Talking to patients about real beauty

By Alvin Danenberg, DDS, contributing writer

July 10, 2019 -- Several years ago, a colleague, Dr. John, told me about his patient, whom I'll call Gloria. He told me Gloria was fixated on beauty. She dressed immaculately, wore expensive perfume, and must have taken a long time to apply her makeup. You may have patients like this in your practice.

Dr. Alvin Danenberg
Alvin Danenberg, DDS.

She went to Dr. John to have her upper front six teeth crowned to make her look "more beautiful" (her words). John told her that she had many back teeth that were broken down and needed repair. However, she only was concerned with her front teeth. Her response summarized how she felt.

"These front teeth are the ones that people see when I smile," she told him.

Dr. John explained to Gloria that she had active gum disease and tooth decay. However, she wasn't motivated to change her lifestyle and nutrition to recover from the chronic diseases of tooth decay and gum disease. Gloria reemphasized that she only wanted her upper front teeth to be beautiful.

What is beauty?

“External beauty is often the end result of internal beauty.”

Beauty is often defined externally. But to me, it goes far beneath the superficial surface. As a matter of fact, external beauty is often the end result of internal beauty. I see real beauty as an inside thing.

To me, beauty goes far beneath the surface. As a matter of fact, external beauty is often the end result of internal beauty. When we start making ourselves beautiful from the inside, beauty reveals itself on the outside.

What's the internal issue?

The common denominator to much of what is happening on the outside of the body is a result of what is happening in the gut and the overall immune system.

Most people want to smell good, so they use various soaps and perfumes to create a fragrance they think is pleasing to others. Certainly, we all want to smell good, and everyone should clean their body to remove unhealthy bacteria and dead cells. But using artificial fragrances applied in excess may be masking other internal problems. In my way of thinking, it would be best to understand and repair the internal problems to improve the external manifestations.

Likewise, some people use various mouthwashes several times a day to conceal odors in the mouth. While antibacterial mouthwashes may kill many bacteria that may cause unpleasant mouth odor, these mouthwashes may also kill very important and beneficial bacteria in the mouth. The "bad" bacteria are overgrown in the mouth because of unhealthy bacteria in the gut, unhealthy food choices feeding these offensive mouth bacteria, a compromised immune system, and poor oral hygiene.

Others may use various chemical preparations on their skin to cover up pimples and kill bacteria and other microbes. However, these skin blemishes are frequently the result of a compromised immune system, poor nutrition, and damage to the healthy gut bacteria.

In fact, when a person begins an internal beauty program to improve the inside of their body, many of these outward "offensive" body odors, mouth problems, and skin ailments diminish or disappear. Real beauty is an inside thing.

Alvin Danenberg, DDS, has retired from the private practice of periodontics in Bluffton, SC. He continues to be on the faculty of the College of Integrative Medicine and created its integrative periodontal teaching module. He also spent two years as chief of periodontics at Charleston Air Force Base earlier in his career. His website is

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

Copyright © 2019

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