Tooth vs. Spine Decay
You Don’t Know Because We NEVER Told You!
No health care profession does a better job at educating the public about preventative care than the dental profession. A majority of Americans know and comprehend the importance of regular cleanings and check-ups at their dentist’s office.
Unfortunately, as a whole, the Chiropractic profession has done a poor job of educating the public, so most people have no idea of the importance of regular maintenance care to keep their spines as healthy as possible over a lifetime.
According to the American Dental Association, two-thirds of Americans visit a dentist for care regularly. Comparatively, only 3.9% of Americans seek Chiropractic care for wellness and maintenance of their spinal health.
Ultimately, most Americans recognize the importance of regular dental check-ups in order to maintain the health of their teeth, even in the absence of any symptoms. However, they fail to understand that the same concept applies to their spines, simply because they just don’t know.
They don’t know because nobody has told them.
Another part of the problem is that people are focused only on what they can see. Imagine if you smiled and greeted people with your spine, instead of your teeth. Imagine if you wore your spinal x-rays on the exterior and were judged by others based on your spinal health.
Plenty of studies link posture with confidence and its ability to make a difference in how others perceive you. It could impact how an employer awards a job promotion or affect a first impression on a date or interview. If people were better educated on these connections, then we would probably see a lot more of them running to the Chiropractor!
Inevitably, it is human nature to wait until there is a problem. Some people even wait until they are in unbearable pain from a cavity or tooth abscess before they go to their dentist.
The reality is that your spine is far more important than your teeth. Unlike your teeth, your spine cannot be replaced. After all, your spine is responsible for protecting the nerves that control every aspect of your health; ironically this also includes the growth, development and maintenance of your teeth.
My goal is not to downplay the need to take care of your teeth, because it is absolutely an important part of your health, but it does have its own place on the wellness totem pole. Taking care of your spine should be positioned far above taking care of your teeth.
It is frustrating that people understand that they should do these regular check-ups with their dentist, and that it is necessary to perform daily maintenance on their teeth by brushing, flossing, and avoiding sugary foods. The fact that people are visiting a Dentist more than a Chiropractor is really troublesome.
Yet, again, most people don’t understand they should be getting regular Chiropractic care to maintain their spine. This includes not recognizing the need to do daily stretches and exercises, monitor postures, etc. in order to better preserve the health of the spine.
Conversely, they understand that braces can correct the alignment of the teeth and are willing to spend $5-10K on these types of services. But they fail to understand that Chiropractic care is necessary to keep the spine in alignment, so as a result, are very resistant to spending a fraction of that cost on correcting their spines.
“Everybody thinks they don’t need a Chiropractor…until they need a Chiropractor.”
Ultimately, people have fit the perception of Chiropractic therapy into the current healthcare model, which, in reality, is sick care or crisis care. In other words, they wait until there is a problem. Being proactive and acting well before you are in crisis mode is truly the best way to use Chiropractic.
Since most people don’t comprehend this concept, many will show up in my office as a result of years of neglecting the health of their spine. They are often in severe pain and have many related health issues that are negatively affecting their quality of life.
This puts the Chiropractor in a difficult position and is often one of the reasons why someone may be dissatisfied with his or her Chiropractic experience. They’ll come in with the pill mindset, in hopes of a quick fix, while assuming one magic adjustment will correct the problem.
Don’t get me wrong, Chiropractic can be fantastic at getting people out of pain and certain health crises. A majority of patients are satisfied with their care as long as their expectations are realistic and consistent with their particular condition.
There are so many striking similarities between dental and Chiropractic care, in terms of maintenance and corrective services, that should be handled in a similar way.
I’ll refer once again to the braces example, noting how a majority of people understand that they can correct the alignment of teeth. They also recognize that it takes time, sometimes even years, to get optimal results, and accept it as a corrective force in the right direction toward straighter teeth. Yet, they don’t seem to make this same connection with the corrective force of a Chiropractic adjustment in the process of aligning the spine.
Furthermore, they understand that x-rays need to be performed to identify cavities. Yet, many still resist the idea of getting spinal x-rays to identify subluxations in the spine. They’re also aware that you can have cavities without ever feeling anything, but don’t understand that this can prove true for subluxations as well.
Just like good self-dental hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing, can help reduce future problems, spinal hygiene, including simple stretches, exercises, and postural awareness, can spare you numerous problems in the long run as well.
It is safe to say most people know sugar can lead to dental decay. What they probably don’t know is that excessive sugar also leads to inflammation throughout the entire body, contributing to the early breakdown of the spine and surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments.
More recently, people are becoming aware that dental health can translate to the overall health of the individual; for instance, the connection between dental health and heart health. At the same time, hardly anyone in our society truly grasps the vital role our spine plays in our health and well-being.
Our spine, which is made of bone, or the hardest substance in the body, was intelligently designed to protect our nervous system, the softest and most delicate part of our body. These protected nerves are in control of EVERY aspect of our health.
As a result of lack of knowledge or misperception of Chiropractic, I have even had people come to me saying they can’t afford Chiropractic care, while at the same time, wear a $3-4K Invisalign! Doesn’t make sense after reading all of this, does it?!
In conclusion, this is what needs to be done: you need to take control over your spinal health. This starts with having a Chiropractor evaluate your x-rays to get a baseline of the current health of your spine. If you have issues, they need to be maximally corrected. Then, once you have achieved maximum correction, you must work to maintain it.
Now that you possess the knowledge of proper spinal care, you have two responsibilities. One is to take action for yourself, and two is to inform others, so that they can benefit the same way that you will.
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