Consumer Health Organization of Canada

Consumer Health Newsletter

VOL. 8 NOs. 3 & 4 - April / May, 1987

How To Enjoy Healthy Teeth & Gums -
In Spite Of Your Dentist

ROBERT O. NARA, D.D.S. Speaking at Total Health '87

The dental profession has the public pretty well boondoggled into thinking that we have to go to the dentist and get our teeth cleaned and checked every six months and we've been conditioned to believe that somehow or other this has something to do with our having healthy teeth and gums. I don't particularly believe that that's true. In fact, I believe that you could very easily live out an entire lifetime and never see a dentist. Every time you have your teeth cleaned, about 2 to 3 microns of your enamel goes away. It's a very abrating kind of process, this business of having your teeth cleaned. In fact, I believe that there are a lot of detrimental things that happen in the cleaning process and the scraping of the roots. Even in dental professional literature, they state that there is probably some damage to the root surfaces when they scrape with these scalers.


I want you to think about another thing. At some time or other you've had a tea kettle or some kind of a pot on your stove that boils water and, over a period of time, a scale forms on the bottom. If you've ever looked carefully at that scale, you will find that it's kind of dark brown in colour, kind of brittle looking and, in fact if you scrape at it a little bit, some of it may come off in chunks. If you look inside your mouth and you have a large number of deposits on your teeth, what dentists call calculus or tartar, you'll find that it's going to look just about the same as that stuff that collects on the bottom of your tea kettle. The reason that it looks like it's the same stuff, is because it is the same stuff.

Now, once every six months or so you could scrape the bottom of the tea kettle and try to get that stuff off, which would be a tough job as you can appreciate, or you could put a little bit of vinegar in your tea kettle and the calcium hydroxide salts that are stuck on the bottom of your tea kettle would go back into solution, because the acetic acid from the vinegar, working with the calcium hydroxide, which is a base, neutralize each other and you can dissolve the deposits. So if I suggested that, instead of having all that scraping all the time that we just dissolve the tartar off of the teeth, that would make a whole lot of sense, wouldn't it?


Now, let's take a look at the tooth structure.  The hard structure of a tooth is the enamel and the dentin is underneath it. What is the tooth made of?  Well, it's primarily made of calcium and phosphorus, the same stuff our bones are made of except there is a little more calcium and phosphorus in the teeth than there is in the bones. That's why they are harder.  If you fall down and break a leg and the doctor puts the two pieces of the bone back together and puts a cast over the whole affair so that it can't move; in about six weeks your leg is healed.  How did it heal?  Did the Doctor put some super glue in there?  No, you grew some brand new bone. In order for the bone to heal, for the two pieces to heal back together, you grew brand new bone.  If you have a cavity, why don't we grow some brand new enamel?  Now, there is no reason to believe that if we can grow new bone, that we can't grow new tooth structure.  There's no reason to believe that if a substance comes out of solution and deposits on your teeth, that it can't go back into solution and get off of your teeth.


I would like to talk to you about a hypothetical situation which can take place inside of a person's mouth, let's call it biologic balance.  Let's pretend that we have a condition inside of your mouth which is identical to the first few hours after you were born.  Now, when you were first born, your body was completely sterile - there was no bacteria anywhere in your system.  All the bacteria that your body takes on, where do you get it from?

Your body gets it from your environment.  But, at the time that you were first born, you had saliva in your mouth.  There was no bacteria in your mouth.  The saliva at that time was, for all practical purposes, for several days or even longer, sterile.  No bacteria.  The saliva has a high concentration of calcium and phosphorus ions, the same stuff our teeth are made of.  Our blood also has a high concentration of calcium and phosphorus ions floating around in it.  So you see, the basic building blocks of the body are all around.  They're in the blood, they're in the saliva, and if you have something going wrong later on, there is no reason that these building blocks are not available.  They're there and they can work for you. But only under the right conditions.  Saliva is a very good first-aid type fluid that helps us.  It has very beneficial effects.  It also contains calcium and phosphorus ions which are available at any time.  If you have a decent diet, you will have a pretty high concentration of these calcium and phosphorus ions in your saliva.  If your diet is not good, you're going to have a lower concentration of them.  So obviously, diet is very important to good dental health.  Diet is important to all health.  If we don't eat right, we're not going to be healthy no matter what.


The dental profession has been telling us all these years that sugar is the thing that raises all the ruckus with our teeth.  Most people that I have talked to have said that they have a friend, or relative, who seldom brushed, didn't clean their teeth very well and ate candy bars till they were coming out of their ears, and never got a single cavity.  How come?  The environment wasn't right.  That particular person was immune to the types of bacteria that cause decay.  And, there are about 3 or 4 main decay-producing types of bacteria, the two primary ones really are the strep-mutanes, which are the big ones and then after that comes lacto-bacillus.  These bacteria, the 3 or 4 main types which attack our teeth do it by producing toxic waste products in the form of acids that literally eats holes in the enamel.  If you want to stop that process, the first thing you have to do is get rid of the infection.

You all know what appendicitis is. That's inflammation or infection of the appendix.  You may also have "molaritis" or "bicuspiditis", infection of the tooth.  Dentists just refer to these things as cavities to be filled. If you're a dentist every cavity looks like a filling, not a healing, but a filling.

My wife and I have 3 children, the oldest one is a dentist, the next oldest one is a medical doctor and the next daughter is a physical therapist.  None of our children have ever had a cavity.  They never will, any more than there's every going to be grass growing in this room; because the environment is not right. Now, you can create this. It takes a little effort.


Modern research has shown in the past several years that almost every human being walking around today, even people whose mouths are in good condition, has on the average about 20 cavities in their mouth at all times.  And these cavities are either getting bigger or getting smaller, and the availability of the calcium and phosphorus ions from our saliva depositing in these areas is the thing that keeps the teeth healthy enough.  Now, if the deposits are coming back onto the tooth structure about as fast as they are leaving, then your teeth stay healthy.  If the reverse is true, then a hole starts to develop.  People have asked me what they can do about some of these things?  Well, let me offer just one idea about this business of speeding up the remineralization of cavities.  If you have a hole in the tooth, it's nothing more than soft tooth structure; earlier it had more calcium and phosphorus ions in it.  If you want to strengthen it and harden it, there is a mouth spray called Zero-lube.  Zero-lube was originally designed and produced by a laboratory in the United States called Scheer Labs, in Dallas, Texas.  This product is very unique.  It was designed originally for people who had severe radiation of the head and neck regions.  What radiation does is atrophies the saliva glands in the floor of the mouth and on the side of the cheeks.  And as these saliva glands atrophy, they don't produce saliva anymore and, if they do, it's a very small amount.  The average human being produces about a litre of saliva every day. (Ed. - We are not able to locate this product.  However, a good replacement is Biotene Rinse, available at most any pharmacy.)

Without it, however, people have a very dry condition because their salivary glands have atrophied and any dentist will tell you that the roots of the teeth, the root surfaces, the gum areas that protect the roots, deteriorate at an extremely rapid rate.  So, this product was originally designed to help these people who had had excessive radiation and didn't have enough of their own saliva to even keep their teeth wet.  All you have to do is spray with this stuff a few times a day and you are adding a very high concentration of the calcium and phosphate ions in your mouth, and if you swish with it for several minutes before you spit it out, you are actually helping to heal these areas that have softened up.  Your saliva contains these same ions on its own and, if your teeth are perfectly clean and your mouth is in biologic balance, you do not need this product.  In fact, when you achieve biologic balance you'll need hardly any products except just a toothbrush, some dental floss and maybe an irrigator.
(See also: Demineralization and Remineralization)

GUM AND NECK OF THE TOOTH PROBLEMS: (both this and the next subject cover oral irrigation)

Now, most of the people in this room are already doing a pretty good job with a toothbrush and with floss or tape, but the serious problem that exists today is gum tissue problems.  Once they have started, there is a little space down between the neck of the tooth and the tooth itself.  For all practical purposes, let's call it the neck of the tooth disease.  This is the area of the biggest amount of problem, and it seldom gets cleaned properly because food and bacteria collect in this space, on the outside of the tooth and on the tongue side, and we don't really clean there very well.  The dental floss is designed to clean in between the teeth, and the brush cleans the outside, the biting surface and the inside, but this little space between tooth and gum, unfortunately does not get cleaned, or in most places not very well.  Now, if you are using a brush in a very unique manner, and if you are young and you have used that solculus brushing method very carefully, you can probably get by without every using an oral irrigator.  But, if you have any dental problems, or any amount of disease or any amount of dental recession, then it is highly advisable that you use some form of irrigation to clean around the neck of the tooth.  The pattern of gum tissue disease is that it is basically a problem of not getting the neck of the tooth clean, and that is why the disease process starts marching down the tooth.

From the time I graduated from dental college I had figured out that the oral irrigator was a pretty handy device, because you could remove a lot of debris from the mouth with it.  In fact, the people that we have on irrigators, especially with the special (cannula) tips to flush out pockets, tell me, all of them, that after their evening mean they brush well, they use their dental floss, they clean very well, they do everything right. Then they use the irrigator with the special tip, with their head in the sink in the bathroom, and the food and the debris and the particles that come out is unbelievable to them.  They say, "Wow, no wonder I have been having these problems."  So about twenty-some years ago, with the help of my dental staff, my wife and a couple of other people, we took the conventional irrigator tip, which is kind of like a shotgun tip, it just squirts water in every direction, it's not very directional.  We made it very directional by adding a section of stainless steel surgical tubing, so that instead of it squirting in every which direction, it would squirt in a very specific place.  It's kind of like a garden hose with a blunt end on it, that just squirts all over the place and if you put a nozzle on it and tighten it down and it squirts in a specific place, you can get more pressure and you can get a better cleansing action, and you can flush out dental pockets.

Pockets are nothing more than the same little space we started off with earlier which was normal, and which has now gotten deeper and this is called a periodontal pocket. It's nothing more than a space between the tooth and the gum, and the deeper they get, the more food and the more bacteria pack down in there. And the deeper it gets, the more it ruins the attaching fibers.

If you want to know how your gum tissue sticks to your teeth and bone, all I want you to do is think about the Velcro that we have on clothing and wallets, because that is how your gum tissue sticks.  There are little attaching fibers, and the minute that there is some irritation in the depth of that first crevice which is only about a millimetre deep when we are a young child and a millimetre or two deep when we get to be a teenager.  If it starts to get to three or four millimetres you have a pocket and you cannot clean the depth of that pocket.  So, this little space that keeps getting deeper and deeper, you can't clean it with a toothbrush, you can't clean it with dental floss, you can go to the dentist and have it scraped out and, generally speaking, the dentist is going to tell you that instead of coming back every six months for a scraping, to come back every three months for a scraping.  I call it "Scrapeodontics."  And after it gets very bad they might tell you to come back every one or two months for a scraping.  This isn't doing any good.

The net result is that, not only is it not stopping the cause, but it is damaging the roots of the teeth besides. So it is up to you to decide which way you want to go, if you want to pay a little attention and put on a little effort, you can enjoy a state of what is called biologic balance in your mouth.  And if the depth of the pocket is not enjoying the same state of biologic balance, then that "neck of the tooth disease" is marching way down the neck of the tooth headed right for the tip of the tooth and, by the time it gets about two-thirds of the way down there, your teeth are going to start wobbling around.  There is not enough bone left to hold the teeth in place.  But, you can grow new bone, and grow it right back up the neck of the tooth again.

In October, 1977, the Journal of the American Academy of Dentists, tells all about the bone growing right back up the necks of the teeth.

When my wife and I were young and met at Michigan State University, her mother had, at that time, five teeth in her mouth, two on the bottom and three on the top.  She had suffered a lot of gum disease over the years and dentists had done all of the things which they could do.  These five teeth were so wobbly that you could move them around with your fingers, in fact, she was already scheduled to have those removed and have upper and lower dentures made.  Her soon to be son-in-law dentist said, now wait a minute.  At least those five teeth will help stabilize partial dentures.  It is better to have partial dentures than a full denture.  And these teeth were so loose that they were practically ready to come out on their own.  We put her on the program of cleaning the neck of the tooth.  We eliminated the "neck of the tooth disease" in her mouth and the bone grew back.  My wife and I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary this summer, and her mother still has the five teeth.  So, when dentists tell me that you can't do these things, I just say, "Well, Doctor, it is kind of like if you believe that you can't do them, then you can't."


A company in Switzerland by the name of Viadent, who consulted with me by the way, built some special tips for their unit which is similar to the Water-Pik.  It is different in several ways and the Viadent (now ViaJet) unit comes with four tips, two conventional tips which are good for young people, particularly small children because it will flush away the food and bacteria that collects below the neck of the tooth, and the other two (sulcus-type) tips that come with it are designed to flush out pockets.  Now, those of you who heard Reverend Willhelm, heard him tell you just how effective hydrogen peroxide was in killing bacteria.

If you want to get hydrogen peroxide down into the space between the tooth and the gum, if you just rinse your mouth with it that is partially beneficial, but if you have pockets and spaces down along the necks of the teeth and someone has recommended surgery for you or whatever, then I would highly advise you to get a unit like this and use it initially two or three times per day and squirt the hydrogen peroxide or salt water or salt and soda or a variety of other rinses that are mentioned in that Issue No. 9. The Gum Tissue Issue of the No. 9 (People's Dental Association) newsletter has a whole page on rinses and the different variety of rinses that are available. If you are going to stop your own gum disease, you have to stop the bacteria.

So, I just want you to think about these things. They're your teeth. They're going to be either with you or not with you for the rest of your life. The person that is in control is you. You are in charge of your own dental destiny. The more you rely on the dentist and the less you rely on yourself, the more likely you will wind up with teeth at a ripe old age. You're going to have to do a little homework, you're going to have to study a little bit, you're going to have to change your frame of reference, and you're going to have to say, well maybe there is a better way.


The biggest problem that this whole situation faces is the lack of knowledge.  In the first place, the public does not have this knowledge, but that's not really where the problem lies.  An organization in the United States called Opinion Research Corporation did a very extensive study to find out just why it is that prevention and the knowledge that has been produced in the past 20, 30, 40, 50 years, is not being practised.  Dentists practise with drills, doctors practise with forceps, they don't practise with knowledge. And Opinion Research Corporation set out to figure out why.  Why is this existing knowledge not being put to use?  Why is it not being taught to the public?  Opinion Research found out that the dentists don't know.  There is a big block and no communication between the scientific world of dentistry and the delivery system of dentistry out in the field.  Also, the practicing dentist today is not practising much different than the dentist practised 25 years ago or even 50 years ago.  I graduated, in essence, number one in my class from the University of Michigan in 1959 and my son graduated from the same University with the same position in his class 25 years later, and the courses were all the same.  There wasn't one course that had been appreciably changed in the 25 years between the time that I had left there and the time my son left there.  Nothing has been changed.  They are taught the same old mechanics.  So, you have a choice, you people that are the public can decide.  Your dentist that you have seen in the past, or even in the future, if they choose to think in the old way, I guess there is not much we can do about that. But you can certainly choose to think in a new way.  That is your decision to make. I think that it is very possible to live for a lifetime without seeing a dentist, as long as you have this knowledge and you break up the bacterial colonies that collect around the teeth and gums.

If you don't believe that these things can work, if you don't want to understand how they work, if you're not willing to deal with an open mind and learn that there may be some other ways to think about this, well then your best bet is to just continue what dentists have been preaching for a long time; see your dentist twice a year, brush your teeth twice a day, and don't eat sweets. You will then have a typical pattern of a lot of cavities and gum problems and root canals and all diffent kinds of things.

I guess there is not a whole lot I can do to change the profession anymore, because I spent about 15 years of my life travelling around the Dental Schools teaching these same concepts.  These same things I am presenting to you, I have presented to over 15,000 dentists in a period of several years' time.  I wrote a thick textbook about it published by Prentice Hall in the United States, and sold all kinds of them. I'm sure the dentists, at least some of them read it, but I can assure you none of them practise it.  Or if so, very, very few.  And that's unfortunate.  I finally decided instead of talking to dentists and trying to reason with them, I turned it all into a program which can be done directly for the public, either in the form of lectures like this and even more effectively through the mail.

Everything which I am saying to you about learning and doing is included, and there are about 15 or 20 different modern day products listed that will help you, in addition to some old ones, like salt and soda and peroxide and all of these things.  There is no one exact answer for any given person.  So, we reduce the whole thing down to a four-page description which is now published in a newsletter called "The People's Dental Association Network News" Issue No. 7.   Issue No. 7 is an overview of everything I am saying to you here this evening.  It is a synopsis of the entire Oramedics Program that has been developed by myself and other people, to bring people's mouths back to a state of biologic balance.

Now, if you have gum tissue problems, then there is another issue which is a condensation of about 450 research articles, all put into a four page newsletter called "Issue No. 9" which has to do with gum disease.  I see part of my job on the face of this earth these days as answering the problem that Opinion Research Corporation found out; that the scientific world and the dental practitioner world don't communicate.  So I see my role as being a source.  I can't expect you all to go out and read a half dozen different dental journals each month and analyze what they say and try to figure what that means to the health of your mouth.  So, I have assumed that responsibility.  I read the Journals and determine what I think is important for the public to know, and periodically we condense it into an issue of a newsletter and we mail it out to the people that belong to this organization called "The People's Dental Association".

We do issues of the Network News when we have something important to say, if there is a breakthrough in the field of dentistry or the health of the mouth, we will come out with a special issue and it will be off the presses in a matter of days.  We have tried to design this whole process so that you can conquer your own dental disease, at home without the benefit of a dentist.  I used to worry about the fact that dentists are not going to practise prevention, at least probably for the rest of my life, but I don't worry about that anymore, because by condensing these important preventive types of knowledge into books and pamphlets, materials and tapes and everything else we have under the label of "Oramedics" available through the "People's Dental Association" which is an inexpensive way of self-help and learn at home to conquer your own dental problems.


Q: Will irrigation with the appropriate solution remove the calculus that builds up around the teeth?

A: Well, let's reverse that question, because if you were doing this already, no calculus would build up around the teeth.  Now, if you do have calculus there, and if it is large deposits, you might think about going one last time to the dentist and have them scraped off.  If they are really big deposits I would suggest that you do that.  You could dissolve it all, but it would probably take you a better part of a year.

Q: Can anything be done to reverse gum recession?

A: What causes recession in the first place?  If there has been recession, anywhere in the mouth, I can pretty much assure you that it's there because there was an episode in which the "neck of the tooth disease" went on there earlier.  If there is bacteria of any kind in your mouth, whether it's in the bone or around the neck of the tooth or below the gum tissue or whatever, I know of no way to get it out of there without squirting it out.  You cannot get it out with a toothbrush and you can't get it out with dental floss. My morning's program covered about six different research projects or research papers that I quoted from, that prove to me and I think anybody who will listen, that surgery is not the answer.

Read 'Money by the Mouthful' and 'How to Become Dentally Self Sufficient' by Dr. Robet Nara.

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