Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Mystery of the Thinning Enamel: Case Closed

I previously blogged about the state of my teeth. Some cavities, a cracked tooth, and thinning enamel on my front teeth. I had a deep cleaning done last month. Yesterday was the filling. And somehow I hadn't really realized how big the cavity was. Either that or it grew really quickly (which they say it can once it hits the dentin). They shot me up with Novocaine and dug out the cavity. And given the sensitivity and the fact that they had to give me two shots of Novocaine, they thought the decay might have hit the nerve and I'd need a root canal (I never really knew what a root canal was, but now that I do, ugh!). Thankfully, I narrowly escaped that.

In any event, they drilled out the cavity, then as they were preparing the filling, I explored it a little with my tongue. I had a hole nearly the size of my tooth in my tooth! Seriously! It was like a hole with a tooth shell around it. I couldn't get over how big it was, I still can't, it was nuts.

Anyway, during this whole cavity and filling process, I asked the doc about my thinning enamel (indicated by some yellowing of the teeth. Sometimes this means staining, in which case whitening is called for. Sometimes it means thinning enamel, which lets the yellow dentin underneath show through. In my case it's the later. And what sucks is that enamel doesn't grow back). I asked her why it might be thinning, and she went through the same things that the lady who cleaned my teeth mentioned - acidic stuff like juice, soda, possibly tomatoes (though they wouldn't be that bad). I rarely drink juice and infrequently drink soda. So I was still at a loss. Continue the filling process.

Then a lightbulb goes off in my head.

I eat a lot of fruit. My breakfast every morning is a fruit shake, something like this:

1 banana
2/3 of a half a cantaloupe or 1/3 container of defrosted strawberries
1 nectarine/peach/handful of blueberries
dash of water
2t flax seed oil
scoop of whey protein powder

I drink this (and it's usually a glass and a half worth of shake), then I brush my teeth and head out. Basically, the problems are twofold. The acid from the fruit gets on my front teeth as I drink the shake and sticks on the enamel. Then I go brush my teeth and the acid works as an abrasive to wear away the enamel. So I think I'm being so good and having fruit for breakfast and brushing my teeth, but really I'm wearing them away. You can't win sometimes, can you?

Or wait, maybe you can! The dentist then provided a solution for me, because she acknowledged that fruit is a very healthy option. Buy straws. Drinking my shake through a straw will send it right to the back of my mouth and bypass the front teeth completely. On top of that, rinse out my mouth with water before brushing my teeth just in case any of the fruit acid stuck on there. Woohoo, easy solution!


Romny said...

I've been lucky that I don't have any more cavities than I already have. But I do get the occasional sensitive tooth. Especially if I'm eating ice cream. I can't use those store bought white strips for your teeth, that really hurts.

The Dieting Ninja said...

Wow, that's something I didn't know and it's definitely not something I would have guessed!

My breakfasts are usually eggy or oatmeally in nature, but it's probably still a good idea to swishnspit once before brushing.

Egads! The dangers of proper dental hygiene!

The Lethological Gourmet said...

Romny, I've never tried those white strips. The dentist told me she didn't recommend whitening for me, because she says usually it doesn't come out looking that great.

Ninja, I've gone through breakfast phases. I ate mueslix all through high school. Instant oatmeal through college. Cheerios after college. Now I'm drinking fruit shakes, and have apparently been abrading my teeth for two years on the shakes!

Crabby McSlacker said...

Oh crap, I never even thought about this possibility!

Thanks for the advice: must buy straws.

I'm gonna look a little silly with my morning coffee and my evening glasss of pinot noir though... but might be worth it to have whiter teeth!

The Lethological Gourmet said...

Crabby, it's amazing how hard it is to find straws! I figured that CVS would be an easy bet for them, but nope! Must go to supermarket.

I'm not sure if coffee or wine would have the same effect (apart from tooth staining, and that can be whitened), but seriously, I want to hear how drinking coffee through a straw goes! ;)

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