As a holistic dentist who’s been working in his field of choice for over 40 years, Lester Sawicki has learned an awful lot about teeth, and what dental patients really want for that matter.
Many of them want not only healthy teeth but also whiter teeth, something that can be hard for many people to obtain without bleaching creams that contain unhealthy chemical ingredients.
Sawicki’s books offer natural solutions for teeth whitening, however, that focus more on detoxing, nutrition, and other changes rather than quick-fix cosmetic changes.
He joined AltHealthWORKS to answer some questions on the state of modern dentistry, his top tips for whitening teeth naturally on a day-to-day basis and much more:
AHW: How did you first get into health in general, and when did you begin getting into holistic health specifically?
LS: Hi Nick, I’d like to thank you for this opportunity to share with your readers some very important dental information that I’ve discovered during my (forty-plus years) working as a a dentist.
One of my relatives was a dentist and this together with my love of biology moved me to pursue a career as a dentist. I knew there was a need in the world for tooth decay to be repaired and teeth cleaned and that these universal needs would provide a stable career for me. It wasn’t until I entered dental school, however, that the holistic connection between teeth, gums, fitness and overall body health became apparent to me.
At about the age of 30, after some friends and family were overcome with catastrophic illnesses, I decided to research the role the oral cavity played in supporting whole body holistic health. That’s when it became very clear to me that there was more to being a dentist than just preventing tooth loss by fixing cavities and cleaning teeth. That’s also about the same time that cosmetic dentistry, including teeth whitening, moved out of the offices of some extremely talented Hollywood dentists and into dental offices across America. Soon to follow were toothpaste manufacturers who recognized teeth whitening as a way to lift profits and they decided to sell directly to the consumer with over the counter teeth whitening products.
AHW: What is your practice now and what separates you from other dentists (if applicable)?
LS: I’ve recently started to slow down my practice of general dentistry in order to put more time into building my Fit4Zip™ fitness school. I currently work as a locum tenens dentist in Texas and teach Fit4Zip Perfect Tai Chi Fitness™ which specializes in Buddha Tooth Fu Yachi Tai Chi™.
Fit4Zip™ might be the only fitness school in the U.S. that teaches the vital role teeth play in promoting mind-body fitness. You can read more about teeth and fitness in my book Yin Ain’t Yang: The Ancient Way To Better Health. It’s available at Amazon and other book sellers.
AHW: What are the 3 things most people get wrong when they attempt to whiten their teeth these days?
LS: A better question might be “What are the 3 things teeth whitening manufacturers get right when they plan marketing campaigns to sell their products to the public?”
- The country has an overwhelming and almost neurotic fascination with Hollywood movie stars and fashion models. Their beautiful smiles made up with plumped up lips and artificially whitened teeth has led to the lucrative sales of well over 2 billion dollars in teeth whitening products. That includes both in-office and over the counter teeth whitening products.
- Sales of teeth whitening products are dependent on advertising that tries to convince the public that people with the whitest teeth have more success and happiness in both their personal and business life.
- Teeth whitening manufacturers understand that their profits will continue to increase as long as the average consumer continues to believe that the risks involved with teeth whitening are insignificant compared to their advertised benefits.
AHW: What is your take on the current methods of teeth whitening…Are they unnecessarily dangerous? Only stop gap measures?
LS: Teeth whitening has come a long way since its first introduction into dental offices in the early 1970s. Through trial and error and unfortunately at the patient’s expense we’ve discovered safer, less painful and more effective ways to whiten teeth.
One of the best ways to get a healthy mouth naturally is by swishing sea salt around like mouthwash.
In the dental office:
- Heating the tooth and nerve pulp to the brink of death has been replaced with refrigerated teeth whitening gels.
- Dental science has found effective ways to reduce painful tooth nerve sensitivity that is a common teeth whitening side effect.
- The time it takes to whiten teeth in the dental office has been reduced from two hours to 30 minutes or less.
- There are take-home kits your dentist sells and that you can buy online that make the process even more convenient.
Over the counter teeth whitening products have become:
- More affordable
- Faster and easier to apply
- Less messy
With regards to the danger of teeth whitening products, I’d have to say that most are safer now than they were 40 years ago. Safety issues, however, are dependent on:
- The toxicity and concentration of the whitening chemical ingredients.
- How long and how often they’re applied to the teeth.
- The overall health of the user.
When you ask how safe teeth bleaching is you should also ask compared to what?
- Are teeth whitening products safer than the chemical azodicarbonamide found in bread that Subway and other fast food restaurants have been serving their customers for years? Some countries, but not the U.S.A., ban the chemical in bread.
- Are teeth bleaching strips safer than trays? Polyvinyl acetate (PVC) is a banned chemical in some countries but not in the United States. It’s used to make thermoplastic bleach trays. Do the oxidative properties of hydrogen peroxide accelerate the leaching of toxic PVC’s into the oral cavity?
- Are teeth whitening gels safer than the lead found in lipsticks when used by children under the age of 12?
In general, the majority of people that have their dentist whiten their teeth or use over the counter pastes, liquids and gels don’t really need to whiten their teeth. It’s a psychological issue of poor self-esteem. Many users of teeth whitening products see their teeth in the mirror and grade them as dirty yellow.
No matter how much they try they can’t ever get their teeth white enough. In fact, their teeth are actually normal in color for their age but many of these people have a problem that I call “Bleach Fever.” My book The Teeth Whitening Cure is the “perfect cure for Bleach Fever.”
AHW: What aspect of your teeth whitening protocol would surprise the average person on the street the most?
LS: My teeth whitening protocol is the safest there is but complex and tedious. The reason is that, contrary to what teeth whitening product manufacturers would have you believe, safe teeth whitening isn’t so simple.
I’ve revealed what I believe to be the safest natural teeth whitening process in my book The Teeth Whitening Cure: A Holistic Guide to Bright Smiles And Better Health In A Toxic World. The book is an almost guaranteed “perfect cure for Bleach Fever.” It’s available at Amazon and other booksellers. You can also download a digital copy for only $5.95 from my website www.RevolutionTooth.com.
AHW: In terms of simple daily changes for whiter teeth, what are maybe three recommendations you would give to people just getting started?
LS: Maintaining a youthful tooth color is simple.
- After every meal swish and rinse your mouth with natural spring water.
- Rub clean the front surfaces of your teeth with your fingertip and/or tongue. Friction will rub off light superficial stains.
- Brush and floss at least once a day.
- If you’re really self-conscious about your tooth color, avoid brightly colored foods and beverages such as kale, tomato paste, blue berries, coffee, cacao and red wine. You can also try reducing the amount of acidulated carbonated beverages you drink. Carbonated sodas and drinks have been shown to etch microscopic pores in tooth enamel. Food coloring more readily stains the defective enamel pores and it’s harder to brush out the discoloration.
- Follow the instructions in my book, The Teeth Whitening Cure, if you think you need more teeth whitening power.
AHW: Talk a little bit about the role of detoxing in whitening teeth. How important is it?
LS: Hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are the most common teeth bleaching agents. They’re powerful oxidation chemicals that burn the color out of visible organic matter that accumulates on the surface and within tooth enamel.
Oxidation occurs naturally in nature and within the body. It’s actually a healthy natural process the body uses to rid itself of dangerous invading bacteria. The protective process, however, creates byproducts which can accumulate in the body and create a physiologic burden upon various organs. If you’re unhealthy or can’t eliminate the toxic load it can become too great a burden for your organs with a risk of harm and degeneration in their function.
Of course it’s a long way before death would occur from teeth whitening but like smoking tobacco, too much day-to-day toxicity over time can contribute to disease. You might be surprised to hear that there have been rare reported deaths from overzealous accidental ingestion of hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is also dangerous to infants and sensitive individuals.
That’s why I believe you should always detox your body before, during and after teeth bleaching. It reduces the toxic burden on your body. My book The Teeth Whitening Cure goes into more detail on the subject.
AHW: What is your overall take on the state of “modern” mainstream dentistry…What do you think it most needs to improve upon?
LS: Modern dentistry is really amazing and I can’t even imagine what scientific wonders the future holds. That’s a whole story by itself. You can only be certain that the cost of dental care in the U.S. will continue to increase.
Dental education today is expensive and the average dentist graduates with over $200,000 in student loans. Modern dental technology is also costly. To open a dental practice with the bare minimum of modern high tech equipment takes an investment of at least a million dollars. That’s only a couple of reasons why the cost of dentistry has been so high for so many years and the future won’t be any less expensive.
I’m pretty sure that affordable dentistry is where the next major revolution will be found. More states are considering the legalization and licensing of midlevel providers. A midlevel provider will bypass the expense of a full dental education which should allow them to set up an office and practice dentistry while charging more affordable fees. They’ll undertake the basic training needed to repair tooth decay cavities and perform simple extractions. The general dentist will specialize in more complex treatments.
The good news is that many dental diseases are preventable if you integrate in your life common sense nutrition, good oral hygiene and effective mind-body exercise such as Perfect Tai Chi Fitness™.
Another area that dentistry needs to put more focus is on care of the aged and disabled. The nation currently has a shortage of dentists practicing in facilities that care for this growing population.
AHW: Where can people find your website?
LS: For more information, people can visit my websites and blog:
AHW: Thanks for joining us!
LS: Thank you.
And thank you for reading!
This article was first published in 2014 and updated in 2023.
If you’re looking for holistic dental products I recommend checking out this Dental Detox Kit and other products including the LED teeth whitening light therapy devices and toothburhses from Primal Life Organics, a newly formed dental health company that says clients have managed to heal their root canals and cavities naturally.
I am a big fan of Primal Life Organics because they have a mission of “bringing the dentist home” and helping their customers save thousands on dental treatments through healthy products for cleansing your teeth from the roots to the surface level.