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Stress + Lack of Nutrients Led to Tooth Decay

It's been a stressful year: my father rapidly declined and died, and my mother ended up in the hospital and then in a nursing home for a while. While she was staying with me for a few weeks, a relative told the county I was starving and stealing from her. (Of course, the county determined this was a load of horse shit.) Lately, the same relative has been meddling in my mother's financial affairs, making messes as fast as I can clean them up.

From the time early this year when I was doing a lot of work on my parents' house (e.g., insulating their attic), I wasn't taking my vitamins regularly or eating liver and oily fish weekly. A few years before, I started what I called the cavity-healing diet to heal my teeth; surprisingly, it made my TMJ better.

Given my gum graft surgery last summer, I should have really been diligent about the diet, but I wasn't. I ended up with redness in the area of the graft, roaming TMJ, and the beginning of a cavity between two molars.

My new dentist (Dr. Michelangelo retired) said he liked my plan to take better care of myself and--get this--said he wanted to give the cavity time to remineralize. My last dentist said cavities couldn't do that. The dental hygienist recommended more brushing in the red area on my gums to get rid of the bad bacteria and using high-fluoride toothpaste on the cavity. She also said that stress hormones can affect your gums. Other than the small cavity and redness in one area, my teeth looked good.

This was a few weeks ago. The extra brushing helped within a few days--the gum graft area felt better and the redness went away. Paleolithic people--and even people with good teeth in Weston A. Price's day--may not have brushed, but people did get some cavities. Even Turkana Boy--from 1.8 million years ago--may have died of an abcessed tooth. And there was a Cro-Magnon skull with only one tooth; the others were lost, but the area healed. So eat low carb, nutritious foods, but brush your teeth, too. I use a Sonicare and let the brush do the work--no need to apply pressure.

I've gone back to eating oily fish (salmon patties) and liver every week, too. Result: no more TMJ. I thought that too much caffeine was causing my TMJ. It might not have helped it, but since going back to my old diet, coffee, tea and cold water don't bother my teeth or TMJ anymore.

I've been more diligent about taking my vitamins every day for about a couple of months now. I seemed to have burned through a lot of magnesium, since I have to take more of it now.

For daily inspiration to take care of myself, I started reading the Living Stingy blog. The author says people have a duty to take care of themselves; to get out of the car before your friend with a problem drives it off a cliff; that saving the world is the bailiwick of looneys. (Remember Lierre Kieth, who adopted a vegan diet to help save the planet and the animals, only to permanently damage her health? Her web site boasts of how many times she's been arrested.) I especially love his checklist for activists who want to save the day: "Does the day need saving? Are you really doing what is right for the community or just stroking your own ego? Do you have your own shit together?" (Come to think of it, a few nutrition bloggers would do well to consider the checklist, too, along with one or two busybody relatives.)

To that end, I've started telling the mess makers they need to help straighten out their own messes. Things had gotten to the point that I didn't have my own shit together: I was neglecting a diet I knew I should have been on, vitamins I knew I should have been taking, and ending up with the beginning of dental problems. Fortunately, it's probably early enough to turn things around.

Comments

Larcana said…
Yes, the stress is a real killer...for everything in our bodies. I've adopted an I don't care attitude to keep me sane.
I take Now brand multi called Eve Women's MVI. It has some extra supplements to ease my women's issues! Love it. That and my VLC diet keep me going with my heavy workload. I'll check out the Stingy blog!
Galina L. said…
It was a stressful year for you! I wish you could sue that relative, but most probably it would be more stress and money spend than it is good for you. We have to take care about own health first, and care about planet, revenge, public pressure second.
Lori Miller said…
Actually it's a misdemeanor in Colorado to knowingly make false accusations of abuse or neglect to social services. Did this person do so knowingly or just take some of Mom's complaints way out of context, failing to wonder why Mom didn't just send out for hot wings if there was really no food in the house, or why she didn't just revoke my POA if she didn't like my money management? Probably the latter.
tess said…
that's a perfect explanation of why we need to take EXTRA good care of ourselves when things are difficult ... and why it's not easy to do! :-) i sure hope your 2015 is wonderful, to partially make up for a lousy '14....
Lori Miller said…
Thanks, Tess.
Stress messes with us terribly - and your year has not been a good one.

However, you are now back doing the right thing with regard to your teeth and I suspect other areas of your life too.
Onwards, Upwards and 2015 has got to be a much, much better year.

Take Care - Look after yourself

All the best Jan
Lori Miller said…
"Next year all our troubles will be far away..."

I hope so. Thanks, Jan.

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