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Posts Tagged ‘dental’

Wow. It has been more than a year since I posted anything on here. I knew it had been a while, but really? Where did the time go? That’s the question I asked myself and I really had to think about the answer. What I have finally concluded is that it passed by in a haze of crazy, life-altering events that consumed my family and myself. It has been a scary, exciting, awful, wonderful, uncertain, frustrating, joyful year, and as it has played itself out I have thought on many occasions, “Hey, this would make a great blog post”. Then, the moment passes and I put off writing that post because I think, “Does anyone really care, anyway? I’ll write it later.” Then, the moment passes.

So, here it is, more than a year later.

To my readers who left comments and questions, I apologize. I didn’t intend to ignore any of you. I hope that by the end of this post you will find your way clear to forgiving me my inattention. I hope this post will make up for it, ’cause this one is gonna cover a TON of info!

To myself, I apologize for not taking the time to sit down and just write. About anything. To anyone. About anything. I’m sorry for burying this part of myself that is such an integral, necessary part of who I am. I’ve missed it more than words can say.

Let’s rewind back to 2014 when I broke my ankle. Stay with me here while explain all that happened after that incident. There is a purpose to my ramblings, and you really need the whole story to understand what happened, and how I ended up where I am.

My ankle healed beautifully. In fact, it ended up being better thank it was before I broke it. Go figure.  However, while it was healing, I was forced into inactivity for a week or two, which was a fate worse than death for me. I was crabby and I hurt and I was bored. As I lay in my bed, I felt the inactivity settling into my body. I truly felt like my body was going soft and deteriorating, though I know most of that was in my head. At least, I thought it was.  By the time I was able to get up and about again, I began to realize that there really was more going wrong in my body.

At first, I chocked it up to getting older, menopause, and too much coffee. I just didn’t feel good. My back always hurt. I kept getting little illnesses. Nothing specific..sinus infections, belly aches, arthritis flare-ups. Then, I began putting on weight. Despite eating very healthy and being very active, I was putting on weight at an alarming rate. I was developing rashes all over my body that nothing could get rid of. I was tired all the time. My back kept going out. My vision was going downhill. There was always something not quite right, and as soon one thing cleared up, something else popped up.

I survived the healing up of my ankle, but my mental state sank rapidly. I felt depression creeping in and trying to take over. I was angry because I felt like my body was betraying me. I would try to sit down and write out my feelings, but even that was an epic failure. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t piece together the words in a way that made sense. My thoughts were foggy. Unfocused. Useless. This, maybe was the worst part. Writing was just who I was. Who I have always been able to be. My brain has always been my greatest asset, but it was starting to slip, to malfunction. It was failing me.

Eventually, my back got bad enough that I went to the chiropractor. He told me that I had a bulging disk. He put me on the traction machine. It worked, but only temporarily. Soon enough, my back would go out again, then again, then again. My arthritis was going into hyperdrive. My hands hurt, my shoulder hurt, old injury sites hurts. My activity level was dropping simply because it hurt to move. And, through all of this, the weight kept piling on, adding to the problem.

In between all of this, my second grandchild was born. My son was dealing with some very serious dental issues. My husband was working more and more hours in the construction industry, and it was putting wear and tear on him that was getting harder for him to cope with. My mother was having a hard time recovering from ankle replacement surgery. My dad was dealing with long-term illness. I was getting more and more requests from friends and strangers to help them fix issues that their doctors couldn’t seem to fix. The farm still needed attention. My business needed running. Every appliance we owned was breaking down, as were all of our vehicles and farm equipment. There were many days when I seriously considered selling the farm. It was just too overwhelming. I was tired. I was scared. I was sad. I was mad. I was losing a battle that I just didn’t feel capable of fighting.

Then, life hit me right in the kisser. Literally. Suddenly, my gums began to recede rapidly. My teeth would frequently hurt. Even the roof of my mouth was sore. In the early part of 2016, one of my molars just broke. It was one that had an old metal filling in it from when I was a child, and that sucker just cracked right down the middle. I felt it go. What a strange feeling that was! It took all of 5 minutes for me to figure out that the situation was kinda bad. I couldn’t afford to go have it pulled, and the way it broke meant that every time my tongue touched it, it put little slices in the side of my tongue, both from the tooth itself, as well as the exposed metal filling. With no other recourse, I cleaned it out, sterilized it, then packed it with beeswax. That was working. Not great, but it was doing the job. There was no pain from the tooth, though I couldn’t eat on that side without dislodging the beeswax. It was awkward and uncomfortable, but I could live with that.

The final straw for me, though, came with the bladder control issues. I had heard all the jokes about not being able to cough or sneeze without peeing a little, but it was just a joke. Until it happened to me, anyway. It wasn’t so damn funny all of a sudden!

Through all of this illness and bouts of pain, the only thing that I kept coming back to was my weight. It just kept going up, and the more weight I gained, the more problems I had. Now, let me confess something here. I have always held a large amount of contempt for people who are overweight and blame it on a ‘medical condition’, most often something with the thyroid. It’s not that I don’t believe that it is possible, but  can’t tell you how many of my obese clients come to me asking, “why can’t I lose this weight”, then proceed to tell me how they don’t like water, they really aren’t crazy about fresh fruits/veggies, and they eat most of their meals from a box, can or drive-thru. I can’t tell you the number of sales I have lost because I tell my prospective buyers that the herbs I am giving them won’t help a whit if they don’t take them with a full glass of water and eat right.  All that to say, I was a bit reluctant to even look into thyroid issues as part of my weight problem. I refused to be one of ‘those’ people.

Instead, I did a million other things. I fasted. I dieted. I cut WAY back on the coffee. I tried every natural remedy that has ever been documented. I tried everything. Everything. Did you get that? EVERYTHING! Eventually, though, I couldn’t avoid it any longer.  I typed ‘thyroid’ into Google. The Universe shuddered. The Earth tilted on its axis. I cried.

For weeks, I did nothing but study the thyroid. How it worked. Why it worked. What it controlled. What it didn’t control. Why it quits working. Why it goes into overdrive. Foods to eat. Foods not to eat. Medications commonly prescribed. The benefits and risks of said medications. Natural alternatives to fix it. How to manage it. How to diagnose it. I poured through websites, medical texts, alternative medical texts, comic books, CIA records….wait…that was another subject…anyway, you get the idea, right? My life was consumed with learning about the thyroid.

When I couldn’t find any more info to study, it was time to make a decision. What do I do with all this info? Put it to use, of course. I changed my diet. I changed my schedule. I changed my thinking. Nothing. No change. I was still taking a nap every single day between 2-3 pm because I couldn’t function without it. I was still putting on weight. I was still foggy and unfocused. I was still feeling like crap all the time.

Finally, I couldn’t avoid it any longer. It was time to delve into the world of medication. I was, after all, desperate. I went back to the info I had gathered on medications for the thyroid. Now, let me take a moment to say this (legal issues, you understand). I do not suggest that anyone self-diagnose. I do not suggest that anyone try and fix their own medical issues. Talk to your physician. See ~ I put that in bold italics. You see that, right?

Okay, so I put together this list of issues that are caused by the thyroid malfunctioning. I had nearly every single symptom associated with hypothyroidism. What I didn’t have was a thyroid test from a doctor. The chances of me getting one were pretty slim, but not just because I refuse to go to a doctor. What I discovered was that the method used to test for thyroid issues is extremely unreliable. Unless you happen to catch it at just the right moment, thyroid problems often don’t show up. Further, because everyone seems to have their own ‘normal’ when it comes to T levels, what causes issues for one person might not cause a single issue for another person. So, as with most medical issues, a doctor was somewhat useless to me. Unless I wanted a prescription for thyroid meds.

Now, for the toughest decision I had to make. What was I going to do? Was I going to try a synthetic thyroid med, or was I going to stick to my beliefs and go all natural? I  hit the books again, and here is what I came up with.

Synthetic thyroid medicines don’t usually work for very long, if at all. Yes, I know there are some people who have had great success with them, but the more I dug, the more I found that the majority of people who took them were unsatisfied with the results and they suffered worse side effects than the symptoms presented. Same old story, right? What stumped me the most, though, was how they could claim to fix the thyroid with these meds that only helped with T4, therefore needs to be supplemented with a T3 medication. What about the other T’s? Aren’t they just as important?

I have no intention of giving you a big, medical explanation here. If you suspect you are having thyroid issues, do your own research. I’ll give you a list of some great places to gather info, if that helps. I’ll simply say this….there is a lot more to proper thyroid function than T3 & T4.

The real question, though, is what about natural alternatives? There is only one. Natural Desiccated Thyroid. I latched on with both hands and gathered every bit of info I could. I looked at why the medical community was against it and why the natural community was for it. I read case studies. I looked at adverse reactions. I looked at benefits. I looked at how it worked. What it came down to was this: Both the synthetic and natural forms of thyroid meds have one thing in common. Neither of them is easy to standardize. The synthetic forms have been recalled several times for inconsistencies in dosage, as has the natural form. The difference? Are you ready for it, ’cause this is the big one….While synthetic thyroid meds only supply T3 and or T4, desiccated thyroid provides T1, T2, T3, T4 and calcitonin. Why? Because desiccated thyroid is actually the thyroid gland taken from either bovine or porcine  sources, as these are almost identical to the human thyroid.

Yeah, sounds kinda gross, I know. But, does it work? Study after study, review after review, testimony after testimony seemed to strongly indicate that yes, it most definitely works.  Bonus…no prescription needed. So, I bought some. Once again, the Universe shifted. My life changed so dramatically that I still am a little amazed.

Here’s how it all went down.

Day one: Nothing much.

Day two: I think I feel a little better, but maybe its all in my head.

Day three: Holy shit! I haven’t felt this good in years!

Day four: OMG! I haven’t had a nap in two days and my house is sparkling clean! My grass is mowed and I can’t wait to spend the day with my grandbabies! All of my orders are filled and shipped, and I can feel my brain beginning to function again! Holy shit! Sweet baby Jesus! Wait…my back doesn’t hurt…and neither do my joints.

2 months later: Best decision of my life! I am finally back to myself, mostly. No more foggy brain. My arthritis has disappeared. I rarely take a mid-day nap. I’m seeing my weight slowly falling off. My dry, rash-covered skin is clearing up. My hair and complexion are doing great. I have more stamina and energy than I have had in years. Bladder issues are nearly non-existent. I feel…healthy. Happy. Normal.

Lest you think this is the end of the story, the last couple of weeks have seen a few problems manifesting. Migraines, which I haven’t had for years, are suddenly a part of my weekly agenda again. I was getting tired at odd times. My brain was having little moments of fogginess again. I just felt yucky. Not quite right. A little off. Did that mean the desiccated thyroid was no longer working?

No.

Remember that tooth that broke off and left the filling exposed. Yeah. Well, turns out that an exposed mercury filling presents a new set of problems. It’s also extremely uncomfortable. So, off to the dentist I went to have it pulled. I’ll admit that I’m a big baby when it comes to dentists. I hate having my mouth messed with. Hate it. I called the dentist we take our son to and begged for an appointment that day. Not because I was in pain, but because I knew I would chicken out and cancel if I had time to think about it. The dentist showed mercy on me and fit me in that day.

When the dentist came in and asked me what the problem was, I showed him the broken tooth. The sore, red, receding gums. The cuts on my tongue. He tapped around in my mouth, took an x-ray and poked my gums. The prognosis? My teeth were relatively healthy (especially for someone that hasn’t been to the dentist in 20 years). Very little plaque build-up, teeth firmly seated in the bone, and yes, periodontal disease that was kinda bad, but not horrible. And, a tooth that needed pulling.

Now, when he said, “your teeth are firmly seated in the bone”, he wasn’t kidding. In fact, they are so firmly seated in the bone that the broken one didn’t want to come out. It took some….persuasion. (Translate: extra anesthetic and firm, forceful extraction methods that felt somewhat like he was trying to break my jaw). I am pretty sure the dentist broke a mild sweat in his attempts to get the tooth to let go. I know I did! Surprisingly, there was little pain. Just a bit of discomfort.

In all fairness, he did warn me that I may feel a bit sick. The exposed filling and the trauma from the extraction, combined with me having an extra dose of anesthesia might cause this. I mumbled my understanding around a mouthful of cotton and drove home.

Again, the dentist wasn’t joking. I was all good the day after, but day three~not so much. The extraction site didn’t hurt at all, but the rest of my mouth did! I kinda felt like someone really had busted my jaw, and my gums were so sensitive that I just wanted to cry. I seriously considered pain killers, which the dentist offered, but I had declined. He smiled and said, “call me if you change your mind”. It was an option. Instead, I resorted to the natural stuff. Pulling oil, essential oils, pain-relieving herbs and my mouthwash.

Day 4 I felt much better.  Taking this as a sign that all would be well, I decided to get to work on some projects I had going. For those of you who know me, I’m sure you just giggled. I don’t really do small projects. I prefer big, outrageous projects, like putting a tree in my kitchen.

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The cedar tree we put in our kitchen. Who does this kind of thing??

The project I decided on was, in fact, getting more done on my kitchen. I have a beautiful cabinet that has been sitting in storage for a year or so. It needed to be sanded down. Simple, no? It should be, but sanding wood ALWAYS gives me a sinus infection, especially when the wood is old and has been in storage for a long time in the Missouri humidity. Yes, I used a face mask. No, it didn’t help. I sanded for hours, mostly because once I had the cabinet sanded, I saw some other boards that needed sanding for a different part of the kitchen. Then, there were the small boards I had marked for making some cutesy little signs…well, the projects multiplied.

I went to bed that night feeling like I had accomplished quite a bit and feeling pretty good. I woke up and wanted to die. No, really. I WANTED TO DIE. As I slept, all of that sawdust settled into my sinus cavity and turned into a raging infection. The pain started in the left side of my nose and traveled directly to my front tooth, radiating out along my gums and into both jaws. The front tooth, though…my god…every time my tongue or lip touched that tooth, waves of pain would engulf my face. Unimaginable pain. Pain that makes you want do horrible, unthinkable things. Things like taking pain killers.

I didn’t though. I DID NOT BREAK!!! What I did was made me some extra-strong shots of lemon, garlic, honey and cayenne to boost my immune system. I took hot showers and epsom salt baths. I took detox herbs and didn’t smoke a single cigarette. I used the neti pot and ate natural pain relievers by the handful. I cried. I sought sleep. I cried some more. I thought about pulling every single one of my teeth.

That was yesterday. It was a really bad day. Today, though, things are looking better. The pain is very minimal and easily managed with natural pain relievers. A friend slipped me a pain killer…just in case. I keep looking at it sitting on my shelf. I know it is there as a very last resort. I can feel the infection clearing up. I checked my gums today. They are finally healing and firming back up around my teeth. I am pretty sure I am back on the road to healing.

Best of all, though? Today, I wrote this blog post. The whole thing in one sitting. The more I write, the more I want to tell you all! I have so many stories  from the last year that I want to share with you all! I have tried so many things ~ some that failed, some that worked spectacularly. I have projects completed that I can’t wait to show you all. I have so many things…grandbabies that arrived, grandbabies on the way, future projects, little bits of wisdom that I know you all can’t wait to receive!

Here’s to me finding my way back to health. Thanks for those of you who have stuck with me despite late orders, forgotten meetings, days when I just couldn’t function. You all are so much a part of the reason why I kept going, even when I wasn’t sure I could. I’m really looking forward to the future and can’t wait to share it all with you!

 

 

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Here’s my dirty little secret…one of them, anyway…I’m addicted to coffee and cigarettes.  I know ~ horrible, right?  I justify my two vices by telling myself that I counterbalance it with all the healthy things I do, but my teeth reveal the truth.  Or, at least, they did.

It wasn’t just the stains, either, although those were bad enough.  After all these years, my gums had begun to recede and I was developing a serious case of gingivitis.

Of course, I wasn’t about to take the ‘normal’ route.  I don’t do fluoride.  I don’t do dentists.  I don’t do antibiotics.  That kind of limited my options, but I knew there had to be some natural alternative. I was getting desperate.  My teeth were becoming an embarrassment.   I had to do something… So, I started researching.  Turns out, I was right.

Let’s run through the most popular natural options ~ baking soda, strawberries, peroxide.  While I won’t say they don’t work, I will say they don’t work well.  Baking soda tastes pretty bad and it scratches the enamel of the teeth.  Strawberries work minimally well, providing you have enough strawberries and time.  Peroxide…yuck!

My advice?  Skip the ‘trendy’ and move on to something that really works.

Ever heard of ‘Oil Pulling’?  I hadn’t.  I’ll admit that I was skeptical, at first. My desperation outweighed my skepticism, though.  Here’s the theory behind it:

You gently pull oil through the teeth and move it around the mouth for 10-15 minutes, avoiding letting it reach the back of your throat.  You don’t gargle it or swish it.  When the proper oils are used, they will help pull toxins from the body, tones and tightens the gums, whitens the teeth and generally improves overall health. You don’t want to swallow this oil once you have pulled it through your teeth because it is then full of toxins.

How does it work?  Some oils ~ especially sesame oil~ are known for their ability to draw waste and toxins from the body.  The mouth is a direct line to the blood stream and the digestive system, capable of absorbing and releasing vitamins, minerals, waste and toxins.  When you pull the oil through the teeth and move it around the mouth, it mixes with saliva and activates the body functions that control the cleansing process.  As you move it between the teeth, it picks up the bits of food and bacteria that like to hide there.  The oils capture toxins and food particles, bacteria, germs and other nasties, allowing them to be eliminated from the system. It also deposits healing properties ~ vitamins and minerals, moisturizing and healing agents.

Okay, I know it sounds  a little hokey, but after working with many oils on a regular basis, I’m confident in their ability to do all the things they are reported to do.  And, knowing how the body works, I’m convinced that the mouth is a viable detox organ.  The confusion came when I was trying to decide which ingredients to add.

Some advocates of oil pulling insist that only sesame oil would work.  Some suggested olive oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil…the list went on.  Finally, I narrowed down my choices and here is what I came  up with…

Sesame oil was a must.  It is one of the few oils that I have seen work well for pulling toxins from the system.  I use it in many of my products because of this characteristic.  However, it doesn’t have much to offer in the way of whitening, which was one of my main concerns.

Coconut oil, which has been touted as a miracle cure for everything from heart disease to dry skin, seemed to be a good choice.  In my research I stumbled across another lesser-known use for coconut oil.  It helps whiten teeth by loosening plaque and actually descaling the surface of the teeth.

Sunflower oil is not an oil that I often use, but the more I study it, the more I like what it has to offer.  It is healing, soothing and seems quite capable of being able to draw toxins from the system.

So, I started mixing.  I considered adding herbs and essential oils that are known for their dental-health properties, but decided against it.  Those, I would save for my mouth wash and tooth polish.

It took me a few days to work up the nerve to actually use the oil pulling method.  I have this thing about texture.  I can’t do slimy, and I was a little bit afraid that the texture of the oils in my mouth would make me gag.  Again, desperation overrode hesitation.  I was pleasantly surprised!  It was thick at first, but not gross or slimy.  After the first few pulls, it became the texture of any other mouthwash. Now, I kind of like it!

But, the real question is: Does it work?

Well, I’m a believer!  I noticed a dramatic whitening effect within 3 uses.  The gingivitis was gone in less than a week.  That ugly brown plaque that accumulates on the back of the teeth and around the gums…it was almost gone after less than two weeks.  My gums have tightened back up and the receding gum line is doing a rapid reversal.  I think the most amazing thing, though, is that even my crowns, which they say can’t be bleached or whitened, are becoming whiter by the day!

The routine: Use the oil first thing in the morning, at least 30 minutes before you eat or drink anything.  I use it again at night before bed.  It took a few times to work up to using it for the full 10-15 minutes.  Don’t swallow the oil and keep it in the front of the mouth.  Spit, rinse and brush.  Its that simple.

After the first week, I began using a tooth polish that I whipped up.  I made it with coconut oil, cocoa butter, baking soda, peppermint oil and clove oil.  It tastes a bit like a Mounds candy bar, which is just fine with me.

I chose cocoa butter because of some interesting research that has been done on it.  It seems that cocoa butter has much to offer in the way of dental health.  It contains phenols, which  reduce the presence of free radicals that damage cells and prevent fat like substances in the blood stream from oxidizing and clogging the arteries.  It has immune-enhancing properties, and it lightly coats the teeth and helps fight off tooth decay by preventing bacteria from sticking to the teeth and gums, helping to prevent the formation of plaque.

Clove oil, aside from its history as a pain reliever, is also anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and germicidal.  It has been used for a very long time to treat dental issues and has proven highly effective.  Besides, it tastes good.

Peppermint oil is a traditional flavor for tooth-care products, also, and its healing properties are backed up by loads of research from both the medical and the natural communities.  Sure, it tastes good, but there is more to it than that.  It stimulates blood flow to the gums, which helps heal damaged tissues, tones, and tightens the gums.  It contains a host of vitamins and minerals that benefit the teeth and bones, its a natural pain reliever and it freshens the breath.

Baking soda gently scrubs the teeth.  Unfortunately, it can also scratch the surface enamel of the teeth, allowing them to stain more easily.  I believe that the coating action of the cocoa butter provides a certain amount of protection from this, though.

The only downside to the tooth polish is the consistency.  I actually like the consistency, but if you are used to a thick, bubbly toothpaste, this will be a bit off-putting.  It is more liquid-y and it doesn’t bubble or foam.  Surprisingly, it doesn’t leave the mouth feeling oily, either, which was another fear I had.  The butters and oils soak in rapidly and leave your whole mouth feeling…well…clean!

I guess this isn’t for everyone, but if you are serious about finding a more natural approach to dental health and you are feeling adventurous, this routine just might be what you are looking for. I’m thrilled with the results and, for the first time in a long time, my teeth aren’t an embarrassment. Its wonderful to smile again without wondering how awful my teeth look!

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