Welcome to FaceTime, a series where we dig into the beauty habits, toothy tips and self-care views of amazing people from around the world. Today we have the absolute pleasure of welcoming Dr Lauren Poole, Dentist and founder of Sweet Truth Dental in Brentwood Tennessee, who talks about transitioning from traditional dentistry to a holistic approach to oral care and the mouth body connection.
We always like to start with this question: What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Gluten free sourdough with almond butter, green juice, and coffee with oatmilk
#SELFCARE: A millennial buzzword or something you practice with sincerity? What does selfcare look like for you?
Hmm. Well as a mother of two little ones and a new business owner, I will admit this is a category that I have some room for improvement. I have started to make more time again for the things I love: Peloton rides, yoga, cooking, gardening, travel (finally!) and at least a monthly pampering appointment (nails, hair, massage, (d) all of the above)
Ok we have to ask, why teeth? What made you want to become a dentist?
Ah yes. A little girl's dream. Ha. I actually always loved science so working towards a career in medicine felt natural but I started working for my orthodontist in high school & college and loved it. I loved the idea of fixing something as important as a smile. It checked the boxes for my love for science and creativity/artistry. I also noticed the hours and lifestyle of dentists was much more conducive to being a mom and that was something that was always important to me.
You spent 6 years in traditional dentistry before transitioning to a holistic approach to oral care as a part of total body wellness. What motivated the change and how does your approach to treating your patients differ to before?
I’ve lived a health-focused lifestyle for the last 8 years when I began suffering from digestive issues. But it wasn’t until I was pregnant with my first son that I started to worry about the toxicity of traditional dentistry and what it might be doing to me, my baby, and my patients. So about 3 years ago I started seeking extra certifications to become knowledgeable about how I was treating and what I was recommending.
Something that I always like to mention is that I’m still a traditional dentist. I still perform traditional dental services but I do it with the whole body in mind and I’m really proud of that because we all need both. Safer procedures, cleaner products, and solutions that treat the root cause… pun intended ;). Living in the space where holistic care meets medicine is a beautiful place to be and I am really hopeful it is the direction that a lot of practitioners are taking soon.
We love that you call the mouth the ‘front porch’ to the digestive system!! We are seeing a lot more people talk about ‘mouth body connection’, but for people who might not have heard, what does that mean? What are some of the possible health issues we might face if we don’t take care of our mouth?
Great question! Chronic inflammation, no matter how mild, can have major impacts on your overall health. Gingivitis is one of the MOST common forms of mild, chronic inflammation. Bleed when you floss? then this is you. Not to mention what dental infections, tooth abscesses, etc can do to our bodies.
Many of us have heard this but it is true that inflammation or infection in the mouth is linked to heart disease, immunodeficiencies, neurological disorders and so much more. Similarly, issues happening elsewhere in the body can often show up in the mouth. If recognized, they can help us figure out if you're having gut issues, nutritional deficiencies, sleep disordered breathing, allergies, etc. Proving the mind-body connection and the benefits of a mindful mouth :)
We are huge advocates of clean non toxic ingredients in our products! What sort of ingredients do you look to avoid in the everyday products that you use?
Oh man. How much time do you have? Things I don’t want to see in my (or my patients’) toothpaste: SLS, artificial dyes, triclosan, and fluoride. Fluoride has great benefits but also can be toxic so I prefer using products with Hydroxyapatite in them for the added benefits for remineralization without the toxic side effects. Things I don’t want to see in my (or my patients’) mouthrinses: Artificial dyes and alcohol are the big no-nos here. The alcohol kills off the good and the bad bacteria and can leave your mouth dry which is not good for our microbiome.
I often recommend a combination of a healthy pH balancing rinse and oil pulling for ultimate oral balance. Personally, I do my best to use mostly “natural” based products for beauty products and the house but, let’s be real, toxins are IMPOSSIBLE to avoid completely so I tell myself and my patients not to set unrealistic expectations. We do our best with what we know, and when we know better, we do better.
We love our toothy superheroes (what we affectionately call dentists at Keeko), but for a lot of people just the thought of going to the dentist can give them a major case of the stress sweats! Do you have any tips for someone who is afraid of going to the dentist?
Yes. All it takes is one bad trip to the dentist to scar you for life. My tips are to find a dentist that cares about your whole body. Generally, these practitioners care immensely about making you as comfortable as possible because we know that stress has a HUGE impact on your whole body health.
For that reason, I offer “Sweet Comforts” as we call them. A menu of curated comforts like headphones, Netflix, blankets, pillows, aromatherapy, refreshments, and even a full spectrum of sedation options to keep our patients comfortable. And I always remind people, making the appointment is often the hardest part. But NOT knowing what could be going on, can often be a lot scarier. Knowledge is power. Don’t forget you’re in charge of your own health. It’s your body and your choice, and find a dentist that helps you find the right choices for you.