In The News
On April 21, 2012 Dr. Boehm was installed as Holistic Dental Association President.
Dr. Boehm has written articles for, and been published or cited in, a number of dental journals as well as recognized consumer magazines and media. Please click on the year tabs to see media coverage of Dr. Boehm over the last three years.
Saturday Evening Post/Feb 2011
National Heart (and Dental) Month
By Wendy Braun
Can the billions of germs in our mouths harm our hearts and blood vessels? Scientists say that bacteria linked to gum disease also show up in plaque that builds up in arteries in the heart and elsewhere. And others suspect that oral bacteria release toxins that fuel potentially harmful inflammation within artery walls.
While scientists continue to examine the evidence, experts agree it makes sense to take good care of your teeth and gums. Dentist Dr. Kevin Boehm, a holistic health expert, offers these oral care tips that just might do your heart a favor, too:
Floss every day and brush twice daily — three times a day if heart disease runs in your family. Having clean and healthy gums lowers heart risk, but developing gum disease increases it. Dr. Boehm recommends using an electric toothbrush. But a $2 toothbrush is better than not brushing at all.
Chart a healthy eating plan. Browse the perimeter rather than center aisles of the grocery store. Add fruit, vegetables, and small portions of lean protein to your cart. Stay away from processed foods, and those with added sugar. Don’t even consider the snack items available at checkout lines. Eating well provides antioxidants and vitamins to help the body fend off gum and heart disease.
Do it now. Make a daily habit of good oral care and eating well to help heal your gums and reduce health risks.
Parent Giving/Feb 2011
“Maintaining A Healthy Heart Often Begins With Oral Care”
February is both National Heart Month and National Dental Month and these two health practices have a lot in common. While many people are familiar with traditional heart-saving practices such as eating healthy and exercising, lesser known are the benefits that superior oral care provides to one’s cardiovascular health.
Dr. Kevin Boehm, DDS explains how gum disease affects heart health and what can be done to stay healthy:
If heart disease runs in the family, a diagnosis of gum disease increases the likelihood of developing heart disease, but an improved oral care regimen and healthy diet can lower the risk.
A consistent brushing and flossing routine will significantly lower the number of anaerobic bacteria present in the mouth. Brushing 2-3 times daily with an electronic toothbrush and thoroughly flossing once a day are practices recommended by Dr. Boehm.
A diet high in organic foods, fruits, vegetables, small amounts of lean protein and low in processed foods provides the body with antioxidants to fight off both gum and heart disease.
When gum disease bacterium are released into the bloodstream and reach the heart, heart disease can result. There is an abundance of gum-disease causing bacteria in an unhealthy mouth. Disease-fighting white blood cells increase openings in cell walls when released to fight the bacterium. These openings make it possible for toxic bacteria to be released into the bloodstream.
In almost all instances an electric toothbrush is a worthwhile purchase as they are proven to be more effective than a manual brush. Also, when used correctly, waterpiks can be a huge asset in reducing plaque bacteria under the gumline. Oxygen-hating bacteria tend to be those that cause the most damage to the cardiovascular system and congregate mostly under the gumline.
Use non-alcohol/chemical free and fluoride-free mouthwashes and toothpastes. Xylitol containing pastes, mints and chewing gums and MI paste, which contains beneficial calcium and phosphorous, help reduce the risk of decay more safely than fluoride.
Eat plenty of fresh fish, fruits and vegetables. These are loaded with vitamins, minerals, bioflavonoids and antioxidants. Vegetables and protein from raw nuts/lean meats/fish/poultry are the best ticket to increasing consumption of vital nutrients. When choosing fish, smaller fish contain less mercury than large fish like swordfish. Avoid processed foods of all kinds due to the chemicals, high fructose corn syrup and other additives they often contain.
It is never too late to change dental habits and such changes do a great deal to limit the risk of disease and repair past damage.
Conscious Living TV/Jan 2011
On this episode of Conscious Living, we examine the controversy surrounding the use of Mercury in Dentistry. Mercury is a toxic heavy metal used for the last 150 years by dentists around the world in “silver” amalgam fillings.
Our own Bianca Alexander, takes the journey first hand to explore if it’s time for her to remove her amalgam fillings, and if she can do so, safely.
ChicagoHealers Holistic Dentists Comment On Gum Disease Symposium
Kevin M. Boehm, DDS, Raymond Hatland, DDS, Andie T. Pearson, DMD
Nearly 200 dentists gathered at a symposium on December 5, 2010. Organized by Glaxo Smith Kline Consumer Healthcare, the conference aimed to highlight latest advances in the treatment of gum diseases, specifically gingival and periodontal diseases.
“Certain dental conditions such as bleeding gums are often ignored as people presume this to be a harmless problem. What they do not realize is that these seemingly risk-free conditions could be a sign of gum disease and if left untreated could lead to more serious chronic inflammatory diseases or even tooth loss,” said Dr. Khalid Al Hamdan, Assistant Professor and Head, Division of Periodontics, Dentistry College, King Saud University.
ChicagoHealers practitioners offer alternative therapies for gum disease; patients diagnosed with periodontal disease need not assume surgery is their only treatment option.
“Our unique Reverse Gum Disease Program has made it possible for my periodontal patients to reverse their gum disease without surgery,” said Dr. Raymond Hatland, DDS. The results have been impressive. “My patients continue to amaze me with what they achieve in this program. Teeth that would normally have been extracted have become healthy and stable. Periodontal pockets, ranging from 5 mm to 13 mm deep have shrunk 2 to 6 mm without surgery or using antibiotics or medicated inserts. I have more than 115 periodontal patients who have been able to reduce their pocket depths by at least 20% and also have at least a 2 millimeter reduction in pocket depth in (95%+) of their diseased pockets.
“The important thing to realize here is one can’t have gum disease and pocket reduction at the same time. Therefore when you reverse gum pocket depths, you have eradicated gum disease activity in these pockets,” Hatland concluded.
ChicagoHealers.com practitioners have long realized the importance of gingival health and its implications in overall systemic function. “There are a large number of gum disease producing bacteria that hide in the spaces below the gumline that can enter the blood vessels in diseased areas of the gums,” explained Dr. Kevin Boehm, DDS. “The cardiovascular implications at this time include increased risk of heart disease, stroke, atherosclerosis, and possible heart valve/ heart muscle damage. In addition, other systemic complications include increased risk of Type II adult onset diabetes, thyroid problems, brain infections, and kidney infections.”
Like her colleagues, Dr. Andie T. Pearson, DDS, also approaches dental health from a fully integrative direction, offering non-surgical treatment of gum disease as an option in her holistic practice. “Holistic dentistry involves an awareness of dental care as it relates to the entire person. When a person has a systemic illness, some of the symptoms are expressed in the mouth before they are expressed anywhere else.”
Merely eliminating the troublesome symptom is not an adequate solution. “I never just address one symptom, but instead step back and find the primary reason you are expressing a symptom in order to eliminate it,” Pearson said. “As part of our holistic dental practice, craniosacral therapy, massage, reiki, dental homeopathy and custom designed toothpaste and mouthwash using medicinal-grade essential oils are also offered for your specific medical and dental needs.”
Genetics and Health/October 2010
Aging And Dental Care
Written by Dr. Kevin Boehm
How would I advise patients to care for themselves differently as they age is a rather interesting topic. As we age a vast number of changes occur metabolically, hormonally, and nutritionally. When you add various prescription medications into the mix, you introduce untoward side effects which quite often cause deleterious changes within the oral cavity.
When we start out as children our bodies know how to care for themselves inherently. For example, when we get cuts and scrapes, we produce enough enzymes to break down excess scar tissue so we heal more quickly and completely. However, with the passage of time, our bodies produce less and less of our own enzymes, nutrients, and energy. To that extent we need more supplementation to gain what our bodies require.
Classically, what happens orally as we age? Most people need more and more fillings due to caries or their fillings deteriorate and need replacement. Once fillings get too large the risk becomes fracturing of the teeth, which results in onlays, crowns, or extractions, if the teeth cannot be repaired. Clenching and grinding the teeth only worsen the risk of damage to the teeth. Not only does gum disease become more prevalent with age as well, but also gum recession worsens with age. More individuals are being placed on heart, depression, cancer, and diabetes related prescription drugs than ever before, and seemingly at earlier ages than before. A staggering number of these prescription drugs have side effects, the worst of which is salivary reduction as far as the oral environment is concerned. Saliva has sodium bicarbonate, antibodies, and needed minerals/vitamins which help prevent decay and gum disease. Let’s take a patient on anti-depressants and anti-hypertensive medications for example. Now let’s also throw clenching/grinding and arthritis, which affects her hands, into the mix. Clenching causes gum recession; arthritis makes it difficult for optimal home care to occur. Her medications cause dry mouth symptoms. The recipe for exposed root surfaces in addition to decreased salivary flow is one for massive root caries. Enamel of the teeth is fairly acid resistant, while the root surfaces are most definitely not acid resistant. Another simple example is how stress hormones affect gum disease. When individuals are stressed, our adrenal glands increase hormonal output to help the body compensate and deal with stress. However, the gum disease producing bacteria living below the gum line are stimulated by these same increased hormonal levels leading to a worsening of the gum disease state. Suffice it to say, if there is a way to reduce or eliminate your prescription drug intake, do so. If you cannot eliminate prescription drugs, you must be doubly careful about your home care.
On the hygiene front, switch to an Oral-B electric toothbrush or one of similar effectiveness. Obviously, floss your teeth, and possibly more than once daily. Rinse 1-2 times daily with an effective gum disease reducing, alcohol-free mouth rinse. Your frequency of dental check-ups may need to increase depending on your situation due to periodontal disease or decay risk. If you have extensive dental work such as fixed bridges or partial dentures, consider using super floss, which looks like a pipe cleaner, and proxybrushes for more effective cleaning around your bridges, etc. Also consider waterpiks or hydroflossers, if your manual dexterity is affected by arthritis and flossing is difficult for you. To prevent root decay, use MI paste, Soothe-Rx, or similar product. These products contain the beneficial mineral components that your tooth structure contains and are eliminated by caries producing bacteria during the decay process. The natural sugar substitute xylitol may also help reduce your decay risk factors.
Dietary issues to remember would be to limit, or better yet, eliminate your sugar intake. It is hard on your pancreas, your adrenal glands, and your immune system. Increase your CoQ10 intake through supplements. This vital nutrient is beneficial to your cardiovascular system and your gum tissue through its antioxidant properties. Increase your protein intake unless you suffer from kidney problems and have been advised to avoid high protein intake. Healthy gums also rely heavily on optimal vitamin C levels which are much higher than the USRDA of 80 mg/day. And for most individuals, their vitamin D levels tend to be low in our northern climate. Vitamin D is quite important in the fight against osteoporosis in relation to its unique ability to assist in calcium absorption and utilization within the body, which especially means the mandible and maxilla in our discussion. A simple blood test can help you determine how much supplementation of vitamin D you require.
Dental Products Report/Sep 2010
How Does Chinese Care Compare?
by Renee Knight, Senior Editor
The people who come to Dr. Kevin Boehm’s practice all have one thing in common: they want their dental care done naturally.
They’re not interested in what antibiotic can cure what ails them. These patients are looking for a more holistic approach to health care, and would much rather turn to something like acupuncture, homeopathy or a diet change to get their dental health back on track. Through Traditional Chinese Medicine, Dr. Boehm offers them just that.
What it is
Before you can know if Traditional Chinese Medicine will work for your practice, you need to know what it is. It’s based on having a balanced qi, or energy flow, throughout the body. This philosophy says qi regulates a person’s physical balance and is influenced by opposing forces of yin (negative energy) and yang (positive energy). These energy channels course throughout the body and must remain in balance. If the yin-yang connection is thrown out of balance, it can set off a chain reaction that stimulates health problems. Each energy channel, or meridian, has a specific pathway it travels, zigzagging through the body to seemingly unrelated places.
The Meridian Tooth Chart
The Meridian Tooth Chart is how this all ties into dentistry, and is one element of Traditional Chinese Medicine that has become part of Dr. Boehm’s practice, which is listed on ChicagoHealers.com. The chart shows the relationship between teeth and various organs, tissues and glands in the body. Each tooth is related to an acupuncture meridian. Using this chart, dentists can evaluate a patient’s overall health and wellness by assessing their teeth’s current condition. If there is a problem with an internal organ, the associated meridian tooth may be the source of the problem.
The chart is on every office computer in Dr. Boehm’s practice, and he said it’s amazing what correlations you can find. He doesn’t show it to every patient, but there are some patients who even ask him about it and what it might show about an ulcer or some other health problem they’re dealing with.
“It goes back a few thousand years. Traditional Chinese Medicine says if you have a certain ailment, you likely have problems with a certain tooth,” Dr. Boehm said. “Whether that’s true 100 percent of the time or not I don’t know, but if you look hard enough you’ll find a lot of things that could be tied in there.”
What else he uses
The tooth chart is just one aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine that can be beneficial to your patients. Dr. Boehm also offers homeopathy, acupuncture and cranial work, which is similar to chiropractic treatment but gentler. Cranial therapy is most beneficial to his orthodontic patients, he said, because it helps sutures in the skull relax themselves so they can be moved around with great ease and flexibility. When he has time he may do a little cranial work on patients who come to him for orthodontics but he also has trained acupuncture and cranial therapists in his practice, as well as a network of 50 to 60 specialists he can refer patients to if necessary.
He also uses changes in nutrition and homeopathy rather than antibiotics to help patients get perio problems under control. Adding Vitamin C, for example, to a patient’s diet won’t hurt a patient suffering from periodontal disease, so why not try it and see if it works before going to an antibiotic?
How you can get started
If this sounds like something you’d like to add to your practice, there are plenty of places you can check out to learn more. The Holistic Dental Association, the International Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Toxicology, and the International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine all offer classes and put together meetings designed to help dentists get started down a more holistic path. Going to meetings and talking with dentists who have an expertise in certain areas can help you decide which elements are right for you and your patients.
And these groups continue to grow as more and more dentists decide a more holistic approach to care is beneficial for their patients and their practice. There’s a wealth of knowledge out there about a variety of treatments and disciplines to help you get your feet wet and decide what to incorporate into your practice. It might just be a different approach to using certain things in your periodontal disease control program, Dr. Boehm said, but there are a lot of interesting things you can pick up along the way that will do a lot of good for your patients.
“You’ll probably find certain dentists who have one or two things they like to do. Maybe it’s homeopathy and acupuncture in one office, or maybe an office only does one thing,” Dr. Boehm said. “But that number is growing slowly. There’s an awful lot you can do for folks that doesn’t involve drugs and many patients appreciate that. Some will be eccentric about it, but it usually comes from a desire to try to do things as naturally as possible.”
What his patients think
People go to Dr. Boehm’s practice because he is a holistic dentist and that’s how they want to be treated. This approach to care is becoming more and more attractive to patients, he said, and is probably why the number of holistic dentists seems to be growing. These patients are well read on the subject and are likely already using acupuncture or some other form of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Dr. Boehm has offered holistic care in his practice for about seven years, and said the biggest difference between his patients when he practiced then versus now is their level of health. And most of the time, they can avoid using pharmaceuticals to get their dental health where it should be.
“There will certainly be occasions when you need antibiotics because you have an infection that is boiling out of control,” Dr. Boehm said. “But more often than not you can beat the body at its own game. It already knows how to heal itself. Sometimes you need to jump start it.”
Modern Sage/July 2010
Relationship Between Teeth and Other Organs
by Dr. Kevin Boehm, DDS
Most dentists would not think that traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture meridians and modern dentistry have much in common. Is there truly a link between other areas of the body and teeth? The answer is surprising, and ChicagoHealers.com Practitioner Kevin Boehm, DDS reveals the following facts about Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Meridian Tooth Chart and how it can be used to diagnose connections between the teeth and larger issues in the body.
About Traditional Chinese Medicine:
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based on having a balanced qi (pronounced “chee”), or energy that flows throughout the body.
Qi regulates a person’s emotional, mental, spiritual and physical balance and is influenced by opposing forces of yin, negative energy, and yang, positive energy.
TCM is based on energy flows, or channels, coursing throughout the body, with energy ascending from the feet, and others starting in the fingers and descending to the toes.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, these energy channels must remain in balance. If the yin-yang connection, is thrown out of balance by anger or grief, it can set off a chain reaction that stimulates health problems.
Each energy channel, or meridian, has a specific pathway by which it travels through the body zigzagging to seemingly unrelated places.
The Meridian Tooth Chart shows the relationship between teeth and various organs, tissues and glands in the body.
What it Does: Each tooth is related to an acupuncture meridian and a dentist can review overall health and wellness by assessing the teeth’s current condition. If there is a problem with an internal organ, the associated meridian tooth could be causing the problem.
How it Can Help: The Meridian Tooth Chart can help in diagnosing and eliminating further organ problems. Using this chart can help find the underlying source of a medical problem without invasive medical treatment like surgery.
Please contact Kevin Boehm, DDS. For more information go to www.ChicagoHealers.com .
Chicago Healers is the nation’s pioneer prescreened integrative health care network, offering a comprehensive understanding of each practitioner’s services, approach, and philosophy. Our holistic health experts teach and advocate natural and empowered health and life choices through their practices, the media, educational events, and our website. With close to 200 practitioners and over 300 treatment services, Chicago Healers has provided nearly 400 free educational events for Chicagoans and has been featured in 300+ TV news programs and print publications. For more information, visit www.chicagohealers.com.
A variation of the above article also appeared in New Age Journal.
Today Jimmy shares his conversation with dentist Kevin Boehm, DDS. Dr. Boehm focuses his practice on holistic dentistry, or how the mouth and the rest of the body influence the health of each other. Listen in for facts such as arterial plaque has been found to largely consist of fossilized cells of mouth bacteria, the influence that nutrition-based dentist Weston A. Price had on this subject, the importance of Co-Q-10, and much more!
Parent Giving/Feb 2010
“Stop Gum Disease From Causing Heart Disease”
In honor of American Heart Health month, Dr. Boehm, DDS explains the connection between gum disease and heart health and offers tips for gum health that will keep heart problems at bay. Brushing and flossing is not just about teeth and gums anymore. It’s about raising awareness of the potential for bacterial penetration of our vascularsystem. Gum disease is caused by a number of things. There are always bacteria present in the mouth with the potential to create the gum disease state, but how the body reacts to their presence may be the most important thing. If gum disease is left unchecked, the invading bacteria and their toxic by-products have access to anywhere they would like to go within our body through our blood delivery system. If this happens there can be lethal effects on muscle, lymphatic, heart, brain and every other differentiated human cell type. Turning this potent killer loose on your heart or brain tissue can certainly cause havoc and lead to scar tissue formation, arteriosclerosis, and hypertension over time. This puts added burden on the kidneys and the heart muscle itself. Over a couple decades if the vascular damage cannot be corrected, renal failure, stroke, heart attack, and quite possibly death can be the result. To prevent such a catastrophic result on the vascular system, Dr. Boehm offers the following tips for preventing gum disease:
On the hygiene front, brush 2-3 minutes at least twice daily, and preferably with an electric toothbrush
Floss daily going lightly in an up/down direction making sure to get under the gum line to break up the anaerobes where they love to hide.
For gum disease sufferers, a Waterpik on low pressure can be a great thing to flush out problem areas and place medicaments where they can be of best benefit.
See your dentist at least twice annually.
Eat a diet of as much organic whole, raw vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds with small amounts of meat, fish, and poultry and limit processed foods.
If supplements are needed, and often times are, try these for starters: vitamin C, vitamin E, and CoQ10 are all powerful anti-oxidants that are very useful in our cardiovascular system and in gingival tissue, either diseased or healthy.
Dental IQ/Sept 2009
Ozone in the use of cavity prevention
By Kevin M. Boehm, DDS
In Velio Bocci’s book, “Oxygen-Ozone Therapy, a Critical Evaluation,” he writes of “the immense power that ozone possesses to benefit mankind if it is used properly.”
Ozone was first discovered in the 1800s and is simply a gas made up of three atoms of oxygen temporarily joined together. However, this arrangement of oxygen atoms is unstable and degrades fairly quickly at room temperature. This is the same substance that makes up the ozone layer that protects the earth from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.
On the positive side, ozone is a very potent antiviral, antifungal, antiparasitic, and antibacterial agent. Because of antioxidants contained in human cell membranes, ozone is harmless as long as it’s delivered in small concentrations. Certain white blood cells in the human immune system produce ozone in very minute quantities to fight off disease. It is very highly soluble in water, making it ideal for just about any moist environment. This would certainly include the oral environment.
In the initial stages of decay, tooth structure is affected by acid production from the numerous species of bacteria that colonize in the mouth. The bacteria present consume whatever nutrients they find in an oral environment and make more bacteria plus acidic waste products. These begin leeching the mineral content from the adjacent tooth structure upon contact.
Slowly over time, if the conditions are not corrected, very small demineralized areas grow large enough to be detected by a dental exam, which may need restoration of some sort to arrest the damage from decay. If the decay isn’t stopped, further weakening of tooth structure results and can lead to tooth loss and systemic infection.
Ozone therapy can be used during many dental procedures, including fillings, crowns, and during extractions. It is used to ensure the areas are as clean and pathogen-free as possible before restorations are placed or surgical wounds are sutured. For individuals with high caries (tooth decay) risk, custom trays are used.
Five steps for ozone therapy with custom trays:
Trays have an inlet and outlet for ozone delivery
Trays are hooked up to suction for excess ozone elimination
Ozone circulates through the tray and kills pathogens
Permeable ozone reaches microscopic tubules in tooth structure
Repeat the procedure
Kevin M. Boehm, DDS, maintains a practice in Hoffman Estates, Ill. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign in 1989 and his Doctorate in Dental Medicine from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1994. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Naturopathy, and is currently on staff at St. Alexius Medical Center. You may contact him by phone at (847) 884-1220.
A variation of this article also appeared in Dental Products Report