Littleton, CO dentist Dr. Guy Grabiak and team celebrate case study award for long-term healthy results with their patient.

Better Living Through Better Teeth #2 – The Sleep Issue

May 29, 2024 | Newsletters

When you think about what’s needed for a healthy mouth, “sleep” probably doesn’t jump to the front of your brain. We think it should.

Not getting enough good quality sleep leads to higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and other inflammatory markers. The result? Chronic, low-grade inflammation that can directly damage your gums. Running a sleep debt also makes it harder for your immune system to fight off harmful bacteria, such as those that cause gum disease.

In fact, some research suggests that sleep debt is second only to smoking as a risk factor for gum disease.

Yes. Really.

Additionally, saliva flow decreases during sleep, which can lead to dry mouth. Saliva plays a vital role in neutralizing acids, washing away food debris and bacteria from your teeth and gums, and delivering minerals to help keep your enamel strong. Not enough saliva? Your risk of tooth decay and gum inflammation increases.

In this issue, we take a look at a few aspects of sleep and what you can do to improve the quality and quantity of sleep in support of your oral and whole body health alike – both things you can do on your own and things we can help you with here in our office.

Speaking of our office, if you’re on social media, we would love it if you would connect with us there, as well, for even more info on biological dental health, along with office news and updates. We’re currently on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter/X, and MeWe.

(MeWe, for those unfamiliar with the platform, is a great alternative to Facebook – one that is more committed to protecting your privacy and free speech – with a significant and growing holistic health community. We encourage you to try it out and see what you think.)

Meantime, on with the rest of The Sleep Issue…


Treating a Root Cause of Obstructive Sleep Apnea with Vivos Therapeutics

man sleeping soundlyBiological dentistry emphasizes treating root causes instead of symptoms. Symptoms are signs that something is amiss and that your body is fighting whatever the threat may be. While suppressing them can create the illusion of health, you’ll never get the real deal until you go to the source of the disease or dysfunction.

To put it another way: If running water is causing your bathtub to overflow, bailing and sopping up won’t do you much good until you turn off the tap. Similarly, if you happen to be living with symptoms of mercury toxicity, detox will only be of limited help if the mercury is coming from “silver” fillings still in your mouth.

You’ve got to address the root cause. This applies to airway issues, as well…

Keep reading


Because All of Us Could Use a Little Sleep Support…

face down person holding a clock and cup of coffeeThere are plenty of reasons that a person might be tired all the time. An irregular schedule that messes with the body’s natural rhythms. Stress and anxiety. A bad mattress or poor sleep environment. Too much screen time late at night.

Happily, such issues are readily fixed by improving your “sleep hygiene” – a funny sounding term that refers to actions that affect the quality of your sleep. This tip sheet is typical of what good sleep hygiene involves.

But there are also many natural remedies that can help, including plenty of botanicals that support restorative sleep. Here are three of our favorites:

  • Valerian root has been used for centuries to promote sleep and improve sleep quality. It’s believed to work by increasing levels of GABA in the brain, a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect on the nervous system and can help induce sleep.
  • Chamomile has been used for centuries as a natural sleep aid. It contains apigenin, a flavonoid that binds to certain brain receptors that may promote sleepiness. It’s often consumed as a bedtime tea, alone or as part of an herbal blend. Other herbs you may find in those blends include valerian, lemongrass, and passionflower.
  • The fragrant lavender plant has long been valued for its calming and sleep-promoting properties. It can be consumed as a tea or the essential oil can be used in aromatherapy.


New Insight on How Sleep Helps Our Brains

human brain with synapses firing

All through the day, your brain is creating new neural links – connections that allow the brain to create new pathways for learning, remembering, and adapting.

Now, a fascinating new study on zebrafish shows that during the first half of nightly sleep, the brain appears to prune away some of those links. The longer the zebrafish stayed awake, the more neural links were cleared. The research team thinks that this process prepares the brain for new learning by making room for fresh connections.

As one member of that team explained, “The findings add weight to the theory that sleep serves to dampen connections within the brain, preparing for more learning and new connections again the next day. But our study doesn’t tell us anything about what happens in the second half of the night.” The second half may serve different restorative purposes.

More research needs to be done in that area, as well as whether these findings hold true for humans. Meantime, the study serves as yet another reminder of just how important getting enough good quality sleep each night is to our overall health and well-being.

lizmar thurber

Noelle Jones

Office Manager

With a robust career spanning over 20 years in the dental sector, Noelle Jones has developed a profound expertise that blends technical proficiency with visionary leadership. Starting her journey as a dental assistant, Noelle has continually expanded her skill set and knowledge base. She pursued higher education at Georgia Perimeter College, where she completed programs in dental lab technology, chairside assisting, and business management. In 2024, Noelle found her perfect match in the professional world at Denver Dentistry, a practice that embraces the principles of biological dentistry. This role not only marks a significant step in her career but also profoundly shifts her perspective on the impact dental health has on the rest of the body. Beyond her professional endeavors, Noelle is an avid adventurer who loves exploring the natural beauty of Colorado. She is on a quest to hike all the "14ers" in the state. When not scaling peaks, she enjoys traveling and cherishing moments with her husband and their three beloved dogs. Noelle's dedication to dental excellence and her commitment to a holistic approach in her field make her a pivotal member of the Denver Dentistry team.

The foundation of providing safe and personalized holistic care begins by getting to know you and your goals for your oral health and overall health, both short term and long term. Dr. Grabiak will then learn about your family’s dental and medical history, along with your dental and medical history. Afterwards, we begin your exam by taking a sample of your saliva (Sillha), checking for seven different biomarkers. That same day, we will send you home with a report showing how you scored in those different biomarker categories.

The head and neck examination is often overlooked by busy clinicians but it is as crucial as an element of the oral cancer examination. Dr. Grabiak begins his exam outside of the mouth by starting with a soft tissue check of the neck and the jaw. A thorough head and neck examination is essential for detecting early skin cancers, any overdeveloped jaw muscles that may be contributing towards bruxism, and enlarged lymph nodes that may indicate an active virus or infection.

After the extraoral exam, Dr. Grabiak begins his extensive intraoral exam. During Dr. Grabiak’s exam he is evaluating the teeth, uvula, mucosal tissues, tongue, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, and the oropharynx. Part of this exam includes taking high-definition photos of the mouth, all at different angles so you can see exactly what he is seeing. Our hygienist will then come in and complete a comprehensive periodontal assessment. In some cases, Dr. Grabiak and your hygienist may recommend additional testing to get to the root cause of the evidence of symptoms they are seeing in your mouth. This entire process takes roughly an hour. In some cases, depending on what Dr. Grabiak and your hygienist had found during their exam we will invite you back for a follow-up appointment called review of findings.

In preparation for the review of findings, Dr. Grabiak and your hygienist will take the time to evaluate all of the data that was collected from your examination and testing to determine your specific needs. At your review of findings appointment Dr. Grabiak will sit down with you one on one to review the data that was collected from your appointment, along with any recommendations. This allows you the time to ask Dr. Grabiak any questions that you may have about your treatment recommendations and expectations from treatment.

Jeromy Mulkey

Jeromy Mulkey

Operations Manager

Jeromy earned his Bachelor of Science in Finance from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. His journey in the dental field began when he moved to Colorado in 2015 from Hannibal, New York, a small town outside of Syracuse. Starting as a patient coordinator in corporate dental, Jeromy quickly advanced to office manager and eventually managed multiple offices for a DSO, including specialty practices over the next 4 years. In 2019, his transition to holistic dentistry at Denver Dentistry began. This transition brought new challenges and a renewed passion for learning about the latest sciences and technologies integrated into their practice. Since starting at Denver Dentistry, Jeromy has enjoyed learning about safe mercury removal (SMART Protocol), airway management, ozone, salivary testing, biocompatibility testing for materials, heavy metals testing, and the systemic and oral health connection. Jeromy currently resides in Littleton, enjoying the proximity to the mountains. Outside of work, he cherishes time spent with his wife and daughter and enjoys activities such as snowboarding, bouldering, paintball, soccer, basketball, camping, and hiking. Jeromy's dedication to delivering exceptional customer service and contributing to the team's mission of bringing more healthy smiles to satisfied patients is at the core of his professional ethos.
Chelsea White

Jazmin Contreras

Dental Hygiene Assistant

A native of Guatemala and raised in Carbondale, Colorado, Jazmin Contreras embarked on her medical journey with a degree in Kinesiology from Colorado Mesa University, where she graduated at the top of her class in 2020. Her early professional life included a significant role in a chiropractic office, where she gained an appreciation for the interconnectedness of whole-body health. This experience laid the groundwork for her holistic view of healthcare. Fluent in both English and Spanish, Jazmin leveraged her linguistic skills as a medical interpreter, greatly enhancing her communication capabilities and deepening her understanding of patient needs and concerns. This role proved essential in her development as a healthcare provider, enabling her to effectively bridge cultural and linguistic barriers in medical settings. Jazmin's career trajectory took a definitive turn when she joined Denver Dentistry. Under the guidance of Dr. Grabiak, she was introduced to an innovative holistic approach to dental care that aligned with her own values and aspirations. It was here that Jazmin found her calling, thriving in an environment that embraced both traditional and alternative medical philosophies. Known for her robust critical thinking and problem-solving skills, Jazmin is passionate about educating her patients on the nuances of holistic dentistry. She is dedicated to demystifying dental care, ensuring her patients not only receive top-notch treatment but also understand the broader implications of oral health on overall well-being. When not at the clinic, Jazmin and her husband indulge in the great outdoors, pursuing activities such as hiking, camping, and kayaking. These adventures not only satisfy their love for nature but also provide Jazmin with a refreshed perspective and renewed energy, which she brings back to her patients and her practice.
lizmar thurber

Lizmar Thurber

Expanded Duties Dental Assistant

Lizmar Thurber is a highly experienced Expanded Duties Dental Assistant, distinguished by her extensive background in both traditional and holistic dental practices. Her educational journey began at the University of Florida, College of Dentistry’s Division of Continuing Education, where she specialized in Expanded Duties of Dental Auxiliary Personnel, Radiological Health, and Safety in 2002. She further enhanced her credentials by earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology with an emphasis in Pre-Medicine from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2015. In her role, Lizmar leverages a robust skill set tailored to holistic dental care. She has a profound understanding of holistic health practices and is skilled in using biocompatible materials for dental procedures, such as fillings and crowns, to reduce toxicity. Her empathetic demeanor and excellent interpersonal skills are pivotal in alleviating patient fears, thereby creating a comforting and reassuring environment. Known for her bilingual proficiency in English and Spanish, Lizmar effectively communicates with a diverse patient base, providing clear explanations of holistic dental treatments and procedures. Lizmar's exceptional communication abilities and her capacity to adapt to various treatment modalities are essential in navigating the unique aspects of holistic dental care. Her versatility and adaptability make her an invaluable asset to any dental team, enhancing patient care with a comprehensive, patient-centered approach. Beyond her professional endeavors, Lizmar cherishes the time spent with her family. Together with her husband, and their sons, she actively participates in various sports activities. They frequently travel for the Colorado Prospects baseball club and engage in other sports like basketball and soccer. Additionally, Lizmar serves her community as a worship pastor, where she shares her passion for music and guides others in their spiritual journey with Christ.

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