Homeopathy and dental caries: implications for dental practice and veterinary research
27 December 2017 (online)
The treatment of dental disease, whether periodontal or dental caries has been a significant point of interest for homeopaths. Over the last 200 years homeopathy has looked for a cure for what was invariably a painful event: a visit to the dentist! This has led to a repertory with a multitude of rubrics and a myriad of remedies purporting to cure dental ailments. So it is of great interest that an article published in this issue of Homeopathy deals with the prevention of dental caries using a homeopathic medicines in an animal model.[ 1 ] There are implications both for the practice of homeopathy and research.
The ‘Similia Principle’ is the foundation of homeopathy, and particular symptoms are often important in the choice of the right medicine. However, some symptoms and signs described in repertories and Materia Medica are very doubtful, since the old studies from which they derive were performed without precise methodological criteria. This complicates clinic practice and leads practitioners to depend on personal experience.
The systematic study of human pathogenesis is difficult for technical and ethical reasons. On the other hand, homeopathic veterinary practice is often based on the extrapolation of human pathogenesis and clinical observation to animals. In many experimental studies on ultra high dilutions in animals physical and behavioural changes occur as a background to the main experimental results. An example is seen in the paper by Almeida et al. in this issue: some of the animals treated with Kreosotum lost their fur. This points to the need for more systematic studies on animal pathogenetic models. This is a challenge for researchers in the near future.
Fluoride has been shown to be effective in the prevention of dental decay. It seems a natural progression to use a homeopathic preparation of fluoride in research on the possibility of preventing caries. The pathogenesis of caries in humans is multi-factorial. Only a few specific bacteria responsible for dental caries have been positively identified. Yet not all people who are carriers of these bacteria develop dental caries and there is great individual variation in susceptibility. Many other factors must also be present to produce cariogenic plaque, the matrix of bacteria and complex polysaccharides where decay occurs.
We need to address the multi-factorial conditions whereby decay occurs. On the homeopathic level are there groups or types of people who are more susceptible to caries? Is our chocolate loving, thirsty (for fizzy drinks) Phosphorous type particularly susceptible? This article is stimulating making us consider the disease process at multiple different levels both from the dental, homeopathic and research perspectives.
It would be wonderful to think that homeopathy has the answer to dental caries. But despite this work, it is likely that the prevention of dental decay with homeopathic medicines is some way in the future.
- 1 Almeida NT, D’Almeida V, Pustiglione M. The effect of fluorine and homeopathic medicines in rats fed cariogenic diet. Homp 2004; 93: 138–143.