I thought I was getting away with it.
My bloodwork wasn’t sounding the alarm on my vitamin and mineral levels, so I had convinced myself that I could get away with skipping my calcium supplement.
That false belief came crashing down to Earth at my recent dental cleaning.
I’ll admit that with the pandemic and a cross-country move, I was overdue. But, SHIZNIT! I was not expecting 14 cavities. FOURTEEN! That’s more cavities in one visit than I’ve had in my entire life.
But wait…it gets worse.
A closer look at the x-rays showed that my front tooth needed to be extracted.
I thought, “Ok, I can live with this. I’ll just get an implant and I’ll be good as new.”
Think again! Long story short, for the next year or so until my mouth is ready for an implant, I will be living with something called a “flipper”—that’s a temporary tooth attached to a retainer. Ewww!
The flipper makes it difficult to speak clearly and hard to eat, but the worst part is how I feel when I take it out to clean it: Imagine looking into the mirror to see that empty spot where your front tooth used to be?
The million-dollar question you’re probably wondering is, “Did having weight loss surgery almost 21 years ago lead to these dental issues?”
I’ll never know for sure; however, I suspect much of the fault lies with me.
That’s because my “what can I get away with mindset” had been hard at work over the years, especially when it came to my bariatric supplements.
The “what can I get away with mindset” is a sneaky adversary for many of us after bariatric surgery. It’s a harmful thought pattern where we think things like, “Hmmm, how much chocolate can I get away with eating without getting sick or gaining weight?” Or, in this case, my mindset asked, "Can I get away with not taking my bariatric supplements without any health repercussions?"
Essentially, this mindset is like trying to figure out how fast you can drive on a twisty mountain road without going over the cliff. You’re one miscalculation away from getting in trouble, or in my case, getting 14 cavities and losing a tooth. One way or another, the "what can I get away with mindset" always bites you in the tushie! (Watch this video to learn how to overcome the “what can I get away with mindset.”)
The good news is that post-surgery weight loss can have many benefits for your dental health. That’s because when we’re overweight our body’s secrete inflammatory cytokines that can elevate the risk of periodontal disease; losing weight helps reverse that.
Unfortunately, there’s a flip side. One study found that after weight loss surgery, 25% of patients experienced an increase in tooth decay, hypersensitivity and erosion. Yikes!
Besides the "what can I get away with mindset," I've uncovered 5 common habits that can increase your risk for dental issues after bariatric surgery. The first, which I'll touch on in this blog, is probably the most obvious: failing to consistently take your supplements.
Take it from me, your dental health is something you don’t want to risk. Always, always, always follow the supplement protocol provided by your doctor. Not only are supplements an important tool that contributes to your general post-surgery health, but they are also essential to your dental health.
In addition to protein, nutrients that are important to your dental health include Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin K2, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Iron, Zinc and Magnesium.
If you’re like me, the supplement that has been hardest to stick to is Calcium because we’re supposed to take it multiple times throughout the day. Sheesh!
With my recent dental issues, I had to find a way to effectively work my supplements into my routine. That meant supplements I'd actually take AND creating reminders on my phone to ensure I don't miss any doses.
Fortunately, I discovered a few supplements that make it so much easier to stick to my doctor’s daily Calcium recommendations. In fact, my new favorite is a decadent “Calcium Dark Chocolate” bar. It’s only got 50 calories, 2 grams of sugar and there are no artificial sweeteners. You can learn all about Calcium Dark Chocolate bars, my other favorite “go to” calcium supplements as well as special discount codes on my Bariatric Favorites page.*
After investing in my mouth the equivalent cost of the fancy European vacation I’ve been dreaming about, you bet your biscuits I’m now taking my supplements like clockwork!
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Stay tuned as I’ll soon be releasing a video on this topic on my YouTube channel that takes a deeper dive into dental issues after bariatric surgery, including how different supplements impact your oral health, types of supplements that dentists think we should avoid after surgery as well as post-surgery bariatric habits that can lessen your chances of experiencing a dental debacle like mine.
*Note: I use affiliate links on my Bariatric Favorites page, which may generate a small commission from clicks that result in a purchase.