We have all seen television and print ads with sparkling white teeth, big beautiful smiles pictured along with prominently displayed name brand oral hygiene products. But are these products really the best that the industry has to offer? Are they right for you and your family?
Dr. Bernard Schechter, industry expert in the field of natural oral hygiene, is my guest interviewee for this month’s e-zine issue. Dr. Schechter is the founder and President of The Dental Herb Company. DHCo manufactures a line of natural oral health care products that are sold only through dental offices.
Q: Dr. Schechter, you were a practicing dentist for many years. What compelled you to start your own oral hygiene company?
A: When I was practicing dentistry, I realized there was so much periodontal surgery that might have been avoided or minimized if a patient used proper home care techniques. I had been studying plant or botanical medicine since 1969, and this natural approach to medicine led me to formulate natural oral hygiene products for my own patients. I spent 20 years researching and developing these products. In 1996, I started the Dental Herb Company and made my products available to dentists and their patients.
Q: Care to comment on the “standard over-the-counter” oral hygiene products?
A: Many of the “standard-over-the-counter” products are just chock full of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and chemical fluoride. The fact that they contain these ingredients means that they may be missing the point. Even many of the products that I saw in the health food stores were quite commercially prepared and didn’t have the effectiveness to really deal with periodontal problems and halitosis like they could if the formulae were different.
There are studies that show that people who have canker sores, also known as recurrent apthous ulcers, are prone to have recurrences of them when using toothpaste or mouthwashes that contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS is used as the foaming agent). We make our products with no SLS, we have a plant foaming agent and we use plant saponins as the agent that mixes up the oils and the water. In addition, many of the “natural toothpastes” contain chemical fluoride. There are two common kinds of chemical fluoride which the American Dental Association “approve of”. One is sodium fluoride and the other is sodiummonofluorophosphate. There is no such thing as natural sodium fluoride or natural sodiummonofluorophosphate, it doesn’t exist. We make our products without these chemical fluorides. Our toothpaste was the first professional dental product that contained green tea extract, which is a natural fluoride source. We pride ourselves on our products being “Truly Natural®.”
Q: I’ll skip over the fluoride issue for now. I addressed this fairly thoroughly in my book, “Whole-Body Dentistry”; it’s too large a topic to deal with in this month’s issue. As far as SLS, I try to avoid personal home care products like shampoos that contain SLS. Some studies have demonstrated a link to skin irritation. Is SLS derived from a chemical process or is it a natural substance?
A: Somewhere down the line SLS had some plant background, but the chemical processes and synthesizing of SLS make it far removed from anything natural. Even if they make it, it is broken down chemically- so they extract just the chemicals from the plant, it’s not like an essential oil or an herb. Many natural companies don’t make that clear on their packaging.
Q: What are some of the key ingredients in your natural products?
A: My products contain five pure essential oils. These oils are not derivatives, fractionated or flavorings. For example, some commercial products use chemically synthesized “active ingredients” like thymol or eucalyptol. We use pure oil of red thyme and pure oil of eucalyptus – these complete essential oils are more effective. We also have two liquid herbal extracts in our formulae.
Q: How do your products work?
A: All the ingredients have been designed to work synergistically to complement each other and bring out the full potential of all the other ingredients. That’s what took so long into figuring out the formula. Our products have three ways that they work periodontally: 1) antimicrobial; 2) tissue conditioning; and 3) connective tissue rebuilding. In addition they have a very powerful antihalatosis effect.
Q: What are the differences between your products?
A: I have four products; one is Tooth & Gum Tonic, an oral rinse (mouthwash), an Under The Gum Irrigant, that’s a product that’s meant to be diluted with water and used at home in a Waterpik® type irrigating device, a Tooth & Gum Paste, a unique type of dentifrice that contains green tea extract and a Tooth & Gum Spritz(mouth spray). All of the products contain the same active ingredients, except the toothpaste has one additional one, which is green tea extract. However, each product is compounded differently, with the active ingredients in different proportions. They’re formulated differently for different functions and purposes.
Q: I know your products are only sold through dental offices, why is that?
A: The Dental Herb Company believes that people using our products should be under the care of a dentist or dental hygienist. People should not self medicate when it comes to their mouth, and we strongly advise that patients receive regular checkup visits at their dental office. Our Company does not accept inquiries from the general public, and asks that people contact their dentist for DHCo products or refer their dentist to our web site dentalherbcompany.com.
Q: Dr. Schechter, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share your expertise. Can we finish off with a list of your key essential product ingredients?
A: Sure, there are five essential oils and two liquid herbs, plus the toothpaste contains Green Tea Extract. Here’s the list:
Oil of Red Thyme
And also in the toothpaste
Green Tea Extract
Bernard Schechter, DDS, founder and President of the Dental Herb Company is a former faculty member of the Boston University School of Graduate Dentistry. In addition to his DDS Degree, Dr. Schechter also has a certifying degree in Therapeutic Herbology. The Dental Herb Company is a well-known and respected natural oral hygiene product manufacturer in the dental industry. DHCo direct sells to dental offices only, all inquiries must be made by a dental professional. Dentists may contact the DHCo at dentalherbcompany.com
© 2004, Mark A. Breiner, DDS
The information presented is for educational purposes only. You should consult a qualified health practitioner for diagnosis and treatment.