saving the natural smile

Saving the Natural Smile

“My head. Oooh!”

“Where did you say was hurting you?”

“My teeth! Oohh!”

Has this ever happened to you –your tooth feels as if it is killing you and your entire head is engulfed with pain but nobody understands a word of what you are wailing?

For those with toothaches, or gumboils and those who are constantly extracting or filling holes in their teeth, have no fear there are dental specialists who may be able to remove that infectious problem without removing the beloved tooth. There are also lifestyle changes that can be made to our diets to save our natural and beautiful smile.

Whether the pain and discomfort occurred because a previous root canal left bacteria, which keeps spreading, or because a faulty crown or a missing filling exposed a nerve in the pulp to bacteria, or the pain is because of some new infection to the mouth; these are minor problems that an endodontist can alleviate and that can be corrected by proper nutrition.

Visits to the endodontist can save the tooth –where possible- by removing the infected pulp in a popular procedure called an apicoectomy. An apicoectomy will not allow you to call in sick from work. After surgery clients are able to resume their regular routine the following day.

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Endodontists are specialists with two or more years of additional dental study, who can perform up to twenty-five root canals a week, while the regular dentist in America is restricted to two root canals per week. The endodontist is equipped to properly examine by x-ray, the pulps and cavities of the mouth but root canals and apicoectomy should not be the reason we run off to the endodontist or dentist, proper mouth care is.

By the time we are ten, we understand that if we eat excessive amounts of candy we will rot our tooth and the dentist will have to extract it; but, in our teenage years we graduate from sweeties to biscuits, cheese tricks, donuts, sodas and fries and continue the practice through most of our adult years. Some of us shy away from that kind of food, which we call junk and stick to a properly cooked meal to save ourselves trips to the dentist, not understanding that food processing includes heated and frozen foods and that all changes to raw foods hasten the decay of our teeth.

If you have no intention of replacing your natural smile with artificial tooth and fillings then a lifestyle change is what is needed in your diet. Fred D. Miller, D.D.S in his book ‘Healthy Teeth Through Proper Nutrition’ says that during his forty years of dental practice the patients he treated regularly stopped losing their teeth because he advocated education and taught them the effect of different foods on the teeth, what types of foods should be eaten and when they should be eaten.

The mouth, Dr. Miller says, is the barometer of health -’you cannot scale and clean teeth without seeing systemic degenerative diseases of the body at work unless you are blind. Spongy bleeding gum and loose teeth are oral manifestations of multiple deficiencies, a part of the syndrome of degeneration.’[i] Dr. Miller also quotes Dr. Pickerill, a New Zealand dentist who had studied fifteen hundred school children as saying the “fruit has been shown to be one of the best detergents and excitants of the solvent and neutralizing power of the saliva.” As such Dr. Miller recommends that fruits, as the detergents that cleanse our mouths, should be eaten after meals. If you have eaten a piece of garlic and need that odor gone? Try squeezing a lime into a half a glass of water a drinking it and see the disinnfecting power of fruits go to work. That smell will be gone.

Carbohydrates are fermentable foods that rot the teeth and most of what the majority of persons consume is processed foods that are mainly simple carbohydrates and simple sugar. Processed foods include snacks and juices from the supermarket, food cooked over a stove or frozen in a fridge that are denatured to a state where it loses its enzymes and micronutrients. The recommendation is that ‘in between meals, snacks –which are fermentable foods- should be followed by a detergent food unless there is opportunity for brushing the teeth and cleansing the mouth after eating.’[ii] It is imperative we remember our detergent foods are our fruits.

Eat more natural foods and fewer commercially processed foods. Begin to include plenty of fruits and leafy greens with other mineral bearing vegetables. If you eat meats, eat modest quantities. Have milk and eggs if you are not vegan. Follow all meals with a detergent food (fruit) last. This is nothing we have not heard but failed to implement and as a result tooth decay is now a major health problem. Jay W. Friedman, DDS, MPH in his article The Prophylactic Extraction of Third Molars: A Public Health Hazard states that ‘Ten million third molars (wisdom teeth) are extracted from approximately 5 million people in the United States each year at an annual cost of over $3 billion’. Do not fall in the numbers. Let us begin to preserve our beautiful and natural smile by eating right

[i] Miller, Fred D., D.D.S. (1978). Healthy Teeth Through Proper Nutrition. New York, NY: Arco Publishing Company, Inc.

[ii] Miller, Fred D., D.D.S. (1978). Healthy Teeth Through Proper Nutrition. New York, NY: Arco Publishing Company, Inc.