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April 12, 2021 31 min
In this episode of Functional Medicine Research, I interview Dr. Theodore Belfor in a discussion on cranial facial development and airway resistance. If you have read James Nestor's new book "Breath" then you are aware of Dr. Belfor's work. We talked about the causes of abnormal cranial development and how this causes airway resistance and a number of health problems including sleep apnea, insomnia, IBS, bruxism, and more. Our cranial bones don't form properly when we aren't breastfed and eat a modern diet of processed foods. Dr. Belfor's oral appliances help to correct these abnormal developments to restore proper facial bone structure and improve the airway. Full Transcript with Dr. Theodore Belfor Dr. Hedberg: Well, welcome everyone to "Functional Medicine Research." I'm Dr. Hedberg, very, very excited today to have Dr. Theodore Belfor on the podcast. I first heard about Dr. Belfor in James Nestor's new book called "Breath." And we're gonna be talking about all of that today on the show. And Dr. Belfor, he's a graduate of New York University College of Dentistry, and a senior certified instructor for the International Association for orthodontics. In the 1960s, Dr. Belfor was sent to Vietnam to work as the sole brigade dentist for 4000 soldiers of the 196 Light Infantry from the jungles of Vietnam to Park Avenue in Manhattan. Upon his return, he opened his own private dental office in New York City, and has been in private practice for more than 40 years. And Dr. Belfor specializes in the treatment of the cranial facial system, and that's what we're going to be diving into today. So, Dr. Belfor, welcome to the show. Dr. Belfor: Well, thank you for having me. It's my pleasure. Dr. Hedberg: Excellent. So, why don't we start by talking about how this all began, and go back to, you know, what happened that changed the cranial bones, the cranial structure, our skulls, that led to this epidemic of airway issues, breathing issues, and all of the health issues that come with that? Dr. Belfor: Well, how we develop, how we grow and develop is based on how we breathe, how we swallow, and how we chew. So, just looking at how we chew, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture today, in the U.S., 63% of our diet is processed and refined foods. So, without the proper stimulation to the body, we are not fully expressing our genes, we're not developing to our full potential. Because of that, particularly when our jaws do not grow forward enough, the retrusion of those jaws helps to push the tongue backwards into the airway and down the throat, so now we have compromised sleep and breathing. Dr. Hedberg: So, it's a combination of things. I know Dr. Nestor talks about it in his...or James Nestor talks about in his book, the changes in diet, soft food, not enough hard foods, not breastfeeding. Can you talk a little bit more about these changes in our society and some of these predisposing factors that can cause an abnormal airway? Dr. Belfor: Well, for me, the enlightenment came, when almost 20 years ago, I was treating performing artists who couldn't wear braces and they wanted straighter teeth, and I used an appliance and had a unilateral bite block, which basically, in essence replaces the missing hard food in our diet. And guess what? The actors, performers were coming in, and their makeup artist was telling them that their faces are changing, and the singers were coming in and saying they were reaching higher notes. So, that's what set me on the path. You see, the concept in dentistry is to balance the bite all the time. And it's kind of an anathema to have, when you bite down, to hit on one side. However, if I give you a stick of gum to chew, nobody on the planet is going to chew on both sides at the same time. We chew on one side then we chew on the other. And apparently from the research, many articles that have been written, the latest one in August 2018,
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