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Thirteenth Snow: Teeth and Xylitol


I don't know why I didn't sleep last night. I am doing a driver training at PRO this morning, but those trainings are getting to be fairly routine. I need to be there early so I can print up the same old list of things to cover. The snow has been falling on and off for a couple of days. It stuck for about 30 minutes yesterday, right when I was headed to biochemistry class. Then this morning I was awakened by the snow sliding off the steep metal roof of the barn. It makes a "whomp"ing sound like someone shaking out a heavy blanket, and makes the kitten look around in alarm. By the time I took the blankets down from the windows, it was mostly melted.

I have changed the recipe of my daily thermos of morning tea. For years now I have been drinking yerba mate with honey every day. I mix other earthy-flavored teas into it, such as milk thistle, dandelion or PMS tea, depending on what my body needs. But my teeth have become very sensitive to sugar and temperatures. The other day I went to the dentist because I thought I had a cavity. I asked him and his assistant to make a diagnosis with out an xray. They didn't find a cavity. He ground off the top points of one tooth, saying "she had ortho, didn't she" and painted the side of the most sensitive tooth with some kind of sealer. He also didn't charge me for the service. I had said "I'm not a bottomless pit of money", and the LAST time I went in there for hurting teeth it cost me over $200 because he sent me to a specialist who tested my teeth to see if he could do a root canal and charge me a whole lot more. It turned out that my teeth were just sore from my gritting them at night, during a stressful period at work.

After some reading about teeth, I have determined that the enamel on my teeth must have become porous because I have been feeding the sugar to the bacteria for too many hours of the day. The bacteria in your mouth produce acids that digest the enamel much faster when fed sugar.

So I have replaced the honey in my tea with xylitol. Xylitol is a sweetener that was discovered in 1979, that is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol in berries. It tastes sweet, but is low glycemic and does not feed the tooth-eating bacteria. It may be the best sweetener available for diabetics. It can be used for cooking, and was first seen in chewing gum. It is recommended by Mercola, so I overcame my aversion to "synthetic sweeteners" and bought a bag of the stuff at the Supplement Shoppe in PHX the other day. It costed $18 for a smallish bag of the stuff--more expensive than honey, and honey is expensive. But if it saves my teeth and allows me to keep the mate tradition, it is worth it to me.

I am making a couple of other minor changes for my teeth. I'm taking a toothbrushh to work so I can brush after lunch. And I'm going to use my flouride rinse daily. I'll keep doing all this until my teeth don't hurt anymore, or until I get so used to it that I don't need to stop.

I think this is how people successfully manage their health. One issue at a time. One change at a time. Start something new. Stop something old. Often the changes come in pairs like that. For example, to lose weight, eat less and exercise more. It's very simple.

The execution of a health-improvement dyad depends on being able to translate generalities into specific behaviors for a specific person. For example, instead of eat less, it the goal could become "stop eating cookies, candy, soda pop and fried food entirely". Instead of exercise more, a person could "go for a walk every morning". When the objective is attained, the restrictions can be relaxed, though in my experience, when something works for me I don't want to stop it. At least I know that I can start it up again any time, and I know what sort of results I can achieve.

Afterthought about the Supplement Shoppe: It's a national chain. I walked around and thought they carried some of the very best supplements, and from a variety of manufacturers. I was impressed. I asked if it is publicly traded, and it is not. I think this chain will succeed. They have a store in Portland, so I joined their customer tracking program. I get $5 back for every $50 I spend, or something like that. They just want a record of what one customer buys.

Comments

bodacia
Apr. 24th, 2007 10:39 pm (UTC)
I should add that my rants generally feature f-bombs and other expletives liberally sprinkled about. *g*
liveonearth
Apr. 25th, 2007 12:52 am (UTC)
Cool! Will you be around the greater SF area over Memorial Day weekend? I might be coming in to visit with friends and generally run amok.

I worked for the BLM out of Folsom for a summer...

I hear you about hating rain, esp when depressed.... and no, I won't take it personally.

I guess I haven't told the story yet of how I was put on disciplinary probation as an undergrad for saying fuck in front of a lady with blue hair. I'm not afraid of words. Have your way!

This is going to be fun.

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