My Mission (Why I Want You On My Website, Not In My Chair)
During a recent health conference, I found myself explaining why I was not just a run of the mill dentist. My real passion is cutting through all of the bad health advice, misconceptions, half-truths and downright lies out there and disseminating the plain truth to those willing to listen. As they say, if I catch you a fish, I have fed you for a meal, if I teach you how to fish, I have fed you for a lifetime.
The (Sad) Truth
In terms of overall health, one study has only 3% of adults practicing a healthy lifestyle. (2) 75% of American adults claim to eat healthy, but two thirds of them are overweight and one third are obese. (3,4) Another similar study asked whether the participants thought they were healthy despite their healthy diet and 77% acknowledged that they were not healthy.(5) A large part of the problem is that we have a disease management system, not a healthcare system. Modern medicine has been this way for almost 100 years. Most people can't see past this. Watch a daytime TV commercial break and you will understand. Most likely it will feature mostly ads for pharmaceuticals, Medicare supplements and medical devices. The pathway to improve the abysmal state of our health is not more drugs, gadgets and insurance.
In terms of oral health, many of my patients are in trouble. 91% of adults 20-64 have fillings, and 27% have untreated cavities. 52% of adults 20-64 don’t have a full set of teeth (excluding wisdom teeth). Two thirds of adults 40-64 are missing teeth other than their wisdom teeth. 13% of adults 65-74 have NO teeth, and after age 75 the population doubles to 26%. I am not proud of these statistics, and they point to the failure of my profession. (1) If the healthcare profession were a ship, it would be sinking. I want to be a big part of the solution, not the problem.
Confusion (Follow The Money)
A contributing factor to all of the problems is that patients are confused. There is a large disparity between what people think is healthy and what the supposed experts believe: 70% of Americans think granola is healthy, but only 30% of nutritionists do. In other cases, both groups erroneously believe unhealthy choices are healthy: 85% of both consumers and nutritionists claim whole wheat bread to be healthy, it is not. Lastly, consumers and nutritionists shun healthier choices as unhealthy: only 20 % of nutritionists say beef jerky is healthy, while just 30% of consumers do. (6) My point here is not to argue over what foods are healthy or not, most of you are familiar with where I stand. The fact is that the food industry is largely controlled by a handful of parent companies with deep pockets who are huge influencers. According to Barry Popkin, the food industry is responsible for our false beliefs which extend into the mainstream media. I suggest you watch this powerful lecture given by Nora Gedgaudas for a much more in depth look into this subject.
Credible Sources (Who Can You Trust?)
Many of my patients don’t know who to believe. Here are a few pointers. First, don’t believe what you hear initially. Be a skeptic and do your own research. The information you find should have cited sources and it is wise to check them out. If there are no sources, you should be wary and look elsewhere for credible sources with links to studies. I am a strong believer in evidence based medicine.
Second, is the person giving the advice selling something? This does not automatically nullify their advice but beware marketing schemes and promises of quick fixes. To illustrate, the number one approach people try to regain health is through weight loss, primarily through calorie restriction. There is only a 20% chance of long-term success at best, but the average person is unaware of this. Instead, they are drawn in by amazing before and after shots. Because of this, I don’t believe Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers are going out of business any time soon. The second most popular way of losing weight is through commercially available meal replacements, shakes and bars, all of which are highly processed and not healthy by many standards.(5)
There are plenty of great products out there. The better products are either simple combinations of whole foods, or scientifically backed gadgets and supplements. If retailers are claiming that their product will benefit you, the seller should have lots of solid research behind their product. Two great examples of this are Primal Kitchen products and step counters.
Lastly, the information should be current. This does not mean it has to be new. Many times, science gets things right, and old theories and belief systems hold up. A good example is the belief that sugar is bad for your teeth. I don’t forsee a study refuting that concept any time soon.
My Commitment To You (If I am Successful, I will Be Out Of A Job)
I have been doing dentistry for a long time; thirty years. I am by industry standards many times more “successful” than most other dentists. Click here for proof. Most people would advise me to stick with what I am doing. I plan not to.
I am not at all satisfied with what I have accomplished. I see too much disease that I know it is preventable. Other than a check-up, when someone is in my chair, it is too late. I need to reach people before they develop problems. That is the aim of this website. I will continue to build a community of folks who understand that they have the power to change their own lifestyle to achieve better health outcomes and spread the word. I will do all of the heavy lifting, separate the wheat from the chaff, and give citations when needed. I realize that I am probably not going to convert every person, but I do know that I can help by giving you the real truth about the causes of cavities and other diseases.
I want to empower my patients with the knowledge and drive to take their health matters into their own hands, ultimately leaving me (mostly) out of the picture.
When I meet a new patient, I pray that they have no dental or ather health problems. Unfortunately, I encounter patients with all sorts of problems. When I do, I aim to provide the highest quality care I can in a judgement -free way. I view the patient as the boss. In service to them, I diagnose problems and recommend possible solutions, thouroughly explainming the risks and benefits to all treatment modalities. All of this is pretty standard stuff for healthcare providers.
My true aim is to convert 100% of my patients and blog post readers into taking their health into their own hands. If I succeed, I would be left with a mostly preventive practice where I advise patients how to stay healthy the ancestrally based functional medicine way. Of the 8760 hours there are in a year, the best patient spends two of those hours getting a cleaning in my office. I would never pretend that I am the reason why they don’t get tooth decay or gum disease in the 8758 remaining hours in the year. That is a preposterous notion. If you are ready, give an honest shot at changing a few things starting ASAP. The best place to start is here. If enough of you begin the necessary changes, you might put me out of business. I am OK with that.