Structure: The third Pillar of Total Health Dentistry
Ep. 20 : Total Health Dentistry Podcast with Dr. Ali
- Featured in publications such as Alive Magazine, The Globe and Mail, and The Toronto Star
- Sought by hundreds of Naturopathic Doctors across Ontario
- Planning guest lectures on his approach to Total Health Dentistry along with world-renowned Dr. Thomas Rau MD.
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Structure: The third Pillar
Structure is so important, we have re-released this episode (orginally episode 5 in the Total Health Dentistry series).
Structure is a broad topic ranging beyond our airways into the bones of our skull, our orbit or eye sockets, cheekbones, ear canals, nostrils, palate, dental arches, teeth, our tongue and all of this has direct or indirect influence on our airway…
In the first of its kind dentists-to-patient podcast, you’ll gain incredibly valuable insight into the mouth-body connection. You won’t hear any fluffy filler here. You’ll actually be able to connect the dots. Join us for a worthy jolt of insight on the Total Health Dentistry podcast with Dr. Ali.
Hey, everyone. It’s Dr. Ali. In this episode, you’ll gain a worthy jolt of insight about structure, the third pillar of the Total Health Dentistry. In the last episode we discussed nutrition, which is the second of the three pillars of Total Health Dentistry. If you missed it, make sure you go back and check it out as it will give this episode and future ones greater context.
The three pillars of Total Health Dentistry again are airway, nutrition and structure. This episode is dedicated to structure. The topic of structure is a separate subject matter in health discussions is by itself quite rare. Structure as a topic gets very little airplay and very little love. It’s the black swan, so for that reason it’s my favorite of the three pillars, and I say ignore it at your own peril.
In this episode, we will discuss the structure of our airways, soft pipes, how to promote the best development of these pipes, how to guard the structures around the pipes so they don’t get compressed, how to maintain good pipes, and I mean airways, and as adults, how to improve your airways.
So structure, think about your place of dwelling. Yes, air quality’s important, water quality’s important, but if your floors, your walls, the roof above your head was really shaky, your life would be in danger. So really, when I think about how vital structure is in our health, I’m a bit puzzled why it gets so little attention in health circles. In episode two we discussed how the structure of our nasal and mouth airways are like soft pipes. These relatively fragile structures require special attention. This just in, air is important.
Structure is a broad topic ranging beyond our airways into the bones of our skull, our orbit, our eye sockets, the cheekbones, ear canals, nostrils, palate, dental arches, teeth, our tongue. And all of this has direct or indirect influence on our airway.
So let’s start with the start, proper development. How do we promote the best development of our pipes? I better use the word airway here because if someone’s catching a few seconds of this podcast, they might confuse this for home renovation podcast. So we’re talking about airway. The best way to develop an infant’s airway is nursing and breastfeeding. Well, why is that? Getting milk from the breast actually requires a fair bit of work for the infant. Baby needs to use many muscles to make a seal and to get that vital precious milk. Not only that, if the baby is nursing nonstop for say 10 minutes, well, it’s not holding its breath during that time. It’s breathing through its nose, the best breathing technique. More on breeding techniques in future episodes. This work causes ideal formation of babies’ nasal passages, palate, dental arches, all the structural components we just mentioned. And in future episodes, we’ll have experts here to share vastly more insight in the benefits of nursing, and especially as it relates to dental health.
Now, then we have to guard these structures, which are surrounding these soft pipes. So how do we guard these developing structures? Well, you guessed it. You got to keep nursing, keep nursing as long as it makes sense for you and your situation. Six months is better than five. Nine months is better than eight. Two years is pretty ideal. Some advocate going beyond two years. I was born in the mid ’70s, so much of the prevalent thinking at that time was nursing wasn’t really all that important, and formula was a nutritional breakthrough. Wow. How wrong was that thinking?
So I grew up with narrow palate, breathing through my mouth, allergies growing up, poor digestion. So I’m a recovering quote advanced formula baby. You may be, too. But there is hope. Today I’m breathing much more through my nose. My tongue has been released. I’m eating better than I ever had, and my children have benefited from all of my past turns. So now I want to help you as a Total Health Dentistry listener. Subscribe and share this with those who you feel need to hear this.
What else can we do to guard these nascent structures? Well, there are three vital competencies, and this is really important. The three vital competencies are tongue on the spot, lips sealed, breathe through your nose. Okay, let’s do an exercise. Start with the letter N. Say the letter N. Note where your tongue is sitting on your palate. That is the magic spot, the bullseye. When you are breathing properly through your nose, that is the resting spot for your tongue. When your tongue sits there, all is right with your oral universe. Why, you ask? Well, we’ll delve into this topic in much greater detail in episodes to come, but for now, take my word for it.
The second vital competency is to seal your lips, so this is pretty self explanatory. If you breathe through your nose, you don’t need your mouth open. Like my assistant, Alicia, says, she says, “You’re not trying to catch flies.” So thanks, Alicia. That’s a great mental note to keep our mouth closed during breathing. Nasal breathing is how a baby breathes during nursing, and this nasal breathing is intended to continue throughout life.
The third vital competency is to breathe through your nose. Again, this causes the tongue to engage the palate and support the nasal floor. It supports the teeth and prevents collapsing and crowding of the teeth. It also keeps the cheeks and lips from overstepping their bounds and causing more crowding of the teeth.
Now, that’s the ideal. Here’s where ideal meets reality. My patients know I’m a realist. I love to understand the root cause and shoot for the ideal, but then there’s real life, and we all do the best we can. So while developing, maintaining and improving our structures can be ideally achieved with these three competencies, again, sealing your lips, tongue on the N spot, and breathing through your nose, the vast majority of the time we’re going to need help. We’re going to need some tools and appliances to allow these three competencies to develop.
In future episodes, you’ll learn about how oral myofunctional therapy is the actual natural first phase of airway-focused braces. You’ll learn about pre-aligners and myobraces, which is how to straighten the muscles that are making the teeth actually crooked.
All right, so you’re an adult and your structures aren’t awesome. Your airway’s compromised. Nursing is no longer an option. So now what? Well, good news. Well, actually, lots of good news. The obvious option would seem to be surgery to physically move and use plates and pins to stabilize the new corrected structure. And yes, that is always an option, but much can be done before we resort to surgery. I’ve been doing adult braces now for some time, and many, many of my adult patients are choosing to get braces to do precisely this, correct their compromised airways and structures. And oh yeah, at the end of it they have straight teeth.
Today’s braces are basically nothing like the braces we picture in our mind. We have all kinds of metal-free options that look very appropriate and actually downright sexy to me. They work faster, far less discomfort, fewer visits, you name it. I’m using cutting edge technology today, and adults are doing braces in droves to fix their airways, their bites, and in the end get an awesome smile.
So just for fun, let’s do a little exercise. Move your lower jaw back towards your throat as far as you can. Matt, do you want to do this with me? Move your lower jaw back towards your lower throat as far as you can. Feel the constriction in your throat and your airway. Well, this is an exaggeration, but if your jaw sits too far back, then your airway is being restricted by your lower jaw. You feel that restriction? Now move your lower jaw way forward past your upper teeth. Now feel how your throat has opened up. Can you feel that?
Your airway is now more open. So within reason, this is what we do with braces to improve airway, and usually without surgery. We will try to find the best position for your jaw, for your bite, to open your airway and make that your new bite. We’ll also dedicate a good amount of time to adult sleep apnea in future episodes and what special appliances and training can be implemented to assist in those conditions.
In future episodes, we will hear about what I call the Weston Price smile and bite. I promised you, the Total Health Dentistry listener, that this podcast is going to be different and we are going to tackle topics that are rarely, if ever, even tackled among even those in the avid health community.
Thanks everyone for joining us for this episode on the third pillar of Total Health Dentistry, which of course is structure. I hope my thoughts, my insight gave you some structure, some texture so you could begin to even think about structure as a key component to health. I tried to do this by discussing our airways as soft pipes, talking about the development of these pipes, how to guard these vital structures and the maintaining of these good pipes, things that very, very few of us often think about, even those of who have been in the health game for a long period of time. And if we have narrow pipes, how do we improve that? Those are all the things I tried to cover briefly.
Of course, we’ll have many more episodes on structure in future episodes, but for now, join us next time for the next episode as I’m going to introduce you to my philosophy on treating patients, which is what I call walking through the stages of life and looking at your needs at each and every stage of life. That’s the next episode. Please join us.
Please note that Dr. Ali Farahani is a general dentist and that Total Health Dentistry is not a specialty of dentistry. While we make every effort to broadcast correct information, dentistry is a constantly changing science and art. One doctor may have a different way of doing things from another. Dr. Ali Farahani is simply presenting his views and opinions that will be as evidenced based as possible. We welcome any comments, suggestions, or corrections of error.
Dr. Ali Farahani takes no money from drug or device companies. By listening to this podcast or reading this blog you agree not to use this podcast or blog as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or others, including, but not limited to patients that you are treating. Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be having. This entire disclaimer also applies to any guests or contributors to the podcast or blog. Under no circumstances shall Sante Family Dental, Dr. A. Farahani Dentistry Professional Corporation or Dr. Ali Farahani, or any of their employees, associates, or affiliates, any of the guests or contributors to the podcast or blog, be responsible for damages arising from use of this podcast or blog.
Nutrition – rerelease
Dentistry and Pregnancy