My Health Goals for 2020 - Teeeeeeeeeeeeeeth!

This is my entry to the @naturalmedicine health goals contest! Hopefully I am right under the wire in entering this contest - it's Thursday the 9th where I am, but I'm not sure what time zone the deadline means, lol.

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An older photo of my herbal apothecary

The Main Goal

My biggest health goal for 2020 isn't really "natural medicine" related in terms of exercise/diet/herbals/lifestyle/etc. type things, but it is very holistic in the "effects everything else" sense, and that is: to get all the dental work I need done.

For years I had no dental coverage (and was terrified of going to the dentist, to boot), and couldn't afford it. My mother never took me as a child, either. I took care of my teeth in a brush-floss-and-rinse kind of way, but they started BREAKING INTO PIECES when I was 22. I didn't know why for years, but now the dentist and I have a theory, and that's because for most of my life I unknowingly had the type of acid reflux that washes into your mouth at night. When you have this kind of reflux, you don't get heartburn, but you wake up with what I always called "sexy smoker voice" in the morning because acid has been washing over your vocal chords, and can even have difficulty swallowing, which I did. So I literally had acid washing over my teeth at night, wearing them out - and it's worse on the top than the bottom, because my wide tongue rests on my upper palate when my mouth is closed (and I'm a closed-mouth sleeper), so it effectively mostly blocked the lower teeth from being washed in so much acid as the top ones. This is why out of NINE TEETH that have been extracted from my mouth over the years, EIGHT of them have been from the top. Yeah. I'm only 41.

Anyway, so I finally have some dental coverage through medicaid now, and in 2018 I found THE BEST DENTIST EVER. He is not only good at what he does but he's just the nicest guy who really understands fear of dental work and puts you at ease. So we started getting things fixed.

The first time I saw him was the same reason I'd ever seen the few dentists I'd seen before him: an emergent, painful tooth that needed to go. After that, we made a plan. My front four teeth on the top were broken in half, but they didn't really hurt and they were just going to be pulled, so with last year's funds (because the way Medicaid dental coverage works is, you get $1000 to spend for the year. There are no deductables or copays but once you hit the cap you're done), we decided to focus on what could be saved and what was the most urgent (for instance, there was another pull of a tooth that had been root canaled - the one when I was 22 - and the temporary filling that had lasted for like 13 years had fallen out and it was cracked above the gum line and just a gaping hole - that needed to go, as it was just a possible gateway to infection). So I did that and some fillings (ceramic resin types - which is not only my preference from a amalgams-have-problems standpoint but also because of my nickel allergy. This dentist though - another reason to love him - doesn't even offer amalgams. Yay! I'm glad to see dentists are starting to avoid them too).

This year ("year" meaning the year of coverage, not the calendar year), I had one more tooth fix done first and a regular cleaning, and then we began on the big project: I just had those front four teeth pulled last Saturday. I'll spare you from seeing what my mouth looks like right now with stitches in it, lol. I'm seeing the dentist again this coming Saturday to pull out the stitches, but already half of them have fallen out on their own so he might not have much to do besides checking out the healing progress. :)

After this heals up, I'm going to get a partial denture. Amazing!

But then I still have more things that need done, regular fillings and the like. So my big goal is to get my mouth healthy, which is less a lifestyle thing as I have always done that (and yeah, if you're wondering - I've looked into Weston A. Price and Deep Nutrition and all that and follow what recommendations I can from that too but because of food allergies I can't do all of them), but more of an "endure unpleasant procedures" thing.

But also? Here's a wild update on the acid reflux: after some time of following my allergy diet, I am not waking up with sexy smoker voice all the time anymore, nor am I having difficulty swallowing. The acid reflux was apparently from eating my allergens. Bodies are wild, y'all. If I had gotten diagnosed with my allergies 20 years ago I might have saved most of my teeth. But nooooooooooo I was told I had "IBS" and it was probably "anxiety." Have I mentioned I hate condescending doctors who pat you on the head and don't do any tests but just blow you off as a nervous Nelly? Because yeah, I have that happen a LOT, and it's infuriating. Ya wanna know what set off my "IBS" as far as I can tell? Potatoes (allergen) and green leafies (allergens). I was a vegan before. I ate potatoes and green leafies every day.

So yeah, diet is super important and effects alllllllllllll sorts of systems in your body, but doctors don't seem to care. I could go on about all the things that have improved since I started following my allergy diet, but that's a whole 'nother post, lol.

So there is my (wordy) goal about fixing my teeth, which will be an amazing thing to have done because I've just become so used to my mouth being a mess despite my best efforts. Hooray dental coverage and good dentists and allergy-safe diets!

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#medicareforall and Steem on! <3

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Forgive my ranty-ness. Melissa is going through the exact same shit right now. Dental work costs a goddamn fortune, and we've been getting her crowns and root canals (a couple a year) for the entire decade we've been married. Thousands of dollars a year. Now, they tell us she needs six grand of work done to resolve the crowns that just started falling out of her face. None of that counts toward our healthcare deductible because for some reason the person that claims to be a medical doctor can't reasonably be considered as doing medical work. It's bullshit.

Look into the work of Weston A. Price, a dentist that went out to study the health and diets of ancestral cultures. I promise it's worth your time. Hint: we're doing it all wrong and it's killing people.

Rant away, I feel your pain!
The dentist had looked into doing root canals and caps on these four that I just had pulled, but Medicaid wouldn't cover it. Like, I was even willing to do a couple per year if it used up all my benefits or whatever and spread it out, but they just don't cover crowns, period. They will, however, cover a partial denture. In the end I'm ok with it because as you are experiencing - sometimes those root canals fail and the crowns fall out and sh*t, and this way I'm just getting it over with.
Somewhere in all my wordy-ness I did mention that I've read Weston A. Price, and I follow some of the guidelines but not all because of my allergies. But it's why I developed a love for chicken broth. :)

 last year 

I always think dentists are a rort. And gosh, so many problems can be solved through identifying what foods stuff us up!! For my husband, it was garlic and onions - years and years of stomach issues and advice from doctors and no one could say: 'have you looked at your diet and eliminated foods?'. I'm glad you are getting to the bottom of it and it all sounds positive - wishing you so much GREAT TEETH lol - and gosh I love your medicine shelf! Lots of love @riverflows

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Thanks so much! I had to google what rort meant, lol. Yeah a lot of them are - I read an Atlantic article I think it was about just this one dentist who was scamming people out of thousands of dollars and causing them tons of damage by telling them they needed root canals and crowns that they did not need at all. So infuriating. Another reason why I am so glad I found a good dentist! :)
And yay for your husband figuring out what set him off despite the unhelpful doctors. It's amazing how many of them seem to think that food is nothing more than calories in, calories out. Nutrition isn't a perfect science and varies for everyone, but damn, it effects everything and they act like it's woowoo to acknowledge that fact and maybe like ADJUST YOUR DIET beyond just the generic ways they're always yelling at overweight people to lose weight in vague terms or with diet advice from 1985.
Especially doing allergy tests. We KNOW there is an explosion of new allergies nowadays in people, but did they do any tests on me until I walked in covered with visible rashes? Nooooo.
Back when I was veg, I had a registered dietician tell me that I knew more about vegan nutrition than she did. I just read books and kept abreast of the latest studies online. Apparently they don't teach anything beyond the basics to RDs?
Our system priorities treating symptoms with medications rather than seeking out the root cause of the problem, and it drives me absolutely bonkers.

It's about time nutrition and testing for allergens was put at the forefront of medicine. So many issues that doctors can't seen to diagnose end up being sorted by cutting just a couple of foods out of your diet.

I’m glad you're getting something sorted now, but it doesn't sound like fun.

This is why I dislike the diagnoses that are essentially, "Yep, you have a problem, but we don't know why." Because it signals that they are not going to look, or have given up looking. "IBS" is what they slap on you when yeah, you have digestive problems - but they don't do any tests for it or try and figure out why you have it. I googled and found the FODMAP diet which may help some folks but it didn't help me because my ultimate issue was that I was allergic to so many things, and that's as close as I got to anyone trying to find an underlying cause of the IBS symptoms. Like maybe if they treated IBS as it's own thing that only applied in certain circumstances - if they had a test for it - that might tell you who the FODMAP plan would help - but there's no test, and my doctor did no tests at all, just heard about my symptoms, said it was IBS, and that probably it was anxiety. When if she had done some tests to rule things out before she came to that conclusion, I may have been saved years of problems.
It's just a personal grievance of mine, and everyone in my family thinks I'm nutty for it. Allergies run in our family, but I'm really the only one who changed my diet to just avoid them instead of taking piles of antihistamines and steroids every day and eating what I want. I mean, I have OTC antihistamines in my medicine cabinet for accidental exposure, and I have some cream in there from when I first got diagnosed and had had the perpetual rash for months, but I don't use them all the time. I'd rather just avoid the thing that causes the problem. But my whole family thinks I'm cray cray as they take literally dozens of doses every day of pills, inhalers, and creams to manage their symptoms.

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Hey, thanks! :)

I totally get the fear of dentists

Hip! Hip!! :D
Here's to teeth you are happy with <33

Thank you! ^_^

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