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What is “Up-Stream” Dentistry

Imagine you’re standing beside a flowing stream and you see there is some debris and oily residue in the water. You wonder where it is coming from and you begin to walk up the stream to see if you can find the source of the contamination. About a mile up the stream you see an area along the bank where it looks like someone was washing some machine parts from an automobile. You have found the source of the slick oil you were seeing downstream. You decide to travel further up the stream to investigate. About a mile up you see an area along the bank of the stream where it looks like someone has been throwing machine/mechanical junk parts into the stream. There are larger parts of engines embedded in the stream and smaller parts floating and travelling downstream. You have found the source of some of the debris you originally saw. Intrigued by all this, you decide to travel even further upstream to see what else you will learn. About another two more miles upstream, low and behold you find that there is in fact a large auto plant located along the river and this stream is an off-shoot of that river and this auto plant was really the genesis of all these large and small machine parts and the oily slick that you originally saw down the stream.

Not a day goes by in my dental office where I don’t see this same scenario play out in my patient’s mouths. For over 20 years I have been fortunate to play a primary role in people’s health as a dentist and I’ve always been driven to find out “Why?” something is happening and have I looked far enough “Up-Stream” to find out the cause.

To pick a really mundane yet still a major problem to this day is tooth decay – in adults and children. There are many causes of tooth decay. My feeling is that the general public have heard the message “brush and floss and avoid excessive sweets” about 1000 times too many and not that it isn’t good advice – there is so much more to do upstream.

Our daily mouth and body pH is a large factor. Our bacterial colony make up in our mouths is a factor. Underlying this is our diet and gut health. Each of these are separate articles in of themselves and if as a reader of the Rural Post you’d like me to write about these topics – please advise the editorial team.

But for this post, I want to focus on something very basic that can be done better and easier – and that is the professional dental hygiene cleaning. Believe me I’ve heard and seen the stories of blood baths and sore gums for weeks after dental cleaning. I’ve heard about the trauma to the teeth from harsh instruments too. I knew it didn’t have to be like this so I’ve been searching for alternatives and I found a great one. In my office, we use a gentle yet thorough healthy particle mist which does something very important. It removes the biofilm which is the organized unhealthy bacterial colony that builds up not only on our teeth and gums but going further upstream – we can clean the unhealthy colonies on the roof the mouth, the tongue and the cheeks! You see the teeth are the furthest downstream! We can go upstream and clean the gums, also the palate, tongue, cheeks. Aside from the other important factors mentioned above, this very basic professional hygiene treatment is a significant way to prevent cavities.

I’m a ‘real world’ dentist. I listen to my patients when they have told me their past experiences about painful and bloody gums. So it is natural that they tend to avoid professional cleanings. Unfortunately, this causes more cavities. When I see a new patient and I see they have many cavities and many fillings, I see it as my deep responsibility that they should not have so many more cavities and fillings while they are my patient. I have had two decades of success with this and it is largely because I am always looking for healthier, gentler and more upstream ways to make the mouth and thus overall body healthier. The great news is that we have these methods available to us now!



Written by Dr. Ali Farahani

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