Dr David Cowhig – Oral FITNESS

Holistic dentist, colleague and friend, Dr David Cowhig joins me to discuss holistic dentistry and his model called Oral FITNESS. Oral health is integral to our general health, yet something that is often forgotten about or neglected. Through his model, David explains the impact of oral health and the approach of a holistic dentist.

Dr David Cowhig – Oral FITNESS Introduction

It’s time for another dental checkup and this week my guest is holistic dentist, colleague and friend, Dr David Cowhig, originally from the UK, but for the last 20 years or so, residing in Brisbane, Australia.

David has a great acronym to explain what holistic dentistry is all about and some of the things to consider when it comes to your oral health. David calls it Oral FITNESS, F-I-T-N-E-S-S. I’ll let him explain it.

When I first heard this, I loved it. I thought it was terrific. I wanted to share it with you and as I said, I’m going to let him explain what oral fitness stands for. I hope you enjoy this conversation I had with Dr David Cowhig.

Podcast Transcript

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Hello and welcome to Unstress. I’m Dr Ron Ehrlich. It’s time for another dental checkup and this week my guest is a holistic dentist, colleague and friend, Dr David Cowhig, originally from the UK, but for the last 20 years or so, residing in Brisbane, Australia.

David has a great acronym to explain what holistic dentistry is all about and some of the things to consider when it comes to your oral health. David calls it Oral FITNESS, F-I-T-N-E-S-S. I’ll let him explain it.

When I first heard this, I loved it. I thought it was terrific. I wanted to share it with you and as I said, I’m going to let him explain what oral fitness stands for. I hope you enjoy this conversation I had with Dr David Cowhig. Welcome to the show, David.

Dr David Cowhig: Hello Ron. Good to be on the show.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Thanks, David. David, you are a holistic dentist just like me. I’m just interested today because it wasn’t part of our training. Firstly, how do you describe a holistic dentist and how did you get there?

Dr David Cowhig: I think a holistic dentist accepts the fact that the health of your mouth has an impact on the health of the body and vice versa. There’s a link between a lot of chronic diseases and dental health. As holistic dentists, we take it very seriously. We try to create a safer, healthy, beautiful smile. For about 20 years I’ve been a holistic dentist. It’s been a journey of continual learning and it continues to be a journey of learning, which is the most exciting thing about this aspect of dentistry.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: You’ve been in practice now for how long?

Dr David Cowhig: This December is my 30th year of being a dentist.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: So the first 10 years were… Listen, we both know and maybe not everybody does, but it’s pretty intense being a dentist and very focused in the mouth, and very finicky kind of work. It’s pretty easy to get lost in that and forget, isn’t it, that those things are much bigger than what we see. What was the change for you?

Dr David Cowhig: I was working in England and I had the opportunity to work in one of the holistic dentists in a small town called [Crowbra 00:02:41] in the top of the South Downs. That opened my eyes to the nutritional aspect that was incorporating when an amalgam was being removed, for example.

It was just at the time I was leaving England to move to Australia with my wife and young son. I was able to do a fellowship in nutritional and environmental medicine with ACNEM within the first year of arriving here.

I was also buying a practice at the same time and I decided I’d start, from day one, incorporating these aspects into the way that I treated patients and I’ve gone from there. Every year there’s something new to learn, whether it be epigenetics, airways, sleep or a whole range of things that are all incorporated in what we do.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Yeah. The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know. Although there’s a certain comfort in thinking that you know everything.

Dr David Cowhig: Yes. Look, I wouldn’t say-

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Not that you do. I’m not saying you do. I think you’ve identified that learning is an ongoing experience. But, I know in a lot of practitioners, particularly in the health area and probably just as many dentists as doctors, there’s some comfort in thinking that you’ve got all the answers, isn’t there? And if you don’t, they’re not worth knowing.

Dr David Cowhig: Look, it’s almost a protection so that you can control what you know, what you do and then any variations of that. I think the personalities that do dentistry, and medicine as well, like to know what they’re doing and not go beyond those parameters. Whereas life isn’t like that and neither is dentistry, and neither is medicine. There’s a whole range of aspects that need to be looked at with what we’ve learned.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Which brings me to the wonderful model that you had presented to me because we are… You mentioned the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine. I’m very connected with that college and we’re preparing an Oral Health User and Practitioners Guide Course.

You shared with me this wonderful model. I’ve been doing dentistry now for almost 40 years and I thought it was great. It’s called Oral FITNESS, F-I-T-N-E-S-S, and it’s an acronym. I thought we would just walk our listener through because one thing we do know for sure is our listener has a mouth and the fact that they’re listening to this podcast means they’re probably interested in their health.

This is a great way of connecting the two. I wondered whether we might just go through this, letter by letter. Let’s start with the letter F. What does F stand for?

Dr David Cowhig: First of all, all of our patients come to us and they want to feel better. They want to feel well and they want to have optimal health for longevity. When they come to a holistic dentist, they expect that dentist to understand that that’s their direction, that’s their goal. They don’t want complications or anything in the mouth affecting their health.

The whole combination of what we do, I found this acronym very useful because, first of all, the F for function also stands for flora as well. The function of our jaw we take for granted when we smile, when we eat, when we chew. We just expect everything to be working properly. But when things go wrong and maybe you have teeth missing or maybe you have headaches or TMJ issues-

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Hang on. For our listener, temporomandibular, TMJ. Please explain. That’s okay. We’ll move on.

Dr David Cowhig: If you’re getting pain in your jaw joint it can be debilitating and it can be miserable. So we must understand and try and optimize the function of the jaw so that you can eat the foods that you want without sensitivity, without pain. By using modern dentistry we’re able to, hopefully, most cases, actually optimize that.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Yeah. I think people do tend to forget that it’s the first part of the digestive system. It’s like getting a sharp knife to cut through food. A blunt knife doesn’t do the job very well. What we’re trying to do is break down food. The flora’s an interesting one. You mentioned the flora and we’re [crosstalk 00:07:45]… Tell us about that.

Dr David Cowhig: The oral microbiome is the bacteria that reside in the mouth and there’s a whole combination of risk factors in the mouth dependent on the pH of your saliva. If your saliva is more acidic then the balance can get out of balance. This flora in your mouth is originated even from when you’re developing in your mother’s womb. You’re being exposed to the bacteria from her mouth as you’re developing.

That’s the first area where your body is exposed to this oral microbiome. Then as you grow and get exposed to different bacteria your mouth develops a balance that’s either out of balance or influenced by a whole range of different aspects or in balance where you don’t have a risk of tooth decay. You don’t have a risk of gum disease. You have good saliva flow and you don’t have many dental problems.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Yeah, it’s interesting, isn’t it? We’ve taken a very adversarial approach to bacteria in our world. Not just in our mouths but on our bodies, in our bodies. Antibiotics, antibacterials, keeping everything 100% clean. In nature also we’ve taken a pretty adversarial approach to bacteria, but we’re learning that it’s more about living with them in balance, isn’t it?

Dr David Cowhig: Definitely. Yes.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Which leads us to the next one because when the flora goes out of balance, we get into the letter I.

Dr David Cowhig: Yes.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Do you want to share with our listener the I?

Dr David Cowhig: Yes. I is for inflammation or infection. That does start with the flora in the mouth, the microbiome. If it’s out of balance or if it’s not maintained through oral hygiene, then the risks that your gums start bleeding or when you brush your teeth, you’re spitting a little bit of blood in the sink because you’ve got gingivitis, which is the early signs of gum disease.

It’s a preventable condition but once it’s allowed to continue it then can lead to periodontal disease where you start getting breakdown of the tissues, breakdown of the bone and the support around the teeth and it’s a chronic illness that can have challenging effects on a whole range of systemic illnesses.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: I don’t know whether you saw in August 2019. Just recently, the New Scientist did a whole… It was a front-page story. Does this one organism cause heart disease, cancer, dementia, osteoporosis, low birth weight in children? Does this one organism cause those problems? That one organism was…

Dr David Cowhig: Porphyromonas gingivalis.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Porphyromonas gingivalis. It’s making the link between gum disease and systemic health. Not just making it between two holistic dentists that happened to be chatting on a podcast, but making it to the broader world because it’s a fact. It’s what’s going on. Although, I do doubt whether just one organism is implicated alone. It’s a more complex thing than that but the connection is there.

Dr David Cowhig: Yes. I think these studies identify one and confirm the presence of them, which is quite alarming. But it just reassures us that we’re in the right profession and the right part of the profession to be able to help and ideally educate the public in these risk factors that make it so important to visit a dentist.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: David, I think when you go back 20 years to when you started in this… What is that? 1999. In 1996, there was a very important journal came out in the Journal of Periodontics, which connected all of those diseases to periodontal disease. And it was a real breakthrough moment in dentistry because anybody reading the literature, whether they call themselves a holistic dentist or not, would have to acknowledge that connection.

Dr David Cowhig: Definitely. Yes.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: What about T?

Dr David Cowhig: Yes.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: F-I-T.

Dr David Cowhig: Sorry, I didn’t catch that.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: In the acronym, F-I-T.

Dr David Cowhig: Yes. The inflammation and the infection go on and it talks about infected teeth as well and the effects that they can have. Also wisdom teeth and infected wisdom teeth. It’s not just gum disease, but infected teeth. Just general infections in the mouth.

The T stands for toxicity. The majority of Australians have got a lot of mercury amalgam fillings in their mouth. They may have gold fillings or gold crowns. So they’ve got a combination of metals in their mouth. The mercury amalgam fillings have been shown to release mercury that then is a neurotoxin.

It’s certainly something that, again, as a profession, it’s not talked about a lot. It’s not talked about as much as it should be, but now we’re starting to appreciate the risk factors and the ways that dentists can work safely so that when we’re removing these amalgam fillings, we’re using what’s called a Smart Protocol. A safe mercury amalgam removal technique, so that we’re protecting the patient, we’re protecting the dentist and the dental staff, and we’re also protecting the environment as well.

That’s just one of the aspects that the world is starting to notice and starting to take charge. I see that Ireland, I think just last week, agreed to withdraw the use of amalgam in dentistry.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Yeah. In this day and age, it defies logic, doesn’t it? Because we know from an environmental perspective that if a dentist says, “No, it’s fine. Don’t worry. We can use it…” I always say to them, “Okay, you can use it and if you’ve got a little bit leftover, you haven’t used all of it on a patient, what do you do with the scraps? What do you do with the little bit of mercury amalgam leftover? Of course, it’s a rhetorical question because we know what you do with it, don’t you?

Dr David Cowhig: Yeah.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: For the listener, what we do with it is we… It’s illegal to put it in the garbage, the toilet or down the sink. It has to be disposed of as toxic waste. So that does defy logic for me and that people often say, what about the new materials? What are they like?” How would you respond to that David?

Dr David Cowhig: I think there is a variation in resin materials and ceramic materials. There has been some question mark over the estrogen-mimicking effects of some of the Bis-GMA resin fillings, which we avoid in our practice. It comes back to the learning curve of there are a whole range of risk factors in dentistry that we’re trying to minimize and we’re trying to do everything as safely as possible. But sometimes we don’t have all the answers.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: No, we don’t. I think, while this isn’t the best measure of safe material, one thing you can say, at least about composite resin, is that you can legally put it in the garbage.

Dr David Cowhig: Yes.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: So one could argue about… I always think that the answer to that is that the best filling material of all is natural tooth and everything else is a compromise. It’s just a question of how much of a compromise. So if you want to know whether your filling material is okay or not, why don’t you find firstly whether it can be thrown in the garbage because you can’t do that with mercury amalgam.

Anyway, that’s the toxicity. It’s a challenge. It’s not easy. Dentistry… I don’t know whether you know this, David, there was this US Department of Labor study, which looked at 950 jobs in America and determined, which was the worst for people’s health. Have you read this study?

Dr David Cowhig: Yes [inaudible 00:16:50] I think.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Yeah, we talked about it a few months ago. What it found was that of all the professions, and there are some pretty dangerous, toxic professions, numbers one, two and three, the three worst, would dental nurse, dentists and dental hygienist. A sobering thought when we’re talking about toxicity?

Dr David Cowhig: Yes. The United Nations Environmental Protection Agency has worked hard to get what’s called the Minamata Treaty signed by, I think, over 140 countries. That’s just going to be ratified this year. So I think there’s hopefully going to be some changes in Australia and America as well to not just phase down the use of mercury in dentistry but to phase it out.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I guess the takeaway messages you mentioned there was to be very careful how it’s removed.

Dr David Cowhig: Yes.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Which brings us to the N in your fitness model. Tell us about it.

Dr David Cowhig: Yes. The N is for nutrition, which applies to anyone in the dental field as well as anyone in the general public. As you said, we’re a risk factor for heavy metal toxicity in our profession. So it’s important that everyone in the dental profession looks after their health and has good nutrition. But everyone in the community, nutrition is a key factor from even before birth in preconception care and then birth.

The nutrition your baby has an influence on how their jaw develops and then how their breathing apparatus develops, which then how their teeth align. So it goes on from a young age, making sure that everyone is eating the ideal foods. There are so many different diets out there at the moment, but making sure you’re getting all of the essential fatty acids, all of the good protein source, good healthy carbohydrates and minimally processed food.

It’s an ideal diet to allow the development of your jaw and, and to protect your mouth from the risk factors of tooth decay, gum disease, inflammation and all the other things. So nutrition is a real key factor.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: It’s interesting, David, isn’t it, that the focus has been on sugar in the last few years. Fat has lowered its demonization. Fat, it’s still being demonized but not as much as it was. Now, sugar is being demonized and I think quite rightly. The dental profession’s been talking about that for the last 60 years.

Dr David Cowhig: Yes.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: The aspect that you mentioned there about jaw development is one that a lot of people don’t fully appreciate because… This leads us to the next one, doesn’t it? The next letter in your acronym, which is E. We can connect this N and E. What is the E stand for?

Dr David Cowhig: Although it doesn’t sound like it’s dentistry, it stands for ENT, the ear, nose and throat profession. The importance of the ability to breathe through your nose has a massive impact on the dental health and your oral health. Again, this goes back to the development of the jaw. If you have issues with tonsil issues or adenoid issues as a young child, you develop a mouth, breathing habit rather than a nasal breathing habit.

Which then throws your whole nervous system and puts your body under stress. It also creates a higher risk for getting tooth decay, higher risk for getting gum disease as well, if it’s not changed. So it has a big effect. Working with an ear, nose, and throat specialist who recognizes the dental implications, I think is a key factor. That’s where maybe educating the medical profession in that aspect as well, I think, is going to be a big benefit with the training we’re designing.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Definitely. I think that’s right. The point that you made in the nutrition one is one that’s easy to miss that one because of people… We’ve talked about this before, David. We’ve evolved over millions of years to have 32 teeth. And I’ve asked you this, we talked about it before the show. How many people do you see every year, or even every day, with all 32 teeth [inaudible 00:21:54] in their mouth, functional and well-aligned? How many people would you see that are like that?

Dr David Cowhig: I’d say maybe once a year.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: One a year. Wow!

Dr David Cowhig: Yeah.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Yeah, I know. It’s incredible, isn’t it? If we didn’t have enough room for all five fingers on our hands, I doubt whether we’d be quite as blasé about it. But we’ve come to accept it. You made that point about a nutrients dense diet from the moment of conception is a big factor in that, isn’t it?

Dr David Cowhig: Yes. That is something that I can’t say that I talk about a lot, but it is an aspect that if somebody is planning to start a family, then they need to focus on nutrition to optimize their family.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Which leads to the next letter. There’s a nice flow to this because of the nutrition affects the development of the jaw, which affects ear, nose and throat issues, which then goes on to effect… What does the first S stand for?

Dr David Cowhig: It stands for sleep. A lot of people are walking around having no good quality sleep and thinking there’s nothing that can be done about it and it’s just normal. But sleep is such a key factor in being able to recover, heal and to be able to get to a deep level of sleep so that your body can detox, your body can recover. You need to be ideally breathing through your nose.

If you’re breathing through your mouth, then you’re more likely to be awoken in the night having to go to the bathroom. Your whole nervous system is being turned on instead of being wound down and turned off, which also leads to a lot of mouth breathing and snoring, which then leads to risks of gum problems, gum disease, clenching of your teeth, breaking teeth, and the risk of root canal treatment because the tooth broken. It just keeps going on and on. The risk factors when that sleep is not calm, healing sleep.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: You mentioned people think it’s normal. We could go back to F for function and chewing. Dentists think about how you chew your food, but when ordinary people put stuff in their mouth, they don’t often give a lot of thought to it. People just wolf food down because their jaw function or their occlusion isn’t the way the teeth fit together isn’t right. That’s normal for them. People go to sleep and they sleep not so well and they think that’s normal for them. I think it’s a really important point, isn’t it, in this whole wellness journey to take a step back from what you are considering to be normal and reassess because it may not be.

Dr David Cowhig: Absolutely. I think if you’re waking with neck tension or potentially headache, your mouth is dry and stale and you feel like you need another six hours sleep even though you’ve slept eight, then there’s a problem going on while you sleep and it needs to be taken seriously.

Sleep apnea is a factor that it’s having a major detriment to your whole body health and that’s the extreme. But as dentists, we’re able to see these signs in the mouth and then point people in the right direction to either get fully assessed with a medical practitioner or do some simple techniques, that I know you talk about as well, to optimize nasal breathing and reduce the risk of dental problems.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: You are referring of course to the use of micropore tape on the mouth at night. It’s so interesting. The last time I mentioned this I got a letter from the Australian Sleep Foundation telling me that I should never talk about this use of micropore tape. There’s no evidence to support it and I had to forward them a 2015 study in The Journal of Head and Neck Surgery and Otolaryngology. Which I’ll have on this show notes because I’ve mentioned it. That shows that the use of micropore tape, that means on the lips, keeping the lips closed, can have a positive effect on your sleep and improve mild obstructive sleep apnea. So simple intervention, but highlighting this S in your fitness program is that sleep.

Dr David Cowhig: I think it’s important that if somebody is starting to tape their lips, though, that they can breathe through their nose. This is where the ENT becomes so important to make sure they don’t have deviations in their setting or that they’ve got blocked sinuses.

That needs to be made clear and treated before fully taping your lips because you can just put too much stress on your system if you can’t breathe through your nose. I’ve just done a Wim Hof breathing training course weekend and they talk a lot about nasal breathing and the importance but also taping the mouth to get to that deep level of sleep and deep level of calm.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: They mentioned that as well?

Dr David Cowhig: They do.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Wow. Because of course, we did a program with Professor Marc Cohen where he was touring around with Wim Hof. Tell us a little bit about Wim Hof. It’s a bit of a digression, but I think it’s an important one because it’s about the power of breathing and its ability to affect the nervous system. Tell us a bit about what you learnt.

Dr David Cowhig:  I went there knowing a little bit about it and being passionate about the importance of nasal breathing and the ability to calm your nervous system at night. With this Wim Hof breathing technique, he seems to be able to control his whole, what’s called the autonomic nervous system, at will, just by doing certain breathing aspects. He’s able to be completed in a calm state, which is the parasympathetic state instead of the fight or fright.

The parasympathetic is where you’re getting deep calm. Through his breathing technique, it seems he’s able to get there into almost a meditative state using physiology of his body through breathing. He uses mouth breathing, he uses nose breathing. It was refreshing to hear that they were saying that it optimizes the whole discipline when you’re just using nasal breathing.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Your point about being careful with tape. I think one thing that I say to my patients… I might have the download on the show notes here for this too. I’m driving my transcribers crazy with all these downloads… That is you put on a little bit of micropore tape and you calmly breathe through your nose. You’re not in bed yet. You’re just sitting at your desk or on the couch. You put tape on and use it diagnostically. One of three things will happen. You put the tape on and you’ll be able to breathe through your nose just fine, no problem at all. Off you go, you can use that at night.

The other one is you think you’ve got a blocked nose and you put the tape on and you breathe calmly. After a minute or two, low and behold, as your body chemistry corrects, as your nervous system corrects, your nose unblocks. With that, you can use it as well. The third alternative is the one that we need to consult with an ENT specialist. That is, you put the tape on and after two or three minutes you’re thinking, “Oh my God, I cannot breathe through my nose,” don’t use the tape.

You’ve just used it diagnostically. It’s interesting. I’ve done this a lot too and I know this is part of that holistic journey. Is to go off and do courses like Wim Hof, not because you’re going to be introducing his techniques into your practice, but it broadens your understanding of what it is you talk about in your practice.

Dr David Cowhig: Absolutely.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: What’s the second S? There’s sleep.

Dr David Cowhig: The last S is a smile. Smiling, it’s good for you. It’s a gift you can give anyone and it’s something that is held in high esteem. It’s one of the first things people notice about you when they look at you, is your smile. Dentistry is fortunate with modern technology to be able to now create, as we say, safer, healthy, beautiful smiles. We can optimize your smile so that we don’t damage your teeth. We use metal-free dentistry to create a smile that reflects your whole body health.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: You do orthodontics or Invisalign within your practice, David?

Dr David Cowhig: I don’t but I have an associate who does. He’s very keen on resin veneers. That’s composite resin veneers that don’t do any damage to the teeth whatsoever for the younger generation. So the use of orthodontics is also very useful.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: Yeah, because I know using Invisalign, which is these clear aligners… My oldest patient doing that is 82 and my youngest is 16. So this idea that you’re too old to do something is not true. People often ask about whitening. What do you say to people about whitening of teeth?

Dr David Cowhig: First of all, it’s how the light reflects off your teeth is the main. So depending on the angle of the teeth and the amount of lip cover, that often defines how light your teeth look. If you’re a female then putting a more red in your lipstick often just puts a bit of a contrast to the colour of your teeth and will lighten them straight away. We recommend coconut oil pulling for at least five minutes in the morning and we find that that lightens your teeth as you continue doing that.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: For our listener that isn’t familiar with oil pulling, just run us through that because it takes a little bit of discipline. But it’s quite powerful… It’s a nice technique. Tell us what the oil pulling is.

Dr David Cowhig: We recommend our patients to put just half a teaspoon of virgin coconut oil into their mouths, often when they’re making breakfast so it becomes a daily routine. While you’re cooking those eggs, you just slush the coconut oil between your teeth, keeping your lips together. If you can do that for five minutes, again, that’s five minutes of you breathing through your nose, that will open up your sinuses and you’ll be able to be calm for the day.

But at the same time, it’s changing the microbiome and the flora of the bacteria in between your teeth and has a positive effect. If you’ve had gum problems, it will change and make you less at risk of getting gum disease. But also as a benefit by changing the… whether it’s the smear layer over the surface of the teeth, your teeth appear to get lighter.

We recommend it for a minimum of five minutes and then spit into a tissue and throw that in the bin. Don’t spit it into the sink or the shower because it will clog. It’ll go cold and hard in the drains. If you want to go further and go to 15, 20 minutes, that’s often the people who are anxious or have had a bad night’s sleep. We find it has a massive effect because they’re breathing through their nose for 15, 20 minutes and then the whole calming system comes in ready for the day.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: And what do you say to people about professional whitening? What do you think of that?

Dr David Cowhig: We have a natural professional whitening in the practice. It doesn’t generate any heat and it has minimal chemicals. But it still has a certain peroxide aspect that will lighten your teeth. We tend to either do it in the chair but be careful about doing things that are from online because you lose the control and your enamel… You’ve only got one lot of enamel and if you start breaking that down by overusing these whitening products, then it’s very difficult to return the enamel to a strong structure.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: It’s good. I thought this was just such a great acronym and laid out so many aspects of oral health from a slightly different approach than I’ve used. But it’s terrific. I’d love it.

Listen, David. Just finishing up and taking a step back from your role as a dentist because we’re all on a health journey through life. What do you think the biggest challenge is for people on their health journey through life in our modern world?

The Biggest Health Challenge

Dr David Cowhig: I think sleep is one of the key factors that people need to look at. Ideally, an anti-inflammatory diet so that they’re not inflaming the back of their throat. A lot of people are sensitive to dairy. So they’re getting a lot of congestion if they’ve got dairy and then they’re having a poor sleep, which then stresses the system.

I think the biggest issue in our lives, and it’s affected in dentistry, is stress. It’s stress and our nervous systems are being bombarded by all of the EMS and emotional and everything that’s going on in the world. That stress is having an impact on our quality of sleep as well, which then has an impact on our teeth and it has an impact on sensitivity, breaking teeth, poor sleep and all the things that we’ve talked about.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: David, thank you so much for joining me today and sharing this Oral FITNESS model. We’ll have links to your practice and some of those downloads that I mentioned. So thank you.

Dr David Cowhig: It’s a pleasure. Thank you, Ron.

Dr Ron Ehrlich: I know I’ve said this before, but if you are not taking your oral health seriously, you should. Your body already does. It’s a message that you’ve heard before and will no doubt hear again on this podcast. It’s a message worth all of us reminding ourselves about. Particularly, if you have a mouth and are interested in your health, but you’ve never fully connected the two. There are, as you have just heard, many connections.

We’ll have links to David’s website. He’s got some great resources and information. Please don’t forget we have our own Unstress app from the App Store and Google Play. On that app, there are lots of resources. If you go to the drop-down menu on the app, you’ll find some breathing exercises, a health assessment tool and much more.

You might also like to go onto the iTunes Store and leave us a review. While you’re at it, you may want to send us some ideas or feedback for other programs. That would just be great. All suggestions are welcome. We have some really interesting guests coming up in the next few weeks and months. But I’m always welcome to new ideas and suggestions for shows and guests. Until next time, this is Dr Ron Ehrlich. Be well.


This podcast provides general information and discussion about medicine, health, and related subjects. The content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for care by a qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experiences, and conclusions.