Believe it or not, but your mouth is connected to the rest of you. A recent analysis suggests that bacteria that cause gum disease are also associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease and are related to dementia, especially vascular dementia. In this episode, biological dentist Dr. Kalli Hale sits down with Carrie Miller to talk about the relationship between some dental solutions and having a healthy brain. She also goes over some cause of periodontal disease and the best ways to prevent it, how our teeth affect our systemic health, and the long-term consequences of dental treatment.
Listen to the podcast here:
Unconventional Dental Solutions For A Healthy Brain With Dr. Kalli Hale
We have got a special guest on the show. I am extremely impressed by this young lady’s resume. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology and her Master of Public Health from Texas A&M University. She earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston. She received certification in Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique through the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology and trained in antimicrobial strategies and healing, Ozone therapy, and cosmetic dentistry. She is an Affiliate Fellow of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry and a certified Invisalign provider. I am excited to introduce you a biological dentist from League City, Texas, Dr. Kalli Hale.
Thank you for having me on. I appreciate it. This is going to be way too much fun.
I’m excited to gather all the information, get my notes down and we’ll go through what we can. We run out of time because you’re busy. I’m excited to be here with you. Thank you for being here on the show. I’ve got many questions. First of all, I’m curious to know what piqued your interest and catapulted you to the understanding of holistic methods of dentistry for brain health, to begin with.
That’s such a story and I feel like I wish we had two hours because I could probably talk about that transition for me alone. As a dentist, when you get out of school you know enough to go out and help people with their teeth and decay. The systemic health and the overall body function of what happens when you have, for example, recurrent decay or amalgam restorations that are leaching. Root canals that might have periapical cysts involved with them and infections in the body that you have to focus on all of it instead of pretending that your mouth is not connected to the rest of you. For me, I have to give a lot of credit to my also dentist younger sister. We are sixteen months apart and we both went to A&M, both went to dental school together. I’m also married to a dentist and my parents are both dentists. My older sister, Jackie, is our regional manager at the office. We eat, breathe, and live teeth all the time. My younger sister was traveling with her husband who was playing professional baseball at the time.
She had a lot more time to research after dental school than I did because I was thrown into a wonderful, busy practice. She started talking to me one day and saying, “You need to look into protecting yourself a little more with amalgam, for example.” As sisters, we’re close and it was met with an annoyance and an eye roll of like, “What are you talking about? This was even a potentially dangerous material than we would have been told that and all of it.” What I learned the hard way was that there’s a lot more to play with materials, politics, what we use, why we use it, when it was created and how things have changed since then. My parents are the smartest people I know and I attribute my success to them and their raising of me. I read a book that my sister insisted that I read talking about amalgam and all of that. There’s lots of evidence. You are not looking for it. It’s not something that’s presented and you can only learn much at school. I loved my university. I loved what I learned in my education. I don’t hold them at all accountable for any of that stuff. It’s just there’s more to it. People specialize in lots of things outside of dentistry when they’re done.
For me, I wanted to make sure that I was keeping myself safe at first, but also the patient and the staff and what we were doing. If you’re drilling something out that you think could have a harmful vapor, whether you agree with it or not. You have to figure out where you stand on that and go forward to protect yourself. There were plenty of articles on the IAOMT website, the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, where I got my certification. I went from reading the book to thinking, “There’s more to it. I need to look into it a little more to getting the SMART certification.” Their website is full of more peer-reviewed literature than you’ll ever find on this stuff. They made it easy for me to start forming an opinion on it. I don’t hold a sign on my street corner that says, “You need to come to see me. We’re ripping out all your amalgams.” It’s nothing like that but when they are decayed and they are breaking down and you need to do something about it, there are some extra steps that we go to make sure that both I and the patient are protected.
That’s all great information. Thanks for that. We’ll go and check that out. Dr. Hale, I was researching and found a July 9th, 2020 article on the NIA website saying that, “An analysis led by a National Institute on Aging scientists suggests that bacteria that cause gum disease are also associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia, especially vascular dementia.” The results were reported in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. That is quite an analysis. There must’ve been some hard evidence to back that statement up. Are we talking about periodontitis?
Yes, we are. It’s well-known that Alzheimer’s bacteria disease is a spirochete in the brain and that is found in periodontal disease. You have all anaerobic vicious bacteria that form when you start losing the bone around your teeth and that’s what periodontal disease is. You go years maybe without a cleaning, smoking is a big cause of periodontal disease. That’s the number one cause of bone loss around the teeth, smoking, and diabetes. You combine that together and then you get these deep pockets that your toothbrush bristles can’t get to, which is why some people have to come in and have the deep cleaning done to make sure that we get below the gum. There are lots of different ways to do that, but heart health, big time, and brain health, 100% linked to that. Those ailments are aggravated and they know for sure there’s more research on this. I’m glad you found that. Even in heart attacks, they’re finding the bacteria from the oral cavity in the plaques of the artery. You’re talking about vascular Alzheimer’s and all of that.
Has this been known for years? How long ago are we talking about?
You can go a couple of decades, unfortunately, and find stuff like this. It’s not mainstream. It is in my office and we talk about it every day. Sometimes cost can be prohibited for people to do stuff. If it’s not truly explained well, which I am such a firm believer in communication, my ability to explain what’s going on is almost directly linked to your acceptance of doing it or not. Having that trust, which I value with my patients. A lot of them that come to see me have been hurt in some way by allopathic medicine or a dentist that maybe they didn’t have a good experience or whatever else.
Is anybody immune to the disease?Fluoride does not protect you from Dairy Queen. Click To Tweet
Anybody can get it?
How do we prevent it?
Gum cleanings and not smoking. Oral hygiene is big. You have to floss. Diet and gut health for me is a huge topic where I’m always talking about the gut health of the patient because a high sugary diet, a starchy diet, things that you shouldn’t be eating, high-fructose corn syrup, the rest of those. When they hit the gut, it directly communicates with the parotid gland and changes the acidity of the saliva. If your saliva is acidic, which we take a pH of saliva on every patient every time they walk in the door to try to catch the diet link to the decay. Some people will come in and say, “They find a cavity every time I come in.” That’s frustrating. Patching it up for them and not explaining why they’ve got it, what could be happening, maybe there could be a diet change or some help there doesn’t do them any good.
Does that mean no coffee or no tea?
It does not mean that. Personally, I do enjoy my cup of coffee, but there are a lot of reasons to avoid caffeine. If you do coffee without any sugar, you’re a whole lot better off, which is what I do.
How about any mouthwash or anything like that? Do you recommend anything?
I do have some cool ones in the office that I love, charcoal-based ones that are detoxing and stuff, but for the most part, the off the counter mouthwashes give you this facade of being cleaned because it makes your mouth feel minty. It’s not doing anything. The best thing you can do is floss every day and brush.
You’ve talked about smoking. If you’re over 50, what risk factors come into play?
With periodontal disease in particular, truly diabetes and poor oral hygiene. If you’re not a smoker but your oral hygiene and your systemic health are starting to wane, dry mouth is a big issue. When you’re in your 50s and 60s and you’re taking medications perhaps for other systemic health issues, dry mouth is a big deal. If you’re not and you’re suffering from the dry mouth, we have to look at other factors within the whole body. Dry mouth at bedtime is the worst. When you wake up with a dry mouth, that can be a sign of mouth breathing and hopefully one day you’ll come back and you and I can talk about the airway because we could talk about that for a long time. That’s a large part of my practice, but it’s multifactorial and it is patient-based. I have to spend lots of time going through surgical history and genetic factors.
Dr. Hale, let’s talk about any other treatments for gum disease.
We do in the office when you do come in for the deep cleaning is we make sure that we kill the bacteria, hand debridement and scaling is great because you get the tartar off and you get the inflammation away, but you need to treat the pockets. What I don’t like to treat the pockets with personally are the antibiotic placement techniques. I have not seen evidence that those are effective, but they stay in the sulcus long enough to be effective. We implement ozone therapy and laser treatment with every single one of our deep cleanings. Even if you don’t have periodontal disease but you’ve got this one pocket where you had a wisdom tooth extracted and it’s a little deeper and it bleeds, we treat it with ozone.
You do not prescribe antibiotics?
For periodontal disease, absolutely not.
Do you ever prescribe antibiotics?
In life-threatening situations. When you have a cellulitis situation coming, absolutely. I get that question a lot because we don’t want to wreck the gut health. It’s rare that it’s needed. You don’t need that for a chronic root canal style cyst that we’re talking about removing, but when you have sublingual swelling or you’re going to end up in the emergency room, there’s always time for that, but it’s limited.
This is the question I had that we’re talking about inflammation, as far as gut health, it’s worked and talking the gum disease, we’re talking inflammation.
That’s one of the first signs when you have bleeding gums that should be an immediate trigger that there’s something wrong.
Shouldn’t we be having more conversations in the dentist’s office about the prevention of gum disease?
All the time.
You don’t get that. You go in and have the treatment.If the doctor has no idea what you're talking about, that means that they're not the one for you. Click To Tweet
That comes down to the doctor’s knowledge on systemic health and the ability to communicate that with the patient, which I feel like I excel at because I am passionate about your teeth not making you sick. If I could have a sign, it would be I want to make sure your teeth aren’t making you sick because they can in ways that people have no idea because they weren’t ever taught that or told it from the biggest provider.
“No, just brush your teeth twice a day and you’re good to go.” No matter how we look at it, it’s clear that brain and dental health are closely connected and individuals should brush their teeth carefully to prevent the development of the disease. I had an appointment with a dental specialist who performs root canals and I’d love to mention his name, but I won’t dare be tacky. When I asked him if he performed a root canal with a more holistic approach, he snickered at me and said, “You’ve been reading way too much on the internet, those articles have all been debunked. None of them are accurate or hold any weight so to answer your question, no.”
That is one of the hardest things because I hear that all the time. Shame on you for trying to educate yourself. That’s awful. Unfortunately, that doctor is close-minded because he’s missing out on an incredible group of people. My patients are the best in the world truly. I get people might share that care about their health and they want to make themselves better. Who looks stupid when they don’t know what oil pulling is? Me.
I learned about it through Dr. Axe.
That’s one of those things where I realized, “I’ve got a lot to learn because I learned so much from my patients.” Any of you that are reading this, I appreciate it because they would come in and talk to me about oregano oil, for example, natural antibiotics. I have had patients choose to take that instead and have great results with it. Legally, I can’t advise on essential oils but I know about how they help. If they’re getting that advice from the person they’re buying it from and they trust them and that’s okay. As long as they’re not in a dangerous situation, I’m happy. Anything that we can use outside of traditional pharmaceuticals, I love to learn about, but you have to have an open mind. Unfortunately, when the provider feels like they don’t know something, it’s natural for them to suddenly debunk it or dismiss it. I learned quickly that the only person that looks stupid in that situation is me so you’ve got to learn.
Oregano oil, that’s interesting instead of the antibiotic. Do you ever talk about colloidal silver?
I do but most of the patients already know about it. It’s amazing. I personally use it with sore throats. We do. Colloidal silver was a hot topic during COVID for disinfection in lots of ways.
Let’s get back to why I went to the root canal specialist. Let’s talk root canals. Are you for them, against them, and why?
From a doctor’s perspective, I’ve got to give the patient all their options. Does my own personal bias come into that? Of course. Most of them at this point in my career coming to me because they’ve been told they needed one, but what could potentially harm them in that process? I biopsy root canals. We can talk about root canals for a long time. Anybody that wants to challenge me, come on in and I’ll show you my data because I biopsy extracted root canals. We have a large implant practice. When one goes bad, people usually choose an implant or a bridge and when they’re removed, we give the patient the option of having it biopsy and read and the lab is incredible. I get a report back with more information about what is living in that root canal than anybody’s ever seen. I give lectures on this to show this is what’s possible so know about it. If the patient wants to do it, that’s fine but it’s discussed first.
I wouldn’t choose that for my treatment, but the actual root canal treatment is not what the devil is in this situation. It’s that you’re leaving something dead in the body. If your root canal is needed because you have an abscess already in the bone, there is literature that says you shouldn’t choose that treatment. That infection in the bone is going to be a chronic latent source of inflammation that is immune to the lymphatic system in the body because we have severed that by taking the nerve out. It’s not that the dentist is doing some harmful thing with the material being used or anything like that. It’s that they don’t understand what happens when, for example, that meridian is blocked because the tooth is dead or whatever. When the patient comes in and there is an abscess, we have a totally different conversation. Do I have some that still treat that or choose that treatment? I do, occasionally. It’s rare. If it’s a front tooth on a fourteen-year-old and they have to be done growing before we can do something better. We talk about doing that for a limited amount of time with the parent. All of this is about informed consent. I need to tell you the risks involved with any of the treatments and then making that decision together.
Does a root canal have anything to do with the breakdown of your immune system and your nervous system? I’d read a little on that. There are many articles out there.
It certainly can, but the biggest issue with them is that your body can’t clear the infection because we’ve severed them. As far as a breakdown in the immune system, you’re harboring anaerobic bacteria that love this warm, wet environment around a tooth that has been severed from the clearance of the body’s ability to clean it. Yes and no to that particularly but more so because it becomes this chronic source of infection in the jawbone that cannot be cleaned from the tooth inside out. It has to be removed. I explained when they go bad because they often do that the tooth is the source of the infection, that removing that is going to heal the bone.
Next, I’d like to talk briefly about fluoride. What are the risks and side effects? Everybody hears that but there’s a big debate.
In my office, few patients choose that anymore. Do I have it? I have it. I can’t even remember the last time it’s ever been used. When I first bought the practice, it came with a bunch of typical allopathic patients that were used to getting fluoride. I didn’t recommend it. I had an old guy once said, “No, you better give me. I’m headed to Dairy Queen.” I burst out laughing, not to his face, but in my mind I’m like, “This fluoride is not protecting you from Dairy Queen. Dairy Queen is the problem if you’re having teeth issues.” The more I studied the genetic makeup of children that suffer from different behavioral issues, kids on the spectrum. I realized that the MTHFR mutation, for example, plays a big role in your body’s ability to detox metals, fluoride in small quantities according to the ADA and the rest are perfectly safe and harmless. If a child is suffering from MTHFR and you slap a bunch of fluoride varnish on, even though you tell them not to eat or drink anything, to think they’re not swallowing it is naive. They’re going to be getting some of that into their system, all but a small amount can throw a kid into regression. I’ve seen it happen. I’ve had parents come to me and say, “This was done. It was in conjunction with laughing gas or whatever.” They got their fluoride and they had a regression. It’s not something I use on myself or my kids. If that tells you enough about how I feel about it personally, that’s my spiel on that.
Dr. Hale, I know that you’ve got to get back to caring for your patients. I have one more question for you. I’m sure there are quite a few readers here who were skeptical of this show at first. I’m not sure what the title is going to be, but it’s going to throw them off a little bit. What would you like to leave with that individual who’s contemplating changing over to a more holistic approach in oral care?
I would say you need to trust your provider. You need to vet them, see where they spend their time learning, where their continuing education has been. Go in and talk to them and feel them out. I like to specialize in scared patients too. I get patients that have been hurt in the past and they come in and they want somebody that will listen to them. I had a patient not long ago that came in shortly after having some oral surgery done and she’s been in pain ever since and nobody will believe her. Nobody said there was nothing wrong. Cavitations aren’t a thing. That’s a whole other show for another day because she had stuff going on. We found the source of her issue quickly with our CT scanner. She needed somebody to hear her out. The problem is with your traditional bread and butter dentistry office is that doctor probably has no idea what you’re talking about. That means that they’re not the one for you. If you’re on the fence about this and you want more information, you need to see somebody who’s studied it. Wouldn’t that make sense that they would understand that? Continue to knock down those doors until you find somebody that you connect with. I certainly don’t pretend I’m everybody’s favorite dentist or everybody’s best friend, but I work as hard as I can to make sure that the communication line is open to it. I give them resources to read or look into.
You seem like you’re the doctor that I want to go to when it comes to specializing and things like that. Dr. Serge was the one who told me all about you. He was my second episode. He started the show out. Dr. Hale, I want to thank you for your time and the opportunity for you to speak with our audience and give them some incredible insight into the world of biological dentistry. Tell our audience exactly where we could find you on social media.
Thank you all. Thank you, Dr. Hale.
Thank you. I appreciate it.
You have a great day. God bless.
You will too. Bye.
- Dr. Kalli Hale
- International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology
- Dr. Serge Grégoire – previous episode
- New Teeth Dental Solutions – League City – Facebook
About Dr. Kalli Hale
Dr. Kalli Hale is a biological dentist from League City, Texas. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology and her Master of Public Health from Texas A&M University.
She earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston, received certification in Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique through the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology and trained in antimicrobial strategies and healing, Ozone therapy, and cosmetic dentistry.
She is an Affiliate Fellow of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry and a certified Invisalign provider.