Welcome to My Year Without

On January 1, 2008, I made a New Year's resolution to cut out refined sugar for one year. I cut out white refined sugar and corn syrups. My quest to be sugar-free evolved into political interest, public health, and letter writing to food manufacturers. Join me in sugar sleuthing, and learn more about the psychological aspects of sugar addiction, and those who push sugar on us.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Trouble with Your Teeth? Me Too, and I Don't Drink Soda.

I am freakishly regimented when it comes to oral hygiene. I always have been because a) I don't want halitosis b) I don't enjoy getting cavities and c) I dread getting my cavities drilled out and filled. I have never been to the dentist for a cleaning and exam, in all my 36 years, and been told "Congratulations! You have no cavities!" Rather, every single time I get an exam (not regularly, mind you, but regularly enough) I am told I have at least one cavity, but usually two or more. "Oh they're small, good thing we caught them early......" 


I never drink soda (maybe one root beer every three years?), I gave up refined sugar for years, and brush my teeth every morning and night, and floss every single night. I should be the poster girl for excellent oral health based on my actions. 

Instead, cavities. Enamel erosion.

(Not my teeth, but you get the picture.)

This also chaps my hide: ever since I was a kid, dentists have told me that I brushed too hard and that's why my enamel is eroding. That baffled me because I brushed the way they always showed me: nice, soft circular motions for 1-2 minutes with an "Extra Soft" toothbrush. 

A few years ago a dentist told me that my cavities had nothing to do with my oral hygiene. What?!? He told me that my cavities and enamel erosion were 100% based on the acidity of my mouth. So naturally I  re-examined my diet, bought a book about pH and drank water with lemon* regularly. 

Maybe I'm not drinking enough lemon water. Maybe I should eat lemons. Although it's been almost a year and a half since I visited the dentist, I can feel a few problem teeth that need attention sooner than later. I just dread the inevitable. I feel like Sisyphus!

Then this morning I came across this blog. I don't know if I have Celiac disease or not (I don't like that it's considered a disease....it seems like the body's natural way of just rejecting certain foods. I bet 1000's of years ago it was unheard of, but now that we are fudging around with the science of foods, GMO's, pesticides, etc...?).

Thanks to cookitallergyfree.com for the Steps Known to Promote Enamel Growth, some of which include: getting adequate vitamins, using natural toothpastes and eating unrefined salt instead of the pure white stuff. I have never had a dentist tell me these things. I have, however, come home with prescription "gum creams" to smear on my eroding enamel. Somehow that stuff never made it on my gums... I have come home with little bottles of "dental rinses" that ultimately sting my tongue and hurt my overly sensitive mouth. The best I've been able to come up with on my own is lemon water and a baking soda rinse after brushing, in an effort to alkalize my mouth. 

Since I know I can kick the sugar habit (not that I'm currently doing the best job....) I know that I will be able to kick the foods known to promote enamel loss. Most of those foods I don't eat or drink anyway, but I do eat grains, cereals (healthy, I thought....) and use commercial toothpastes. Thanks to another wonderful blog, I just learned a lot about homemade toothpastes and Earthpaste, an "amazingly natural toothpaste" made with only four ingredients: Redmond clay, Xylitol, essential oils and unrefined salt. 

What?!? Is it possible to cut a few more things from my diet, switch toothpastes and expect healthier teeth and gums? For the skeptics out there, the thing is, nothing else is working for me.