So, the question is: Does Lithium Cause Tooth Decay?
What is lithium? What does it do for you? Some people have explained it as a naturally occuring salt. Ancient Greeks used to bathe in lithium pools to stimulate a stable mood. Lithium is the gold standard for bipolar disorder.
I have been taking lithium carbonate off and on for the last four years. I had a few episodes of mania during which I was switched to depakote, zyprexa and even back to seroquel.
I am experiencing more stability on lithium. I am on the minimal dose of 600 mg. However, I have had some rapid tooth decay and tonight began to wonder if the lithium had anything to do with it. I did a brief google search and found nothing medically conclusive.
I did find an interesting article however, from around two years ago, stating that the Japanese have added lithium to their water in some districts and have been experiencing a lower suicide rate. Another article stated all kinds of things that the lithium is good for.
So what has caused my rapid tooth decay? At another point I researched whether head trauma, such as beatings cause it. The research said no.
I remember my alcoholic battering boyfriend so well. He would say to me quite frequently, "I am going to bust your grill." He did almost punch me directly in the mouth once, but I ducked and he struck my forehead, causing me to blackout with a minor concussion. When i came to two days later, he told our neighbors that I was only swaying and behaving funny because I had just had brain surgery. Brain surgery, um, yeah....
What he did do to "bust my grill" was use all my money so I had nothing to go to dental cleanings with. I also slipped into such a state of depression that I stopped brushing my teeth.
He would go to get his beer and buy me a Coke slurpee or a Caramello bar every time to assuage his guilt for his alcoholism.
Thank God he is out of my life...but here is the prognosis for my teeth.
I have since learned the numbers of my teeth. I love my teeth. I have always loved eating and am on the heavier side.
I have completely lost #4 bicuspid. Actually, there is some root left, but my dentist said that he cannot build a tooth on it. I plan on leaving it in as long as possible to prevent bone structure decay, and then get an implant when I can afford it.
#19 molar in the bottom back is cracked in half but the roots appear to be in tact. The dentist said he should be able to rebuild it with a post. I hope I can come up with the money for a crown as soon as possible. This tooth has almost been broken for a year now.
I was finally able to get some dental work done by joining Careington Dental Plan and receiving monies from a disability account I paid into as a teacher, but it is not enough to support all the work I need to have done.
I had what I thought was a complete root canal done last year on tooth #14 upper molar. But apparently the dentist did not do full restoration with gutta percha and my new dentist is saying he will have to redo the entire thing.
The new dentist has began a root canal on upper right molar, tooth #3.
In addition I had deep cavities that almost needed root canals on #15, #13, #12, #2.
I had a small cavity on number 30 that has been filled.
When I was six I had a filling done on #31 and number 18. Number 18 I was about to lose benefits from my job so I foolishly had the dentist refill it when I was around 24. A tiny bit of that back molar recently cracked so I will most likely need a crown on it sometime in the relatively near future.
My gums have started bleeding and I need a deep cleaning on the top and a regular cleaning on the bottom...
The batterer got me addicted to regular soda. I have been trying to switch back to Diet as I know the sugar attracts the bacteria that creates the acid which causes decay:(.
So, does lithium cause tooth decay?
I would have to say no. It has caused me to come to a place of stability so that I can make less impulsive decisions with better judgment and get back to the place where I am making better decisions in my life, especially concerning hygiene and health.
For all of you struggling with a mental disorder I am sure that you can understand that hygiene is so important. Isn't that why they give us the hygiene kits when we go to the hospital? So that we can refocus on our bodies and not just the torment of our minds, oftentimes because we have been the victims of terrible abuse and atrocities?
Please, brush your teeth:). Dentures suck and I am doing everything I can to put a stop to the madness of losing my teeth in my mid to late thirties!!!!!
I also wish we had better dental care in America. It is outrageous that we do not. And now just paying for the more expensive mouth rinse...I think they should lower the price on that as well. And I think everyone should get free toothbrushes and paste!
As for floss, I heard it from when I was little,,,floss! Well, let me tell you I floss daily now. I also use ACT mouth rinse for 30 seconds and hydrogen peroxide for 5 seconds.
Live and learn...