I have a dentist. His name is Dr. Ron Ehrlich from the Sydney Holistic Dental Centre. He gets it. He doesn’t eat sugar. He does exercise in the same way I do. He is actively engaged in the wholefood movement and shares more than just a fill-in with his patients. Over the years he’s shared some fabulously open-minded tips for wellness. I figured all my friends here would benefit from hearing them, too. It’s definitely stuff a dentist generally only shares with their friends…Over to Ronald…

Image by Greg Guillemin

1. Grind your teeth?  Try to correct your breathing.

Ninety-five per cent of us don’t have enough room for the 32 teeth we have in our mouths.  Not having enough room for your teeth means your airway is not as big as it could be and it’s now recognised that grinding is most often linked to “sleep disordered breathing” including snoring and sleep apnoea. So working on breathing through the nose helps for lots of reasons – including reducing the incidence and effect of tooth grinding, which results in premature wearing or cracking of teeth, broken fillings, headaches, neck aches or a sore jaw.

Which brings me too…

2. Forget mouthguards: tape your mouth shut at night.  Serious!

Try using Micropore (3M) tape over your mouth….yes, I’m serious. You’ll be amazed how something so simple can make a difference. Using the 7-8 hours of sleep to practice breathing through your nose evens out your breathing and stabilises your body chemistry. And because it improves sleep and evens out your breathing, by that same reasoning it also helps reduce the grinding of teeth. [I tried four different – expensive – mouth guards, all of which didn’t stop me from grinding, before trying this tape method. It’s the ONLY thing that’s ever worked and costs a few dollars a month! – Sarah.].

3. Getting mouth ulcers? Avoid grains.

Mouth ulcers (aphthous ulcers) are a common problem. They are an autoimmune response. Try avoiding all grains for a few months. Grains produce a protein called zonulin (…look it up), that causes leaky gut that results in a whole range of autoimmune conditions.

And while we’re avoiding things…

4. Avoid sugar.

Not only is this obvious for protecting your teeth, but sugary foods also inflame and restrict the airway, which will increase any current/potential breathing problems you have.

5.  Sleep on your side. 

Stomach sleeping twists your body. It’s not healthy. It also isn’t good for your breathing at night. It affects the muscles of your head, neck and jaw and can be an important part of why you might be waking with a headache or other muscular pain. Or why you’ve been prescribed a mouthguard. Try to sleep on your side with a pillow to snuggle into.

6. Steer clear of flouride. Yes, you heard right!

If the hardest part of your body decays because of what you eat imagine what’s happening to the rest of your body. While fluoride may make teeth harder, know this:

  • it’s neurotoxic
  • it can affect children’s IQ
  • it can be a problem in young male bone development
  • it’s been linked to bone cancers
  • it affects thyroid function

7. Choose a non-toxic toothpaste.

Be thorough when you choosing a new toothpaste. I always avoid flouride and sodium lauryl sulphate in mine. Try an essential oil blend – they’re good for you and usually have a nice taste.

Dr Ron Ehrlich High res


Dr Ron Ehrlich is based in Sydney and you can contact him at the Sydney Holistic Dental Centre.

He writes and podcasts on a bunch of things wellness. You can listen in on his weekly podcast here.

And why not read his thoughts on Good Medicine or Good Marketing, or Nutritional and Environmental Medicine.



Have your say, leave a comment.

  • B

    I need an awesome general and pedo dentist in Riverside county cal. who is not going to sell me up on un-necessary, costly procedures…Anyone know of any? Oh and they must accept an HMO!!

  • 4Real4Real

    Want really white teeth naturally, use activated charcoal. Awesome, and natural.

  • Lisa

    Hi I’m just wondering if there is a reputable holisitic dentist in Perth? Thanks in advance 🙂

  • Jennifer Moore

    Just looking for some opinions here. I’m 19 and I was born with dentinogenesis imperfecta (like my mom) which causes a lot of health issues with my mouth. I’ve lost four teeth, and have to wear a partial. For a while I didn’t wear it and ended up shifting my teeth (now it looks like I’m missing three instead). One of my molars has been hurting so I previously got it filled to stop the tooth from cracking/pain. It worked for a bit, but now it’s back (small occasional throbbing pains). I got a nightguard to help with the pain/stop grinding my teeth. I’ve worn it a few nights now, and it feels like it’s hitting that molar and making it hurt more. I sleep on my side every night, breath through my nose, and all that other stuff. I don’t want to lose this tooth and it end up costing a fortune for my parents (extraction and new partial being made). Any ideas?

    • Gerry Zurek

      Sleep in the back not the side.

  • Mellisa

    How about a dentist in vancouver

  • Grumpy Old George

    I could not let this pass. Whether people are for or against Flouride, there is NO evidence that it causes Bone cancer and the evidence for increasing the very small risk of Osteosarcoma is debateable at best.
    I am prepared to believe that the Ameican Cancer Society does their homework and that although I am sure your Dr Ehrlich means well , he is misinformed or ill informed. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/athome/water-fluoridation-and-cancer-risk
    Please blog this, in the name of balance, if nothing else.

  • Katie

    Hi Dr Ehrlich, can you recommend a good holistic dentist in Perth? What toothpaste would you recommend to promote remineralisation and help receeding gums? I understand brushing technique is key but I am interested in changing to a natural toothpaste but confused with so called home remedies vs. natural products on the market. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

    • E.

      HI! randomly stumbled on this page but in Perth you can see Dr Karim Azmi @ Lynwood Dental Centre for a holistic approach to dentistry. He is wonderful! Give them a call 08 9451 1749

  • Dentist

    What a bunch of idiotic theories! Scary to think that it came out of a dentist’s mouth!

  • Tara Tompson

    I never heard of taping your mouth. That seems to strange to me. What if you get a stuffed nose in the middle of the night?

    Tara | http://www.directdenturecare.com.au

  • Thank you for the mention Karen much appreciated

  • Yes that’s right at Evolve Dental we follow strict guidelines and protocols for amalgam removal, are fluoride free and TMJ is a pet topic of mine

  • Agreed Ron great nutrition and brushing properly are the keys to good oral health

  • Thanks for clarifying that point. At Evolve we do NOT use fluoride

  • Oil pulling done with organic coconut oil with the correct technique can be quite beneficial – you still need to brush and floss though

  • Nick

    Tape a mouth? Are you sick!?

  • Jonathon

    Any evidence for points 1,2,3,5,6 and 7?

  • J.T.

    Taping your mouth shut is very dangerous, It creates restrictions on your airflow. But what do I know? You Journalists are obviously doctors.

    James T. Carter, M.D., F.C.C.P.
    Board Certified in Pulmonary Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine

  • J.T.

    Taping your mouth shut is very dangerous, It creates restrictions on your airflow. But what do I know? You Journalists are obviously doctors.

    James T. Carter, M.D., F.C.C.P.
    Board Certified in Pulmonary Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine

  • Candice Smith

    This is great! My dentist in Chandler have told me about tip number 3, when I went for a teeth whitening treatment. The other tips, it’s the first time I’m hearing about these.

  • rodney

    to hell with you avoid fluoride….how dare you. I was right with you until you said that and then ALL your credibility was lost. Neurotoxin my eye….please, please pleeeeease read a science book

  • Andy

    Flouride is good for you! USE IT! It helps remineralise teeth, check the science journals

  • Arthur Ellin

    This is hilarious. Best holistic parody I’ve read in a while.

  • Rick

    Dr Lisa is the best.

  • This is going to sound a little silly, but when you say “tape your mouth shut” do you put the tape over your lips?

  • Danielle V.

    If I taped my mouth shut, I’d suffocate. Thankfully, I don’t grind my teeth. My breathing has never been that great and my nose is often plugged up – especially because of allergies.

  • Rose Marie

    2. forget mouthguards: tape your mouth shut at night. serious!

    Well, it would be nice if we could all do #2, but my fiance & I have serious allergies in Adelaide and we are having to undergo allergy shots as a last resort for our suffering these dreadful allergies! We cannot tape our mouths shut! Seriously?!? I guess you haven’t had severe allergies..

  • norie

    I agree. Terrible and hugely expensive treatment at his clinic that I then had to pay again to get remedied. luckily i did find a great holistic dentist, Duncan Copp. saved me!

  • Iluvatar2010

    OK, what’s the problem with sodium lauryl sulphate? No, it is not indicated as a carcinogen. Another urban myth !

  • Rita

    When I Choo I bite my cheeks, I am having work done in my mouth and it though my bite out, it’s a struggle to Choo my food.
    I am afraid to develope jaw pain like some people I know.
    I don’t ware bite plate because they have BPA, and whatch when they say BPA free, what did they replace it with. It’s been possible keeping track of food in general .thanks for your tip, I will try shutting my mouth with tape, or hat ever works.

  • KingKling

    Oh I get it…You’re a fucking moron, bet you argue against vaccination too ya daft twat. Canker sores are cause by a myriad of things from weakened immune system to viral infection to food allergies not eating grains is only an answer for those allergic to it, otherwise just more junk science. Avoiding fluoride in a paste you have no intention of consuming because its toxic is like speaking out against using a hydrogen peroxide gargle for thrush because swallowing it would be poisonous. These misinformed twit MD’s spreading their half baked unscientific hearsay is exactly why these doctors aren’t legally supposed to in most countries. No wonder the US refuses to recognize most foreign degrees as actually viable with us spreading nonsense like this. Australian’s have too easy access to current scientific studies to still be falling for such obvious nonsense but when it comes from a trained professional suddenly its got credence(NO IT DOES NOT).

    • Gerry Zurek

      I am sure when they say don’t eat grains they mean refinded grains. I have eaten barley, oats, buckwheat, wheat and rice a lot. I never have mouth ulcers. But, they are just grains bought packaged without any processing whatsoever. I also wash them before cooking them, too. Refinded grains usually means sugar. Or refinded sugar probably. Of course bad things will happen to u if u eat lots of sugar. Mouth ulcers could be one. Other problems could occur and not the mouth ulcers. Everybody is different. But, nobody’s body likes refinded sugar.

  • Michelle

    How do you tape your mouth shut? Several vertical strips? One horizontal strip?

  • Gerry Zurek

    How do u eat with a bandaid over your mouth???

  • Gerry Zurek

    I get headaches from brushing with fluoride toothpaste. No, I don’t eat it. Not everybody obviously have bodies that are as durable as your’s.