It’s a cruel [cruel] cruel summer [fname]… (JK… it’s an AWESOME summer!) 😉
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly at the Dentist
It’s been 15 years since I’ve been to the dentist.
I’ll wait while you pick your jaw up off the floor.
I know, I know… you’re supposed to visit once every year, or every six months… Blah, blah, blah…
It’s not like I was actively trying to buck the system… at least not at first.
Out of college, like most college grads, I was dirt poor.
Now, admittedly, I always found money for 30-packs of Busch Light… but since I was no longer covered under my parents insurance plan, regular dental check-ups seemed like a luxury I couldn’t yet afford.
As the years stacked up, going to the dentist simply fell off of my radar.
I’ve been self-employed for the majority of my adult life… so my only benefits package includes slightly nicer beer and wine when the occasion presents itself.
“Adult-ing” can be tough.
It took me until 34 to pay off my student loans. My mortgage still looms over me on a month to month basis. My lease at Vetta (my second home) is another monthly installment. New gear for Bootcamp isn’t going to buy itself. My Saturn performs like a luxury vehicle (accelerating from 0-60mph in under 60 seconds) but still requires upkeep on a regular basis. So if I can cut a corner here and there on something like insurance, I’m inclined to do so. (Even though Uncle Sam now penalizes me for that choice, too).
Beyond that, I’ve developed a bit of health hubris.
I eat more kale than the average bear. And I consume less sugar in a month than most people have for breakfast.
[Would you like any nutrients with your sugar?]
I don’t need some lab coat to charge me a fee to tell me to keep doing what I’ve already been doing.
Further, I’ve researched dental health for myself.
Weston A. Price’s research displayed that dental and physical degeneration were inextricably linked to diet.
Price ventured to 3rd world countries (btw… do you know any 2nd world countries??) and discovered that those living on ancestral diets, people who didn’t even have toothbrushes, displayed unparalleled dental health.
No teeth crowding requiring braces, perfect dental arches, and pristine, cavity-free white smiles.
But take those same healthy mouths and plug them full of processed foods loaded with rancid oils, grains, and sugars… and voila, welcome to American tooth decay.
I’ve combined this knowledge with additional research and evidence presented via various dental health summits, podcasts, and books, picking up additional oral health tactics along the way including…
1) Avoid fluoride…
Although touted as beneficial for teeth, there is no solid evidence to back up this claim. Further, fluoride is an endocrine disruptor (which means it jacks up your hormones). It’s also a neurotoxin (which means it jacks up your brain).
Yet fluoride is still added to most municipal water supplies (although this practice is only common in the US where we drink more fluoride than the rest of the world combined).
It’s recommended to filter tap water via reverse osmosis (a high ticket item that’s on my lengthier to-do list). Or buy bottled spring water from a source you trust (also pricey over the long term). And choose a biological/holistic dentist that doesn’t use fluoride practices.
2) Start Oil Pulling…
The process is simple. Take 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and put in your mouth and swish for 15-20 minutes. Spit it out in a trash can and rinse your mouth out with warm water when you’re done. That’s it!
The process is said to prevent bad breath and tooth decay, as well as whiten and remove toxins.
3) Avoid Sugar and Eat REAL Food…
This is more of a “No duh”… but the fact remains that the vast majority of households are actually brushing their teeth with sugar-laden toothpastes each day! And many doctors still give out lollipops to children following a check-up. Somewhere, Weston A. Price is spinning in his grave.
4) Flossing gets mixed reviews…
Ok, admittedly, I may have heard what I wanted to hear on this one. But several sources did note that flossing (the process of sawing away at gums often forcing them to bleed) was not a beneficial practice and that opening up cuts in your gums was actually an easy pathway for bacteria to fester and cause infection and gum disease. But there is also plenty of evidence to the contrary…
So these points have served as the basis of my oral health protocol for the past several years.
But any good researcher has to be willing to test his theories.
As much as my ego wants to believe I’m right about everything… I’m more interested in developing my sense of objectivity and discovering holes in my personal stories and beliefs (but hopefully not in my teeth).
If I can’t be objective, then my personal growth pursuit screeches to a halt. And that just aint acceptable.
So what did I learn at my trip to the holistic, biological dentist?
I don’t have any cavities. So at least in one sense, all that healthy eating is paying off. There were a couple areas to “keep an eye on”. But overall my tooth game has been on point.
(And as a side note, the doc pointed out that I was blessed with great genetic teeth that have shallower grooves making them less prone to cavities. I’m in the rare 10%, he says. So thanks are in order to my mom and dad on that one.)
Dr. Lofton took .005 seconds to conclude that I was not a flosser.
I shamefully admitted that I was guilty. But rather than berate me for being an anti-dentite…
He patiently explained to me that brushing without flossing was akin to washing your hands but not opening up your fingers to get in between. You’re missing a considerable amount of surface area.
So, yes, I will be adapting my protocol on this one. While I still don’t love the idea of cutting open my gums, I may be experimenting with a water flosser as well to test that efficacy as a less invasive approach.
I do have some unsightly plaque deposits where my toothbrush is missing the mark. Dr. Lofton wasn’t concerned however citing that this was more of an aesthetic issue. A return appointment for a cleaning and some whitening toothpaste could rectify this issue.
Common causes for such build up are coffee, tea, wine, and smoking… and as we went down the list, by process of elimination, for me, it was blueberries.
So do I stop eating blueberries, Doc?
“Heavens, no!… Blueberries are healthy. Continue as you please.”
You’re the doc, Doc!
The 3-D X-ray which was intended to evaluate my teeth also turned up another factoid.
My left sinus cavity showed some considerable blockage. When I inquired about that being the remnants of a sinus infection, Dr. Lofton said that liquid mucous wouldn’t show up on the X-Ray unless it had become a more solid substance.
What does this mean Doc?
The doc shrugged and said, “I don’t know. I just thought it was interesting.”
Most people get frustrated when their healthcare professional doesn’t have all the answers.
I actually find it reassuring.
It shows me he’s not going to guess and pretend to know everything. If he doesn’t know, he doesn’t know, and he’s not afraid to say that.
He had the same reaction to oil pulling. “I don’t know… I haven’t seen enough evidence to confirm or deny its efficacy.” Fair enough, Doc.
Overall, I was very pleased with my visit, the recommendations, and all the staff at Cherry Health Dental Group. Which is not somthing I could say of some of the other “iffy” practitioners I vetted in the process…
If you’re in the market for a dentist, I liked what I saw from this team. (http://www.cherryhillsdental.com)
And again, on this life long journey towards optimized health, I make one discovery which leads to another rabbit hole that I’ll be pursuing as well. The mystery of “what the hell is blocking up my nasal cavity and how do I clear it out?”
To be continued…
Keep seeking my friends!
CJ’s Book of the Week:
“Concious Capitalism” by John Mackey
“Skedge” for 7/23/18-7/28/18
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