Whilst I was in Chanthaburi at the durian festival in Thailand in May last year, I had a quarter of a rear lower molar crumble away. At the time I passed it off as past lifestyle bad habits catching up with me and continued on. Over the last few months my teeth became sensitive and I developed a dull ache in the left side of my jaw. I ignored it for a couple of months until I saw a post on facebook of another 811er having teeth issues. So I went to the dentist - an expensive holistic one in the heart of Melbourne. I had to have an x-ray before seeing him which he viewed before I was called in. He said my teeth overall are severely decayed and in the top 1% of cases in Australia. He said he personally has never seen a patient with such bad decay. This was before he even looked in my mouth. The x-ray showed that most of my rear molars are hollow and on the verge of crumbling. He then proved it to me by gently probing areas of decay which made me cry out in pain. He told me I have to quit the soft drinks, lollies, chocolates, and highly processed sugary foods immediately if I have any chance of saving my teeth. He gave me an estimate of $20,000 to repair the damage done which included a minimum of 3 root canals and 16 large fillings. I left his office in shock.
So I started researching and came to what I consider a solution which is not 100% vegan. In the last 2 and a half weeks I have added a small amount of non-vegan foods to my diet. I won’t discuss that any further here as I respect that this is a vegan forum. I’ve decided to post this here in the hope that a discussion can be initiated.
So what I’d like to ask this community is what have I done wrong and is there a vegan way to correct it? I would like to be 100% vegan but I currently believe that 99% is the way to go. I’m desperate for a solution which has led me down the 1% non-vegan foods path. It was not a decision I made lightly.
Before we start this I’ll tell you a bit about what I have been doing as a raw vegan;
- 100% raw for the entire time on this diet, no exceptions
- 1 non-vegan raw meal (salmon) 3 months into the diet
- Majority mono fruit meals from the beginning for morning and lunch
- Majority one fruit plus greens for dinner
- Averaged about 3000-3500 calories over the years and really couldn’t have force fed myself anymore without gagging.
- I’m 5’10”, 48kgs for 2.5 years up to current weight of 56kgs
- Quantity of greens has varied over the years from none for a couple of 2 to 3 month periods early on to a couple of heads of lettuce a day. Over the last 1.5 years I’ve eaten more than I’d have liked to.
- Last year I had 6 small binges on raw gourmet over the period of a year. A binge for me was having it for dinner and lunch for a few days in a row so nothing that major. This was in Bangkok at Rasayana which a lot of you long termer 811 travelers will be familiar with and is known for being light on the fat/nuts. I also had it a couple times the year before in Hawaii and Canada but hardly worth mentioning.
- Spent 2.5 years travelling in the tropics following the fruit/durian trail with plenty of money (no stress) eating the best tropical fruits in the world. Best time of my life! I’ve been back in Melbourne for 4 months.
- Any fruit that was found to be not quite ripe I have always discarded.
- I rarely have eaten much acidic fruit as I don’t really like it.
- I eat organic as much as is available.
- Plenty of sunshine and my current vitamin D level is 314nmol/L (125ng/ml) which in Australia is over 4 times the normal level with no supplementation
- The first year sleep was disrupted by playing in bands but since quitting music at the end of 2009 I’ve been averaging 12 hours in bed with probably 10 of that being asleep. The whole time in the tropics I went to bed religiously with the sun and rose with the sun.
- Was diagnosed with severe B12 deficiency (86pmol/L) in March this year and have aggressively treated it with shots ever since and my levels are now high (1476pmol/L).
- I’m no athlete but I travelled with my bike and have gotten plenty of exercise over the years. I currently run 3 times a week and have been doing so for the last 6 months and workout at least 3 times a week which has always been body weight but have recently joined a gym.
- Water intake has varied but never been under 2 liters a day and on average around 3 liters over the years. Hydration level of 76% was measured before fasting at the end of 2010.
- Did a 35 day water fast at the end of 2010 re-feeding on tropical fruits in Panama.
- Have a history of recreational drugs and alcohol but nothing out of the ordinary for Australia. Basically just the 20 something party lifestyle.
- Went vegan 15 years ago at 23 years old, initially a fruit based raw diet for 6 months and then to cooked vegan until 30 then added fish back into my diet till 34 and then 811.
- Past dental health; great teeth as a child with only a few fillings in my baby teeth. No fillings in my adult teeth that I can recall. At 17 my dentist said he could put my teeth in a catalog they were that perfect. At 19 had wisdom teeth pain for a few months but ignored it. At 25 wisdom teeth pain came back and finally went to the dentist to find I had compacted wisdom teeth. This had pushed all my teeth closer together slightly twisting some especially in the bottom front. Had wisdom teeth out but required no other dental work. Have had no pain or sensitivity till May last year when my tooth crumbled at 37 years of age. Started getting a dull ache in my left side of the jaw in March this year and increased sensitivity. Got to a point a month ago where I was having trouble chewing even a salad so 3 weeks ago I went to the dentist. Earlier this week my second molar crumbled.
- Since starting 811 have brushed once a day in the evening before bed with water and a soft brush. Have never been a flosser as my teeth are tight against each other and when I've tried I've consistently cut into my gums. Dentist never saw that as an issue.
That’s all I can think of at the moment. Ask for anything I may have missed.
I request that only people who have been on this diet for a minimum of 3 years or have a nutritional background reply. The reason being is that at 2 and a half years on 811 I thought my teeth were the best they had ever been and in general I felt amazing. Things only started going downhill a couple of months after that with the crumbling of my first tooth.
Thanks for all the replies and sorry it's taken me awhile to answer questions, I've been entertaining a friend from interstate (also 811 with teeth issues who lives with another 811 with teeth issues) so haven't had much time on the computer in the last few days.
There's been some interesting suggestions especially getting a bone scan and possible liver issues. I'm getting a bone scan on the 4th of July so will let you all know the results of that and will look further into possible liver issues although my liver function tests are fine.
Dental hygiene is a hard one as I have an ex girlfriend friend and have heard before that too much brushing/flossing can lead to receding gums. I currently rinse and brush after every meal but will look into some of the less invasive flosses.
As for my non-vegan consumption, it's limited to invertebrates and some eggs and makes up about 1% of my diet. As far as I can see this is the example nature gives us via our cousin primates and that is where I currently choose to put my faith. Not really interested in debating this.
I agree that fasting could have been the cause of this but I also think that after a year and a half if this diet is the healthiest my body should have been replenishing anything that was depleted. Judging by how I've been feeling I've obviously been lacking something. Since the additions to my diet I've been feeling incredible! Things improved with the B12 shots but still felt pretty average. Feel like I'm thriving for the first time in my life!
So I'm still 99% 811 raw vegan so I hope people can still accept me here. I've been doing this for 3 weeks and will be getting another blood test at the 3 month mark and then another blood test, dental x-ray, and bone density scan at 6 months. So consider this an experiment and hey if it doesn't work I can be the poster boy for what not to do! I can't afford any dental work anyway.
p.s In regards to my weight, I've been around 56kgs for my whole adult life. Within the first few months of 811 I lost 8 kgs and have only put it back on since fasting. So if I was anorexic and fasting is bad then I'm very confused.