I’m going to give you some tips on how to avoid some unnecessary dental work over the course of your lifetime. More importantly, these tips will benefit your children more than they’ll benefit you. I’m writing from experience as well as from what I’ve learned and as I’m writing, I’ll provide some anecdotal evidence to back things up.
Fluoride and Tap Water
Like most children of the 1960s, I grew up drinking tap water. It wasn’t until recently that the public was warned about dental fluorosis. Yes, all those years of drinking tap water helped to prevent cavities from forming but in return, it caused mottling, pitting, and weakening of the teeth.
I used to think that some people were genetically predisposed to having good teeth. I don’t think that way anymore. It’s more likely that fluoride wasn’t added to their water supply and they did the other things that normally produced good teeth, such as brushing, flossing and not eating candy.
Acid Reflux Disease
I joined the military in 1978 and every time I went to a dental clinic, either the dental hygienist or the dentist himself (mine were all men until after I retired) would ask me if I drank a lot of soda or ate a lot of oranges due to the erosion on the back of my teeth. It wasn’t until the 1990s that I found out I suffered from acid reflux and probably had been for most of my life. The cure for acid reflux, for me, was the same thing I used to defeat chronic heartburn (which is a symptom of acid reflux disease) – vinegar. I rarely feel heartburn anymore and when I do, I don’t bother with antacids and anti-reflux medication, I go straight for a tablespoon of vinegar and any amount of heartburn dissipates quickly.
Brushing and Flossing
Brushing and flossing, at least twice a day, is extremely important. I was raised to brush my teeth daily but was never taught to floss. I didn’t start doing that until adulthood. Too late – cavities formed between the teeth in the places where flossing would have prevented it.
That’s as far as I’ll go with the brushing and flossing idea. What did people do before the invention of toothpaste? Did everyone in the world have bad teeth? No, of course, because the types of foods that produced the most amount of plaque and cavities didn’t exist either.
This is advice only because I’m not a dentist. Find out if your water supply contains added fluoride. If it does, avoid drinking it (fluoride is a poison) – go for bottled water instead. Fluoride in toothpaste is okay if you rinse your mouth with something that doesn’t contain fluoride itself.
Ask your dentist if there’s any evidence of erosion on the back of the teeth. If there is, or if you always tend to have heartburn, or if you wake up with the taste of bile in your mouth, you probably suffer from acid reflux disease. Get treatment for it (but don’t forget about the vinegar method).
If you fail to recognize the symptoms before it’s too late, you’ll be wearing dentures like I do. If you have children, perhaps you can help them avoid your fate.