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Wholistic Care vs Holistic Care

Are you a victim of modern day charlatans?

Ok, maybe I started this one a bit more aggressively than I should. And how on earth did that come to mind after reading the recently released ‘Time to put your money where your mouth is: addressing inequalities in oral health’ report from the Economist in collaboration with the European Federation of Periodontology?

Click here to read more if you like this sort of thing.

Well, the report refers to a major change that the World Health Organisation has implemented in its list of major Non-Communicable Diseases. It has now added Oral Diseases and Conditions to the list of the 5 major NCDs, with caries (dental decay) and periodontitis (gum disease) recognised now as the most common diseases globally. In fact, these two diseases outstrip the total number of the five most NCDs together by almost 1bn sufferers.

Maybe the most important aspect of this change is that caries and gum disease are now recognised as behavioural conditions that are almost entirely preventable.

Here at Bridgeways Dental we have always been heavy on preventive dentistry with our primary focus remaining on the education and training of our patients to achieve and maintain good oral hygiene. This is the only reliable and scientifically proven way of reducing and practically eliminating the two major oral diseases. In other words, keep a clean and healthy mouth and it is almost certain you will never need any dental treatment. Most importantly, teach your children to do this, or even better bring them for a hygienist visit.

The report also notes the effort from WHO to create better collaboration between dentists and medical professionals, since all NCDs have common factors. In other words, it advises a more wholistic approach of dentistry that will look at the whole patient and not just the mouth of the patient.

Our continuous and always expanding training here at Bridgeways Dental, has allowed us to have such an approach for several years now, but we are also designing new policies and procedures that we will be bringing in the practice. So stay tuned as we try to improve the care you receive, based on sound and contemporary science.

Of course, to return to the title of this blog, these new procedures do not in any way include strange herbs, hot stones or peculiar pieces of glasses hanging from the ceiling. These are the tools of the currently completely unscientific ‘holistic dentistry’.

With all good wishes

George Margaritis DDS MSc Periodontology

P.S. Being Greek helps a bit with medical words. ‘Όλος’ is the Greek for ‘whole’ (sounds close, doesn’t it?). I do not exactly know how the ‘wholistic’ became ‘holistic’. A wild guess must be that there are some dentists who only fill-in holes or just deal with scientific holes, ones with absolutely no evidence (at least not yet, and this open-mindedness is the basis of science)