Carol Vander Stoep has been called the Erin Brockovich of Dentistry. Read on to see why!

Silent oral diseases influence and reflect the course of silent general diseases like diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis [1]. Toxic dental materials and common, centuries-old techniques add to general health mayhem. Health reverberations go far beyond what most people could begin to imagine![2] Simple solutions for optimal health exist and are more effective, economical, and less invasive than traditional medical answers. You owe it to yourself and your children – to know more, then do better.
Click image to hear Carol talk about dentistry in Mercury Undercover.

Interview with Carol Vander Stoep


Three Keys to Radically Better Oral/General Health

Carol’s book, Mouth Matters, offers insight into astonishingly simple, yet inexpensive solutions for vibrant health most people haven’t considered. You deserve to know about breakthroughs that could significantly improve your physical and financial health while leading to far less time in your physician’s or dentist’s offices. Carol wants to help you learn about these solutions, plus dental innovations from which you and your family can benefit.

  1. Diet and lifestyleMouth Matters thoroughly reviews known connections between oral health and general health.*
  2. Hidden Health Jewel: Correct oral posture and breathing from birth. You can follow a strict “alkalizing diet” and drink alkaline water exclusively, but your body won’t operate anywhere near optimally unless certain oral postures are habitual. Videos and articles below elaborate! While almost everyone can benefit from excellent oral posture one way or another, if you snore or have apnea, this section is a must read! Note: Even people with the most serious and frequent choking episodes during sleep do not realize their sleep is disturbed by breathing problems.**
  3. Choices you make when you seek dental care. Cost and speed are poor criteria for choosing dental care. Consider seeking skilled practitioners with advanced training in minimally invasive, biomimetic, and/or biological dental care. Food for thought: Dental drills, never proven to be safe or effective, are neither.  The electricity they generate create pain and necessitate anesthetic to use, something nobody likes. Worse, they help teeth eventually fail in two ways: They necessitate a poorly designed filling prep from an engineering point of view and they micro fracture teeth as shown in this one minute video clip, soon to be part of a PBS interview set to release in March of 2016:

One problem with adoption of advanced techniques is that government programs and stagnant private insurance plans don’t keep up with science advancements. There is no, or low reimbursement for improved procedures that can save teeth and lives. Dental insurance companies actually offer financial incentives to people when they accept the traditional, poorly designed fillings drills create, and those filled with pre-Civil War era dental materials that also help break teeth apart. These policies are penny-wise and dollar-foolish. So far, no dental plans cover the care, skill and judgment required to place start of the art biomimetic fillings that can protect a broken tooth or one with advanced decay, for a lifetime – without cutting a tooth down into a stump for a crown! Carol introduces these and other advances that should turn dentistry on its head and significantly reduce the need for many current specialties of dentistry by perhaps 80% within a generation or two.  Three critical advances are:

  • Correct oral posture via myofunctional therapy when needed to severely dampen the need for orthodontics, snoring, and sleep apnea treatments.
  •  Avoiding the $6100.00 Death Spiral video below introduces minimally invasive, biomimetic, and ozone dentistry
  • The BioLOGICAL video below introduces some of the topics covered in Mouth Matters.***

Help Carol Advocate for Change!

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*1. Diet and Lifestyle

Do not accept the “disease care”/rescue system we call “health” care. Though many do, its symptom-driven, simplistic approach will never meaningfully “cure” cancers or subdue the inflammation-driven diseases plaguing us. Your body is incredibly resilient. It evolved to mend and remodel itself. Once you know how to “work its switches” – provide the essential nutrients and remove blocks to health – the body can usually heal itself. Restoring health from the inside out is the heart of true medicine. Mouth Matters and this site aim to give you information, tools and resources to understand the relationship between your oral health and physical well-being in your quest for optimal health and wellness. Happy exploring!

**2. Hidden Health Jewel: Correct Oral Posture From Birth: Facial Meltdown Birth to Death and How It Affects Your Overall Health

With your guidance your child has control over the airway he or she develops. Image Courtesy of Dr. Gelb

With your guidance your child has control over the airway he or she develops. Image Courtesy of Dr. Gelb

It’s All About Your Airway! What could matter more than developing a great airway for delivering whole body health? After all, establishing an airway is a primary objective of the ABCs of life-saving CPR rescue. (Establish an Airway, rescue Breathe, restore Circulation.) The performance order has changed, but there is no getting around the fact that Breathing Matters. And to breathe well, it is important to have great oral posture from birth as described in Facial Meltdown. Access additional studies here.

Carol’s blog Fragmented Sleep and Brain Death explains a few reasons many adults suffer from low testosterone, memory loss, depression, anxiousness, diabetes and weight gain via poor sleep quality including apnea, then explores solutions.

Developing an airway through correct oral posture is most successful when started young so head and neck muscles can structure the face and neck correctly, thus provide more room for the tongue and sinuses, but is it too late for adults to improve their airways? Absolutely not!  A recent research literature review shows myofunctional therapy for those whose tongues block their airway during sleep can reduce these choking events by approximately 50% in adults and 62% in children and that lowest blood oxygen saturations, snoring, and sleepiness outcomes improve in adults. The study analysis concludes that myofunctional therapy is a great adjunct for other obstructive sleep apnea treatments. Most of the speakers, if not all, at a recent International Orthodontic Association conference, highly recommend myofunctional therapy in tandem with orthodontic treatment to speed and hold results.

What is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy? As with developing an excellent golf swing, tennis swing, or other sport move, you must develop muscle tone and a style, then use repetition to build connections between your brain and these muscles (neuromuscular training) to make the moves automatic. In the same way, myofunctional therapy is the neuro-muscular toning and re-education of oral, facial, and pharyngeal muscles (lips, tongue, cheeks, face, and throat) through a series of activities which helps normalize the developing or developed, craniofacial structures and function. The therapy includes behavioral modification and also eliminates dysfunctional habits. It disorganizes, the repatterns related functions of these muscles such as breathing, sucking, chewing, swallowing and speech as well as the rest position of the tongue and cheeks. Therapy forms, balances, and stabilizes, the mouth, jaws and their associated structures as well as systems of the skull.

If you think you ace the three critical oral postures I promote in the article Facial Meltdown, I thought I did too until long after I’d researched and written this material, so I “get” denial! It took a long time for me to develop personal awareness, so I know it is hard to grasp one’s need for myofunctional therapy as part of a collaborative approach.[3] If you want a faster learning curve than I had about the possibilities you might need help, check out this Questionnaire – Do I Need Myofunctional Therapy?  and the following associated video that illustrates some of the questions and analysis techniques:

Your Mouth Matters! Myofunctional Therapy Companion Guide: (Click on title or trailer to access one year Vimeo rental. You then create a Vimeo password to access the video from any of your devices any time.)

Self-empowerment is a winner for everyone! Whether to help guide your child to attain the forward facial growth he deserves or to increase your own airway space, ease snoring or jaw joint problems, or to sculpt and tone head and neck muscles, you begin your journey of metamorphosis as I guide you through two weeks of jaw stabilization exercises and 16 weeks of intensive therapy designed to re-pattern face, head, and neck muscles and learn to swallow correctly. You will strengthen, tone and stretch some muscle groups while diminishing others. Check your progress with proficiency tests along the way. Finish your therapy with the tips given to ingrain these new muscle memories into both daytime and nighttime hours. This journey will likely surprise you as you reap benefits. [Click on the title or trailer of the above self-help video to access a year’s rental – more than enough time to complete the self-paced, life-changing activities. Twenty minute introduction plus a demonstration/explanation of 125 brief activities divided into 9 short sessions.  “Proficiency Tests” to let you know if you are ready to advance, bonus segments, and habituation ideas to finish out the year are included. Ideally, you advance to a new 8 minute segment every other week!]

Bonus segments cover pill-swallowing plus head and neck stretches to ease shoulder and neck pain associated with Forward Head Posture. A final bonus covers two weeks of post-frenum release therapy, also available separately.

Make sure you read Facial Meltdown Birth to Death and How It Affects Your Overall Health to learn how the above Companion Video helps you attain the health you deserve. [Click here and here for a few studies regarding children and apnea.]

Use the video-embedded password to download and print helpful Myofunctional Therapy Companion Video Charts and Word Lists to track your progress. An optional Myofunctional Therapy Activities Kit is also available.

Tongue Tied (Tethered)? 

Tongue tieA tongue-tie or tethered tongue leads to compromised general health because it enforces a lower tongue rest and resultant poor airway development. It also prevents good myofunctional therapy results. Additionally, a tethered tongue “tugs” upwards on the hyoid bone. Think of the hyoid as a ring or sphincter onto which gather many interconnected head and neck muscles. Muscles attached to hyoid boneWhen a tethered tongue elevates this ring upwards in the neck, it restricts the airway and initiates a forward head posture in order to open the airway. It results in incorrect upper (cervical) spine curvature, and it stresses accompanying muscles from the upper neck and reaching all the way to the shoulder and shoulder blade. [Infra hyoid, supra hyoid and middle pharyngeal constrictor muscles via the omohyoid muscle]

The accompanying muscle tightness can result in labored breathing. This can create forward, excessive negative pressure in the sinuses and the upper airway, another reason the mid-face airway doesn’t experience expansive growth, as it should. Sinus problems and rapid orthodontic relapse is common without a tongue tie release and orofacial posture correction. [After a restrictive tissue release, a person should undergo myofunctional therapy retraining to change the swallowing, speaking and breathing habits acquired as a result of the tether. Without it, the incorrect swallow, speech impediments and compensatory posture and breathing habits remain.]

To learn if an obvious tongue-tie may have affected your oral posture therefore facial and airway development, click on the title of this trailer: Maximize Your Motion! Making the Most of Your Frenum Release!  The trailer offers access to a critical series of exercises to start immediately after a frenum release to prevent reattachment and/or scar tissue.

Keep in mind frenums are vestigial embryonic tissue with almost no blood vessels or nerves. Also make sure you have ozonated oil on hand to help heal and reduce any discomfort. [Click here to access a list of skilled Texas practitioners most able to accomplish the thorough tongue tie releases necessary for excellent myofunctional therapy results.]

A posterior tongue tie in which the frenum is buried by tissues under the tongue, is more subtle than what the above video demonstrates. With your tongue tip on the “SPOT,” if you can’t open more than half of what you can when your mouth is fully open but you can’t figure out why, suspect a posterior tongue tie. Dr. Kotlow, a top frenum release instructor shows how to check for it on a newborn, though the simple technique works for anyone with a posterior tongue tie:

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to assess and release tongue ties in newborns for proper latching and muscle, thus facial development for newborns. If you must supplement breast-feeding with bottle feeding, this article on supportive bottle-feeding offers excellent tips. The suggestion to hold a child almost vertically is important and not well-known. This article does not mention that more important than the type of nipple used, is one with a slow flow rate.

Does Your School-Aged Child Suck His/Her Thumb?

If so, that habit has to go! Initially babies suck to nurse and of course they associate it with all good things: warmth, mom, love. Sucking produces the feel good brain chemicals called endorphins. Eventually some children figure out they can suck on substitutes to reproduce the same warm feelings ­– thumbs, toes, clothing, lips or cheeks – and this self-soothing simply becomes a habit that staves off distress, fatigue, or boredom.

anterior open bite2

But as you know, bone responds to the pressure of the thumb on the palate and the sucking action of cheek and lip muscles. Your child’s tongue and thumb can move bone and his/her teeth go along for the ride!

When should you be concerned?

Which thumb do you suppose this child sucked?

Which thumb do you suppose this child sucked? Sucking can change both bone and soft tissue!

Age 5 is a great time to start eradicating sucking habits – certainly before permanent teeth start erupting. This is when your child still has the power to reverse much of the damage to the roof of his mouth. Keep in mind, the more fingers involved, the more damage. Know also that your child should start myofunctional therapy afterwards to help reverse some of the swallowing patterns and other negative oral postures he or she likely developed that affect growth and function. For instance, thumb sucking requires the tongue to rest on the floor of the mouth. With a finger or two in the mouth, there is not enough room for the tongue to fit in, especially during swallows. The tongue is forced to move forward into an incorrect, reverse swallow.

Between ages 4-6, children begin to transition into normal adult swallows, but 80% of those who sucked their thumbs do not transition to a correct swallow. At age 5, most children are mature enough to understand it is in their best interest to curb oral stimulation like thumb sucking.

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) to the rescue! Many parents are daunted by helping a child stop the thumb-sucking habit because they worry about their child’s emotional well-being.  Putting the principles of applied behavior analysis helps bring mastery to learners trying to acquire many different skills – from healthier lifestyles to new language mastery. Put it to use to help your child stop sucking his or her thumb! The following video will help you help your child give up this habit. The first 3 minutes I talk directly to your child about how moving on to adult postures benefits them, then demonstrates several acceptable activities your child can substitute to release the same feel-good chemicals while beginning to adopt oral posture that will benefit rather than hurt him. Use the code embedded at 3:17 and the end of the following video (My Mouth Matters! Growing Up!) to access the ABA-based program steps to achieve success, a list of materials to have at hand, a contract he/she signs, and a congratulatory certificate here.

My Mouth Matters! Thumb Sucking Cessation Trailer (Click on this title or the video to watch trailer/purchase)

Can Children Have Sleep Apnea?

 Image courtesy of Dr. Gelb

Image courtesy of Dr. Gelb

Yes! And it affects more than their facial development and general health – it affects IQ and behaviors. For instance 25-81% of habitually snoring children exhibit AD/HD tendencies. More than 25% of all children with this could eliminate their AD/HD if they got rid of their snoring. [Chervin, Ronad. Symptoms of sleep disorders, inattention, and hyperactivity in Children. SLEEP. 20; 12: 1185-1192. ]

WAKE UP: The Problems of a Sleepy Child; The Silent Airway Problem.

Watch this incredible story in the video below and see how sleep apnea, snoring and other sleep issues can affect even a child. Of course you can read more in Mouth Matters, the blog Facial Meltdown – Birth to Death – and How It Affects Your Overall Health.

***3. Choices You Make for Professional Care

“Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.”  Leonardo da Vinci

See how revolutionary dentistry can impact your smile, health, and financial resources in Carol Vander Stoep’s: Avoiding the $6100.00 Death SpiralIn this video, she shows you how minimally invasive preventive dentistry, biomimetic dentistry, and ozone therapy can benefit you:

BioLOGICAL Dentistry

Dentistry is one of the most invasive, material and surgically-oriented disciplines in health care. Biological dentists know all choices affect biological systems. They try to use the latest technology, techniques, and least hazardous materials to protect everyone involved. This Introduction to BioLOGICAL Dentistry  video, released in tandem with Avoiding the $6100.00 Death Spiral, outlines a few concerns biological dentists address. Note: Biological and Biomimetic Dentistry are not synonymous, though in Carol’s opinion, they should be. Biological dentists who practice biomimetics are noted in the database.

Oral Biofilm (Plaque) Formation 

Just before his appointment, a five-year-old proudly announced to me that he didn’t floss his teeth and didn’t plan on it. I smiled and showed him the following short time-lapse video so he could see what was growing on his teeth and how fast it forms. He looked up at me afterwards, startled, and said, “Well that set me straight!”

Biofilm Growth Over 8 Hour Time Period
It isn’t individual oral microbes we should worry about. It is when they coalesce into biofilms on teeth that they become a concern. Dental plaques are half microbes, half protective slimy matrix. Within them bacteria become social, learn to work together, protect each other, and act in ways never imagined in the name of group survival. The bacteria share nutrients and defenses to protect and feed the community’s interior. At this stage, they are impenetrable and therefore resistant to detergents, antibiotics, and the body’s defenses. This is one reason ozone needs to play a bigger role in oral prevention and repair.

You are key to the change you want to see. You can bemoan the role moneyed interests play in healthcare delivery around the world, or you can take charge and ask for more when your personal efforts are not enough. It is likely you will have to seek it from a variety of knowledgeable practitioners working collaboratively for your benefit. It may well involve travel to seek more enlightened and trained practitioners.

[1] Problems linked to inflammation-based oral conditions include chronic heart disease (CVD), stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, pregnancy complications and meningitis. Oral conditions also influence autoimmune disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) and lupus; neurological problems such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s; and “enigmatic” illnesses such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue (CFS) and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). This is a short list.
[2] Periodontal (gum) disease and caries (cavities) are the first and most obvious signs of a body in trouble. These proverbial “canaries in a coal mine” warn of rampant, chronic inflammation throughout the whole body. Would you still ignore your bleeding gums if you knew you might be losing your eyesight, kidney function, or the ability to have a strong sexual response as well?
[3] This could include osteopathy, cranio-sacral therapy, functional orthodontics, sleep dentistry, and/or ENT care.