Everything in human in our human life has a lifecycle and that’s related to your mouth. If you’ve been following me, you know, I feel it all starts in your mouth.
So that’s why I’m so excited to interview Dr. Hoss. Today he is with the Super dentist in San Diego a large pediatric orthodontic parent dentistry practice. He has a book if your mouth could talk. Dr. Hoss is connecting the dots much like I am so I’m excited to be connected with him.
We talk about whole-body health and how the medical and dental fields really should be joined together to treat the whole body in a holistic approach. This is what I’ve been experiencing over the last year and I think that it’s really important.
Dr. Hoss is kind of a renaissance man. He is a composer, a musician, an orthodontist, and an entrepreneur and he has a mission to help kids, much like mine to reduce the number of kids that have cavities. I think that that’s absolutely possible. It’s the number one preventable childhood disease. He’s a superhero and a super dentist.
1. Why should people care about their health or put their mouth a priority?
Great question. I think, unfortunately, because the way our schools are currently established or dental schools are separate and medical schools, and the way the mouth is treated like I’m a dentist, I can say it.
The way we treat our mouth and the teeth are so archaic, we dig out cavities and we fill them, and then we scrape up plaque and that’s all we do. The mouth is part of the body because that’s how we’re taught in dental school. And of course, people have over the last 200 years since dental schools were established this way and forgotten that your mouth is connected to the body and everything that happens in your mouth, impacts your body in really dramatic ways. We don’t even collaborate with other professionals unless there is a bigger issue with a patient.
Your mouth impacts your health, the quality of your life, your longevity, your mental health, your physical health, and health a pregnancy is connected to chronic disease is connected to how you do in school. Literally, there’s nothing that happens in your life that separates that doesn’t go back to your mouth. So as an oral health professional, I’m just so excited to be in a position where I can help people in all these other areas, as well as just fixing cavities and getting their teeth straightened.
In fact, I start my book with this sentence. This book is not about brushing and flossing. Because I’m like, I think that’s all people hear. You know, they think your mouth is just about brushing and flossing, just like you said, it’s so much more than that. And I assume people are going to know that you need to brush and floss but I didn’t want to mention that in my book because I felt like that was gonna be a waste of space.
But kidding aside! There are so many risk factors that we need to be aware of to make sure mounts are healthy. pH for example. I think people really don’t understand that our mouths, like pH is a huge risk factor. If in fact, your pH is balanced. It’s you know neutral or alkaline. You can’t get a cavity from where your mouth is acidic, right? I think people will learn just those few things that they need to know if you’re taking care of your mouth is not very complicated. You know you can spend maybe five minutes six minutes a day you can have a really healthy mouth and go to a couple of times a year to your dentist.
They’re these other key things. In my book. I literally start with a healthy pregnancy because I feel like your oral health starts with your parent’s oral health, because not only impacts the health of pregnancy itself but then as you know, the moms and the dads oral microbiome can be passed on to the baby so it really seeds it starts the oral health process either in the right direction or the wrong direction from day one right and then as the baby gets older, you know how you know even all the other caregivers, you know, their oral health is impacted because, you know, again, the baby’s born microbiome is maturing this first two or three years. So that timeline is incredibly critical. And then when the baby goes to the oral development so your oral health I look at it from two perspectives from a microbial perspective, but also from its oral development, like the growth and development of the mouth as an orthodontist.
Obviously, that’s an area of my expertise. So, for example, a lot of people just connect orthodontics to just crooked teeth, but if your mouth is not growing correctly, the baby’s mouth is not growing correctly. It can impact the airway, which impacts your oxygen intake, which can impact every cell in your body, especially those first few years. As you may know, your baby’s brain is at 25% of its size at birth, and he is exposed to 90% of its size by age five. So there are five years of oxygen, airway, and oxygen intake when they’re not sleeping, but especially when they’re sleeping is so critical. So if the mouth is not growing, it can impact their development in an intellectual way and physical way. When kids get older they go to school, the number one reason kids get bullied is about their teeth. Kids with oral health problems are three times more likely to miss school, and four times more likely to get below-average GPAs. You know, so and so it really impacts all these things. I think my job and your job areas a health professional is to educate the public that your mouth is a lot more than cavities and crooked teeth. And it’s it really impacts all areas of your life and the areas of your children’s life. And why spend a little bit of you know, attention to it and learning about it. You could set your children on a path to quality of life and success.
2. How early do you start seeing kids in your practice?
I’m really lucky because we have a group practice with world-class pediatric dentists, orthodontists, general dentists, hygienists, and other specialists so we address issues as they come. We always recommend not only me, but the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry also recommends that every child sees a pediatric dentist. If right when the babies are coming in, which is usually about six months of age. Now if you want my opinion, that’s the latest you should see a pediatric dentist.
Because as I said, your oral health with the mom and dad’s Oral Health Impact literally everything from fertility, so that could impact actually and the health of the pregnancy both for both the mom and the fetus. So I would recommend really anytime you’re thinking about having a baby, establish their own home, make sure you have a pediatric dentist make sure you as a mom and a dad you have a dentist yourself. Your mouths are healthy in three areas from the airway, your teeth, and your dogs to make sure we help them out. And then of course as soon as you have your baby. If there’s any particular issue like this, if the baby has any breastfeeding issues, people usually don’t relate that to oral health. But you could give an example. The baby could have a tongue-tied. The current literature says up to 10% of kids have a tongue-tied but in my own experience that’s probably closer to about 30% of kids. I think they just get underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed. And if you haven’t if a baby has a tongue tie, which is so easily fixed when they’re infants it takes a few seconds for us to fix it. But if it’s not fixed, it can interfere with everything from breastfeeding to the airway to sleep. If the tongue doesn’t rest against the palate correctly the pack palate doesn’t develop correctly.
It completed the whole growth of the face and the mouth and the airway changes because of the wonderful precision that couldn’t be done at birth. We like to see really kids as young as possible. And then we monitor I mean, we see him every three, six months, and hopefully, nothing will come up and you know, then we’re just monitoring them and you know if they’re little recommendations about tips on brushing and flossing, and when do you use toothpaste on a baby? And what type of toothpaste is fluoride safe or not safe? These are the things that instead of googling it and getting all the wrong information internet, you know, you can trust our specialists or pediatric dentists at all they do or no as like oral habits as we work with Myofunctional Therapist hand in hand because we think oral habits are you know, they need to address again as early as possible. For example, as you know, if example, a tongue-tied if it’s not released, these go hand in hand with speech therapy and other therapies because the tongue doesn’t just rest normally back to doesn’t find its normal place when it’s been out of place for so long. So we want to address these problems as early as possible. And has collaborated with all these different specialists we can address those things with the right person at the right time.
I’m a general dentist first before I become a specialist. I can probably speak about general dentists. So they’re not specialists in kids, right? And they know how to do how to make a crown a lot better than I know how to make a crown and do root canals a lot better than I would do anything. But they don’t know orthodontics the way I do it right because that’s all I do. I’ve gone to a specialty that’s all I do in my practice. the pediatric dentist is the same thing. pediatric dentists are all general dentists first. They go to two years at least more of residency and that’s all they do. So not only they’re more experts on children, but their staff is more experts on children, their offices are designed for children, their tools are all small there because another thing that’s so critical 30 to 40 million Americans have dental phobia they avoid the dentist after about a third of the population when do you think those negative associations are formed? So it’s not just the physical things that we know of pediatric dentists about what to do with a pediatric child and what age do we need to do X, Y, and Z? It’s about providing an environment so they build positive associations with their oral care. So they grew up loving their mouth and loving their teeth and love and few having fewer problems. So again, that adds to having a positive association with the ordeal. So then, we basically raised a generation of people who are not going to have a fear of the dentist and are going to have a fear of taking care of them out. And we’re going to have a healthier generation and the next generation and so on and so on.
Absolutely. And I think that that’s really important because what you put in and how you take care of yourself actually affects three to seven generations out. So we have to start now in this generation so that way our generations, our kids or grandkids are going to be healthier as well.
In fact, in my office, I’m sure you see the same thing. It’s very common for people to say, I hear this all the time. Hey, look at us. I have bad teeth just because my parents had bad teeth right? But I want to tell the audience that first of all, only 10% of dental problems are genetic. 90% is our own fault. Having said that, as parents were just like you very well said what we do epigenetically affects the genes that we’re actually passing on to our children and grandchildren. So it’s not just the DNA that we’re born with or behavior or habits diet that we have how we take care of our mouth. We can actually pass that information epigenetically toward children and grandchildren. So if getting you’re getting yourself into a good healthy lifestyle is difficult for you think about what you’re doing is actually impacting your children. I think that’s usually a good way of getting people incentivized to take care of themselves even better.
Your mouth, as they say, it’s the gateway to your body. Just think about it for a minute. Nearly everything that enters your body goes to your mouth, from air to bacteria, to viruses, to food to toxins. So either you have a healthy mouth, and it makes sure that you get the healthy stuff in your body, an unhealthy mouth that makes that it passes on the unhealthy stuff. I’ll give you an example. If you know our mouths or bodies, we have more microbes in our bodies than now we have human cells. We know that now, of course, we’ve known that for over a decade, somewhere between three to 10 times more bacteria in our body than we have human cells. And so and in our mouth, we have billions of microbes. When you have a and because I’ve had a lot of people so what determines I don’t understand what happens up here in my mouth. What does that have to do with my heart or the unborn bear baby or you know, my brain and my lung health? And I always have to remind them that you know these microbes in your mouth. When you have bleeding gums, there are two ways that your mouth the health of the mouth form, and microbial perspective can impact your body one is actually the bacterial toxins they can get into the bloodstream through the bleeding gums or open root canals. And then they can of course where’s the blood go everywhere, right you can travel anywhere in the body and cause a local infection or inflammatory response or the inflammation in the mouth can cause systemic inflammation that can cause you to damage organs. So there are many ways that the health of your mouth can dramatically impact every organ from your heart, your lungs, to your brain, you know, it’s your oral health is linked to cardiovascular disease to Alzheimer’s to arthritis to amino to healthy pregnancy too I mean, there’s nothing that I every day we know there’s more another study that shows another connection. So there’s probably connected to many other things that we just don’t even know yet. But it’s coming
Food is changed dramatically because of the agricultural revolution. And as the food has changed, and we eat just for carbs, and more starch, the bacteria in our body have also evolved. Right? And they’ve actually SP is, as you know, are one of the common bacteria for cavities and they’ve actually followed its evolution, the DNA evolution of it, you know, over the last 10,000 years or 11,000 years when the agricultural revolution started, and they literally have seen that we’ve created a monster we’ve created a bacteria that’s very different than used to be 10,000 years ago, so you can survive the acidic part of the mouth a lot better and can cause a lot more damage than it used to. And that’s why we need to take care of our mouths. You know, as you mentioned, when price did his studies back then as you said, people were not brushing and flossing and they still had healthy amounts. Because the food was healthy. It was all-natural. It was original source. They were naturally getting their teeth you know the nutrients that it needed because I think another misconception is people think your cavities are very simply about sugar and not brushing your teeth. But there are a lot of other factors just the food itself. It’s not just what’s in the food that’s bad as the sugar but what’s missing from our foods these days, which wasn’t missing 10,000 years ago, which is these vitamins and nutrients and minerals that our mouths need for healthy development and which we don’t have. So we need to get that in our bodies somewhere either through oral care products or supplements or really healthy foods.
3. What action steps do you think that parents should take especially like if they’re struggling to get their kids to brush their teeth?
I tell them to give them grace. What would you recommend if someone was struggling to get their kids to brush I recommend they need to use oral care products that are super S U P E R,
S is for Safe Products need to be incredibly safe. Obviously, it goes without saying but as you know, unfortunately, many of the conventional even natural products quote-unquote, that says natural on the tube. They have so many either less than safe ingredients or downright toxic ingredients in them. So and we need to educate the public, you know, my job and your job, what we’re trying to do as professionals. We’re trying to educate people how to read these labels, you know, I think people are starting to learn how to read food labels, but they don’t know what’s in toothpaste or mouthwash or this you know, and so safety you know as safe they need to be safe obviously.
U is for Unified They need to be unified because they need to work together as a system. People who take a mouth rinse mouthwash that says it kills 99.9% of the germs on the bottle. And on the other hand, they take probiotics and so they take the most potent antibiotic there is and then they take probiotics, and then I actually brought it to their attention. This just happened literally two weeks ago. And I said you know that you’re taking this thing is killing 99.9% of your microbes as advertised on the bottle, and this one you’re adding more bacteria. I just saw the two ads and I thought I should probably do both right.
P is for playfulness Because of all these negative associations to oral care. We want to make things fun, at my practice a super dentist. We have superheroes and villains and we make movies and we make augmented reality and we have I mean we have our own music and children’s book and theming and games. And toys and you know it just I’m not exaggerating when I asked my parents how did you why did you pick our practice? They say my kids begged me to come here. I mean what kid bags apparently go to the dentist but that’s what we’re here. So that’s P’s playfulness
E is effective None of this stuff matters. If oral care products are not Effective. Another thing I see. For example, I think a lot of people say okay, I’ve heard fluoride potentially is toxic. I have I think fluoride has positive and negative things and we can discuss that at some point if you want, but let’s just say you’re in the camp of non-fluoride, So you go to the supermarket. You say okay, I’m in the camp of nonpolar I’m going to get something that says natural on it and I don’t care what else is in there. Does it work? I don’t know. Does what so they maybe get something that’s filled with essential oils that’s really an antibiotic. You know, some of the essential oils like peppermint oil and olive oil. So that’s the effectiveness. What am I giving? Is it preventing cavities, preventing gum disease? Is it providing nutrients and supplements to the oral areas? And obviously, your mouth is more than just teeth. What else does my mouth need to grow healthy to protect itself against damage.
R is for Reputable Your oral information needs to come from experts like you and me. Or your pediatric dentists, your hygienists, your own dentist, not from Google or social media. Or what influencer whatever whoever doesn’t know they know little to no information about dentistry, but just because the latest trend, so and I can get it because there’s so much misinformation that I think people just give up some time and say you know what, I’m just gonna Google it and whatever as Amazon on sale, whatever product has the boldest claim on it or my son or daughter likes the flavor. They just mix this uses on these factors based versus basing it on science and facts and, and quality and clinical research. The reason I read I wrote it is because after 25 years old people asked me similar questions like you are, but I didn’t have the time to sit down for you know and explain it to them. I’m like, this is just not fair that all of this information is in my head. I need to put it somewhere and because there’s just so much scattered information out there I thought I should put it all in one place as a good resource for parents to look at and other professionals hopefully to also use it as a reference for themselves as well.
4. What does sleep have to do with oral health?
99% of experts, and dental dentists, don’t really connect oral health to sleep or to airways because that’s not how they were trained in school. I actually have a full chapter in my book just on oral health and airway and sleep. Because this is such an important thing. It’s actually my longest chapter in the book. And so, as you very well said, your mouth so because I think that mistake that people think is you think of the mouth as just your teeth, this little area that your teeth out and they also think of the teeth are just like the dead objects and just to polish it from the outside by the toothbrush and have the dentist polish it even better twice a year. But your mouth, your maxilla your upper jaw. It’s the bone that goes all the way under your eyes, It forms half of your cheekbones, it supports your airway and nose and then your lower jaw is the rest of your lower face. So other than really your eyes and your forehead, the rest of your face is your ears, your mouth.
Your palate is the roof of your mouth, but it’s also the floor of your nose. So if you have a mouse that’s small, you have a crossbody is crowding, you should automatically think this child probably has airway issues. It’s like having a duplex right you can have a lower level that’s smaller, but the upper level is bigger. They all move together. And so we as that’s another reason why I love working in my practice because we have a group practice again, it’s a little bit more challenging when you have individual doctors then you have to send this trial out to this specialist and that specialist but in a group setting it’s a little bit easier but that can be done. But what I love is we could get involved very early like let’s just kind of go through a scenario. When a baby’s born.
First of all, if they’re having a preterm birth, their mouth could be underdeveloped and one of the causes of preterm birth or low birth weight is unhealthy pregnancy. Due to mom’s oral health, oral from both perspective that microbial perspective and airway. It’s a mom could have sleep apnea herself, and that obviously can interfere with the development of the fetus, or she could have microbial in a healthy mouth, which could cause you to know everything from diabetes during pregnancy or preeclampsia, which is a fairly dangerous pregnancy complication. But let’s just say the baby’s born and they have a tongue tie as we mentioned earlier, well, if you don’t fix the tongue tight, then that mouth is just not going to grow correctly because the tongue is not going to be seated correctly. The baby may not be able to get breastfed correctly.
Introducing the bottle and pacifier and or the baby could be thumb sucking and all these other factors could impact the growth of the mouth. When the mouse is not growing correctly. The baby may be breathing through the mouth versus the nose. Mouth breathing can again interfere with the growth of the mouth in a correct way. Everybody needs to be breathing through the nose all the time, except if you’re congested temporarily with sickness, or as you’re exercising hard but all the other times you can you should not be breathing with your mouth. So if you see your baby or child reading to their mouth either during sleep or when they’re watching TV, when they’re studying or they’re just in the car, there’s a problem. You need to fix it immediately breathing. It’s nothing you want to wait around because it impacts oxygen intake which impacts the intellectual and physical development of that chart.
5. What do we can fix you know the oral habits?
Myofunctional therapist for thumb sucking. How do we get rid of the pacifier? If on the bottle a pediatric dentist will monitor the growth and development and make sure that the mouth is growing correctly. We obviously want to if there’s a tongue-tied refer or other issues that interfere with breastfeeding, we want to reduce it because and I know breastfeeding is not for everybody there carpet is a complicated decision. Some people can’t do it. There are many other things you can do to make sure that your child is has a healthy mouth but I do if you ask me I would say yes, I would definitely recommend breastfeeding because it’s a natural way of doing so many things that mount a baby breezed through and this brain learns to breathe through the nose. The muscles of the face are going to grow better. The milk itself is perfect for that baby specifically. It has all the nutrients it has the prebiotics that the microbes need. They’re all reasons. Again, I’ve discussed that several pages in the book but then as the child gets older, let’s just say you have a crossbite and the orthodontist gets involved. We expand the upper jaw and fixing across but it’s not just to get the bite fix which is a greatly important thing because we can only do it before the jaw fuses which starts around age eight.
Another reason why we don’t want to wait until the kids are about 12 years old. But what expands the upper jaw will fix the bite will get the airway better correct the airway in the nasal airways without changing the shape of the nose. You get better airways just breathing through bigger straws, that in smaller straws. It’ll make the smile broader and nicer, more attractive. It’ll reduce the likelihood of pulling from an antique later, maybe either eliminate the need for braces or at least reduce the likelihood or reduce the time and complexity of it. And then as the child gets older, we can you know bring the lower jaw forward and create more space for the tongue. So as you can see, depending on the age, then all experts with different specialties can step in and provide care as needed. Depending on what the need is, if you’re if you do everything correctly, maybe you never need braces.
In an ideal world. I can tell you I have unfortunately I’ll admit to it. When I was a kid I had a ton of cavities. And I had you know braces twice. At least three to four years when I was a kid I had all my teeth pulled my bicuspid there later my wisdom teeth and then I had it again like two years in my residence so my mouth is a mess or was a mess when I was a kid my nine-year-old has zero cavities. His body’s perfect his space for his teeth is perfect. And it’s not by accident. And by the way, he’s a kid who has a sweet tooth. He is not like is a kid he’s a kid still. He just happened to have a pediatric dentist mom and an orthodontist so we’ve followed a few steps that you know that it’s very easy to follow you know from day one, and then you know a few things about how to take care of your mouth and how to clean your mouth.
Make sure you brush your teeth before breakfast, not after breakfast. You don’t want to damage your enamel these little things, you know, maybe add some nanohydroxyapatite in the toothpaste. Just these little things that we’ve done over the years and he has a healthy mouth and all everybody can have the same thing and hopefully the next generation of people who grew up without cavities.