happy teeth

Posted on September 8th, 2014 by mountain girl  |  6 Comments »

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This is the story of my teeth.  I’ve told bits and pieces before, but here is the updated version.  If you find teeth boring, you may want to skip this post.  On the other hand, if you are like me, you might find tooth science very intriguing.  Take your pick. 🙂

I’m not proud to say that I went 35 years without having a professional dental cleaning.  I knew I should have my teeth cleaned, but the longer I waited, the less I wanted to tell the dentist how long I had gone.  In the back of my mind, I told myself I could take care of my teeth the same way I take care of my body–with good hygiene and the best nutrition possible.

I brushed and flossed and avoided sugar, and they looked pretty clean.  But I didn’t realize all the little castles of hard debris that were being built up under the gum line, the pockets that were being formed in the gums, and the bone loss that can occur even in the presence of seemingly healthy-looking teeth.

I tried going to the dentist when I was pregnant for Zia, and left somewhat relieved when they said to wait until after she was born, since deep cleanings can release toxins into the bloodstream.  Then I nursed her for 3 years, and didn’t want her to get any toxins that way, either.  (Of course, having bacteria in your mouth means it’s always in your bloodstream, anyway–it just stirs up a LOT when you deep clean them.)

Then I forgot about my teeth for a couple of years, got pregnant with Cash, and started the “I’m afraid of toxins getting to my baby” cycle all over again.

I finally bit the bullet when Cash was 18 months (still nursing) went in January, and was told I have early stages of periodontal disease and moderate bone loss.  I was horrified.  Many of my periodontal pockets were 5 mm deep, I had thirteen spots that were 6 mm, and  I even had one 7 mm pocket (that’s pretty deep).  They also measured the bacterial count in my mouth by a swab test on my teeth.  1500 or above is the number that correlates with a high chance of dental decay, and also affects periodontal health.  My count measured at 7867.  Yikes!  Interestingly, I only had one cavity, in a lower wisdom tooth.

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Since then I have had deep cleanings on all my teeth and all my wisdom teeth removed.  All of it was an awful process, I have to say.  I stopped nursing Cash for 2 weeks so I could take the antibiotics and other meds after my teeth were pulled.  I pumped milk during that time to keep my milk supply up (he happily started up again after the antibiotics were over).

Two weeks ago, I went for my first dental cleaning and checkup since having my wisdom teeth out in June.  O happy day!  My periodontal pockets have all filled in quite a bit.  The 4 and 5 mm have become 2 and 3 mm, and the 6 mm have become 3 and 4 mm.  (The 7 mm is gone; it was beside a wisdom tooth.) 🙂

I had another swab test, and my bacterial count is now 1584.  Yippie-yi-yo!  It’s still above what it should be, but oh so much better.  I mean, really–going from 7867 to 1584?  I think that’s reason to yodel.

As for my nursing babe, he made it fine through the release of all those toxins into my system and my milk.  He stayed happy and healthy and loves to nurse (and I love that he still nurses).  He calls himself “Didey-Man”, which he invented as a play on Spider-Man (who he likes very much) and “Didey,” which means uddey-sidey, or nursing.  (He also likes that very much).

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As you can see from the pictures, my teeth aren’t exactly perfect.  I have some crooked ones and a bit of gum recession (notice I’ve kept my Cheshire grin under wraps for these close-ups, hehee).  Still, I’m so glad they’re getting healthier.  I’m not missing any more cleanings at the dentist, and I’m keeping up my own regimen at home.

I still do oil pulling when I have time in the morning, and I think that has helped my teeth from being worse than they are.  I rinse my mouth well every time I have something with an acidic pH (yogurt, kombucha, etc.)  I take CoQ10 supplements to help rebuild my gums.  I use Dr. Tung’s Smart Floss, which is softer than regular floss and makes a not very enjoyable process much better.  I coat a strand in these essential oils before flossing.  I make my own tooth powder in place of toothpaste (the glycerin in regular toothpaste coats your teeth and can keep them from getting really clean), and I sometimes buy Earthpaste, which is the only toothpaste I’ve found so far without glycerin.  I scrape my tongue (gross, I know).  I’ve also heard awesome things about this mouthwash, so I’m giving that a try.  It’s full of essential oils and also has CoQ10 in it.

I know all this sounds a bit overboard, but I am determined to save my teeth, bone, and gums.  It’s really not as obsessive as it sounds–I’ve worked it into a simple routine–but I definitely have motivation now when it comes to teeth.  I’m also keeping Cash and Zia’s teeth clean, flossing Zia’s and not missing a brushing with either of them, and taking them to the dentist.

And this was kind of an unexpected surprise for me, but I’ve been wondering this summer why I feel so good. More alive or something, you know?  I often have energy all day long, even after carting the kids around all weekend.  Maybe it’s some supplement I’ve been taking–CoQ10 or something.

Then it occurred to me that my body is used to fighting five times the bacteria that I now have in my mouth.  That’s a serious load off my shoulders, literally.  And it feels great.

I hope you enjoyed learning more than you ever hoped to know about my teeth.  Hang in there–Story of the Happy Teeth to be continued at a later date, with more data.

So until then, keep your teeth clean!   And keep smiling. 🙂

6 Responses to “happy teeth”

  1. Your Lion says on :

    I love those teeth and love that mamma! /:O)

  2. Jennifer Miller says on :

    Wow! I am supposed to go in for a gum graft on two teeth because I used to be obsessive/compulsive about brushing my teeth after I ate anything. So at one point I was brushing 10-15 times a day. And all the brushing started to wear on my gums. Tooth loss is very scary to me and we brush my 3 YO’s teeth twice a day. Glad things are looking up for your teeth!

  3. mountain girl says on :

    Oh, no! I hope your graft goes ok. My dentist said I may have worn down my teeth at the base from brushing and flossing too hard, so I understand about hurting your teeth while trying so hard to help them! I try to wait now after eating or drinking anything acidic before brushing, since acidic things soften your tooth enamel for several minutes, then it hardens up again.

  4. Colleen says on :

    Wow! I never knew really how much keeping up on your cleanings help your teeth! I can’t believe you had only one cavity after all those years!
    I had a hard time keeping up with cleanings during college years since I didn’t have insurance or money!!! Now, with better insurance we are all up on our “Every six month visit” but I have to say cavities have cost us A LOT of money! I told my husband we have to stop having kids just because of the cost on their teeth!!! lol

    Im glad things are looking up with your teeth…. I love essential oils and will have to try out some of your suggestions!

  5. mountain girl says on :

    Yes, Zia had a couple of cavities filled early this year, too. Not fun, I know!

    Glad you liked the suggestions!

  6. appleshoe says on :

    Your teeth are lovely and you have a beautiful smile. I shattered my two front teeth when I was 9 and have always been self conscious about my smile. No one can tell they are fake but me.. But still. Yes, take care of your teeth. Shine on.

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