I admit it. I'm a bit of a shit-stirrer, which is likely why I've been able to pretty easily sustain a blogging life since 2003 with an average of better than a post per day, in spite of many other important matters.
…This reminds me. I need a Conventional Wisdom category. Done…
So, to the subject: I was wholly pleased to march into my dentist's office the other day for my (now) semi-annual appointment with the hygienist, only to horrify: "I don't brush my teeth, much."
You see, I'm just oddly crazy enough to wonder how wild animals get by without regular dental checkups; being semi-annually irradiated, poked and prodded, drilled & filled, caped or crowned…canaled, braced, bridged, dentured…and the list goes on.
But, thanks to a bit of fortune, I got wind of and then studied Weston Price.
It's a compelling story. Rather than sit with tenure at a university while using his slave-labor PhD candidates to apply for — and justify — grant applications to secure his longevity as an "expert" and "authority," he was a practicing dentist who decided to finance and document his own research. He did so, traveling the world to discover the dental health of peoples who'd not regularly had contact with modern civilization. This was in the 1930s, and it's all documented in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.
But in a nutshell, Price found that diets high in fat soluble vitamins A, D, and K2 not only prevented tooth decay and gum disease, but that supplementing with these vitamins could actually reverse tooth decay, i.e., get cavities to re-calcify. What I have found is that not only did getting off grains probably lessen the widespread inflammation that was causing gum problems, but that — probably owing to my K2 supplementation — my teeth are now almost always pearly smooth, even after getting up in the morning.
So, back in the dentist's chair, how can I possibly justify not brushing my teeth thrice daily, particularly considering that I actually had surgery twice for periodontal disease? Isn't it well established that it's essential? Well, like with many things we investigate and discover, it turns out that one can have perfectly pristine teeth without brushing or flossing, though I do end up brushing a few times per week.
Back to the hygienist who's been cleaning my teeth for 15 years. I could tell she was quite uncomfortable with the notion. First, she wanted to do the x-rays, which I declined…saying that if ever I present with anything that requires x-rays, we'll get them then. …But that with my teeth and gums feeling better than in my whole life, I just didn't see the need for the added cost in dollars and needless radiation exposure.
So then she goes to work on the examination and I could tell she was at a loss. She kept trying to find negative things to say, but her heart just didn't seem to be in it. There is was, right in from of her eyes: teeth and gums presenting better than 15 years ago, and this guy doesn't brush or floss as conventional wisdom dictates he should.
Actually, I've never used floss. Hate the stuff. Rather, I use a perfectly paleo tool: a wooden toothpick. I can easily imagine something like that being in use by man for many millennia, given our penchant for tool making.
So, once she finished up and the dentist came in for the examination, I told him also about brushless me, to which he mentioned recalling about my grain free diet, as well as the vitamin K2 I had previously told him about.
He poked around and in the end, said, "Well, whatever it is you're doing, keep on doing it." I'll take it. But, I also will likely skip the next appointment six months out and just start going once per year.