J.D. Moyer

beat maker, sci-fi writer, self-experimenter

Follow-up to "Watch and Wait" Approach to Two Small Cavities

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What happens when you ignore your dentist’s advice?

Back in April I wrote about my decision to take a “watch and wait” approach with two small cavities that my dentist recommended getting filled. My plan was to follow a home treatment plan including dental hygiene, nutrition, and supplements. This is a follow-up post to fill you in on the results.

Compliance

I did a decent but imperfect job in terms of complying with my own home treatment plan. I intended to do a fluoride rinse three times a week, but I slacked off over time, probably averaging only once a week. In most other areas I did well, including taking supplements on a regular basis (vitamin D, vitamin K2, magnesium), and eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin A. I modified my diet to include more vegetables and somewhat less protein (I still eat meat, but my diet would probably be better described as “low-grain Mediterranean” rather than “paleo”). I continued to not drink soda, which as far as I can tell is the most destructive and dangerous habit in terms of dental health (I could link to pictures of “soda teeth” but I will spare you the gore). I continued to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. I chewed xylitol gum on most days.

Results

On my most recent visit to the dentist, my dentist observed that one area where the enamel had been soft had hardened up, and she no longer recommended drilling and filling that tooth. The other small cavity, though apparently not worse, had not improved. Otherwise, my teeth and gums were in great shape.

At this point I will take her recommendation and get the one cavity filled.

Takeaway

I’ll continue with my home treatment plan, as it seems to be doing some good in terms of dental health. I’m glad I took the watch and wait approach, as it seems to have saved me some money, done no harm, and saved a tooth from being drilled.

Advice

If your dentist says you have a cavity, ask for details. How big is it? Is there any chance that the enamel could harden up over time with good dental hygiene, home fluoride rinse treatment, and excellent nutrition? Within private healthcare systems, it’s not in your dentist’s financial interest to recommend delaying treatment, so they may not present this as an option. Dentists may also be reluctant to recommend delaying treatment of observable cavities because of their training, and/or the expectations of their patients.

Remember that the final decision is yours (as well as the ultimate responsibility for your dental health).

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11 Comments

  1. Diet change was good, but think about adding baking soda to your regiment

    This is from Mercola’s website (blog on oral health)
    Instead, by using dietary prevention to create a healthy cavity-fighting bioflora in your mouth; dental prophylaxis such as brushing and irrigating with baking soda, and oil pulling; combined with minimally invasive restorations starting as early as possible, you can prevent about 80 percent of future dental problems.

    • Hi and thanks for the comment. I’ve asked a few dentists about baking soda, and they were all of the opinion that it’s too corrosive on the enamel for regular use. Or did you just mean rinsing with baking soda + water? Re: oil pulling, tried it once with olive oil and it did seem to have a sinus clearing effect.

      • Supposedly using a water pick with baking soda or salt will create an ambiance of Good bacteria in your mouth, thereby reducing the cavity and allowing teeth and gums to regrow/heal. I use coconut oil for oil pulling. It’s has antibacterial and anti fungal properties.

  2. At least I can live with the photo in the header on the revisit….:-D

  3. Aw man, now I’m going to have to Google soda teeth pictures on my own.

  4. Sure makes me glad I never cared for soda much.

  5. Co Enzyme 10 is another very useful supplement for gum health.

  6. Vivienne

    Great information provided here! Thank you so much.
    Just my personal choice, for me I wouldn’t even get that cavity filled since it’s not worse or better. It might just stay as is. 🙂

  7. Ginger

    Hi, JD. What an interesting blog! I stumbled upon it while googling asthma and B vitamins. As for your teeth, you might want to consider searching for solutions on the Weston A. Price web site. I have seen improvement in my teeth and gums over the last several years that I attribute to following (for the most part) WAPF dietary guidelines, taking Green Pasture fermented cod liver oil with butter oil blend, and consuming homemade bone broth on a semi-regular basis. Best wishes to you for a happy life and good health!

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