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My teeth are disintegrating.

On Health & Drugs & Medications » Dental

27,436 words with 22 Comments; publish: Mon, 10 Dec 2007 00:09:00 GMT; (900523.44, « »)

...Literally, they are. The process started maybe a couple of years ago and rapidly accelerated during pregnancy. I have two teeth with huge "holes" in the sides...and they are front teeth, which doesn't look too great. I used to have great teeth and now I am almost afraid to smile. Luckily the "holes" are not too noticeable unless you look close, but a friend recently told me I had spinach in my teeth and it was actually the big gaping black HOLE in my tooth that she thought was food stuck in it! The teeth which don't have actual *holes* in them are nevertheless kind of crumbling along the edges. It's awful!

I brush and floss. I haven't been to a dentist in 2 years b/c the last time I went, actually to an oral surgeon to have a wisdom tooth removed, the stupid guy split my lip with the Novocaine needle. AND he didn't numb me enough and it hurt. So I have been avoiding dentists (I know, real smart). I convinced myself that going during pregnancy was not a good idea and have been telling myself now that DD is here that breastfeeding will complicate things if I have to go to the dentist, but the point is that I really need to go. Now. My teeth are literally crumbling apart!

I would like to have more of a handle on what my options are before I go to the dentist, though. Usually the dentist just tells you what you need done and you do it, right? But surely there are different ways of approaching a problem.

So my problems are: 1) deteriorating enamel, in a BIG way, unusual at my age (29)! b) cavities (I know I've got a bunch) c) tartar d) yellowness e) probably gum issues too. (Obviously d is just a cosmetic issue.) Any ideas on what options I may be offered? Anyone else have this level of enamel deterioration, and what did you do/are you doing to address it? It is almost shameful to me when I look in the mirror. :(

Also, could there be some sort of underlying health problem contributing to the crumbling teeth problem? Like I said, I brush with fluoride toothpaste and floss regularly. I seem to be in good health otherwise. My father also has pretty bad enamel so maybe this is genetic, but I don't think his teeth were nearly this bad when he was my age.

I'd like to keep my teeth...and have a smile I can be proud of!! Is this going to cost me a fortune??

Thanks if you got this far.

~Elizabeth

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  • 22 Comments
    • I just went to the dentist cause a piece of my tooth actually fell out into my hand along with an ancient filling :bag:

      I am the absolute worst dental patient ever! My grill is in BAD shape!

      I got cleaned, x-rayed & 3 teeth repaired for $420.00. He told me I will now need about $1700.00 worth of work just to keep this from happening again. That quote doesn't include removing 3 wisdom teeth, crowns or replacing all the mercury fillings(which I'd really like to do!). I'm totally bummed about it. :(

      He said crappy teeth can be hereditary & he gave me an Rx for high flouride (like 5x higher) toothpaste and a discusting antibacterial mouthwash to use until I get the existing cavities filled.

      If I had the cash, I would just take him up on his offer for a seditive & book back-to-back appointments till it was done! It would be complete torture but soooo nice not to worry about it anymore.

      Good luck with everything & brace yourself for sticker shock!

      BTW- I'm pretty obsessive about brushing/flossing/listerine too. :innocent

      #1; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:32:00 GMT
    • Sorry to hear about the sad state of your teeth girls. I suggest doing a whole lot of research into holistic dentistry, starting with Hal Huggins website, and the dental section of Gary Null.com . Poor enamel is both hereditary and due to diet. One way to get weak enamel is to eat a diet high in refined foods, lots of sugar, low in good veges. Poor digestion due to chronic illness is another important factor.

      Probably you should avoid acidic foods like apples, vinegar, lemon juice etc. which can thin down already thin enamel. Worst of all is acidic drinks like coke and pepsi.

      I doubt whether flouride will help you. It is a poison anyhow. Teeth health probably has more to do with diet and digestion than with how well you brush and floss, though obviously the latter helps. It is complex though, and the Russians have done a ton of research into probiotics and how they affect the teeth. They believe the right gut flora will influence dental health. So might be an idea to look at your use of antibiotics. Vitamin C is good for gum health.

      Lastly, I wouldn't use commercial toothpaste if I were you. I have found that a high quality holistic toothpaste seems to make my mouth healthier. Vicco and Weleda's salt toothpaste are excellent. Also, just plain baking soda is recommended by some people. I have a friend who has no fillings at all and that is what she uses. Have a search on the google engine for ionic toothbrushes. They are the latest thing. I have just got one. Good luck.

      #2; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:33:00 GMT
    • Aquaduct- Thanks for the info...

      I have used Auromere toothpaste for years (it makes your teeth feel like glass :D ), The Dr. seemed to think that was part of the problem.

      I have been vegan for most of my life & I don't eat refined foods or sweets (much). Although, I do have a dark chocolate addiction & I drink coffee.

      I'm a pretty healthy person w/no known digestive probs but I do have raging endometriosis with assorted autoimmune problems. I wonder if that could be related?

      I was told just this morning that some people have a weird acidity to their saliva that responds to carbs & sugar by eating at the enamel.Have you heard of anything like that?

      Yeah, I know fluoride is pretty gross stuff, I wouldn't give it to dd so I probobly shouldn't take it , huh? :bag:

      Thanks again- I will definitely check out Gary Null & Hal Huggins !

      #3; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:34:00 GMT
    • Aquaduct, thanks for the suggestions.

      Junebug, I'm sorry you're in the same boat! Yikes, I know it is going to cost major $$ to get these teeth fixed. That is probably part of why I have put off going for so long. We do have dental insurance but it doesn't cover everything and when DH had to have a crown earlier this year our portion was $750 - we can't afford a sum like that right now!

      The whole fluoride debate is interesting. I'm well aware that it is a poison but I'm also aware that at the right dose it does seem to be very effective at preventing tooth decay. I'm not sure abandoning fluoride would be a good idea for me. In fact, my teeth were nearly perfect (very few cavities, etc.) until sometime in my 20s, and I have often thought that the problems I have might partially stem from my switch from drinking mostly fluoridated tap water (as a child, in high school, etc.) to bottled water, which has no fluoride. Also, I didn't get regular dental checkups as a young adult since I had no dental insurance. No more fluoride treatments.

      I use Tom's of Maine toothpaste since the ingredients in Colgate/Crest/etc. seem to cause me to itch (not kidding!). But it does contain fluoride. I recently heard about a product called Toothsoap, though, which I might try, and I'm not sure it is fluoridated.

      Definitely soda is terrible for teeth, but I don't drink much soda or eat many of the acidic foods you mentioned. I do eat too many refined foods and too much sugar though. But I cut down sharply while pregnant (GD diagnosis) and that is when the decay really accelerated.

      So it is good to hear about holistic dentistry and non-"mainstream" ideas for keeping teeth healthy, but I have to confess I'm not sure that at this point anything short of "regular" dentistry will help. Certainly the cosmetic stuff will have to be fixed by a "regular" dentist. But I am glad to read other suggestions for keeping this from getting worse.

      What about supplements in the diet? I think I get plenty of calcium and I do take a supplement. Maybe pregnancy and breastfeeding have caused me to be deficient in some minerals, though?

      Thanks for the discussion. I love Mothering...who would have thought they'd have a Dental board?? :)

      #4; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:35:00 GMT
    • Interesting thread.

      I have *the same* issues with my teeth, but I go to the dentist ALL the time, and my teeth are still rotting out of my head. And then there's dh -who's never even been to the dentist and his teeth are perfect. It's definitely hereditary, partly.

      The flouride thing is interesting. My dentist says no on it. I was told that all these problems could actually be from having TOO much flouride as a child. What they don't tell you is that flouride at high doses, can actually make teeth softer. grrrrr...

      Another thing. Do you have periodontal disease? (disease of the gums) If this is untreated, your teeth will decay at an alarming rate, usually along the gum line. It's not something that just a regular cleaning will cure, you have to go to a specialist, and they get way up there and deep clean the gums. I do it every six months, and its sooooo worth it. You'll notice a big difference in sensitivity and swelling in your gums, and it'll help with the cavities.

      Anyways, you gotta go to the dentist mama!! It'll just keep getting worse and worse if you don't take care of it (says the mom who is waiting for the day she can get her dentures :bag: )

      #5; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:36:00 GMT
    • My family had serious, serious problems with teeth on a whole foods extremely strict vegan diet. We were very committed, ate no packaged foods, cooked everything from scratch, no caffeine, chocolate or alcohol.

      We made a major comeback in our health and teeth health by moving to a Nourishing Traditions style diet, except with LOADS of vegetables. It's kind of ironic, we make more of an emphasis on vegetables now than when we were vegan. And we ate lots of veggies as vegans too!

      We also used a fluoride toothpaste which completely killed my DD's tooth decay. Actually if tooth decay is black, then that means that it is dead. Look for a thread called "Tooth decay-darker=better" or something like that.

      Do a search in this forum for Nourishing Traditions and/or remineralization and you can find loads of info.

      #6; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:37:00 GMT
    • Another note, tooth decay is completely diet related. It can look like genetics because nutrient deficiencies can be passed down through the generations, and it takes a while with proper diet to correct them. Also, if prenatal diet is insufficient, then baby's teeth will not form properly. Again, all due to diet.

      Read "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" by Dr. Weston A. Price for more info on this.

      #7; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:38:00 GMT
    • Hi again. Well Junebug, I haven't heard about weird acidity in the mouth, but I can believe it. Dental health is pretty weird really. I have known 4 or 5 people who have never had a cavity in their whole life (they were/are all under 30 admitedly), and not all of them were healthy. One has MS!

      But I think overall, the healthier you are, the better your digestion, then generally your teeth are going to be less subject to decay, as long as you don't have too much of a sweet tooth. My grandfather who is 90 and had vigorous health most of his life, tremendous energy, lost all his teeth in his 30s when he sucked on boiled lollies as a way of compensating for giving up smoking a pipe!

      I had a friend with chronic fatigue syndrome and she had to have 3 or 4 fillings every 3 months. Her digestion was really bad, and she didn't go out doors much. Not much sunshine to get that vit. D which is so essential to bone health. Teeth are part of our bones really.

      I myself have become intrigued about tooth decay recently because I have always had pretty strong teeth...I think I only got one filling due to tooth decay, or maybe two throughout my 20s, and that was when I didn't brush my teeth with toothpaste, only cursorily with water, for about 6 months! But I have a chronic illness now (hepatitis C) which affects my digestion greatly, and slowly over the years, along with old age (I'm nearly 40), my teeth strength has diminished. I got 6 fillings recently. Part of that is because of eating something very acidic in my diet...I was drinking lots of kefir, very strong kefir, which is very acidic...I think that is what it is. But also, if you have poor health, a malfuntioning liver, then your saliva can naturally be acidic. I also have been grinding my teeth, when asleep, a lot recently which contributed to the damage. My gums are starting to recede which exposes dentine, softer than enamel, according to my dentist. That has been where some trenches have formed, along the gum lines. It was a combo of acidic mouth, exposed dentine and teeth grinding, though I had 2 genuine bacteria related cavities too.

      Anyway, I want to save my teeth as I know how important they can be to overall health. I also don't want to have to shell out so much dosh again.

      So I have been doing some research. Dr Weston Price is one of the great experts on dental health. But the Russians have done a ton of research on probiotics and that has intrigued me as well. Streptococcus Mutans is the little critter who mostly causes tooth decay, and he can be gobbled up by certain other bacteria, especially the lactobacillus family apparently. There is an excellent thread in Health and Healing started up by Goodpapa about probiotics and I recommend you check it out. I have just learnt a lot from that. Fresh yoghurt made from unpasteurised goats milk could be the way to go. (I'm a bit wary of cows milk because of all the hormones in it).

      I am trying to strengthen my enamel now by taking colloidal minerals. Nora's Mama, I don't think it is just about taking calcium supplements. It is very complex in the body. It seems that other minerals such as silica are very necessary for the laying down of the matrix pattern of enamel. Vit. D is very important. Check out a most excellent article on WestonPrice.org about that. The RDA is way too little, and if you are a vegetarian like me, it is going to be hard to get it out of the diet. Vit. D is abundant in animal fats like cod liver oil, but is in butter and eggs to some extent. Vegans are the most disadvantaged. But you can get it from the sun. According to this article it is the UV B rays in sunlight that help with vit. D production in the skin (and you have got to have enough cholesterol in your body for that too), and UV B is only around in the midday hours when it is relatively cloudless. 10 to 20 minute bursts are what is needed for white skinned people.

      However, if you don't have enough calcium and magnesium in your body, because vit. D likes to put calcium into our bloodstreams where it is also needed, it will pull it from our bones. This will probably not be good for the teeth! So, I guess the point is to make sure you have plenty of green leafy vegetables like Kale and cabbage in the diet, lots of chlorophyll (for the magnesium), tahini(very good source of calcium I believe) etc. And calcium supplements could be a good idea: all this before you start going out into the sun.

      I personally eat a lot of organic unsalted butter, as this was believed by Weston Price to be a super food with some magic X factor in it very good for the health. It is also delicious. Coconut oil is also really good for us. If you take it regularly you will be able to throw away your moisturisers, as it adds lustre to the skin.

      So I am learning about dental health as I go. Why don't we all keep each other posted. I certainly don't have all the answers.

      But we can see if we can't all improve our teeth. See if you can't order an ionic toothbrush, as they can really improve dental health so I am hearing. I have just started using one.

      #8; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:39:00 GMT
    • along with old age (I'm nearly 40)Bite your tounge, woman!!! :demon

      :LOL

      So, where would I find an ionic toothbrush?

      #9; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:40:00 GMT
    • Aquaduct, thanks for all the suggestions!
      #10; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:41:00 GMT
    • Elizabeth I am sorry you are going threw this. I just spent the last 5 years

      having extensive dental work done. Literally the day after I found out

      I was pregnant I had a chunk of a front tooth fall out. I had work done

      while I was pregnant just to make sure it didnt get worse. Forgot about

      it, (which is easy when your caring for an infant). Then I got a infection

      that swelled up half of my face and mouth when dd was about 9 months.

      That is when my journey began. My dentist did a lot of work on me,

      and continued...and continued. Then last year I also had holes forming

      in my front teeth. My teeth were crumbling, like you mentioned. I was

      very embarrassed of that fact. I started hiding my teeth and mouth. Now

      that I have had my teeth worked on they look better than ever.

      I have a strong fear of dentists. I was lucky to find a sleep dentist in

      my area. He specializes in people who have fear, and also whom

      might not have been to a dentist in some time due to their fear.

      In the past five years I have spent about $4000-$5000 getting my

      mouth worked on. Now if all goes well, and I take good care, I should

      be good for awhile. Now much of that cost was being put asleep.

      I have come to love my dentist so much that dd and I go to him for

      our 6 month checkups even though he isn't covered by my health

      insurance.

      Most of my damage was done due to a habit of running my tongue

      piercing back and forth in my mouth when I was young. :bag: But

      most of my family has had serious dental problems and I had most

      of my molars filled by the time I reached 12. I have taken good care

      of my teeth growing up. Some people are just unlucky I guess. I

      am also around your age (30).

      I am not a follower of fluoride being important. I live in a rural area. I

      dont have fluoride in my water. My Dentist did want dd to have fluoride

      treatments, but I have refused them. He wanted to give me a prescription

      for fluoride pills, and I refused that too. I see no need for it. I found this

      for you to read for more information.

      LINK WAS HERE

      I know it's a lot of money. I know it's scary to have somebody poking

      in your mouth. My dentist knows I don't have the money to just plop

      down all at once. He has been very nice about offering me payment

      plans, and not charging me when I am late on a payment.

      Im sorry again. My blessings to you.

      -Okay the above link didn't work. I had sent the information to a friend

      so I just pasted and copied it below.

      My pediatrician is pushy about fluoride because it's not in our

      water supply. I feel that she is undermining the child's innate

      ability to form natural healthy teeth when provided a balanced

      diet. I feel unarmed to reply to her and I end up nodding to

      appease her, implying I will consider giving my child fluoridated

      water which I have no intent to do. Can you please help me learn

      more about why not to supplement a healthy child with fluoride?

      A recent study from Harvard School of Dental health found that

      young boys exposed to fluoridated tap water from ages 5-10

      suffered an increased risk of osteosarcoma-bone cancer-between

      the ages of 10-19. This study was the first to link the toxic effects

      of fluoride to a child's development and the beginnings of bone

      cancer. No such link was found among young girls.

      Interesting fluoride facts from Dr. Mercola's website:

      * Fluoride is more toxic than lead and is used as a pesticide

      for mice, rats and other small pests

      * The fluoride used in tap water is not closely monitored and

      often contains high levels of carcinogens like arsenic.

      * The fluoride we ingest from the water supply and from a

      number of other sources is associated with a number of

      negative health effects such as cancer, weakened bones and

      osteoporosis.

      Please read "The Fluoride Deception" by Christopher Bryson,

      for more information.

      The above was a past question on the Mothering website

      answed by Dr. Nancy Gahles, DC.

      #11; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:42:00 GMT
    • I second what trinity says about flouride. When it is naturally occuring it is a different form of flouride to the stuff they medicate the water with anyhow. And I am against mass enforced medication of water supply anyhow. If people want flouride they can easily get it from most commercial toothpastes or buy pills.

      BY the way Junebug, I am a male. Sorry I didn't make that clear. But I really am about to turn 40, and I am feeling oooooooooolddddd.

      As to ionic toothbrushes, I got mine from someone who e-mailed me... he imported them from Japan. I am certain you should be able to get one off the internet, or from a naturopath or alternative healer. They aren't that expensive. At least mine wasn't: about $12 NZ dollars. Which is about $8 US. They work by reversing the polarity of plaque. Plaque sticks to tooth surfaces by ionic attraction apparently. Reverse it and it starts to come off. But I still intend to eat as well as possible, get that sunshine on my skin, and start eating a bit of homemade yoghurt.

      #12; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:43:00 GMT
    • BY the way Junebug, I am a male. Sorry I didn't make that clear. But I really am about to turn 40, and I am feeling oooooooooolddddd.

      oopsie! :bag: I just assume everyone here is a "mother" unless they say otherwise in their siggy. That'll teach me!

      (oh, and I still don't think you're old...cause that would make me old- denial? :o)

      #13; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:44:00 GMT
    • Aquaduct- Thanks for the info...

      I have used Auromere toothpaste for years (it makes your teeth feel like glass :D ), The Dr. seemed to think that was part of the problem.

      I have been vegan for most of my life & I don't eat refined foods or sweets (much). Although, I do have a dark chocolate addiction & I drink coffee.

      I'm a pretty healthy person w/no known digestive probs but I do have raging endometriosis with assorted autoimmune problems. I wonder if that could be related?

      I was told just this morning that some people have a weird acidity to their saliva that responds to carbs & sugar by eating at the enamel.Have you heard of anything like that?

      Yeah, I know fluoride is pretty gross stuff, I wouldn't give it to dd so I probobly shouldn't take it , huh? :bag:

      Thanks again- I will definitely check out Gary Null & Hal Huggins !

      Since you have autoimmune problems, you should do a little research on Sjogrens disease. It's an autoimmune disease that often occurs when other autoimmune diseases are active. It relates to the mouth and teeth problems, I think.

      #14; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:45:00 GMT
    • Is that true? Sjogens often occuring if there are lots of autoimmune problems? Sjogens is really bad news for the teeth, since it dries out all the saliva. Saliva is constantly remineralising the enamel, and can't do that if not present in sufficient quantities.

      Someone who has had Sjogens told me recently that she cured herself of it by going off HRT!

      So Junebug, how's your saliva situation?

      #15; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:46:00 GMT
    • Have you been checked for Celiac? That will cause these kind of dental issues along with severe bone loss. The celiac can be detected with a simple blood test.
      #16; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:47:00 GMT
    • Is that true? Sjogens often occuring if there are lots of autoimmune problems? Sjogens is really bad news for the teeth, since it dries out all the saliva. Saliva is constantly remineralising the enamel, and can't do that if not present in sufficient quantities.

      Someone who has had Sjogens told me recently that she cured herself of it by going off HRT!

      So Junebug, how's your saliva situation?

      I did some research, and apparently 50% of the cases are in people who suffer from other autoimmune diseases, and 50% are in people with no other problems. Here's a good FAQ about it: http://www.sjogrens.org/syndrome/faqs.html

      #17; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:48:00 GMT
    • Just an update on my disintegrating teeth. I was chewing the little plastic tag off one of DD's toys last week (I know...STUPID) and a big ole piece of one of the 'disintegrating' teeth snapped right off, leaving about 3/4 of the tooth. That inspired me to finally make a dental appt. Unfortunately I figured the situation was somewhat urgent & that limited my choice of dentists (I had to find one who could see me right away). So I'm not sure I made the right choice.

      My dentist talks just like Arnold Schwarzenegger and is very friendly but the office just did not look shiny sterile clean like I would have preferred. He told me I need fillings in *every single molar* and two crowns for the disintegrating front teeth. He ground down one of them & put a temp. crown in which promptly fell out. It was shocking to see what is left of the real tooth and I so wish I could have been able to prevent this problem!! The temp. crown was reattached w/ so much cement that I can't bite down all the way. Both times the hygienist (who actually attached the temp. crown) left cement all over my face!

      I pre-paid this stupid crown or else I would go elsewhere. I plan on SERIOUSLY researching dentists for the rest of the work. Anyway, it's not like anyone cares, but I just thought having started this thread I would post an update!

      #18; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:49:00 GMT
    • You can always ask for a refund:)
      #19; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:50:00 GMT
    • Yeah, but the crown itself has been ordered and is being made...I guess I could take it to another dentist, but I'm just going to have 'Ahnold' (ha ha, he really does sound just like him) put in this crown. We're moving soon so I have a good excuse not to make any more appointments with Ahnold!!

      I'm hoping another dentist will be able to save me from getting another crown. The other tooth is more decayed but the hole in it is smaller.

      I remember being so smug when I was a kid that I never got cavities. I took it for granted that I had "good teeth". Guess there's egg on my face now!

      #20; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:51:00 GMT
    • Most likely, the other tooth will need a crown too, but since it's not something that needs to be addressed today, look for a dentist that deals with cosmetic/restoration dentistry.

      I did something similar to you. I had a traumatic experience with a dental professional, and as a result, I put off seeing a dentist for a very long time. When I finally did get to a dentist, I ended up needing thousands of dollars in dental work that could have been avoided... heck, I'm still in the process of finishing it up.

      #21; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:52:00 GMT
    • I'm only 26 but since my last pregnancy and breastfeeding for 2 years my teeth have gone downhill fast! I've got the rotting along the backteeth gumline, and the holes. :bag: I wish I had the money to fix it, but state insurance only pays for "emergencies." And even if I could claim this as one, there are no dentists around here to do it! :irked:
      #22; Tue, 11 Dec 2007 17:53:00 GMT