I'm 27 years old. 99% Paleo diet (Micro-brew beer is my kryptonite). I eat NO SUGAR. I never really did. Even when eating a SAD, sugary stuff was always too rich for me. I have lost 55 pounds and I have never felt happier and healthier. In an attempt to raise my all-around health, I decided not to ignore my dental health. I had not been to the dentist in almost 10 years until about 6 months ago. I never felt that I needed to but someone talked me in to it. I never had braces, retainer, or any other dental work. I brush my teeth 2-3 times a day depending on what I eat and how my mouth feels, I use flouride-free toothpaste because I disagree with the aluminum industry (long story), and I always floss; every day.
After my trip to the dentist, my teeth haven't been the same. I thought the method of scraping my teeth with a tiny meat hook seemed medieval but I went with it. Now, I am getting cavities. I am getting them in weird places. Not on the top of my teeth where food would sit and not between my teeth but on 2 of my molars, I am forming tender places halfway between my gum line and the top of the tooth. I have never had a cavity but I assume this is what it is but I cant see it.
Did the dentist scrape the enamel off of my teeth so I would get cavities and have to come back? It might sound crazy but that is how I feel. For 10 years, I never had problems with my teeth until I went to the dentist.
I'm a dental student (in your state, no less). Might as well give this one a go.
First, you said you drink beer. Beer is acidic and to the best of my knowledge will usually contain phytic acids, so long as it is wheat beer or something similar. Depending upon your frequency, this could be contributing. Snacking or drinking BETWEEN MEALS increases your chances of developing a cavity several times over. If you keep drinking beer, do so only with meals.
Removal of plaque using planing tools like your dentist used doesn't harm enamel, and even if it did, it would cause nothing beyond minor surface flaws which are a normal wear phenomenon in the first place. You'd still have plenty of underlying enamel in any case.
Plaque is not necessarily an indicator of potential cavities or the development of cavities. There are only a few bacteria out of hundreds, if not thousands, in your mouth that directly contribute to the formation of cavities, and of these, all of them grow preferentially under high sucrose and/or high fructose conditions. Starches, proteins, and fats do not appear to cause the cavity-causing plaque to overgrow.
There's no reason why scraping of the tooth would lead to novel oral flora or the overgrowth of cavity-causing bacteria. Every time you brush, you remove what is called the salivary pellicle from the tooth surface. This is a layer of proteins and other organic material that your saliva deposits on your teeth. This is also the scaffold on which bacteria adhere to your teeth. Within a couple of hours of brushing or removal of plaque with a planing tool, the pellicle will deposit again, and bacteria will again adhere to it.
As others have said, continue to eat healthily. The more saturated your saliva is with minerals, the better of a job it will do redepositing the minerals bacterial acids sequester. Minimize overly acidic food intake, especially liquids. Cavemen didn't brush, yet they only 1 in 10 of them exhibit evidence of a cavity on fossils. Diet is the key factor.
Sensitivity does not necessarily mean cavity. In fact, I would say it is a cavity less often than it is something else. It could just be any number of things, and I can't even begin to predict what it may be over the internet.
Hope you find your answer within that mess.
Quickly do this: 1. Ensure you are eating all as many fat-soluble vitamins as you can, including K2 and D. 2. Ensure you are eating a mineral rich diet (from your post it seems you have this down already). 3. Eliminate as many sources of phytic acid from your diet as possible. 4. Watch your cavities disappear
I think they are probably not trying to harm your teeth, but that is not to say that some of your problems are not related to your trip to the dentist.
I would refer you to the work of the Weston A. Price foundation as there is a lot of research on improving dental health, healing cavities, etc. One post I found about healing weakened teeth/strengthening enamel/etc. is here.
Hope this at least points your research in the right direction.
What are your 1% cheats and how many servings of fruit do you eat per day?
Do you use any sweetener like maple syrup, agave, and/or honey?
How many years have you been Paleo during the 10 years you didn't go to the dentist?
Maybe we should do a survey as to how frequently people get their teeth cleaned?
You could have old tooth decay where the cavity is slowly growing and now it shows up?
Any other medical issues you might want to mention? Other inflammatory and/or autoimmune disease may affect the teeth and/or gums.
My friend who's a dentist has said most people fall into 1 of 2 categories typically which may be genetic to some degree:
1) high saliva producers - moist mouth - plaque producers but NOT cavities
2) low saliva producers - drier mouth - CAVITIES but not plaque
I can vouch for family and friends where this pattern holds true.
Are you getting enough zinc and Vitamin K?
Hi Todd, I'm a dental hygienist, the lesion you are describing sounds like gingival recession, which is an area where your gum line has receded or abrasion, which is a "scooped out" area on the tooth. Both of which can be caused by brushing too hard, brushing back and forth instead of small circles, or brushing with a medium to hard bristled brush instead of soft. I see these conditions a lot in my patients that clench and grind their teeth too. If you're up to trying a new gentle brush that cleans very effectively, try a Sonicare. A visit back to your dentist should get you the proper diagnosis. If these areas are sensitive as well, I recommend Toms of Maine for sensitive teeth. Good luck Todd, and great job on the flossing;)
It has been established that using a dental explorer (pointed pick) to assess whether or not a tooth lesion has "cavitated", or collapsed, can in fact cause collapse itself. There's been a push from professional organizations and dental schools to be as conservative as possible with the explorer, especially since evidence shows it does not improve detection. You can politely ask your dentist to be as conservative as possible with the explorer before he examines you... most dentists will appreciate your engagement. There's also some concern that the explorer can transfer decay bacteria from a cavity into other vulnerable places in the mouth.
As for cleaning your teeth, there's still no great alternative (that I know of) to using metal tools to scrape off tartar. The combination of polishing and scaling does in fact remove some enamel, usually on the order of nanometers. Still, cleaning tartar and smoothing the enamel surface is definitely worth it because it discourages future decay.
The only exception is if you no longer produce tartar. Part of this is genetic, but you can in fact take care of you teeth well enough that you have no real tartar to speak of. A combination of reducing grains, increasing fat soluble vitamins, xylitol, Dr. Ellie's system of mouthwashes, being careful to get enough minerals, minimizing in-between meal snacks, and simply rinsing my mouth out with water after eating (we have hard, alkaline water) has made going to the dentist every six months no longer make sense for me. I just don't produce tartar anymore.
This does sound all too familiar. I actually had a few years dentist-free, went in passed with flying colors, went paleo, went back to the dentist to find quite a few cavities. I've given myself 6 months now supplementing minerals, high dose D+K. I'm due again for a check-up. If they've healed, great, if not, well I face the drill. Nearly 20 years of SAD without a cavity, 6 months of paleo I ended up with a mouthful. Don't know what to make of that.
Well, I kind of agree with Todd because I never had cavities. But i noticed i was getting them when they would stick the pointed tool into my teeth to see if i have a cavity. It seemed unnecessary because they already took x-ray of my teeth and saw i didn't have any cavities. But afterward the cavities formed. Could the pointed tool have been the reason?
To Todd & Keena, Yes the dentists is at fault here and is the direct cause of the cavities you now have after using those unnecessary nasty explorers on your gums and teeth. I had an incompetent dentists scratch my front tooth with an explorer and flicked off enamel and the other front tooth that was a crown he sliced open the gum by scratching the gum area, I've been in pain for 8 years, I was misdiagnose as the pain was due to infection and advised by annother incompetent dentists to have RCT, made the pain worse. I had no problems with any of my teeth especially the front teeth.Then 8 yrs later had another dentists damage a molar by digging deep in between the gum and tooth even though I told him my previous experience with an explorer and that I didnt like them and not to touch my teeth and gums with it, he refused to respect my wishes and went and caused me excruciating pain, but when a dentists is negligent they will tell you they didn't do anything wrong and its your teeth. You won't get any help from his fellow colleagues because they all protect one another so will misdiagnose you and his fellow colleagues (other dentists) to protect himself and them, if you happened to take legal action for their negligence. Explorers actually cause cavities and do more damage then good. Common sense would prevail that putting a sharp needle like instrument into a persons mouth and dig around into their gums and scratch teeth is going to cause pain and damage. Do not trusts dentists, refuse to have any explorers put in your mouth and if they don't listen tell them there unprofessional and denying you your basic human rights and walk out.
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