Dr. Uche Odiatu, DMD & Dr. John discuss every practitioners most important piece of equipment- YOU! The wealth of information shared in this episode about oral & systemic health is extremely informative as well as evidence-based and applicable to both your patients and your staff! Dr. Odiatu has spoken world-wide and wears many different hats such as: Yoga instructor, Zumba instructor, personal fitness coach, Author and much more! Listen in to this life-changing episode and take your first step on the journey of a thousand miles!
“EP54: Strategies for A Lifetime of High Performance with Dr. Uche Odiatu” Transcript:
You did great. I enjoy the confidence, but with a name like that, you got to take yourself lightly, but I take my subject matter very seriously so yeah.
So Dr. Odiatu is one of the world’s leading experts and one of the hardest-working speakers in our industry. And he is a specialist in whole-body health and really the dentist’s role in discussing that with patients and helping our patients get to a better level of health. So I’m just curious how did you get from graduating to dental school to being an expert of this topic and others?
Yeah, great question. I’ve been exercising my whole life. I’ve been interested in nutrition since I was probably seven years of age when my mom gave all four of us kids [inaudible] of oil with a big silver spoon [laughter], so it’s been part of my life since day once. So I couldn’t help– with my different personal training certifications, my Zumba license, my boot camp certification, and my yoga certification, I can’t help but weave whole-body health information into chairside conversation. And that’s what I’m really passionate about doing. Patients often think that as dentists and hygienists, we just talk teeth and tooth whitening, but they don’t realize the major implications of the mouth being in great shape and how it can really help people enjoy more energy, more vitality, better metabolism, stronger immune system. So I’ve basically woven my personal interest in health into all my conversations, and patients love it.
Fantastic. So as the research is showing more and more clearly, the microbiome in the mouth is affecting our bodies terrifically and maybe some back the other way. So tell me about how you discuss this with patients, and how have you integrated this into a general practice?
Well, great question, John. I think everyone wants to be healthier. Everyone likes to know “What’s the next thing I can do to be healthier?” People want an easy, effortless journey, and with this whole microbiome discussion, the first phase of the Human Microbiome Project started in 2007. It finished in 2012, the first phase of the Human Microbiome Project at the National Institute of Health, a very prestigious organization. And they said, literally, what they found out in that first five years of study has shaken the foundation of medicine and shaken at the foundation of nutrition. Basically what they found out was– we all know our health is impacted by our genes. Well, the immunologists and microbiologists that were a part of the study shared that our microbiome, our gut flora impacts our overall health as much as our genes do. And the way that translates chairside is the number one way you can change your microbiome or your gut health is to change the way you eat. And I always tell my audiences and my patients “Who’s in charge of the eating apparatus? Who looks after them? Your dentists and hygienists.” So dentists and hygienists are perfectly equipped to help people have a healthier microbiome, and indirectly, overall vitality and immune health. So patients get it chairside. They realized, “Hey. Enough said. Let’s fix these teeth. Enough said. Let’s get repair that arch.” So I’m enjoying the fact that the patients are very receptive to another health care provider that can help them enjoy more energy and vitality.
Yeah, sure. So how does the conversation begin? I mean, run me through a– is this a new patient kind of– the new patient experience? Or is this part of the existing patient experience or both?
Yeah, great question. New patients definitely are more open to it because they don’t have any experience with you. At recare exam, we can often ask people, “How are you sleeping?” It’s not just about sleep apnea. If people are sleep deprived because they’re shift workers. The Center of Disease control said one in three Americans are sleep deprived, which means 30% of our patients have weaker immune systems because they don’t rest as well. So that either comes up in the recare exam or comes up in the patient exam. You always ask patients about– they eat healthy, but often, dentists and hygienists don’t feel comfortable to continue on the conversation beyond Xylitol and a few non-caloric sweeteners, but there’s much more to it. And I tell people, “You are what you eat.” And people intuitively say yes. And I say, “Well, if you don’t have the full complement number of teeth, 28 teeth, if you don’t have good saliva flow and a pain-free jaw, you’re not going to break down food the same, which means you’re not going to absorb nutrients the same, which I say– the beginning of accelerated aging.” So since you mentioned accelerated aging, I got a patient’s attention. So now they’ve engaged the conversation of teeth being an important part of chewing and absorbing food and not just for smiling and Facebook picture selfies.
Sure. So you’re tying back just a crucial function to accelerated aging. I love that. That’s a great phrase.
Well, it’s so fundamental. I think Hippocrates, which is the first doctor in 300 BC or 2,300 years ago said, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” And he also said all disease begins in the gut. So this is 2,300 years ago. He knew nothing about the National Institute of Health findings. He knew nothing about microscopes and bacteria. However, 2,300 years later, we’re realizing Hippocrates had it right. Much of disease begins in the gut because 80% of the cellular constituents of our immune system is in the gut. So if someone has poor GI health– and the mouth is a part of that GI tract. Every human being has 26 feet of a gastrointestinal tract. The mouth is one end. It’s the entrance of that gateway. So if the mouth is not in good shape, you can talk about the beginning of a disruption of your GI tract, which you harken back to Hippocrates 2,300 years ago, all disease begins there. So it’s so pertinent to the chairside conversation. I’ve co-written a number of articles about it with a hygienist just because most people are kind of a little intimidated by the discussion with antioxidants and probiotics. But I say keep it simple, keep it basic, keep it effortless, and patients will understand. So I’ll give the name of that those articles later. I can even actually maybe send them to you so you can actually post them as show notes, maybe.
That [would be?] fantastic. We’ll put them on our site and we’ll talk about how to get those here in just a minute. Yeah. Fantastic.
So what are some of the things that it takes for people to get healthy and stay healthy?
A great question. I think fundamentally, it’s nutrition because everyone eats, but there’s a few basic components of a complete program. And I have a lecture. Yt’s a full-day lecture. It’s called the value-added new patient exam. And it’s called 50 shades of inflammation. So I draw in four different lifestyle habits that– patients never really leave their marriages in the car before they get in the office. They never leave their work in the car before they head into the office. They never leave their food habits in the car, and they never leave the sedentary living habits in the car. They all come in with them. So when you have a sedentary shift-working processed food eating, stressed patient in the chair, you’re extraction, your implant, your veneer treatment with have different outcomes because many times patients’ lifestyle habits– and most of them being poor, sabotage their results. So I think, as dentists, we often think, “How could I make my implants not have inflammation? How can I have a better outcome with my extractions?” Well, many of us are focused on the treatments, meanwhile, if you look back at the lifestyle– if you’re working on a patient who is a shift-worker, who’s obese, and who doesn’t exercise, they have a background level of inflammation that is going to sabotage our results. So it’s not as if we’re making it the patient’s fault. We’re just saying, we need to implicate them as a co-conspirator in their result. So we’re thinking, let’s get a better result by having you go to bed on time. Let’s get a better result by, maybe losing some weight and lowering your inflammatory burden. Eating more vegetables so you have a healthier gut. So patients are open for it, especially if it’s honest and it’s caring. You can’t be judgemental in these statements, but as long as the words are caring and it’s in a state of empathy, patients are open to it. They love the discussion. They enjoy it taught.
When you have these conversations, particularly with someone who, for instance, is sedentary and obese, are you making some kind of general recommendations to start walking or other types of exercise, or how does that work in the office?
Yeah. Great question. As many ways as you can do it. Every office can handle it different. I know there’s some very amazingly designed wellness-based offices. It can all start with a big bowl of apples on the front desk. You can’t just love their orchids and their flowers, but why not a bowl of apples that represents health? I was in the story in the bible, in the beginning. If you can bite into an apple, you have solid teeth or good solid implants, or good implant-supported denture. So it all starts off with telling the patient they’re in a different kind of office. So besides just water and juice in the reception area– juice is basically just pop without the bubbles. Why not have green tea? Why not have Arabica coffee and dark roast, which has more polyphenols and fiber in it? Why not have wellness-related magazines, like Shape and Oxygen in the reception area besides Time magazine? And chair-side, I think as long as a healthcare provider, whether it’s an assistant or hygienist or dentist, if we’re– you don’t have to look like Michael Phelps, you don’t have to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jennifer Anniston. Basically, if someone admits that they’re on their own journey, whether it’s the beginning, middle, or their already fit, you can welcome the patients along and share with them. If the patient says, “Hey. Looking good, doc,” “Hey. I just lost five pounds,” and the patients always answer, “Hey. I wouldn’t mind losing five pounds, myself,” I could answer, “Well, do you know that if you eat more fiber because it’s very voluminous, it would lower your cravings and make your metabolism quicker,” and that starts the conversation going. It’s all very non-judgemental. It’s all very participatory. And patients just love the idea, that as a dentist or hygienist, you’re looking at them from head-to-toe and not just from the gingival margins and their plaque control.
Sure. So you’ve got these four main categories that you focus on. You try to focus on all of those at one visit, or is this kind of a– are we going to drip on them over the time that they’re in our practice?
Yeah. Very good. Well, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so if sleep is the main concern– say if someone falls asleep during a route canal, which is pretty rare, but 3 o’clock in the afternoon, one in three people are sleep deprived. 20 million Americans have sleep apnea. If they fall asleep during the day, during a route canal treatment, I’m going to bring it up in saying, “What’s going on and if that patient says, ”I’m always tired,” we’ll start off with that conversation. I’ll say, ”Have you ever thought of getting a sleep study?” There’s sleep studies that you can get with your physician. There’s take home studies you can get at certain sleep medicine offices, and I can share with them the fact that all healing happens at night time and poor sleepers are poor healers, and poor sleepers are more likely to undergo what’s called accelerated aging. So sometimes I touch on just the sleep part, but whichever’s germane to the conversation. But sleep, rest, food, or physical activity, those are my four focuses and they’re really where you can– patients are so hungry. Most patients go to healthcare provider and we practice in our own silos maybe, whether you’re an endocrinologist, a cardiologist, or psychiatrist. No one’s bringing it all together, so in my lectures and articles, I try and look at the big picture. Being a certified trainer, a professional member of the American College of Sports Medicine and being an athlete myself, I like to tie it all together and give people handouts. I let them know what I’m reading right now. The best book I’m reading now on sleep is called Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker. He’s a Ph.D. out of Berkley. And sharing books, sharing articles, letting people know that there’s a naturopath in the area accepting new patients and osteopath, letting them know the latest book I’m reading on nutrition, this is how the discussion starts. And is it chargeable, billable time? It could be, but I consider it value-added. And I think you can create patients for life if you literally look at them from head to toe rather than just at their tissue, [inaudible] margins or their plaque control. And patients are hungry for health care providers that look at the whole of them. They’re so starving for that attention and I think my audiences and my readers, and now the listeners of the podcast are going to see how attractive it is to look at whole-body health. And it’s not just about changing amalgams to composites, or amalgams to inlays. We’re talking food, sleep, exercise, and stress management. And the dentist hygenist is well equipped and it’s within our scope of practice to talk about it, and there’s never been a better time. There really has never been a better time John.
Well, it’s a great differentiator between your practice and others, and it really creates an entirely different patient experience, doesn’t it?
Yeah. I think we’re all trying– you can spend a million dollars on a renovation. You can put new tile in. You could get new plants and windows, but basically, all the patient really remembers is that you care about them, that you’re staying current with those current information on gut microbiome, and you’re a different kind of office. Every patient wants caring, but you also want a unique experience. So if we’re talking nutrition and no one else is, and if we’re talking stress management and no one else is, if we’re talking sleep and few people are, and if we’re talking about physical activity which is like, ”How can you talk about physical activity chairside?” Well, patients talk about bad backs and sore necks, and they grunt when they get up. And I said, ”Do you realize if you have core issues and your core is not stable and you can get up properly, it means your breathing might be off because 10% of all the population have breathing issues.” 80% of all people have anxiety have breathing issues and it comes out in poor pelvic floor. So that’s germane to the conversation. I talk about nose breathing. I talk about breathing in through your nose is healthy than the mouth. And people say, ”My sinus is blocked,” then I’ll bring in the conversation of when’s the last time you were on antibiotics and how antibiotics often cause an imbalance in the flora in the sinus, and many people are more prone to sinusitis. And anyway, all these conversation get woven in and it’s pretty effortless once you know the vocabulary, and that’s why in the show notes I’m going to give you an article on chairside nutrition conversations. It’s got 70 references and I [quoted?] it with a hygienist I’ve been trying on named Mahsa Bakshandeh, a nine-year veteran hygienist and a Zumba certified instructor. So she’s looking at the whole patient too, not just the mouth. Being interested in fitness and dance, she brings that into the chairside conversation so it’s so valuable. And I said, John, it’s never been a better time.
Yeah. So I know that you write. I know that you speak all over the place. I was impressed on your website; all the different presentations that you’re making. You’re a very busy traveling speaker, and that’s so awesome. What other ways do you work with dentists in order to help this kind of thing get implemented?
Well, it’s funny. I just started a few weeks ago. I do one-on-one coaching. I do one-on-one lifestyle coaching. So it’s often by telephone. It could be by Skype, and they book an hour at a time or they can book three-hour blocks of time; three one-hours. And a lot of times a lot of dentists, because we’re perfectionists – a little bit of OCD – we want to get in shape before we talk about it. So whether it’s dentists or hygienists, I do one-on-one coaching and I get them on the path of eating healthier, sleeping better, managing exercise. I talk about interval training, intermittent fasting. I talk about probiotics, and I continually remind them that they’re the most important piece of equipment in the office. Sure the [inaudible] is important, but our bodies are irreplaceable. You cannot put a price on your hips or your knees or your brain. And over several hours of coaching, I get people thinking, “Hey, I know enough.” It’s not that they’ve got to learn tons more information. I just kind of create a shift in their perception. I create a shift in how they look at themselves. And now they can enjoy the value-added chairside experience. So chairside coaching is– sorry, one-on-one coaching with dentists is one way. Instagram; I have a lot of people sending me questions throughout the day, so my Instagram basically– I can do in the show notes but it’s fitspeakers. So fitspeakers, that’s @fitspeakers. And I post, two or three times a day, relevant articles. I get people messaging me asking me questions about book titles and when the next time I’m speaking. I spoke with the ADA annual conference every year for the last 13 years. The big winter conference in Chicago next February. I’m in Hinman, probably for the fifth time in March, next year. So live, on the phone, in written word; I make myself available because I love inspiring my colleagues, knowing that it’s such a better– it’s such a good time for them to take charge.
You’re everywhere, you’re everywhere. That’s awesome.
When you do coaching, do you broach the topic– since you’re a trainer, do you approach the topic of the muscle imbalances that naturally occur in dentists when– even if our ergonomics are good, there’s still shortening of certain muscles, strengthening of certain muscles and weakness in others.
Yes. Yeah, ergonomics is basically having a well-oiled machine. I tell patients who are– sorry, my dentists and my patients [inaudible] hygienists that treat your body like a high-performance race car. And a high-performance race car in the Indy 500 has to change the tires and oil more often than the average car on American highways and Canadian highways. So being a premium car, you’ve got to put premium fuel in. So you’ve got to put the best food in and don’t put cheap food in. You’ve got to treat it well. Hire yourself a personal trainer, one-on-one. Get a certified trainer. Hire me as a coach by Skype or phone, and we can talk about the different ways. My new passion is interval training and how the new science out of McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, says that seven minutes of interval training, going high-low intensity, is equal to or better for you than one hour of steady-state training. So when dentists who are time-starved hear that, they think, “Send me the article.” So I also have an article on interval training. It’s called, “Exercise When Less Is More.” And it explains the whole concept of how– it takes the basic time excuse off their picture because most people use time as a reason why they don’t exercise. Well, six to seven minutes of cardio-interval training is equal to or better than an hour of steady-state. You get your life back and you can really focus on being a better dentist, being a better parent, being a better community member, simply because you now have time to [inaudible] spending hours and hours in the gym which no one wants to unless you’re a professional athlete yep. I totally agree and I think it’s like you said. It’s so important to keep your racecar tuned up because you watch dentists as they get older, they get a head-forward position. Their shoulders role forward and that creates real problems as time goes on and people age, so.
Well, they look like ET after a while. They look like Gollum from [laughter], what is it like– [who wants to?] look like Gollum unless your out at Halloween, so strong backs or [resistence?] training, yoga or a Tai Chi or pilates for integrated muscular control and then aerobics with end double training builds such a performance machine. [Phil Biltmore?], recent ergonomic studies, workplace [inaudible] studies have shown how sedentary workers are 10% less productive than physically active workers. If you’re a $2 million office, you don’t change anything, get everyone physically active and you build 2 million, 200,000, what’s that worth for few gym memberships or fun nights where everyone does active team building sessions. So I do those, I do in-office one-day programs where I come in, we talk wellness for the day or afternoon for that matter and I get offices thinking, “It’s time to start putting a wellness spin on this office,” and it’s an easy inexpensive way to really showcase yourself as current, timely, and relevant. And the best way to do that is apples on the reception area, green tea and dark roast [inaudible] coffee in the reception area. Having team nights where you get a massage therapist in and everyone gets a massage or doing a team building session where everyone does yoga or Tai Chi, so there’s definitely no better time and there’s so many ways they can do it. And it’s not expensive, it’s easy, it’s effortless, and I love sharing my passion with my colleagues and they’re getting it so I get the invites and I’m excited that these audiences are hungry for a new way of looking at food and fitness and even microbiome.
Well, I can’t wait to see you speak. My partner, Wendy Briggs, saw you speak and she said, “Oh, we’ve got to get this guy on a podcast,” because you’re a very entertaining speaker, you’re a very lively person and–
–you’ve got a great message. So if people want to get a hold of you, how could they do that?
Well, my website, DrUche.com, so D-R-U-C-H-E.com. The other way is Instagram. Look me up on Instagram. My Instagram name is FitSpeakers. I have about 4,000 people that hangout with me and I post three or four times a day. And those are the two best ways. You can email me if possible, but I answer all my own messages, I haven’t delegated that out yet and I don’t have my own show on CNN or Fox News yet, so [laughter].
Yeah, but you’ve got a lot of media stuff on your website so I know you’re working the media angle really well and getting your message out to even beyond the dental profession and your patients, but to the communities that you’re doing these media spots for, so good for you. Such an important message.
Thanks, John. I’m having fun with it. It’s who I am. It’s what I do. I could not help but talk about sleep, stress, food, and nutrition and exercise chairside, so I think people see the sincerity in the message. And I want all people, not just my dental colleagues, I want all people to see that you can kickstart your next life experience by sleeping better, moving more, managing stress, and eating better, so there’s no better time, 2019, 2020. 2020 is right around the corner and it’s no better time. So thank you for inviting me on and helping me share my message.
You’re very, very welcome. I very much appreciate you being on and appreciate the great work that you’re doing. So Dr. Uche, D-R-U-C-H-E.com is where you can get more information and contact Dr. Uche. We will put his articles on the show notes and you can get those at TheTeamTrainingInstitute.com/podcast and I want to remind everyone and that is, you can get a free books from Wendy Briggs and I, our Ultimate Guide to Double or Tripling Your Practice Production. It’s a Amazon number one bestseller and I give that free at YourUltimateGuideBook.com. I’ll pay for the book if you pay for the postage, that’s how we work it. So you get a free book, all you got to do is pay for the postage, and I am so excited that this episode was so great. It was a lot of great information. Thank you so much, Dr. Uche.
Oh, my pleasure, John. I’ll be on again. I have loads of [content?], so there’s many ways to hit this. But I appreciate the time and tell Wendy I said hello and I’ve had a great half an hour with you.
Will do. Thank you so much. [music]