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Reading Review: Dentistry Book Summary- It's All in Your Mouth

Updated: Mar 17, 2021

It's been tricky looking for a book to read that is directly related to dentistry. The closest I've gotten to is McCaul's Face to Face but even that was not that related. This book changes it. Published around April 2020 I think, Nischwitz's It's All In Your Mouth is the book every aspiring dentist should read.

Nischwitz's 'It's All In Your Mouth' was a fascinating read that completely shifted my attitude to teeth. It delves into the science of our mouths and relates our oral health to our general health. This is the overall theme of the book- biological or holistic dentistry. The idea that the mouth and body are connected and diseases in the mouth a reflected in the body and vice versa- 'Our mouths are the gateway to better overall health.' Both a page turner and yet educational, I recommend 'It's All in Your Mouth' to anyone interested in health and especially to aspiring dentists and medics. This is a great book to put on the personal statement and mention in interview.

What I found most interesting in this book was the importance of the oral microbiome. It is pretty well known that we have 'healthy bacteria' which are usually associated with the gut but less well known is the oral flora that play a surprisingly pivotal role in our health. This is why some of you might have heard to never use mouthwash as though it does kill harmful bacteria, it also kills bacteria that are good for you. Have you ever wondered what actually causes bad breath? You may think it has something to do with the food one has eaten. Yes, this is true, but a more direct cause would be an imbalance in the microbial community in the mouth. The importance of oral flora is surprising to so many people that I even found this in 'Sapiens' and 'The Dental Diet' where a comparison to our ancestors and people living in remote civilisations is always drawn. Our ancestors and people eating like our ancestors had perfect teeth. Despite not having toothbrushes or any oral hygiene, they were/are immune to tooth decay- the world's most common disease. Our consumption of processed foods- especially sugar, alcohol, smoking and lack of vegetables and nutrients in our diet are all contributing factors to your comparably worse off oral health as well as the shrinking of our jaws and oral cavity. All these factors also contribute to disruption to the microbiome which in turn can lead to diseases of the heart, diabetes, strokes etc. Ideas such as these showed me how important teeth are- there is a reason that teeth are the organs most closely linked to the brain and via the strongest nerve (trigeminal nerve.)

Not many people think that dental treatments can in fact to more harm than good. Have you ever thought a filling could be bad for you? In fact, many fillings contain metals such as mercury and gold which often cause some sort of reaction to the body. Fillings that contain mercury (amalgam) should be thrown away into a hazardous waste bin by dentist's wearing gloves and with something to eliminate the risk of stuff falling back into your mouths since mercury is only the most toxic nonradioactive element. In your mouths, an amalgam filling releases a small amount of mercury vapour daily. One molecule of mercury can destroy nerve cells and can easily pass through the blood brain barrier- no barrier in the body is strong enough to protect us from mercury. But mercury is not the sole problem. Metals such as nickel and gold (the 4th most common metal allergen) bind with certain enzymes in the body, acting like toxins. The battery effect can also occur in fillings, where electricity flows between 2 different metals when placed in a conductive fluid- ie saliva. Gold and amalgam are often found together. On another note, root canal treatment can also do more harm than good. It is almost impossible to determine the direction of root canals, which can reach the eye socket. It is also almost impossible to completely remove the pulp and clean the cavity which leads to problems in the long term. 60% of root canal treatments lead to follow up treatments due to roots not being completely filled in. Roots are not always visible and can have kink in them. Similarly, extractions can cause problems like NICOs, where removed teeth leave behind a gaping wound in bone tissue. Bone tissue is different to normal tissue as it heals differently- it requires lots of support from the body. Horrible complications can arise as a result such as inflammation around the trigeminal nerve.

Now these are the most valuable insights I gained from this read. Nicshwitz also goes on to relate our oral health to chronic disease as well as other interesting topics. At the end he gives tips to avoid complications with the mouth, mostly surrounding the diet. Overall, this is a fascinating read with ideas which could really interesting to bring up in interview.

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