SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

August 24, 2013

Tooth ills (few fixes)

(Okay, If I had just a bit more of that sense of ‘fair play –I’d hang it up.  But even tho I, a  once fairly organized woman seem to be coming unglued, . . .  even hanging loose, I’m still having fun – and let’s face it, it’s my blog!  So what if this post has been hanging out in the cue for over a year now  or two — It’s getting done  It’s still relevant, and in addition, I have a few things I’d like to interject here and there

In fairness to me  [not a bad old girl] — on the 29th I turn 84.   Tho I’ve bored you with some of this before,  it might be worth mentioning here,  I live alone;  have no help with anything.   The house work  barely passes muster, but I don’t do much entertaining.  Tho I dearly love my roses – they are in fact, being neglected.   Fewer blossoms makes me really appreciate their heady fragrance.   Heidi pines for the day when we walked more and longer.  But she, like me remains grateful that we still have each other.  Both of us still eat well, sleep well and take no meds.   We are both rather pleased with our lot, even tho we realize that few can understand us. .   .  .   the old lady and her strangely happy dog.  Our motto is to always welcome the new day and to generally try for the happier thoughts to think.  Don’t owe any taxes and renewed my driver’s license.

This post has been sitting  so long in the cue, I can’t remember where I got it.   Though it is geared to the Raw Foodists among us, the information would be helpful to anyone with teeth.  I certainly can relate to it as I have spent the past couple of years with all my raw-food juicing.  No question that it has helped me in many ways.    As Dr Max Gerson stressed,  one doesn’t heal a particular part of the body or a disease — one HEALS THE BODY  and the body heals whatever disease afflicts it,  [unless vital organs have been far too damaged].  Interestingly, Dr Gerson wasn’t a Raw Foodist, he advocated organic of course and  lots of juicing, but also gently simmered and slowly cooked soups and stews.  (Happen to be reading his own book now as well as about 10 others which is why its hard to get done what needs to be done sometimes.  I have a lot of reading which I really need to do and want to do. 

My teeth have been damaged  and I’ve lost a few molars.  Don’t know if I would have believed it was possible to have hurt my own teeth by the healthy, organic food I was putting in my body.    But I’ve learned, it is almost a given,  many raw foodists lose their teeth.  Don’t have the answer.  But aside from this intelligent article which follows, I do have an additional suggestion for you.    Did a post July 14, 2013  about Japanese chemical suicide to which  a reader commented about her teeth.  In responding to her, I told her about a dentist who practiced in such a way that his intention was that people could learn to help themselves become  free from the need to see dentists.  This made him into a living threat to the industry and eventually, ran him out of business.  But his body of work has been left behind and it is being offered.  

He wrote a book called “Money by the Mouthful” and still another called How to become Dentally Self-Sufficient.  His name is  Dr Robert O. Nara.  This stems from 1979.  He practiced for years and was greatly loved by so many grateful people.  You can check this out at OraMedia – Dental Self Sufficiency  In SC.   They have a newsletter you can get as well:    Jan)

How to Avoid Dental Nightmares on a Raw Food Diet

by Jan 3, 2011

My own story reads like a scene from a dental horror flick: After one year as a brushing-twice-a-day raw vegan, I found myself propped back in the dentist chair, listening to the hygienist tally up the 16 cavities that had suddenly appeared in my mouth.I couldn’t blame old age; I was still in my teens. I couldn’t blame a change in oral hygiene; if anything, I’d become more diligent about flossing. And I couldn’t blame my previous diet—because I’d only had one other cavity in my whole life, even when eating refined sugar and other tooth-wrecking monstrosities. The only change in my lifestyle was when I became a raw vegan.

Seven years later, my mouth is in good shape again, but my initial experience was far from unique. Dental woes are the proverbial elephant in the raw-food room—the one health issue that frequently declines rather than improves on an uncooked diet. This is apparent not just anecdotally, but also scientifically: Of the sparse studies conducted on raw foodists, most have shown raw vegans to be amazingly prone to dental damage, experiencing almost twice as much severe erosion as the rest of the population.

Fortunately, eating raw doesn’t have to be a one-way ticket to Dentureville. Taking some precautions and ensuring adequate nutrition can help you to keep your pearly whites both pearly and white, without forgoing the other perks brought by a raw food diet.

The Fantastic Trio: Vitamins K2, D, and A

Calcium gets lauded as a dental superstar, but it won’t do diddly squat if your body can’t deposit it in the right places. That’s where the fat-soluble vitamins K2, D, and A come into play. Vitamin K2 is crucial for helping the calcium you eat to end up back in your teeth; vitamin D improves intestinal absorption of calcium; and vitamin A plays a key role in bone and tooth formation. Together, these nutrients work synergistically to decay-proof your mouth—and their combined effects can be powerful enough to actually reverse cavities and erosion.

So where do you get these critical nutrients?

  • Vitamin K2: This sucker is hard to come by if you’re a vegan. The best source is natto, a type of fermented soy product.  But if you’re dedicated to raw or can’t stomach globs of chunky, slimy beans (I guess it’s an acquired taste), the only other edible options are hard cheeses, egg yolks, grass-fed butter, and organ meats. If these foods are also a no-go on your menu, opt for a supplement. Even if you’re not a fan of pills (I’m not either), this is one pill you will be glad you took. After speaking with dozens of people who’ve turned their dental health around by supplementing with K2, I’m convinced that this is the missing piece in the dental health paradox for raw foodists. (here comes my first interjection which I feel compelled to offer.   Vitamin K comes in both K-1 and K-2 forms.  K-1 is found  in leaves of green plants which is the predominant form.  K-2 is produced from bacteria and is deliberately generated by the “fermenting process” — in this case soy beans!  I’ve never tried natto and from the above description, might never want to. In no case would any health-conscious person recommend eating soy beans as they are almost 99% GMO’s.  But if “FERMENTED” they then impart the magic which contains the K-2. And this is helpful in getting and maintaining healthy bones.  It is far, far better to ingest K-2 from food stuff rather than supplementation as it imparts a much higher quantity of the mineral.  My method is however with fermented veggies which runs throughout this entire blog.  I never tire of speaking of the value of it.  I don’t worry about any of the B vitamins or the K-2, because eating some of my homemade fermented ‘kraut’ is totally enjoyable to me and there is no pill which can even begin to compare with the quality , or taste, nor the variety which I can create for myself.  For more depth on this, go to my post Natto, fermented soy (7-30-09), from Donna Gates at  Body Ecology  BED.
  • Vitamin D: Sunshine, sunshine, sunshine. If you’re lucky enough to live in the tropics, basking in the sun everyday should be adequate enough to keep your vitamin D levels high. But if you live at a far northern latitude, your body might not be making enough vitamin D for optimal health—especially during the winter. So unless you’re cozied up near the equator, a vitamin D supplement (preferably in the form of D3 rather than D2) is your best bet.
  • Vitamin A: Although the two are commonly confused, beta carotene—the stuff that gives carrots and sweet potatoes their lovely blushed-orange hue—is not the same thing as vitamin A, which is only found in animal foods. Beta carotene is a provitamin, which means that your body has to convert it before it can really be used. Although most people have no problem making that conversion (and can therefore get plenty of this nutrient from fruits and vegetables), some people—including children and anyone with thyroid disorders or diabetes—may need a source of pre-formed vitamin A in order to stay healthy. Sources of beta carotene include orange-colored fruits and vegetables as well as leafy greens; eating these foods with a source of fat increases absorption significantly. Sources of vitamin A in the form of retinol include egg yolks, milk, and liver.

Protect Your Teeth From an Acid Bath
Apart from nutrition, direct exposure to acids can harm your chompers. Vinegar is a common, but highly acidic, raw condiment; and even when ripe, some fruits like grapes, berries, tomatoes, apples, and citrus have a very low pH—making them capable of eroding enamel the moment they hit your teeth. Try keeping these foods to a minimum, especially if you notice tooth sensitivity after eating them. But if you do end up chowing down on some not-quite-ripe oranges or dousing a salad with vinegar, you can lessen the damage by doing the following:

Rinse your mouth out with water immediately after eating to clear away the residue. If possible, try swishing with a water/baking soda mixture—the high pH of the baking soda will neutralize the acids in your mouth.  (here I go again;  and I am in agreement.  This is also in agreement with Dr Nara  who advises to never brush after a meal as the teeth are in a weakened condition and the enamel can be damaged too easily.  He says that swishing with baking soda or salt is the way to go as it restores the alkaline ambiance of the mouth.  Ergo, I keep Celtic Sea Salt in my bathroom plus a spoon and my trusty water-pic which he also advises.  Use water in the water pic or irrigator of your choice in a temperature as warm as you can tolerate.  Works for me.  J )

Avoid brushing your teeth following an acidic meal. It sounds counterintuitive, but this is important. Until your saliva has a chance to work its remineralizing magic, your enamel will be softer than usual—and scrubbing with harsh bristles will only cause more erosion.

Fresh is Best
Dried fruit and dehydrated treats can spell trouble for dental health, especially if they make up a large portion of your diet. Dried fruit is particularly troublesome because it gets crammed in the hard-to-reach spots between your teeth, providing a sugary feast for bacteria—and creating the perfect habitat where cavities may form. As much as possible, stick with fresh, water-rich foods, and be sure to floss after eating anything dry and sticky.

Up the Greens
Green leafy vegetables are typically the highest source of enamel-building minerals in a raw food diet, and skimping on them can lead to a major dental health crash once your body’s reserves dip too low. Don’t be fooled by the short-term success of folks attempting strict fruitarianism—in the long haul, good teeth are the exception rather than the rule on such a diet, and greens play a vital role in covering your mineral bases. Darker vegetables like kale and chard tend to be richer in nutrients than light-colored ones like iceberg lettuce; and eating your greens with a source of fat (such as avocado) can boost your body’s absorption of the nutritional goodness.

Don’t Forgo Hygiene
Just because you’re eating natural foods doesn’t mean that you should toss your floss and toothbrush by the wayside. Even with a good diet, dental hygiene can greatly improve your odds of keeping a bright, healthy smile—and regular dentist visits can help to scrub away the staining that sometimes occurs from eating brightly colored fruits and vegetables.  (Last intrusion, honest.  An important item from Dr Nara which has strengthened my own commitment and produced results is his belief that people simply have not been given the straight poop about health dental care.  It is one’s commitment to keeping a CLEAN mouth and the willingness to stick with it and build a better habit which WILL PAY OFF.   He claims that night time routine is essential.  Tooth paste or gel or powder is not the important thing.  The brushing is what’s important.  Be willing to spend 5 minutes or so in just brushing, concentrating on each tooth as you roll the brush upward with the lower teeth and rolling downward with the upper teeth.  Inside and outside.    Do not need commercial preparations at all.  Including, especially the rinses.  He insists the salt water is great as we are attempting to create that same alkalinity of the sea from which all life has come.  I use the powder I make myself which I have shared with you all. So I stand at my sink and brush, eyes closed, taking my time, even at 2 or 3 in the morning.  Follow up with the hot salt-water irrigation.  There is no plaque anywhere.  My teeth feel great.  I will never need another scraping again. And that my friends is a very comforting thought.   Jan)

If you’re a raw foodist, you already know how important an asset your mouth is. Don’t wait until you’re experiencing problems (or staring down a mountain of dental bills) to take action: Be proactive, feed your teeth the nutrients they need, and then enjoy the benefits of raw foods without worrying about the future of your oral health.

Denise Minger writes about Raw Food on her blog Raw Food SOS!

Check it out!


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