Dr. Nara's book "How to Become Dentally Self-Sufficient" offers insight into dental care and information on administering home dentistry.
PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Dr. Robert Nara, author of Money—by the Mouthful
and the subject of a 1979 MOTHER EARTH NEWS interview,
has recently completed a volume (entitled How to Become Dentally
Self-Sufficient) that spells out—step by step—his preventive
dentistry program (Oramedics). The following is an excerpt
from Dr. Nara's new book is reprinted with permission of the author and from publisher Oramedics International Press.
Two substances have been handed down for generations as
folk medicines: baking soda and common table salt. Claims
for the properties of these familiar chemicals range from
the ridiculous to the sublime: They've probably been
"known" to cure almost anything, at one time or another.
In your oral health medicine cabinet, these two can be used
for hygienic purposes as well as home dentistry first aid. The
first use, hygiene, simply has both soda and salt doubling
as a dentifrice.
As a youngster, you probably experimented at one time or
another by mixing baking soda and vinegar. Remember the
reaction? The solution bubbled and boiled and fizzed:
Something was happening. Apparently vinegar and soda are
not overly compatible. Why is that? Well ... vinegar is
acidic, and soda is alkaline. Acid and alkali are at
separate ends of a scale ... they truly "don't get along".
Part of the disease process of odontosis takes place when
the germs ingest sugar and begin excreting acid. It is this
acid that begins the insult to tooth enamel which will
become, eventually, a cavity.
If you use soda as a dentifrice, you will no doubt create
that "soda-vinegar" reaction ... except on a scale so
small as to escape observation. In this, there aren't any
research figures we can supply ... no weighty documentation
is available. It is, instead, plain common sense. Soda and
acid are not compatible. Soda won't hurt your teeth and
gums ... it won't hurt you if you swallow a teaspoonful
(makes you burp) ... but it isn't going to do acid a whole
lot of good when it comes in contact with it. Conversely,
acid will hurt you in the teeth and gums. . . "it'll rot
yer teeth. "
Salt is sodium chloride, which is a significant
element in the physical makeup of the human body. The
"saline solution" used in many medical applications is
generally about point nine percent (0.9%) salt in water. It
is used, for example, as a base solution for injections: It
balances the osmotic action of the body fluids so the
injection does not disturb the normal balance of water
inside the body's cells at the area of the injection.
Saline solution (salt water) in any concentration where the
salt can be tasted will be a hypertonic solution:
It will draw water from the cells of tissue bathed in it. A
hypertonic condition in the mouth will instantly and
automatically cause the salivary glands to go into overtime
production. This is something to remember if you are
frequently in places where water is not available for
"normal" tooth brushing. A dry mixture of soda and salt is
not inconvenient to take along on a camping trip, for
example. Using this "dentifrice" without water is easy: The
mouth's water fountains will provide more than enough.
This capacity of salt—to act as a hypertonic and draw
water (fluids) from tissues—should be kept in mind
for another reason: When teeth "act up" and pain sets in;
there is often (perhaps usually) a buildup of fluids in the
area of the affected tooth. Wouldn't it make sense to use a
"medicine" which helped reduce this fluid pressure? Hand me
the salt, please ... I'm getting a toothache....