Please help me save my teeth before they are gone.
December 18, 2012 9:24 AM   Subscribe

I never drink soda, and I place more focus on health and nutrition than anyone I know. Why are my teeth dissolving?!

Sorry in advance for the long post.

I am 27, and until fairly recently, I had a set of very healthy looking teeth. I'd never even had a cavity until my most recent checkup, when my dentist found two of them. Over the past year, I've been noticing that my teeth seem to stain much, much more easily than other people's. I started avoiding coffee and black tea for that reason, and always opt for white wine over red while in public, because after a few sips of red my husband starts lovingly referring to me as "Captain Black Teeth." I know these are things that are notorious for staining everyone's teeth, but the effect they have on mine seems much more severe. For example, ONE mug of herbal tea the other day made my teeth so dark that I was embarrassed to leave the house. After brushing with activated charcoal (supposedly a safe, natural way to whiten teeth) several times since then, they still have an obvious greyish tinge.

The thing that is really freaking me out though, is the way the bottoms of my teeth are visibly thinning out to the point of looking translucent. This is happening to one of my front teeth faster than the other, and last night during a conversation with my husband, he interrupted it to say "Let me see your teeth," and "That worn spot on your tooth is getting worse." (In a concerned way -- Not a critical one.) We both agree that I need to make an appointment with a doctor asap to get my mineral levels checked, but I was hoping to collect theories here first in case that doesn't turn up much.

As mentioned, I'm a health nut, and I'm borderline obsessed with nutrition, which is why it's so surprising to me that my teeth reflect such poor health. I follow a grain-free, processed foods-free diet full of grass fed meat, lots of healthy fats, fresh pastured milk, eggs, and cheese, and plenty of organic vegetables straight from the farm. I even supplement daily with fermented cod liver oil (for the D and A) and butter oil (for the K2) which are supposed to be the three main powerhouses behind healthy teeth and bones. Obviously I'm doing something wrong, but I'm at a loss for what it could be.

Lastly, in case these are relevant/ related to the above issue -- I experience fairly regular charley horses at night, and muscle cramping in my hands during the day, as well as frequent heart palpitations. All of this together screams "magnesium deficiency" to me based on what little I know, but I've been supplementing with Natural Calm and LiquiMins for 6 months now and have experienced little to no improvement in my observable symptoms.

If anyone has a guess as to what might be happening to my teeth or advice for how to slow their deterioration, please share. I'm willing to try almost anything at this point.
posted by lmpatte2 to Health & Fitness (48 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'm willing to try almost anything at this point.

Have you tried consulting with your dentist? A lot of this is genetic, too.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:29 AM on December 18, 2012 [12 favorites]

I'll grant that I'm getting most of this info from a particular toothpaste ad, but I wonder if any of the fruits and vegetables may be part of the situation - fruits have acid, and that could eat away tooth enamel.

At least it's worth mentioning when you see the dentist.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:31 AM on December 18, 2012

I think there a few things going on here that you should consider separately:

1) You pay a LOT of attention to what seem like minor health considerations. I think whatever may or may not (let's hope) be going on with your teeth is not as significant as it appears.

2) You focus a lot on the "natural" aspect of certain things in a way that doesn't do a lot for your goals. If activated charcoal is too harsh an abrasive for your teeth, it doesn't matter where it comes from. Don't do anything drastic to your teeth.

3) Teeth are variable depending on your genetics and what works for others may not work for you.

Before setting up a doctor's appointment to check "mineral levels", you should schedule a dentist appointment to have a qualified person look at your teeth and discuss your concerns. You may well hear that your teeth are fine and you're a bit wound up about nothing. You may hear that your teeth are not in bad shape but need particular care of a certain type. You may be alerted to a specific systemic issue which then needs to be discussed with a physician.

The urge to catastrophize about teeth is a universal one; nightmares about losing teeth are common. Rather than getting into a situation where you're reacting without the benefit of knowing what's going on, and perhaps doing things that are themselves not great for your teeth, take the time to speak with a knowledgable dentist who can conduct an evaluation without the stresses that color your own thinking about the symptoms.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:34 AM on December 18, 2012 [8 favorites]

I got little more than a shoulder shrug when I asked my dentist about this. (I should probably find a new one of those.) I cut out most acidic fruits a long time ago when I started to become aware of this problem, and when I do have a grapefruit on occasion, I always rinse my mouth out with a baking soda and water solution to counteract the acidity immediately afterward.
posted by lmpatte2 at 9:35 AM on December 18, 2012

I got little more than a shoulder shrug when I asked my dentist about this.

This is a good opportunity to seek a second opinion, preferably from a dentist who comes recommended by friends as thorough and caring.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:36 AM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

I swapped out processed sodas for seltzer water with lemon juice or sometimes orange juice — which is a healthier choice. But that can be bad for your teeth. Are you consuming lots of fruit acids?
posted by amoeba at 9:36 AM on December 18, 2012

Do you drink fluoridated water? Do you filter your water before you drink it or drink strictly bottled water?

Or do you brush your teeth a ton and use floride rinses? Because too much floride can damage enamel too.

This could have an impact on the health of your teeth.
posted by royalsong at 9:37 AM on December 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

It's nice to read a comment from someone else who is aware of the damaging effects of fluoridated water... We use an RO filter for all of the drinking water in our house, and add the minerals back in before drinking it, but I specifically left that out of the post because I expected a lot of comments about how important fluoride is for healthy teeth.
posted by lmpatte2 at 9:40 AM on December 18, 2012

Why is your husband repeatedly tweaking you about something that's obviously causing you a lot of anxiety?

Nthing a new dentist. You can try looking for someone who practices "gentle dentistry" - the office should advertise this, as it's increasingly a big draw. It means the staff and doctor recognize that going to the dentist is stressful for people for a variety of reasons, and they will be very practiced in dealing with anxious or upset patients.
posted by superfluousm at 9:44 AM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

You don't use this mouthwash by any chance, do you? My friend was having problems with teeth staining and her dentist said this product is causing a lot of problems.
posted by something something at 9:45 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

No fluoride at all is also going to leave you with weak tooth enamel isn't it?

NB. You say you have frequent heart palpitations. Have you been to a doctor to get these checked out?
posted by pharm at 9:47 AM on December 18, 2012

Why is your husband repeatedly tweaking you about something that's obviously causing you a lot of anxiety?

He pointed it out last night because he is worried about me. He calls me Captain Black Teeth when I drink wine because I'm already aware of the problem, and it's his way of making me laugh and feel better about it. He's just being affectionate when he teases me.
posted by lmpatte2 at 9:50 AM on December 18, 2012

I went in for a root canal and afterwards my dentist told me "you have perfect enamel but the roots of an 80-year-old (I was under 30 at the time). I've always been a pretty conscious tooth-carer. Genes really are a factor that you need to consider. Still, get thee to a dentist.
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:50 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

You don't use this mouthwash by any chance, do you?

Nope, I've never used that one. I did rinse with hydrogen peroxide a couple of times to help lift the staining, but only after my dentist assured me it was safe. I've since given that habit up too though, just in case it is contributing to my thinned enamel.
posted by lmpatte2 at 9:52 AM on December 18, 2012

It's nice to read a comment from someone else who is aware of the damaging effects of fluoridated water... We use an RO filter for all of the drinking water in our house, and add the minerals back in before drinking it, but I specifically left that out of the post because I expected a lot of comments about how important fluoride is for healthy teeth.

Does that mean that you don't brush with fluoride, either? Because if you're seeing an increase in cavities, I might give it a shake. There's a long history of fluoride fear mongering and while I understand the controversy, I think that an increase in cavities warrants a consideration of some fluoride use (but I'm someone who was on prescription high-fluoride toothpaste at one point because of cavity-prone teeth. And it helped.)

Other possibilities: you might grind your teeth. Really, I'd talk to your dentist, or a second dentist.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:52 AM on December 18, 2012 [7 favorites]

Does that mean that you don't brush with fluoride, either?

I actually tried to switch to fluoride-free toothpaste a while ago in response to that fluoride fear mongering you mention, but it just didn't make my mouth feel clean enough, so I decided going back to Crest wasn't going to kill me. Since then I learned that conventional toothpaste coats teeth with a layer of glycerine that makes it difficult to remineralize teeth, because the glycerine prevents teeth from coming into contact with the minerals in saliva. So now I'm considering going back to the hippie paste... But maybe I'd benefit more from a high-fluoride paste like the one you used. While drinking fluoridated water never helped anybody, I know the topical use of fluoride does have some proven benefits.
posted by lmpatte2 at 10:04 AM on December 18, 2012

If you are brushing with "natural" toothpastes, you should be aware that some of them contain outrageous amounts of silica or other abrasives. I suspect you have literally scrubbed the enamel right off your teeth. The structure under the enamel is porous, easily stained and, worse, providing habitat for cavity-forming bacteria.

It's worth noting that fluoride helps bind calcium to enamel. Ingesting fluoride isn't safe, but topical application (toothpastes, rinses) are safe. It is pretty foolish to completely forgo fluoride, although there are any number of so-called "healthy" companies that will make extravagant claims to the contrary. They do that because they want to sell you their "natural" toothpaste.

See a dentist.
posted by at 10:07 AM on December 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

End this madness and just get some crowns put on.

Will they not only solve the staining, but also protect the teeth you currently have left?
posted by Kruger5 at 10:19 AM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

End this madness and just get some crowns put on.

Are crowns the same thing as veneers? I don't know much about either, or whether I would be a candidate for that. Can pretty much anyone who isn't happy with the appearance of their teeth get pretty little hats put on each one?
posted by lmpatte2 at 10:25 AM on December 18, 2012

How are you brushing? My dentist scolded me for brushing too vigorously, which was causing my gums to recede and exposing the bases of teeth. He recommended switching to an electric toothbrush, which I did, and it is great.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:27 AM on December 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

Lastly, in case these are relevant/ related to the above issue -- I experience fairly regular charley horses at night, and muscle cramping in my hands during the day, as well as frequent heart palpitations. All of this together screams "magnesium deficiency" to me based on what little I know, but I've been supplementing with Natural Calm and LiquiMins for 6 months now and have experienced little to no improvement in my observable symptoms.

Please tell me that you have seen a doctor about this. IANAD, but it seems unlikely for someone to eat the diet you describe and have such a severe magnesium deficiency to cause the symptoms you are experiencing. Signs of magnesium deficiency are rarely seen in the U.S..

Obviously I'm doing something wrong, but I'm at a loss for what it could be.

Maybe not, it could just be genetics. Or brushing too vigorously, or using abrasive toothpaste. I would stop with the self-diagnosis and treatment and make an appointment with a new dentist.
posted by inertia at 10:33 AM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm pro-fluoride, but if you do decide you don't want to use a fluoride toothpaste any more, I recommend the Beaver brand toothpastes. They're the only non-fluoridated toothpastes my (very trusted) dental hygienist recommends. There is something (calcium carbonate?) in them that performs the same function fluoride does.
posted by looli at 10:34 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

When you say the bottoms of your teeth are thinning to the point of being transluscent, do you mean the bottom part that goes into your gum?

The tops of my teeth were thinning because I grind my teeth in my sleep - it could be possible you are doing something similar (or maybe some form of biting in your sleep) and you don't realise. I would go to another dentist for a second opinion.
posted by unlaced at 10:34 AM on December 18, 2012

The fact your teeth stain so easily suggests the outer enamel has been worn thin either through abrasives or other factors. I realize you're not much into processed foods/products and would rather go the natural route, but I highly recommend switching away from baking soda, charcoal paste, and other home/homelike remedies for now in favor of standard off the shelf toothpaste and mouthwash. Reason being, a commercial product will be pH balanced and is developed to be safe. Hydrogen Peroxide mouthwashes are a happy medium too as they can also kill bacteria at the gum line. But I think you need to address the condition of your enamel first before worrying about the causes (acidity, basicity, bacteria, genetics) Fluoride is important as it assists with re-mineralization.

Definitely find a new dentist however and mention how easily your teeth stain. You may need to have your enamel repaired.
posted by samsara at 10:41 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Charlie horses and cramps were diagnosed as potassium deficiency for my mom. If you eat plenty of sweet potatoes and bananas, that may not be it - but I agree that it's worth mentioning to your doctor.

I also agree that it's worth talking to another dentist to see if they have more than a shoulder shrug for you, and to ask what they think of the activated carbon, etc.
posted by ldthomps at 10:50 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've seen some reports that the phytic acid found in grains, legumes, and nuts is a significant cause of tooth decay. If you eat a lot of those kinds of foods, it might be a factor. Vitamin D deficiency can also be a factor. Susceptibility to these things is likely highly variable from individual to individual due to genetic factors.
posted by kindall at 10:57 AM on December 18, 2012

Keep in mind that high fluoride pastes might not help with staining (in fact, they might make it worse), but they will help with cavities. The color of your teeth doesn't necessarily have anything to do with caries resistance.

Also--do you use a soft toothbrush? Do you floss? How thorough is your hygienist? Mine uses significant elbow grease to scrub away the coffee stains every six months (though I usually have to ask her to do so). I also use white strips on occasion, which seem to take care of discoloration fairly well, but probably don't fit into your natural health principles.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:01 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ignoring your teeth for the moment, the nightly charlie horses, daily hand cramping, and heart palpitations are all a serious indicator of mineral imbalance and should be addressed more seriously, IMO. The teeth probably show that you've had this problem for a while, and now it's become acute enough that the rest of you body (muscles) are having issues.

If I was you, I'd start eating lots of those multi-mineral mega-vitamins, mineral-rich foods, and get thee to a doctor asap. Or get to a doctor asap first so they can do blood tests now with your "normal" diet before you start trying to self-medicate and confuse any tests they run.

BTW, my father was having similar issues (w/o the teeth symptoms) due to drinking way too much water daily. He cut back to "normal" water consumption and things fixed themselves.
posted by jpeacock at 11:05 AM on December 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

How to protect your tooth enamel has some good pointers.
posted by JujuB at 11:16 AM on December 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

Why hasn't your dentist suggested a prescription toothpaste like Recaldent or Clinpro? Thin tooth enamel can be a genetic variation---a lot of people in my family have had it, self included. I use the Sensodyne Pronamel now, but have done prescription toothpastes in the past.

Brushing too soon after high-acid foods or drinks is counterproductive for people with thin enamel; my dentist suggests rinsing with water and waiting at least an hour to brush.

Seconding everyone who suggests finding a new dentist. Not every dentist is up to speed on the latest research into helping patients with thin enamel.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:17 AM on December 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

How abrasive is that activated charcoal? That stuff is porous and, while IANAD, I would worry that you're wearing away too much of your enamel, which is leading to the staining and such. Are you brushing very often and scrubbing very hard?

The thing with your teeth is that you have to treat them gently. You want to do enough to keep them clean but not so much that you are wearing them down. Brushing 2 or 3 times a day is sufficient, using a soft bristle brush is important, not brushing extremely hard is key, waiting a bit after you eat before you brush. It's much better to floss and brush gently morning and night than really scrub your teeth or brush them many times and right after meals.

Also I'm nthing wondering whether you grind your teeth at night. My gums were receding quite badly before I figured out that I was really grinding my teeth. I got a mouth guard at my dentist and now my gums stopped receding, I'm not wearing away my enamel, and my jaw doesn't hurt anymore in the morning. I would ask your SO if he notices you grinding at night. Often stress and anxiety is what leads to bruxism, and I wouldn't be shocked if you were worrying so much about your teeth and health that you were actually grinding your teeth at night because of it.

Also, genetics is a huge factor (really). You can do everything right and still end up with the short stick. Some folks smoke a pack a day and live to be 100. Some folks eat only steamed kale and get brain cancer at 40. So it goes.

Lastly, I would worry more about wearing away protective layers of your teeth than how white they are. I know we are white-teeth obsessed in this country, but you can also get carried away and damage your teeth if you are too obsessive about trying to scrub them white. Decay is a lot more of a terrible thing to deal with than not having the whitest teeth in the world.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:05 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I use toothpaste like once a year. For me it's just bristles and water. I'm 32 and I've never had a cavity. My teeth stain very, very easily and have that translucent look. I think there's a huge genetic/mouth bacteria component here. But, anyway, just a data point. Stained, translucent teeth doesn't automatically mean cavities. You might be worried about something for no reason.
posted by zeek321 at 12:28 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Do you eat Altoids or other mints?
posted by bq at 12:49 PM on December 18, 2012

For sure get a second opinion from your dentist.

I just wanted to chime in about flouride. My parents have terrible teeth. They are forever going to the dentist, having root canals, etc.

My teeth are perfect. The difference. Flouride. My Mom took flouride pills when she was pregnant with me, I got regular flouride treatments when I was a kid, I brush and floss about as much as the average bear, and I use flouride toothpaste.

My dentist takes about 15 minutes total and that includes the cleaning. I'm in and out in a flash.

Don't be so quick to dismiss flouride. In proper amounts, it's a wonderful thing.

You just don't see people in agony with tooth issues like you used to before the advent of flouride.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:59 PM on December 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

WebMD article on tooth enamel erosion.

One thing no-one has mentioned - could you have acid reflux? My dad had terrible teeth his whole life (had to have gum surgery, had a bridge) until he got his acid reflux treated and now he gets very few cavities. (Back in the day, no-one heard of GERD; he just had "delicate digestion" and "chronic heartburn.") Stomach acid wears away your tooth enamel.

Even if you don't have the classic symptoms of acid reflux, ask your doctor to check out that possibility because eroding tooth enamel is a symptom.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:18 PM on December 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

Another vote for prescription toothpaste. I just got some a few weeks ago and it's made a big difference on a sensitive spot I have. I wish I'd gotten it sooner... then maybe I wouldn't be going in for two fillings tomorrow.

I asked a similar question
. Maybe it can help you.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:49 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Some more anecdata: I went from never having had a cavity in my adult teeth, to one (bad) one, to 6 the following year. Also couldn't figure out the slide, since I was taking better care of myself than I had when I was a student. My dentist recommended ACT restoring mouthwash, and I haven't had another cavity in the 5 or so years since. Of course, YMMV.
posted by lily_bart at 2:00 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have crap teeth. I have good dental hygiene but I just have crap teeth. I've had all the fluoride treatments I can, etc. My (excellent) dentist has attributed it to genetics and I'm inclined to agree.

I highly recommend a prescription fluoride toothpaste, it's really the only thing that's help (I use prevident 5000).

That and see a doctor and new dentist.
posted by raccoon409 at 2:02 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks, everyone, for the responses so far.

I actually am a tooth grinder, and I very recently got a night guard, but I have tried to clench my jaw in such a way that my bottom teeth could come into contact with the translucent/ worn looking spots on my front teeth, and there is just no possible way to make that happen. My dentist found "little notches" on the backs of my teeth that indicate I am a night grinder, but I don't see how it could be causing the translucency that spans nearly halfway up my two front teeth.

I read pretty extensively about activated charcoal before I started using it, and nothing I read said it was abrasive, but even if it was, I don't really scrub my teeth with it. I just mix enough water into it to make a slurry and then smear it on and smile awkwardly for a few minutes until it dries, then rinse it off.

I use a very soft toothbrush and use the "Bass brushing method" which is supposed to be especially gentle.

No, I don't eat mints, nor do I chew gum.

I suppose this could be due to genetics as many commenters suggested... But I'm in panic mode because it all seems to be happening so suddenly. It really does feel like one of those teeth-crumbling nightmares that everyone has.

The acid reflux thing is something I hadn't considered. I'm going to make an appointment with a new dentist and ask about prescription toothpaste based on the recs here, as well as one with a nutrition-oriented doctor to address my other symptoms and the acid reflux possibility.

Thanks again for the help.
posted by lmpatte2 at 2:17 PM on December 18, 2012

No, I don't eat mints, nor do I chew gum.

Actually, you might want to start chewing gum. I asked the dental hygienist (who's very knowledgeable and seems more like a dentist) and she confirmed that yes, chewing xylitol gum is a good habit to pick up, even if you're not already a gum chewer.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:50 PM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

This is happening to my teeth as well, and I also started noticing it in my mid-late 20s. My dentist, who seems to be a fairly nice and empathetic practitioner, pretty much shrugged to me as well and said that it's genetic.

Just a heads up - I have some apparently unfixable staining around the gum line, which he said is also basically due my enamel wearing down. I probably could have mitigated it somewhat if I'd seen a dentist for advice earlier.
posted by treefort at 3:07 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have a few tips to chime in with regarding your teeth:

1. Stop using the baking soda mix, alkaline products can actually damage your enamel. High pH levels are now clinically tested to show damage to the tooths organic content (proteins, lipids, citrate). I noticed your only using it to rinse and not as a toothpaste.

2. Please consider using a toothpaste such as sensodyne that helps build enamel or a prescription fluoride toothpaste as mentioned above.

3. From now on, after every meal (especially anything acidic including fruits, juices, vinegars or even alcohol), you can rinse your mouth out and floss. A dental hygeniest would tell you to use an antacid mouthwash, Gaviscon or the like, an old school dentist will tell you to use salt water. Immediately after the rinsing chew on recaldent gum or a sugar free gum for 15 minutes to promote healthy saliva. Carry recaldent chewing gum with you wherever you go for when you eat out. You can get small bottles of the antacid mouth wash too.

4. Try to stop eating inbetween meals, definitely don't snack continuously. Teeth that are affected by acid wear or have poor enamel need time to re-mineralise between meals (Im talking 2-3 hours of not eating between meals). Drinking water is fine. Some snacks that are good for your teeth in between meals are cheese or celery. Celery is a king snack in terms of building healthy saliva, cheese has milk caseins which promote re-mineralizing of the tooth. Acid wear and erosion are based on the form and frequency of exposures. For example the poor forms are sugars, alcohols, black teas or coffees (always add milk), whilst poor frequency refers to the amount of times you are exposing the teeth each day. You want to reduce poor forms and frequency.

5. The most important thing I can say is to buy yourself some GC ToothMousse Recaldent Plus to use each night when you go to bed. This has been specifically developed for people suffering the problems you have. You should use this everynight religiously. It will remineralize the calcium and phosphates overnight. In the meantime while you dont have it, you can chew on a small piece of cheese before you sleep.

6. Use a soft brush, make sure you are brushing every tooth and every angle properly. Make sure you are also brushing your gums. Be gentle but thorough.

I definitely recommend getting a referral to see a special needs dentist to discuss your needs further as well as the mineral deficiency blood tests. FWIW, many dentists nowadays are hacks who are keen to try the latest surgery or fads out on whoever they can convince. Be conscious of the dentists agenda and make it clear you have a conservation approach to your teeth. In the first checkup make it clear you are looking for advice and a dental plan before any work is done (fillings or whatever). If you're not comfortable with the dentists you're seeing or their work please find another one.

I know how much of an impact on your confidence and happiness poor teeth can have especially for someone at your age. This is another issue altogether and one you need to manage carefully. There are many different approaches you can take long-term once you feel that intervention or some more permanent fixture is needed. If you want some more support please feel free to pm me.
posted by Under the Sea at 4:50 PM on December 18, 2012 [7 favorites]

You didn't mention whether or not you had children. Growing a baby and breastfeeding will suck all of the minerals right out of your bones. There's an old saying, 'A tooth for every child', because women at one point expected to lose teeth though childbearing.
Another thing, do you take prescription medication? Stimulants with amphetamines will deteriorate your teeth as will many drugs which dry the mouth so that saliva cant effectively remineralize the teeth.
Its also largely genetic and some of it due to your mothers nutrition in pregnancy. The buds of your adult teeth are formed in utero.
posted by tenaciousmoon at 8:18 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

"A tooth for every child" is a myth. The calcium comes from the mother's bones, not her teeth, and she builds it right back up again after pregnancy.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:15 PM on December 18, 2012

@ The corpse in the library
The calcium loss is made up AFTER breastfeeding, which doesn't count for much when you get pregnant again while your child is still nursing as many women do.
Many women experiences dental and bone density issues due to pregnancy and breastfeeding, its a simple google search to learn more.
From PubMed: "...It is mainly the environment of the tooth that is affected. The number of certain salivary cariogenic microorganisms may increase in pregnancy, concurrently with a decrease in salivary pH and buffer effect. Changes in salivary composition in late pregnancy and during lactation may temporarily predispose to dental caries and erosion."
posted by tenaciousmoon at 9:30 PM on December 18, 2012

You didn't mention whether or not you had children.

None yet. We're hoping to start trying to conceive in the next few months, which makes this problem all the more concerning.

Stimulants with amphetamines will deteriorate your teeth as will many drugs which dry the mouth so that saliva cant effectively remineralize the teeth.

That never occurred to me, but it makes perfect sense. I took 40 mg of Adderall every day throughout college and for one year afterward, and the dry mouth side effect persisted the whole time. I've often wondered how many ways in which that has impacted my health. This could very well be one of them.
posted by lmpatte2 at 11:27 AM on December 19, 2012

As a person who can't use fluoride toothpastes because of my gums, eats a low carb diet (which helped), and takes vitamin d and magnesium supplements, who also takes Adderall and has genetically crumbly teeth and lives in one of the few non-fluoridating places, I've found that for remineralization Gel Kam works wonders. Toothpastes just don't stay on long enough and modern ones use what IIRC is a less effective form of fluoride because of taste issues. I brush with Weleda Salt Toothpaste or LUSH toothy tabs and use the Gel Kam when my teeth start to feel sensitive and for the first week after a cleaning. You can feel the Gel Kam working is a pleasant way, as it heats up in your mouth.
posted by monopas at 5:33 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

You need a better dentist. Even if your problem is really all in your head, the dentist should have been able to explain that to you. Shrugging off concerns = sucky health care provider.

When I had some difficulties with a specific tooth my dentist used Duraphat varnish which puts concentrated fluoride on that tooth. That knocked out a chipping/sensitivity problem in about 5 minutes.

For several years I used an Rx toothpaste to get a higher concentration of fluoride to deal with some overall sensitivity. After awhile my dentist asked me to stop using that because he felt that I should try the normal toothpaste and see if I was okay.
posted by 26.2 at 1:48 PM on December 21, 2012

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