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As someone who studies herbs and traditional medicine, I know that our bodies work optimally when we treat them as a whole. Dysfunction in one system affects the rest of our being. No issue is isolated, and treatment methods absolutely must take that into account. Our society is the same way. We cannot thrive when a part of our community suffers. We are all connected!

This brings me to today’s guest on What’s The Juice, Dr. Mark Burhenne, who often goes by Dr. B. Dr. B is a functional dentist who didn’t stop learning after he graduated from dental school. Instead, he chose to study the root cause of dental issues and get super familiar with one part of the body: The mouth. At the core of his learnings is the fact that the state of our oral microbiome directly affects our overall health


Here’s Dr. B’s bottom line: You can’t be healthy unless you’ve addressed your oral health. 

Dysbiosis (an imbalance of bacteria) in your mouth can lead to dysbiosis in the gut, and as we’ve learned, our gut health affects our entire body. Oral dysbiosis is WAY more common than most people realize and comes with some pretty tell-tale symptoms.

Symptoms of Oral Dysbiosis:

  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Salvia consistency
  • Plaque and tartar 
  • Cavities
  • Systemic disease

For some reason, people seem way more comfortable with the idea that we can have an imbalance of bacteria in our gut than in our mouths. It sounds gross—I get it. But it’s SO important to understand! Not only will taking care of your mouth make your gut healthier, it’ll reduce inflammation throughout your entire body and make your skin clearer as well! I always notice a huge difference in my skin when I’m flossing and oil pulling.


If you read that title and thought “Brush twice a day with toothpaste, floss regularly, and get regular cleanings” you might be both right and wrong. As with most things, the answer to proper oral hygiene lies with our ancestors. 

In a recent study, 10 people were not given access to toothbrushes and floss and fed a paleo diet for four weeks. Even though these people weren’t brushing or flossing, their oral health improved, suggesting a strong connection between diet and the balance of bacteria in our mouths.

Okay, so maybe that doesn’t surprise you… but how about this: Did you know that most oral health products aren’t controlled by the FDA? This includes toothpaste, mouthwash, and other standard oral care products. How crazy is that?? Instead of using these products that may be creating an oral dysbiosis, Dr. B presented some alternatives.


Saliva is something we don’t talk about often, even though it’s such a vital part of our body’s ability to function! 

What saliva does:

  • Protects the teeth, mouth, and mucosa
  • Maintains a balanced pH level
  • Improves speech and digestion
  • Provides the lubrication needed to swallow
  • Protects against ulcerations in the esophagus and stomach
  • Helps remineralize teeth

Needless to say, it’s extremely important to have enough saliva and to have saliva that’s the proper consistency. In this episode, Dr. B gives us practical ways to protect our saliva like breathing through our nose, being more thoughtful about when/how we brush our teeth, the products we use (or don’t use), and when we eat.

Dr. B’s recommended oral care routine:

  • Oil pull for a few minutes about once a month.
  • Flossing once daily.
  • Brush with a hydroxyapatite toothpaste at least twice daily.
  • Tongue scrape each time you brush.

I totally understand that oral care can be a difficult subject for some people. Many of us have experienced traumatic dentist appointments that caused pain and fear, and I want to say that I SEE YOU. Please listen in because we also wrap up this episode with some helpful tips for people who feel anxious about seeing the dentist. 

If your resistance to seeing a dentist is born out of shame, Dr. B closes with some reassuring words…

“In every case, it was never as bad as they thought it was.”

Thanks for tuning in, seeing the bigger picture, and—of course—staying juicy!



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