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‘I’m 9 years post op & losing my teeth!’
Broken teeth are an extreme side effect of mineral deficiency and body changes after weight loss surgery.
We hear more and more about dental issues every year as the bariatric population ages – let’s talk about what happens and how we may be able to reduce our risks.
Simone – member of BariatricEating Support on Facebook
My dental health has changed completely since the surgery. My dentist said he can tell exactly the date as it is when I started having problems with my teeth. I have been getting more cavities than I ever have in my life. My teeth are also more fragile, resulting in cracks and pieces breaking off. I have had to get several root canals with crowns on my teeth because of the cavity being so large or the tooth breaking apart. I also had a molar pulled because it was so bad it could not be saved.
I am only 52 years old. I have always had good dental care, cleaning two times a year. Brushed and flossed each night before bed. This is just a shock to me and to my dentist. He said that he has 2 other patients that have the same results from this surgery.
Marina – member of BariatricEating Support on Facebook
I racked up a pretty large bill for dental work – crowns, root canals, and a couple of extractions – and I don’t know how I am going to pay. We have discussed this before but it bears repeating. TAKE YOUR VITAMINS – please just take them and save your bones and teeth after weight loss surgery. I did not follow this advice and am in a pretty big jam. I don’t mean to lecture, I just care and want to pass on hard earned wisdom. It’s too late for me to save my teeth, but you may be able to save yours.
Carol – member of BariatricEating Support on Facebook
I have a bariatric friend who lost all her teeth post op because of malnutrition. I stopped taking my vitamins and ended up with iron deficient anemia so bad that I needed to have iron infusions weekly for a month to get my hematocrit and hemoglobin back to normal! I am also pre-osteoporosis because my vitamin D and calcium are low.
Nancy – member of BariatricEating Support on Facebook
I took my vitamins religiously until I lost my job and thought I couldn’t afford them. Three years later – I have been taking calcium carbonate. I have had 3 broken teeth, a root canal and a lot of pain. Please take your vitamins and especially a good calcium. What I couldn’t afford was to have this happen.
Laura – member of BariatricEating Support on Facebook
I forgot about taking calcium until my bones and teeth started going bad. At my daughters wedding I ran out on the dance floor thinking I was twenty five again. My leg went one way and my hip went the other. I had to be carried off and ended up in in the ER with a break. Then I had a permanent seat at the dentist the entire summer. I feel your pain.
Chelia – member of BariatricEating Support on Facebook
This explains a lot. I’ve had a tooth break, and the dentist told me that my enamel is thinner and more worn on edges than is normal for my age.
So what do we do about all this? We start by doing everything we can that is within our control.
Let’s have heart to heart. Two thirds of bariatric patients do not take ANY vitamins so odds are you are one of them. I get it and no judgment as for years I was pathetic about taking vitamins with the same seven bottles on my desk 6 months later.
IF you are also non-compliant let’s have a reality check. I know a post-op who never took vitamins, did not eat well, and never got her labs done. She had terrible problems with her teeth and a fairly large regain yet she blamed the surgery and her doctor, which wasn’t entirely fair since she didn’t take care of herself. Don’t let this be you. Now that I take Journey, I have not missed but a handful of days in nearly four years – it wasn’t me after all, my vitamins were setting me up for failure.
Where do I begin?
- Start with a good Multivitamin you will actually remember to take. If you can swallow regular sized capsules… get yourself a bottle of Journey 3+3 MultiCaps and take them. They’re an all in one, they are easy to remember and I promise you will feel a difference – plus you’ll feel proud that you are being proactive! If you don’t want capsules, our 3+3 Chewables are fantastic. One bottle, boom.
- Next, take an accounting of your Food Intake – there is a lot of calcium if we choose real food. Yogurt, Greek yogurt, spinach, Swiss cheese, cottage cheese, parmesan, milk, almond milk – we can easily take in 250 to 350mg of dietary calcium every day – which is the form most easily absorbed by the body.
- We have fortified our Inspire Plus Protein Powder with 350mg Calcium – as Calci-K® Calcium Potassium Phosphate Citrate – in every drink. Calci-K® is a patented Super Calcium. It is completely undetectable – Inspire Plus Orange Cream is DELICIOUS. The food you eat plus a single Inspire Plus protein drink can easily top 500mg of daily dietary calcium. Boom.
- Keep a 4th Calcium layer in your fridge – Journey Liquid Calcium Shooter tastes like smooth drinkable fresh orange yogurt – swig some from the bottle every night before bed. A one-ounce shot contains 500mg of Albion® CCM Calcium Citrate Malate, another patented Super Calcium that is better absorbed by the body than common calcium citrate.
- GET A WATERPIK Water Flosser! Seriously, its the best thing you can do. It is documented that after bariatric surgery we have more cavities and more/larger pockets of infection in our gums – it is believed to have to do with the pH of our saliva. A Waterpik gently flushes these pockets of bacterial infection. I have used one for years and just bought a newer model last week. We cant lay back and allow this to happen to us. We have to fight losing our teeth.
Our surgeon’s programs require that we attend classes and no one ever said to me that post surgery you might lose your teeth. No one said that poor nutrition, lack of saliva or the pH of your saliva might cause you to lose your teeth. Not one word about dental complications which are becoming more and more evident as the years pass. It’s getting even more real at 17 years post op and I don’t like it.
John Rabkin, M.D. Pacific Laparoscopy
I, too, see dental issues in my weight loss surgery (WLS) patients which I believe may be exacerbated by the WLS. A dentist presented to our patient support group and did support the concept of pH changes in the saliva as a contributor with the strong recommendation (as the two responding dentists outlined above) for meticulous dental hygiene with immediate post meal and/or snack teeth brushing (not just AM & PM) and mouth rising with basic pH mouthwash to mitigate the acidic saliva. This should be in addition to a focus on mineral supplementation to avoid any deficiencies and to make certain that patients are NOT having significant reflux (or vomiting) of gastric contents (acidic) breaking down their teeth.
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Source: Journal of Dental Hygiene, Vol. 82, No. 2, April 2008
Copyright by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association
Advanced caries in a patient with a history of bariatric surgery
Anne L Hague, RDH, MS, PhD, RD and Mary Baechle, DDS
Anne L. Hague, RDH, MS, PhD, RD, assistant professor; Mary Baechle, DDS, assistant professor of clinical dentistry. Both are from
The Ohio State University College of Dentistry in Columbus, Ohio.