Based, primarily, on the works of
Dr. Robert O. Nara
Visit our web site: http://mizar5.com/omedia1.htm
1. Update & Appeals
2. Part Four: Money By The Mouthful by Dr. Robert O. Nara
4. Subscription Information / Contacting OraMedia
5. Advertisements (Removed from archived issue)
I am hoping to improve our 'Links" page at the Oramedia site and would appreciate receiving mail from readers informing us of any sites that may tie in with what we are doing; especially sites on Fluoride, Amalgams, Nutrition, Oral Hygiene (Homestyle)... you get the idea. I am also interested in hearing from dental professionals who share common views with Dr. Nara. I get many requests (most of my mail) asking if "I know of a dentist in ________ who isn't so hot to go digging and cutting into my mouth...". I would LOVE to say, "YES, contact Dr. ________, He/She is right in your neck of the woods!" Right now, however, I haven't got a clue...
I have a goal to have 10,000 readers subscribed to the OraMedia Newsletter by January 1, 1999 and ask that you pass along this newsletter to friends, associates or family members you feel would benefit. In appreciation, anyone sending me five bona fide subscription requests will receive free E-mail versions of Dr. Nara's books MONEY BY THE MOUTHFUL and HOW TO BECOME DENTALLY SELF SUFFICIENT. If you already have the books, I'll send them to someone of your choice instead. If you send TEN bona fide requests, I'll include a package of some great vitamin samples from Up-Time in California (don't worry, I'm not a dealer...).
And so, on with the newsletter.
Foreword - (July 5th Issue)
Chapter One - (July 5th Issue)
"Let's Get Honest"
Chapter Two (July 12th Issue)
The Truth About Dental Disease
Chapter Three (July 19th Issue)
...That No Doctor is Going to Tell You
Chapter Four (This Issue)
The Inside Story: About the Mouth
Today's Oral Hygiene is Sickening
The Power to Heal
"Let Them Eat Cake..."
The A.D.A.--Specialists in Symptoms
Psychology of Oral Health Awareness
The Hardware Business
A Question of Ethics
What Can I Do?
"Whatever Happened to Doctor Nara?"
Let's Sum It All Upů
What do you know about the inside of your mouth? What's in there? How does it work --or stop working? How much does it have to do with your overall health?
If you're like most of us, you'll shrug your shoulders and say something to the effect that there are teeth in the mouth, and a tongue. Pressed hard for information, you might add that the tongue has something to do with chewing as well as the sense of taste; that there are things in there (somewhere) called saliva glands that help you (inelegantly) make spit, and that the whole ensemble seems to work pretty well day in and day out without a lot of attention.
It hardly occurs to people to compare the mouth to, say, a laboratory incubator: But it should. The temperature is a mean average 98.6 degrees; the humidity is about 100%, the food sources for bacteria are almost endless in variety and abundance. Another good comparison might be to a housing authority --a condominium for germs --that is an equal opportunity landlord: There is room for all. For germs that thrive in the presence of oxygen, there's plenty of that; for those who prefer the absence of oxygen (anaerobic) the mouth manages to accommodate these, also.
Let's take a "walk-through" the mouth; looking at it through the eyes of a person dedicated to understanding it as a unified system rather than an accidental site for a bunch of things called teeth that provide dentists with an income. Only by understanding how all of the parts of the mouth interact with environment do we begin to get some insight about odontosis --dental disease --and its prevention.
In the preceding chapter it became evident that medical doctors are not ordinarily interested in anything having to do with the oral cavity (mouth); having more or less deeded that territory over to dentists. It was also pointed out that dentists concentrate totally upon the teeth, now and then becoming concerned (far, far too late) about the condition of the gums.
Who cares about the rest of the mouth? The answer is simple --and simply ridiculous: Nobody cares; and that usually includes the person who more than anyone should care...the person whose life and health depends upon it. The mouth begins with the lips, which medical students quickly learn to call the "vermilion border." If they manage to learn this terminology well enough to "hang onto it'' until they pass that exam, they probably soon stop thinking in terms of borders. After all, lips are lips; doctors are not often concerned with them and dentists almost never.
Why do they call lips a "border?" --Because at this point of your anatomy one of the most important structural changes takes place. The lips are truly the border between the "outside" and the "inside" of the body. The lips begin on the outside, where there is facial skin. This skin is made up of cells called epithelium, layer upon layer. It isn't uncommon for external skin to be made up of hundreds of layers of this cellular material, in areas such as the feet, etc., where nature expects "wear and tear" on the body.
Tender, delicate skin areas have fewer layers of epithelium. This is why it's easier to cut yourself, or get scratched or burned more easily and painfully, in areas of fewer cell layers. That's what the lips are all about. They begin with facial "skin" several layers thick and, as we move into the mouth, there are fewer and fewer layers of cells.
On the inside, as the lips gradually become the interior walls of the mouth, this cellular layer ultimately diminishes to the thickness of one cell. How thick is skin that's "one cell thick?" Measurements dealing with things this tiny lose all meaning. Instead, let's use an illustration:
If you took the "skin" from an area inside the mouth --a piece about the size of a postage stamp, for instance --and then cured it so that it was perfectly flat and stiff, you could look at it with no trouble. Then, if you took that "postage stamp" and held it so you were looking at the edge instead of the front or back...it would disappear. One thickness of epithelium is too small to be seen with the human eye.
Epithelium has a most amazing property; it is this property that nature programmed into it to keep us safe from disease and infection. Without it, without this unique ability epithelium has coded into its genetic material, we'd all be dead in a very short time.
That magic capability is that epithelium is a germ barrier; as well as being a barrier to an endless array of poisons, chemicals and other "things" which would be harmful to us. As an example, you could take a culture of virulent hepatitis germs and rub it on your forearm: If there was no scratch, no break in the epithelium, there would be no disease. Wash it off with germicide and relax. However --if any of those germs found the tiniest scratch, abrasion or break in the epithelium... wham! You've had it!
That's one of the major roles of the tissue lining inside the lips, the mouth, on the surface of the gums ...throughout the oral cavity: There is barrier surface which protects you from infection. When you recall that the interior of the mouth is a nature-perfect incubator for almost any kind of germ that manages to find its way past the lips, the importance of this unbroken barrier wall is understood.
Another unsung hero of the oral cavity is the saliva gland. These little fountains produce the solution we call saliva, 24 hours a day. Without it, the mouth would dry out; skin would crack, elasticity would be lost. It is easy to realize the importance of saliva in keeping the mouth lubricated, in helping to mix with food as you chew to produce the required consistency for digestion.
What has not been generally understood about saliva is the function it plays in the health of the teeth. One important task is to keep the mouth washed. The constant bathing action helps move food particles, debris, and unwanted germs through the mouth into the alimentary canal --the digestive system --and eventually through the body. When there's some problem that's too hard to handle with this constant, gentle "current" passing through the system, our reflexes tell us to do something about it:
We spit the problem out. Sip something by accident that's too bitter, or too hot; or which we realize a split-second too late is dangerous, and immediately we react: Out it goes! How does this happen? The moment we need to repel the invader, whatever it may be, the saliva glands go into emergency production. The resulting flood of saliva helps expel the foreign matter.
This is why you suffer the indignity and discomfort of over-active saliva glands when you're strapped into the dentist's chair: When fingers, instruments and debris are introduced into the mouth, the saliva glands do their thing. It is these little guys that have helped Oramedics coin a rather inelegant term for conventional dentistry: "Drill, spit and fill."
Saliva has another role in the health of the teeth; one which has only recently received any attention in research laboratories; one which many dentists may not be aware of.
Although the amount of research being conducted with respect to oral microbiology, pathology, and ecology is almost criminally nil, there is some ongoing research: It has recently demonstrated absolutely that early cavities, one of the first symptoms of odontosis, can heal themselves if infection-causing germs are eliminated. How does this happen?
The saliva helps coat the initial damage, the early carious lesion of tooth enamel, with a chemical solution. This is a complex formula: For our purposes, we need only consider that at least part of the formula has to do with deposits of calcium, the building-blocks of bone structure.
The essential discovery is this: In the absence of disease-producing pathology (germs), normal and healthy saliva plays a significant...if not major...role in the process of reversing cavity damage. Teeth can heal themselves; and saliva is one of the unsung heroes of this heretofore unsuspected truth. (See the article on Demineralization and Remineralization at the web site - Ed.)
The next part of the mouth that needs to be considered is the gums. It is here that most of the damage to oral health occurs; it is here that the most advanced odontosis does its dirty work. Gum problems --not teeth problems --are responsible for loss of teeth in adults. And nobody really knows what enormous percentage of all human physical disease, disorder and malfunction has its onset through a breakdown of gum tissue.
Simply stated, the business of the gums is to hold the teeth in place, upright in their sockets in the jawbone. This is accomplished by microscopic filaments which anchor the tooth to the gum tissue, providing support without being inflexible. Perhaps a good analog is to think of guy wires on telephone poles: The "connective tissue" of the guy wire holds the pole upright without, itself, being rigid. Of course you'd picture the telephone pole with two or three such guy wires at most; and the connective tissues between teeth and gums are so numerous as to be almost dense...but that's the picture.
Because of this ingenious natural design, the teeth can exert pressures of up to 30,000 pounds per square inch while biting and chewing foods, without being displaced in the bone socket. These pressures come from an infinite variety of axes...from every direction... as the teeth grind away. The support must hold steady from all forces, vertical and lateral, and it does. And yet, it must remain flexible at these enormous pressures: If there was no provision for "shock absorbers" we'd break enamel and bone; we'd tear tissues and ligaments.
It's easy to see why these connective tissues are the most important element of keeping firm, healthy teeth in their appointed places. Without them, you could grasp a tooth in your fingertips and wrench it from its socket. We're fortunate that these tissues were designed by God and Mother Nature to last for a natural lifetime.
Of all the tissues in the mouth, these are the ones we must be most concerned with protecting. Indeed, without these tissues, there could be no teeth as we know them. Most dentists will tell you that once these connective tissues are gone (destroyed), they are never replaced. Oramedics doesn't necessarily agree with that --that they cannot be replaced naturally --but we are not aware of any independent research that would show what happens to connective tissues in the absence of disease.
Dentists have not observed restoration or replacement of connective tissue; research has not documented it --but couldn't that be because they are still using the frame of reference that dental disease is natural to the environment?
Almost everyone knows somebody who has had teeth "knocked loose" through some accident. Didn't the teeth eventually "tighten up" again? Why was that? --Wasn't it because the connective tissue that was torn or stretched grew back? There is usually no disease that far down on the tooth structure; at least not until the terminal phase of periodontosis. Ask yourself why, in an environment free from disease, those teeth were able to "tighten up"...unless the connective tissues somehow "got healed.''
Accidents that harm connective tissue are relatively rare. Ordinarily, instinct and the natural protection inside the mouth makes such accidents fortunately few and far between.
What usually happens to connective tissue is a disease: The disease is one we call periodontosis, a member of the odontosis family; and your dentist probably calls it periodontal disease. A more common name for it is pyorrhea.
We'll talk about this disease in more detail later. For now, you should understand that the connective tissue you just met...and discovered to be one of your best friends in this lifetime...has only one natural enemy. That enemy, odontosis, will destroy connective tissue and when that happens, you will lose all of your teeth. Not a pleasant picture, is it?
As you learn more and more about oral health and medicine, you will understand that most of the damage done by odontosis is either reversible --it can heal itself --or repairable, in that teeth can be mechanically restored when they're too far gone for natural healing.
Dentistry today is so far behind research that most dentists aren't aware of the natural healing processes which can occur in a disease-free environment. There is, today, no definitive research which proves that connective tissue can restore itself; and nothing that mankind has yet devised as a substitute can take its place.
So we can't prove that these tissues heal; and we can't offer any hope of artificial "help." If you're a typical American adult, you have already lost connective tissue to disease. There is still enough (if you still have most of your teeth) to keep them in place and healthy, but some of it is gone and more of it is threatened with every day that passes while odontosis is active in your mouth.
There should be no question but that, since odontosis is preventable, you'd want to prevent it. There's no reason to suffer from a disease we know how to cure. It should become even more important when you realize that day by day you are losing the one most important tissue able to prevent tooth loss.
Perhaps the most-understood part of your mouth --its teeth --requires the least explanation. Because dentistry has had such a single-purpose preoccupation with teeth since it became a separate branch of medicine, there has been a continuing attempt by some dental writers to acquaint the public with its teeth.
Most people know that teeth are covered with an outer layer of enamel; the stuff that gives them nicknames such as "pearly whites." Many know that underneath the enamel is a substance called dentin which is essentially the same as enamel but much softer and more vulnerable; and that the next strata is called "pulp," which term pretty well explains what it is. In the "roots" of the tooth are nerve chambers and the tissues that keep the tooth "alive" through nourishment, etc.
We are ordinarily only concerned with the enamel, because that's the part of the tooth that we brush (or forget to brush); because that's the part of the tooth that we present to our neighbors every day as a fairly accurate symbol of how highly we regard our own appearance and health. The enamel is where we "get cavities."
What we don't often think about is that enamel, like epithelium (skin) tissue, is a germ barrier also. You can bathe clean, healthy tooth enamel with disease germs and they'll simply wash off.
Not so with the next layers down. Once the enamel is pierced --by anything, but usually by a cavity --there is an "open sesame" for germs to get into a part of the body that has no defense against infection. Perhaps the fastest way to get this point across is to use shock technique: You could get syphilis through a cavity faster than through ordinary sex. And that's a fact!
A paragraph or so ago, we noted that "clean, healthy tooth enamel" had the barrier property of simply rejecting germs. Let's take another look at that, because there were two words there that are too important to miss. If the teeth are not clean, they must have an invisible film of plaque on them; and if they do, they can't avoid the germs. True: The enamel barrier is still operating, the germs infesting the film of dirty plaque are effectively separated from the vulnerable part of the tooth. However, those germs will colonize in that plaque and create by-products; and those by-products will contain chemicals. Those chemicals will attack the enamel and ultimately cause a cavity. When that happens, the tooth is no longer healthy (or clean): Disease in some form, perhaps in many forms, is the inevitable result.
One other bit of information about teeth is helpful; having to do with the way teeth are shaped and how closely-placed they may be. The design of the "big" teeth in your mouth, the bicuspids and molars, your "chewing teeth," is different from the "biters" at the front of your mouth. Put the tip of your tongue on your "eye teeth," the canines or incisors, three or four back from the top front teeth. If yours are "normal" (and they are), those teeth are quite pointed and sharp. The ones in front of those have edges more or less like chisels: They're wide, relatively thin front-to back, and have cutting edges.
Now run your tongue over your "chewers" on the top and bottom. Notice that these teeth are fatter, some of them almost round or oval shaped, and that the chewing surfaces are flat; even dished in. A bit more exploring with the tongue tells you that this dished-in portion is not smooth, like the inside of a bowl or saucer, but has little hills and valleys. (Dentists call these pits and fissures).
The next thing you can learn with your tongue, or a toothpick, is that the space between teeth is always narrow. In fact, you may not be able to insert a flat toothpick between some adjacent teeth: To all intents and purposes, there just isn't any space between them.
All of these things in the shape and location of the teeth are vitally important to nature because it is the shape and location of the teeth that allows us to bite, to chew, to do all of the things good health and good nourishment demands of our teeth.
They are vitally important to us, trying to learn how to defeat odontosis, because these shapes and locations are often hard to clean properly. It is in these hidden-from-view areas that we are prone to "miss" with our brush, or ignore with floss or dental tape, that odontosis has its field day.
That space between two teeth that you think of as touching each other is, from a germ's viewpoint, large enough to establish New York City. Once plaque settles between adjacent teeth, you may be sure that germs will find it. Leave them alone for long enough, and you will have a cavity there. Ignore that cavity if you will; and the next thing that happens is gum tissue "problems" that become gum tissue disease.
As a matter of fact, even if we brush and floss or tape properly --something that only perhaps two percent of America's people even know how to do --there's no guarantee that we'll eliminate all of the colony-producing plaque in these pit and fissure areas or between adjacent teeth.
Sometimes the only absolutely certain way to prevent bacterial infestation is through medicine: A mouth rinse that contains the chemicals that spell sudden death to odontosis germs. There'll be more about this rinse technique when we get to the part dealing with oral medicine.
Now that you understand the inside of your mouth a little better, think for a moment about the amazing fact that no dentist ever mentioned this to you. There is no way to consider teeth and their health as separate from gums and connective tissue. To think of the state of our dental health as totally unrelated to the lining of the mouth, or as separate from the function of saliva, is incredible. And yet, we Americans are subjected for our entire lifetime with a branch of medical science that would totally ignore everything except teeth, as if they were not connected to the rest of the body.
The amazing thing is not that our mouths can be...and are...the source of a major portion of all physical ills and diseases: What's truly amazing is that we're not all dead before our 21st birthday! When you consider that individuals --and medical/dental science --have simply ignored this whole area of physical health, then you begin to have some appreciation of how incredibly tough and resilient the mouth really is.
If our mouth and its elements; tissues and teeth and bone and saliva-producers and all of these other carefully-orchestrated things can take such good care of us when we ignore them...
Think of how healthy they would be if we took care of them, instead of the other way around.
(Chapter Five - Next Sunday, August 2nd...)
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