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Would you learn about the oral biofilm if your health depended on it? Well it just might. On the Biofilm Factor, Dr. Ryan Nolan discusses the importance of diet, biofilm management and the oral systemic link with fellow dental professionals. Join us and learn how the state of your oral cavity can impact your overall health.

For more on The Biofilm Factor, follow on Instagram @biofilmfactor and @ryannolandmd or find me on Facebook at The Biofilm Factor Podcast.

Jun 12, 2018


The ideology that dentistry as a whole can be summarized by a simple routine procedure is obsolete. With a lack of accessible dental healthcare and the need for genuine understanding between dentists and patients, a change within dentistry is imminent. This week on The Biofilm Factor, Dr. Ryan Nolan talks with Dr. Caroline Zeller, advocate for improving access to dental healthcare in the U.S. and host of Removing the Bite Block podcast. They discuss the challenging social and cultural topics of dentistry from dental education and policy issues to bringing innovation to the long-established dental approaches and paradigms. As they discuss the role of socioeconomics in dentistry, they give voice to the demographics that are not receiving the necessary oral care. Yet despite the evidence supporting the socioeconomic link to oral health, it continues to be disregarded. For more on The Biofilm Factor, follow on Instagram @biofilmfactor and @ryannolandmd or find us on Facebook at The Biofilm Factor Podcast.  

Host: Dr. Ryan Nolan

Guest: Dr. Caroline Zeller


Bio of Dr. Caroline Zeller

Dr Caroline Zeller is a passionate advocate for improving access to dental healthcare in the U.S. She is the host of a podcast called Removing the Bite Block. Dr. Zeller is currently working on her master’s in Public Health. Dr. Zeller focuses on bringing national awareness to prevention, a lack of access to healthcare professionals and changes in education. She can be reached on instagram @carolinezellerdds and through her email She can also be reached on her podcast website at

Show Notes

  • What inspired Dr. Zeller to look into dental healthcare? [1:20]
  • What group of people need dental healthcare improvements the most and who can provide that? [4:10]
  • What are the key problems that are preventing progression? [7:08]
  • How is Oregon providing for more patients through the Oregon Health Plan? [9:15]
  • States can more effectively customize plans for their residents than a blanket federal policy. [13:07]
  • Dr. Zeller’s opinion on the current state of Medicaid and if it should be expanded. [14:17]
  • “Across the board more people are receiving dental care when Medicaid is expanded.” -Dr. Zeller [16:10]
  • How important is the relationship between the ability to smile and an individual’s overall health and wellbeing? [20:00]
  • Dentists work in a system where the main focus is not on providing care. [25:05]
  • The role of dental school in educating students and adjusting them to the necessary changes within dentistry. [27:40]
  • Dr. Zeller’s opinion on The Higher Education Act. [30:05]
  • The importance of federal funding in helping dental students pay for schooling. [34:45]
  • The differences in community involvement and education between a legacy dentist and a first generation dentist. [37:03]
  • When people don’t have access, their oral health is not addressed and they turn to a diet of poor nutrition. [41:33]
  • What is a food desert and how can it damage poor communities? [45:03]
  • Should dentists provide nutritional counseling to their patients? [48:24]
  • How does poverty and socioeconomics influence oral health? [52:10]
  • An individual’s income influences the level of oral health treatment that he or she receives. [54:09]
  • Why is there a discrepancy between access to dental healthcare and access to other types of healthcare? [57:18]
  • “Oral health is a neglected issue nationally and this is a big problem. The mouth and the head and mental health and dental health somehow remain outside of what people think of as general health.” -Julia Paradise, Kaiser Family Foundation [59:33]
  • Have prevention methods improved within the dental community? [1:01:37]
  • Should there be more available alternatives other than fluoride for patients? [1:03:40]
  • Understanding and bypassing the bell curve in regard to accepting new ideas. [1:07:50]
  • Why are people so afraid of change and how can we alter this mindset within the dental community? [1:11:50]
  • Finding common ground and respect between younger dentists and the older dental generation. [1:14:03]
  • The influence of the baby boomer generation within dentistry as a hindrance. [1:14:58]
  • Dr. Nolan recognizes the importance of voicing one’s opinion and experience in order to elicit change and bring awareness. [1:17:00]
  • Upcoming paradigm shifts within dentistry that Dr. Zeller and Dr. Nolan’s generation should prepare for. [1:20:03]
  • Is there a doctor versus access problem? Would a doctor compromise his or her career choice by working with Medicaid? [1:22:20]
  • What is a case that Dr. Zeller has done that has changed the way that she practices dentistry? [1:28:50]
  • Dr. Nolan’s closing thoughts and information on Dr. Zeller and her podcast, Removing the Bite Block. [1:34:00]