractors: This book is not going to be appreciated by conventional organized dentistry. Therefore, let's conclude this chapter on eliminating mis-truths and half-truths by mentioning something about the organization that will attempt to discredit what you're about to read.
People (organized dentistry) who disagree with this would have us believe that America's dental/oral health is in good hands. The U.S. Health Department says that 98 out of 100 Americans are suffering from dental disease.
Somebody isn't telling the truth...