Stumped about an ingredient or recipe? Got a health query? Here’s your chance to ask Sheree your most compelling questions! 

Q: I am baffled by the choices in medicine and healthcare. What do terms like allopathic, CAM and holistic really mean, and what’s the difference? 

A: The language used to define health practices has different meanings in different contexts and in different geographic locations. What is considered alternative in some areas is deemed conventional in others. Here is a starting point: 

Conventional medicine is practiced by those holding M.D or D.O. degrees and by health professionals such as registered nurses. Other terms for conventional medicine include biomedicine, mainstream, allopathic and Western medicine. 

CAM is the abbreviation for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. It is the group of diverse medical practices and products that are not considered to be part of conventional medicine. The list of what is considered CAM and what is not is continually evolving.  

Alternative medicine refers to a variety of practices for treating disease that are used instead of conventional medicine. An example would be using diet to combat a cancer condition, rather than chemotherapy. 

Complementary medicine is the term used when certain therapies are combined with conventional medicine. An example would be using aromatherapy to help with discomfort after surgery. 

Holistic Medicine describes therapies that are said to treat the whole person including mental, physical and spiritual aspects. Many—but not all—alternative therapies have a holistic approach. Naturopathy, homeopathy and traditional Chinese medicine are examples of holistic medicine. 

Q: I was told I could not give blood because I just had my teeth cleaned. What’s up with that? 

A: Blood banks typically will not accept blood from anyone for 48 hours after a dental cleaning because the blood is likely to be full of bacteria. After a scaling, oral bacterial are dislodged and flow into the bloodstream, challenging the immune system and causing an increase in the release of white blood cells. Brings into sharp focus how interconnected the human body really is, doesn’t it? 

Q: Are essential oils useful in dental care? 

A: Botanical oils are antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral. They rejuvenate gum tissue and increase blood circulation in the mouth. Bacteria do not develop a resistance to oils the same way they do to antibiotics. Always use a high-quality, food grade essential oil from a trusted source. Do some research based on your condition or need, but consider starting with cardamom, cayenne, cinnamon, clove, Neem, oregano, tea tree or thyme oils. A good way to use them is to apply a drop onto your floss tape or your toothbrush. 

Please remember your health is your own responsibility. Nothing here is to be construed as medical advice. This information is not meant to replace the guidance offered by your health practitioner.