I went to my dentist yesterday. In my regular semi-annual checkup, he found several minor problems. This was my second visit to fix those. It turned out that, even in 3 weeks since my checkup, some of the issues had corrected themselves, or the work he'd done last week was enough to let other problems resolve themselves. Your mouth is a very dynamic place and your teeth and gums are always repairing themselves and shifting around.
He commented on how my dental health is really reflecting the choices I've made. Now that I've moved back to the town I lived in for 20 years, improvement is visible even in a short time. I'd noticed myself that I used to have decent teeth but my gums were a concern; now my gums seem to be fine, especially for someone in their 50s, but my teeth needed work. So the soft tissues in my mouth had gotten healthier, even as I was going through all the work and stress of sorting and organizing my parents' house to sell it, buying a house, worrying about money and all the decisions that come with buying and selling a home. The minor issues with my teeth reflected this, through teeth-grinding at night, as well as clenching my teeth when lifting boxes and furniture.
My dentist took an impression of my front teeth, because some have shifted and may need some orthodontal intervention, but with the obvious return to health he's witnessed in even 3 weeks, he felt it was best to wait and see if things will shift back again in time.
He commented on what a strong clear arch I have in my lower jaw, that this is really rare for a Canadian woman. I asked him to clarify, and he said that most women in Canada (and presumably men, but their bones are generally bigger and more robust, so the effect is not quite as drastic) eat so much sugar, their teeth collapse into their jaw and the bones deteriorates, so their lower jaw is, essentially, a mess. Mine is not.
We talked about the importance of nutrition. I told him I've decided to "go Paleo," which he applauded. I said that I still eat more fruit than they recommend, because I find myself craving fruit if I don't get enough. Better to eat more fruit than turn to something really unsuitable out of desperation! I said I think I crave the acidity even more than the sweetness. He talked about how whole foods, fruits and vegetables in their natural state, are factories of nutrients, and "Monsanto can't compete with that."
I should point out that I do not have good genes when it comes to teeth. My mother was one of five children, and of the 5, 4 of them had full dentures, none of their own teeth, by the time they turned 25. Only my mother had any of her own teeth left. My Mom had two bridges with artificial teeth, and at least one implant. I have no artificial teeth, only fillings, and all of my own teeth, except for my wisdom teeth. I'm 55.
My father had none of his teeth left by the time he was 45. He was hit in the mouth with a baseball when he was young, which broke several teeth. He lost those and the decay that set in claimed the rest, so after decades of constant pain and dental work, he and his dentist decided removing all of his teeth was the better option. We don't know if this was an environmental problem caused solely by that early accident, or bad genes or both.
My point, though, is that whether bad teeth have been caused by genetics or environment, nothing in my family history says I should have good teeth or dental health. I have a mouth full of fillings. I wear a guard at night to stop me from grinding my teeth and to prevent the teeth drifting from clenching my jaw in my sleep.
So, if I have an unusually good, clear, strong lower jaw, it's not because of good genes in the jaw department. It's because of what I've done in my own lifetime to take care of myself and my teeth.
Personally, I find it frightening to think that a lifetime of what we'd call a "normal" Canadian diet can cause not just cavities, but actual visible bone loss or deformation. Hearing this made me ever more determined to carry on eating whole foods and avoid sugar!
I'm easily amused. I try to be positive about things, yet I am also driven to distraction by irrationality. Especially if the purpose is valid, but could be achieved with less drama. You'll see all of this in my writing!