Root Canals, Wisdom Teeth, & Remineralization With Dr. Kelly Blodgett

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Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

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Katie: Hello, welcome to the “Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and wellnesse.com. That’s wellness with an E on the end, my new line of personal care products that you can check out, they’re hair care, toothpaste, and now hand sanitizer.

This episode is about one of my favorite research topics, which is oral health. And so, we go deep on a couple of specific topics within that. I’m here with Dr. Kelly Blodgett, who is a recognized leader in holistic integrated biological dentistry. He’s also an educator and he talks a lot about these things online. He has an educational background in psychology, traditional dentistry, and naturopathic medical dentistry, as well as an integrated biological dental medicine practice. He understands and respects the interconnectedness of oral health with the health of the whole body. And he runs a dental practice in Portland, where he helps people directly and he also educates, like I mentioned, online. And I’m gonna post a link to a lot of the resources he talks about and recommends, as well as ways to get in touch with him in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm.

Specifically, in this episode, we go deep on the topics of root canals, wisdom teeth, remineralizing teeth, gum disease, and a lot more. And he has a really fascinating well-educated integrative approach to tackling these issues. And I think some of his answers might surprise you, specifically when it comes to wisdom teeth removal. I had a great time recording this interview, learned a lot, and I think you will too. So, let’s jump in. Dr. Kelly, welcome. Thanks so much for being here.

Dr. Kelly: Thank you. Super excited to be with you today, Katie.

Katie: I am excited to have you here. I think this is such an important topic, more important than people even realize. We all know that oral health is important, but at least for my research, it goes so much more beyond just our mouth. And there’s a kind of a rollover effect into, in many ways, the whole entire body. And I will say oral health is actually one of my early springboards into health and wellness. When I found out I had a few small cavities during one of my pregnancies, and it led to a bunch of research not wanting to do anything while I was pregnant, and then also curious if there was a way to avoid getting future cavities or to improve my oral health, and it led to this whole amazing world of research that I’m so grateful for. And it still is a topic I’d love to geek out about. And when I found you and your bio, I knew I had to have you on to talk about areas I get a lot of questions about after some past podcast discussions about oral health. So I can’t wait to go deep on a lot of this. To start off, I would love to talk about chronic infections in the mouth. And that can kind of segue into things like root canals. But to start broad, walk us through some of the common infections people can encounter in the mouth and what kind of rollover effect that can have into the rest of the body.

Dr. Kelly: Sure. Sure. Yeah. So, I mean, I think that, you know, when we think about the things that people are normally accustomed to hearing about, like, you know, they come into the office, and they wanna know, do they have cavities? Right? Well, you know, that thinking is so, like, symptomatically driven and it doesn’t really consider why would you develop them in the first place or why would you develop gum disease or what’s the long-term effect of having a root canal tooth in your mouth, for instance, right? So the things that in our practice that we have come to recognize, that people are so commonly infected by are certainly gum disease, right? It’s one of the most prevalent sources of chronic infection in a person’s body, as well as root canal treated teeth. I was not taught in dental school about the long-term infectious nature of root canals, but it’s something we have come to recognize in our practice is a very significant source of both infectious and energetic disturbance for a lot of people. And the other thing that I have come to understand in the last few years is what are called oral cavitations. So, like, we hear the term cavities, referring to teeth, cavitations would refer to areas of your jawbone that don’t heal well after the extraction of teeth and most frequently become infected during that initial healing phase. And once the gums close over the top of that infected bone, it ends up being trapped in your bone’s face. So, gums, root canals, and cavitations are a major issue we have come to recognize in our practice. And the frequency, unfortunately, is pretty high for a lot of people.

Katie: Yeah, it seems like, and I get this question quite a lot, people who are told that they need a root canal, and who start looking at options, and there’s so much conflicting info out there, and it’s hard for them to make a decision. So I’m curious, I know that from reading about you, you say you have concerns within this continue to perform root canals. What would your advice be to a patient who is told they need a root canal? Are there other options and how can they figure out what the best course of action is?

Dr. Kelly: It’s a great question. So, I wanna clarify the kind of the nature of the question in and of itself, you know, we hear that term “you need” and then you fill in the blank, right? You need a crown. You need a filling. You need a root canal. And in truth, it is not a need, right? Nobody needs a root canal. It’s one option that you could consider and it’s a way to keep a tooth in your mouth, but it is also wise in terms of full disclosure and due diligence to understand what are the risks of keeping a dead organ attached to my jawbone? For those who haven’t gone through my Instagram post, my “Toxic Tuesday” series, in one of them, I explain how teeth become chronically infected once the root canal, you know, the entirety of the root system is porous like a sponge, and it just is able to soak up bacteria over time. So, you know, I think it’s appropriate for folks who are deciding to move forward with that kind of therapy, the root canal therapy, that they understand that there is a very high risk of infectious issue in their future. And that might be in a year. It might be in 10 years. You know, we don’t really know, but it’s definitely a risk, both infection-wise and energetically. And we might talk about some, you know, like energetic meridians later today, but that is a very significant thing to consider because, you know, you might have a root canal done in your tooth and your tooth feels fine, but you start experiencing symptoms somewhere else in your body. Like, just this morning, I was talking with a young woman who two front teeth died five years ago after she had a slip and fall accident and traumatized the teeth.

Those two teeth happened to be on the energetic meridians of her bladder, uterus, and kidney. And shortly after her accident, she started experiencing endometriosis and chronic UTIs. And of course, you know, she didn’t think to ask her dentist, you know, if her teeth are connected to this because you don’t think of that when you’re having pain in your abdomen. But it’s just so interesting. So now we’re moving into this phase of care for her to clean up the chronic infection that she has in her mouth, which are all those energetic meridians where she’s experiencing systemic effects. So, what I would say to people who were they hear their dentist say that phrase, “You need a root canal,” the first thing I would suggest is, you know, ask, “Is that my only option?” Right? If they say yes, my encouragement would be to go get a second opinion. Because certainly there’s more than one option, right? You could absolutely take the tooth out. I mean, that’s always an option. And of course, there’s, you know, the downsides to losing a tooth as well. But you know, a person needs to be able to consider all of their options, not just be dictated to by their healthcare provider.

Katie: I absolutely agree with that. And I love hearing that from the healthcare provider side. I’ve always said that the best outcomes happen when you have an educated, highly invested patient and an educated highly invested doctor or practitioner because together… Like, from the practitioner side, you need the patient to be on board and do the things at home, and in the 99% of the time when they’re not in your office. So, both. And I love when there are people like you who are so much in that partnership mindset of working with the patient and not just telling them. I’m also a big fan of second opinions or, you know, getting educated as a patient and going in understanding whatever procedure you’re gonna be taking into account. So, as follow-ups to that, what are some of the long-term effects that you’ve seen of root canals? That makes complete sense that you basically have a dead organ still sitting in your mouth. And I know based on the vascular system, like that can connect to a lot of other areas of your body. And you also mentioned the energetic aspect of that, what are some of the long-term effects you can see from someone having a root canal?

Dr. Kelly: Right. So yeah, if we consider both of those effects or connections, probably that’s a better term is those two connections, right, we have the cardiovascular system connected to each and every tooth through the lymphatics that drain them, right? So your lymph jumps back into your blood supply and, you know, if it’s chronically infected, your liver is gonna drain it. It’s gonna circulate back into your blood supply, and that circulates throughout your body. So that in and of itself can be a very significant issue. And in fact, when you think about in dentistry, we have, you know, paid respect to that for decades now, but only in very specific instances, right? Like, if somebody has a joint replacement or a heart valve replacement, then their physician, you know, recommends as does the American Heart Association. You know, make sure that you take antibiotics an hour before your cleaning because even cleaning your teeth can expose a person to enough bacteremia to create an infection on a new joint or a heart valve. Right? So we’ve known this for years. And then, of course, there’s the energetic aspect. If we understand and appreciate the energy flows through each tooth, we would be wise to consult a meridian tooth chart and look at, like, let’s say somebody comes in, and they’re saying, “You know, Katie, I’ve been suffering from, you know, chronic GI upset for the last year. You know, we might look at, okay, well, which teeth are connected to the stomach meridian? And I did a post about that a while ago. It’s like the majority of your teeth, frankly, you know.

So for somebody who had a root canal in almost any one of their teeth in their mouth, there could be connection to their GI tract or if it’s their, you know, thyroid gland as a, for instance, you know, we’d wanna assess the upper molars because we know energetically, the thyroid gland is connected to those teeth. The things that I have seen have been… I mean, it’s basically any symptom that you could imagine, whether it’s, you know, chronic skin condition, or chronic indigestion, or constipation or, you know, you name it. Or like I said, the girl I was talking to this morning with endometriosis and UTI issues, you know, we want to go back… And again, it’s possible, it may have nothing to do with the teeth, but we are remiss to not consider the connections of those teeth and what might be going on in there. And unfortunately, as you’re well aware, you know, root canals are so commonplace in our daily living, I mean, there’s over 15 million root canals done in the United States every year. That is a lot of potential energetic disruption and infection, right? So we have to consider the mouth. It’s connected to the rest of our body no differently than any other organ in our body.

Katie: That makes so much sense. So okay, so many follow up questions to that. You mentioned that removing the tooth is always an option, as well. And I know a lot of my readers and listeners have done research and opted for this, instead of a root canal after understanding a little bit more about the risk of both. What about kind of hybrid measures of that if someone does have the tooth removed? I know there’s now options for implants and all kinds of other things to at least make it look like the tooth is still there. What are your thoughts?

Dr. Kelly: Yeah, that’s awesome. You know, the truth is, there are so many options. And, you know, the idea that, well, if you lose a tooth, then you gotta get an implant, you know, it is only one option. I’m kind of have the mindset that until we understand that we have balanced out the energy of that bone and that it is free of infection and would be willing to accept an implant then the implant doesn’t even make sense. They can be a great way to replace teeth, don’t get me wrong, but, you know, there are removable appliances that you can make, you know, bonded bridges, where you can use fiberglass reinforcement tape to add teeth to other teeth. There is many options as your brain is creative and thinking about. So, in our practice, you know, we kind of have this amazing cohesiveness of thoughtful healthcare mindset, as well as technological innovation. So, you know, we have a lot of creativity in our practice. But yeah, I mean, I would suggest on the front end, right, when somebody is considering root canal or no root canal, and let’s say, you know, in your mind and based on your research, you’re already feeling like, “Yeah, I don’t really wanna have a dead, infected organ attached to my jaw bone, you know, then ask your dentist, “What might the options be for me to have a tooth replacement? And what are the pros and cons of each of those?” You know, a really thoughtful team, which you’ll find it in most good biological dental practices, they’ll take the time to let you know, “Well, you can go this route, here’s the pros and cons. You could go this route, and here are the pros and cons of that,” right, that way you can make an informed decision that resonates with your value system because my belief system is I’m here to serve human beings within the construct of their own value system. I’m not going to push my values off on anybody else. Right? So, that’s why we have to have open conversations, I mean, kind of like you and I are today.

Katie: Absolutely. Okay. So, for anyone listening who maybe is having that realization or connecting potential problems, or just concerned about a potential root canal that’s still in their mouth, I’m curious if there is an approach. How do we undo that? So I haven’t, but if I had had a root canal in the past and then now is experiencing problems either in my mouth or now listening to you that somewhere else in the body that could be connected, is there a way to kind of undo the damage and help the body heal? Is there a way to figure out if there’s an active infection, and treat it, and support the body through that or what do you do when a patient walks into you with an old root canal?

Dr. Kelly: Sure. Sure. So, you know, my experience has led me to the understanding that if a person has had a root canal in any tooth, it will be full of bacteria. Every time I’ve tested well over 150 teeth now over the past few years, sending them to a lab called DNA Connections, I’ve yet to see one that wasn’t teeming with bacteria, parasites, viruses, and other things. And, you know, that’s not gonna be coincident with helpfulness, of course. So, we get the comment with some frequency about “Well, you know, I don’t have any symptoms or my teeth don’t hurt,” but yet they’re seeing us because, you know, they’re suffering from Hashimoto’s or they’ve got, you know, gastrointestinal problems. So, they’re frequently our symptoms, it’s just not something that they’ve connected to their mouth yet, right? And one of the things that we have started incorporating in terms of our diagnostic process is, you know, we work with a number of naturopathic providers and MDs who are more functional medicine Docs who are familiar with the concepts of energetic testing, whether that be in the form of muscle testing or EAV testing, where we’re able to assess the body’s energy and energy flow through these meridians where the teeth are root canals. Or it could be an area where they were suspecting, you know, a cavitation in the jaw bone. And, you know, by working together with other thoughtful health care providers, we have been able to have just better information, better quality of information about the energetics of what’s going on in their body because, you know, I mean, we’re all familiar with going to the dentist. The dentist will show us our X-rays, you know, hopefully, they’re digital these days but some still aren’t. You know, but either way, you’re looking at this black and white thing.

And, you know, the dentist says, “Well, you know, we don’t see anything looks weird.” Well, it’s hard to see energy, right? So if we can analyze that using decades-old technologies that are very predictable and consistent, we can understand more about the nature of the body. And I will add, another energetic means of assessment would be infrared thermography. We have a thermographer here in Portland, Oregon, that we refer to frequently because sometimes that’s helpful. And all these things are completely non-invasive, which I love because, you know, people wanna minimize their exposure, things like X-rays, which is completely reasonable. So if we can add in these other means of assessing people’s body energy, I think that’s gonna be very helpful. And it is.

Katie: That’s fascinating, and so good to know there are tools like this, that can help us figure out those things. Okay. I feel like these are gonna overlap, and I’m gonna circle back to some questions. But another area that I feel like is taken for granted when it comes to modern dentistry is the idea of removing wisdom teeth. In fact, this was something that happened to me in 10th grade. I didn’t even realize it was even optional. And from reading some of your work, it sounds like there’s actually some risks that come along with this as well. Many of our listeners are moms. So, can you give us an overview of what the real scoop is when it comes to wisdom teeth and what we need to know, especially if we have kids who are in this age where it’s being recommended that they remove their wisdom teeth?

Dr. Kelly: Right. Yeah, I mean, I find it almost from a social perspective, such an interesting issue that, you know, things like braces, removing wisdom teeth, they’re just these common social things, kind of like going to prom. Right? Like, well, when are you getting your braces? When are you having your wisdom teeth removed? And it’s not to say that there are, you know, sometimes amazing advantages to having straightened teeth and jaws that align well or in the case of wisdom teeth, that… You know, there are definitely situations in which, you know, the risk of keeping the teeth is significant and it outweighs the benefits of keeping those teeth. And in those cases, you bet, absolutely makes sense to get rid of them. However, you know, we also need to be mindful about how that bone and gum tissue in that area is going to regenerate properly. Because if we’re left with a condition that is more infectious than with what you started, you know, that’s a real big problem. So, I would first suggest that people, you know, ask the question, “Well, why?” Okay, I get that it’s a social norm that we all… You know, we’re told, “Oh, it’s time to get your wisdom teeth out.” Can you help me understand why besides the fact that people just generally go and do it? What benefits are there to doing that for me? I mean, there’s probably a reason that we have them in our jaw bones in the first place, right? And we find this for our patients, where if they grew up eating a very healthful diet, generally speaking, if they were… If we looked at the work of Weston Price, you know, he showed the people, babies who were breastfed, were able to develop an expanded jaw. You know, they were, generally speaking, have room for all 32 teeth. And of course, in our society, it’s highly common to not have that happen, right?

So there’s a lot of stuff starting from birth, that can help facilitate an environment or anatomy, really, that would be conducive to keeping those teeth. So, the biggest risk is, as we were talking about the risk of cavitations, right? So if you remove those teeth, it gets the bone traps, either food particles or just teeming with, you know, plaque, and bacteria, and all sorts of stuff over that, let’s say a month time that the soft tissues closing over the top, that that gets trapped inside, your body is going to try to protect you and wall it off. But just like a root canal tooth in your jawbone, that area of infectious material will remain forever until it’s removed. And I have to tell you, you know, until I started helping people remove those a few years back, one, it wasn’t something we were taught about dental school. And two, I have been blown away by the things that I find inside people’s jaw bones. It’s very scary. And a few of those I post, right? I mean, I don’t like to be too crude on my Instagram “Toxic Tuesday” series, But I think it’s important for people to see the kinds of things that we see because if we all appreciated the same information, we’d be able to make better choices, right?

Katie: Absolutely. Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right. And I will say I’ll make sure there’s a link to your social media accounts in the show notes so people can see what you’re talking about. I’m also curious if there’s an overlap here with gum disease because I wanna make sure I understand this correctly, but I’ve heard dentistry explain before too. There’s almost a balance in the mouth when it comes to gum disease and cavities, and that, like, because we have an oral microbiome, killing too much of certain types of bacteria can actually leave us more at risk for cavities, for instance? Like, you know, over sanitized to fight gum disease, we can actually open up a risk for cavities or vice versa. So can you explain kind of the gum disease equation and how it fits into this?

Dr. Kelly: Yeah, absolutely. And it is interesting too because as we talk about gum disease, it is this recognized infectious issue in the mouth that has been paid so much attention by dentistry and by medicine alike, right, because we understand chronic infection in the mouth, absolutely, it absorbs into our bloodstream and puts us at risk. Dr. Brad Bale’s book “Beating the Heart Attack Gene” did a wonderful job of describing how this happens. I mean, they actually showed causation of not just connectedness, but causation between chronic gum disease and such issues as like stroke, heart attack, and other inflammatory diseases. So, we know that that’s an issue. And you bring up such a great point about competitive nature of biofilms. So, on some occasion, we’ll see people who are, you know, challenged by both gum disease and tooth decay, but it’s pretty rare. You know, typically people are either in this camp of Geez, Louise, every time I see the dentist, you know, they tell me I’ve got more cavities. I’ve got more cavities” or they might be combating periodontal challenges. And, you know, the trick isn’t to kill off everything, right? The concept of, you know, somehow we can sterilize the oral environment is ridiculous, right? We know that for optimal GI health, we wanna support having a very helpful microbiome. I mean, that’s critical. It’s critical from the mouth all the way to the other end. Whatever is happening in the mouth, if we kill off enough bacteria, that, you know, we’ve now killed that off, now the fun guy and start having a good time, you know, and you get a Candida infection, that’s also not only gonna affect your mouth and the soft tissues, there that’s going downstream every time we eat, right. We can create dysbiosis by how we approach managing periodontal infection. And in our practice, I mean, we’re more about understanding what’s there and how can we help modify it to a state of great helpfulness? Which, you know, for all of your listeners, if you wanna get the book, “The Dental Diet” by Dr. Steven Lin, I’ve recommended that to so many patients, and they all are so appreciative because it talks about how to facilitate optimizing your microbiome of your gut from the mouth to the other end with healthful diet. And he’s just done a wonderful job with that. So, there are ways to, you know, approach gum disease. I mean, certainly a lot of cases that we see, it’s like, yes, we need to provide some therapy to help, you know, move things in the right direction. But maintenance is gonna be this balance of how we manage things in the mouth, how we manage things in the gut. It’s a whole-body approach, right? It has to be.

Katie: Absolutely. And I think that’s where you’ve made a great point for all of these things, pointing in the same direction of there’s not a single cause and it’s not so simple, as, you know, and as we’re often told, just flossing, or just avoiding sugar, or just getting a cavity filled, or whatever, just may be. It’s all aspects of health. It requires a whole-body, approach, like you’ve said. And that’s why there is, there does seem to be overlap with a lot of these recommendations. And certainly, like most areas of health, they also require a little bit more work than just go to the dentist every six months, get a fluoride treatment and go on with your life. We actually have to be an active participant in our own health when it comes to oral health as well. Another question that I get relatively often from readers and listeners is, what about just bad breath? What can that signal and are there natural ways to address that?

Dr. Kelly: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, I would suggest, you know, in this instance, like, it’s a question for both your biological dentist and your, you know, either nutritional therapist, or your naturopathic physician, or whomever you’re working with that’s helping you create, you know, balanced gut microbiome and all that. You know, part of the question is understanding, like, why would a person be experiencing bad breath? I mean, you can find some people who have the most fastidious mouths. I mean, it’s so clean. They’re in there with the floss, and the picks, and the rinses, and everything under the sun. But let’s say that their tonsils are chronically infected and, you know, just the Crips are filled with tartar, essentially, I mean, it’s just bacterial and calcium deposits, you’ll never get rid of that smell. And so, you know, maybe we need to have the assistance of an oral surgeon or an ear, nose, and throat specialist who can assess the helpfulness of their tonsils as well. It could be bacterial. It could be, you know, maybe what about…? You know, what’s existing the need, long-term dental restorations, such as crowns and fillings. I mean, I can’t tell you with what frequency we take off old crowns, and they’re just teeming with bacteria underneath because over the past 15 years of the crown was on, you know, the cement failed, and it’s just been getting, you know, kind of putrid underneath this poor thing. You take off the crown, and the patient will say, “Oh, my gosh, that is awful, that smell.” And we say, “Well, is that kind of like the smell that, you know, you’ve been observing from your breath?”

And they’re like,” Oh my gosh, it is.” So, there’s a lot of different sources from which people could experience bad breath. And it’s also possible that somebody might be smelling their own breath but it turns out, they have like a sinus infection, which is the sinus right above your nasal space. You know, if that’s chronically infected, it would make sense that you’re gonna smell things that aren’t right. And one of the advantages of using three-dimensional Cone Beam radiographs, like we have in our practice, is that you can see those structures and we can help, you know, gear people in the right direction to other specialists that can help them in managing those things. So bad breath is a… That’s a big bag to open, I suppose you’d say, right? So it’s worthwhile to consider all possible reasons.

Katie: Got it. What about the tonsils? Because this is an area I don’t feel most people even associate with oral health at all. I do only because in researching a dentist that work with my kids on actually widening my kids palate to make room for their teeth, one of my sons had enlarged tonsils, and I did too as a kid, mine were actually removed. And I knew I didn’t wanna remove any of my kids’ tonsils. And so she brought up the idea of the tonsils and that he was mouth breathing, and that we did to address that, which was what we did. But I don’t think most people even think of the tonsils as being connected to oral health. So, talk us through how the tonsils come into play and what we can do about them if they might be a problem.

Dr. Kelly: Yeah. Well, and like you, you know, I was one of those little kids who had inflamed tonsils, and mine were removed at a young age as well. And I will say, there’s no black and white issue with this, right? At times, kind of like wisdom teeth, at times, it’s appropriate, like, if the nature of those tonsils is that they’re so chronically infected, that you can’t breathe properly, you know, you’re 40 years old, let’s say, you know, what would the health benefits be of removing them and of not removing them, right? So thoughtfully, considering that would be worthwhile. There’s a book called “Hidden Epidemic” written by Dr. Tom Levy, which would be another book I would highly recommend to your listeners. My entire team and I, we all read it together, did kind of a book club about it. And it goes over the chronic issues with root canals, cavitations. And he also covers the issue of tonsils more in the nature of, like, how these can become chronically infected for adults. When as you so appropriately pointed out, you know, like, if we don’t get widened enough palettes and airways that are big enough for us to breathe appropriately, we might be setting up all those lymphoid tissues to be chronically inflamed, right? And if they are, that makes it really challenging to, you know, breathe through your nose at night, so you’re getting good oxygen saturation throughout your blood supply. So, you know, again, if we could start with the end in mind and from, you know, pre-birth, where mom is, you know, just crushing it with optimal nutrition, ideally, their own oral health is in great state so that their child isn’t being exposed to Mercury, and fluoride, and things of this nature, you know, then we would have children who are growing up developing more optimally so that they have appropriate airways and things of that nature. We might then, you know, see fewer issues of chronically inflamed lymphoid tissues. So there’s no black and white answer, right? We just have to consider, like, what are the pros and the cons of keeping them? Obviously, again, kinda like wisdom teeth, they’re probably there for a reason. It’d be good to keep that, but how do we ensure that a person’s physiology and anatomy is designed and developed in a way that everything works properly? Does that make sense?

Katie: Absolutely. And yeah, I love that you keep bringing it back to taking this whole body more holistic approach because I think you’re right, there’s a tendency, especially when it comes to oral health, to try to simplify it to that single cause or single input. And it often is so much more multifaceted than that. And I’m guessing another area that’s also going to be true is when it comes to cavities and teeth remineralizing. And it seems like at least from an outsider doing research, that this is an area where there’s still a lot of conflicting information. And many dentists don’t even necessarily agree that teeth can remineralize or there’s an idea that once there’s a cavity, it must be filled. I’d love to touch on this because this is an area I also get a lot of questions from listeners.

Dr. Kelly: Right. Right. So this is a great, great topic. So what we know is that, you know, teeth are fed internally. Every tooth is supplied with its own little tiny, you know, arteries, and veins, and nerve supply, and lymphatics, right? They’re living tissues. And we were talking earlier about, like, the porous nature of dentin, the second layer of the tooth. When a tooth is alive and vital, all those little soft tissues are filling up those tubules. So you have real live living parts of your body extending into those millions and millions of tubules. So, we understand that certain diet types, which again, Dr. Lin goes over in his book, certain types of dietary approaches are going to be more conducive to highly mineralized teeth that have an outward flow of fluid from within the tooth moving outward, right? Matter of fact, people who are in a more parasympathetic state of being, will experience more fluid flow out of the teeth, which is what we want. When we get into more of a sympathetically driven state, the fluid flow reverses. So you can see how that might be a problem if you have exposed root structure where that dentin is not only exposed, but it’s inviting bacteria inward and bringing with it, you know, like, the acids, and sugars, and things like this from our foods. That can be problematic as well. So there’s absolutely that internal aspect of two health and remineralization we know exists. But we also wanna consider the external aspect of remineralization, right? So, when we as dental providers are looking at X-rays, I mean, again, in school, we’re kind of trained to think mechanistically, you know, we’re looking off, you know, as a black spot on the X-ray, right, time to drill and fill. You know, we don’t really sit back and say, “All right, well, how and why did that happen? What kind of environment exists for this person in their mouth on an ongoing basis, such that this insanely hard tissue, the enamel of the tooth, how on earth did that actually break down,” right?

There has to be not only a fair amount of acidic exposure but over a long period of time, right, that if you’re chronically exposed to acid, whether that’s from, you know, regurgitative issues because you snore all night long or because you like sipping on kombucha all day or, you know, Starbucks, you know, frappuccino or, you know, whatever is loaded with sugars and acids. Those things, sorry, from an external standpoint, are going to provide an environment in the mouth, that will break down your teeth. Now, it also has, you know, the effect of when you swallow that stuff and it goes down your esophagus through your stomach and into your small intestine, and you absorb what’s there, is what you’re eating helping your body to mineralize your teeth or demineralize your teeth internally, right? So, again, whole body consideration here. There’s no… I get this question all the time of like, “Well, what toothpaste should I use to help remineralize my teeth?” And my question back to them is, “Well, for how many minutes a day do you intend to have that toothpaste in your mouth?” Because nothing is going to be more powerful than the biochemistry of your own blood and your own saliva because you’re exposed to that 24/7. So, I mean, not to say that, well, there aren’t some, you know, toothpaste that are better than others, but with respect to reducing risk, what we put inside of our bodies is highly significant for all the health of all of our tissues. So, I guess I would say, like, to help remineralize teeth, I’m advising everybody, get on Amazon or wherever you wanna, go get yourself a copy of Dr. Lin’s book, “The Dental Diet,” read it. The recipes are awesome. He’s a heck of a guy. And I think people really value his perspective. He does a wonderful job of reviewing Dr. Weston Price’s research from the early part of the 20th century. It’s an amazing book.

Katie: I’m so glad you brought him up as well. He was one of my early starting points, as well. And he has pictures of the different teeth of different populations who had different diets and also people who were on a more, like, indigenous type diet and then switched to a Western diet and vice versa. And it’s really fascinating, the data. I’ll link to that book as well.

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I know a lot of people listening…Well, you’ve given so much practical information and probably made a lot of people think in ways they haven’t maybe thought before about their oral health and potentially about previous dental procedures they’ve had. I know you live in Oregon, and I’ll make sure we link to your practice in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm. So, anyone who is able to get to you, you’re obviously an incredible option. What about for people who aren’t anywhere geographically close to you, are there any good resources or advice that you would give for finding a good dentist who’s willing to be a partner in oral health?

Dr. Kelly: Sure. Yeah. Yeah. It’s a great question. Because I get that question probably half a dozen times a day, via Instagram and Facebook, and such, you know, people ask like, “Well, do you know somebody in…” And, you know, fill in the blank, right? And what I share with them is that, well, I first off, say, on May 27th of this year, I wrote a post on my Instagram account, and I shared the options, such as looking at the doctor search engines on IABDM website, and IoMT website, which, again, you don’t have to write all that down, just go to the post on the 27th of May. And I give some suggestions about things you might look for there. But the other thing that I point out to people is that if they feel a synergy or an energetic connection with what it is that they read that I write, there’s only one of me, you know. And if they love what I’m talking about, and how I respond personally to people that, you know, it’s kind of worth the airplane flight for this level of care. And I mean, I know a handful of other dentists around the country that, you know, I would fly to them. They’re that good and they’re that caring. And we have worked on developing different dental tourism options for people who wanna come here. Because, you know, I really wanna make it an option for anybody who would like to come to our practice to do so. But, you know, for those folks who are, like, you know, “Boy, that much travel just isn’t gonna work for me,” go to that post I put up on May 27th, look up those different groups. And then do your homework, right? As we always should. With anything health-related, do your due diligence. Maybe get three or four providers and look up their websites. Call their practices. See how their team members, you know, connect with you. And you’ll know in your gut, whether, like, “Oh, my gosh, they were so loving and so caring.” Or, you know, “That didn’t really float my boat.” And follow your gut. You know, that’s probably one of the best choices or options in considering health choices, right?

Katie: Absolutely. Yeah. And even just that shift in perception of thinking about interviewing healthcare providers on any level and finding people who are going to be good partners, I feel like there is a shift happening with amazing dentists like you and some of the amazing doctors I’ve interviewed on this podcast as well. I think we’re moving towards an amazing future where there are practitioners who are excited to work with educated patients who are willing to take ownership for their own health. And I think it’s getting easier and easier to find amazing ones like you. I’m so grateful for that. Quickly, I’d love to just talk on a couple more advanced things that I know that you do that I’m just somewhat fascinated by to begin with. So, you mentioned there are times when you do have to remove a tooth, whether it’s wisdom tooth or you’re removing an old root canal, and you wanna avoid these infections and problems that happen. I know from reading some of your posts that you use things like ozone therapy. So I’d love to hear you talk on the ways that you use innovative models like this to avoid the problems so that your patients don’t run into problems in the future, like a lot of patients do.

Dr. Kelly: Right. Yeah. Well, thank you for asking. This happens to be the topic on which I wrote my final paper when I was in the American College of Integrative Medicine and Dentistry. We all had to pick a topic on which we were passionate and I chose the subject of, you know, using technologies to be least invasive, but also to help people’s bodies shift to a healing state, as predictably as possible when we’re removing infections, whether those be, you know, infected implants, infected root canal teeth, or cavitations. So, you know, I’ve developed this synergistic protocol, whereby I’m using a combination of laser therapies, ozone therapies, and people’s own regenerative cells where we do blood draws and spin out the blood and use their mprF, which is just a concentration of their clotting factors and immune cells. And we put all that back in after having, you know, lasered out and ozonated the area, doing those steps, which takes a lot longer than just grabbing a tooth and removing it, right? It’s entirely thoughtful and leaves the person with the best state of health that an infected area of bone can so that their immune system and regenerative capacity can then kick into gear and help regenerate new healthy bone and gum tissue. And we’ve had incredible success doing that over the past few years. I can’t, you know, say enough positive things about using this lprF from people’s own blood. I mean, it makes sense, right?

If you’re using your own regenerative cells, instead of some, you know, like, bone grafting material from a cadaver or dead cow or something like that, it’s going to have a lot more… It’s gonna have vitality, period, right, whereas those other grafting things do not. And we see that, you know, the issues such as post-surgical complications, post-surgical infections, we just simply don’t see those issues for people, which really kind of makes sense, right? When you fill-up that hole that’s been cleaned out as effectively and safely as possible, of course, their own cells are gonna wanna heal. So that’s been an awesome protocol, particularly when we’re doing cavitation surgeries, where oftentimes, you know, those voids in the bone can be fairly large, being able to put all their own healing cells back into that space and closing it up. It just sets them up in an optimum state for healing. So, we’ve been really excited and grateful to have these wonderful technologies to use. So that’s been fun.

Katie: That’s so fascinating and so exciting that there’s… I feel like this is an area where I keep kind of track of the research and there’s so much exciting things going on. And I feel like we’re just finding out more and more almost every single day. And again, there’s people like you who are willing to not just help patients one-on-one, but also to share this research, and share clinical experience, and educate. And I think things like that are gonna make such a big difference for patient outcomes long-term. And I’m so grateful there are people like you who are willing to do that. Like I said, already, I’ll make sure that your social media is linked in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm so people can find you. I follow you on Instagram and you have fascinating posts about all various aspects of oral health. So, I definitely recommend that. I also know that you are a busy practicing dentist, and want to respect your time and your patients. But as we wrap up our time, do you have any other book recommendations? You’ve mentioned several. I’ve been taking notes as you spoke, but I wonder if there’s any other books that don’t necessarily even have to be related to dentistry, but could, that have had a dramatic impact on your life? And if so, what they are?

Dr. Kelly: Oh, yeah, absolutely. So, one book I share with people that I mean, it literally changed my life was a book called “More Than a Carpenter” by Josh McDowell. And in my personal life journey, I mean, I was on my way to going through a Master’s program in counseling. Both my wife and I were. We were about to head off to this counseling program. And, you know, I read “More Than a Carpenter” and it brought me to come to know Jesus Christ, and it just changed my life. And the next thing I know I’m being just energetically shifted and called to this life of being a dentist, and I felt that my calling is to change what people have come to expect from dentistry, such that they would come to experience it as a, you know, highly positive and health-promoting experience, not something that they feared. So since, you know, spring of 1993, I’ve been putting one foot forward in front of another and going down that track, thanks to that book. And I will share one other book that really shifted the style of my practice that’s called “Whole Body Dentistry” by Dr. Mark Breiner. I got into that book about six years ago. And Dr. Breiner does a phenomenal job of documenting and sharing his experience as a dentist who graduated in the 1970s to how he became, like, a Mercury aware and a Mercury-free dentist, and all these other issues of the toxicity of root canals and all that. So I mean, there are people who’ve been doing this much longer than I have, who have been phenomenal pioneers ahead of me.

And for anybody who really wants to dig deep, along with Dr. Steven Lin’s book, I would so recommend for laypeople to pick up “Whole Body Dentistry.” It’s a book you could read and then share with your friends. It’s so good, and does a wonderful job of documenting the changes, and at least what I hope that we can bring to more commonplace in my lifetime in dentistry, through thinking more biologically in terms of what we do. So that’s those two are awesome books. And I think, you know… Thank you for asking that. It’s always good to share books that people are passionate about.

Katie: Absolutely. I’m always looking for new reading suggestions. I love all the ones you mentioned today, and I’ll make sure those are linked. If you guys are listening today, while you’re driving or exercising, please make sure to check out the show notes at wellnessmama.fm, and find all these resources that Dr. Kelly’s mentioned there, some really amazing ones there. And also, like I said, I’ll put links where you can find Dr. Kelly directly if you have an acute problem, especially in an area, you can get to him. Like I said, this is such a fun area of research for me. And it makes me so excited when I find people like you who are, like, working to educate and also providing practical solutions for patients. With that said, I’d promised I will respect your time. I’m gonna let you get back to your patients. But Dr. Kelly, thank you so much for being here and for all that you do.

Dr. Kelly: Well, thank you, Katie. Thank you for everything that you’re doing to, you know, bring so many people into this fold of awareness and ownership. You shared a term earlier about, you know, people taking ownership over their health. And I feel like, you know, that’s what we’re about here in my practice. That’s what I know you’re about and I love the resonance between our vision here. It’s just great. And I’m so thankful and grateful that we were able to connect today. Thank you so much.

Katie: I’m grateful too, and grateful to all of you for listening, for sharing your most valuable resource, your time, with both of us today. We’re so grateful that you did. And I hope that you’ll join me again on the next episode of “The Wellness Mama Podcast.”

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.



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