I continue to sleep from 1am to 8am. But I had forgotten about the side effects of sleeping. Flashbacks and body memories intrude during sleep creating nightmares, clenching of jaw and hands, and crying. The nightmares do not generally wake me up but when I awake my hands are sore and there are dried tears on my face. Some years ago, a friend taught me to hold small stuffed animals, one in each hand to prevent my fingers from clenching into a painful fist and prevent the radiation of pain up my forearms. So I am holding Grey, a gray-faced brown monkey, in one hand and Treehouse, a squirrel holding a nut, in the other hand.
A little history, my saliva has always been TOO ACIDIC. So much so that my dentist of 25 years ago, told me that I could expect my teeth to have rotted away by my 50’s. At that time, he measured the pH of my saliva to usually be from 3.5-4.0 pH. Healthy saliva is expected to be between 6.5 and 7.5. The pH scale is 0 to 7 acid, 7-14 alkaline and 7 is neutral. The smaller the pH number, the greater the acidity and the larger the number, the greater alkalinity.
He hoped that as time passed that dental implants would improve so that would be an option for me. And that has come to pass. The oral surgeon had the difficult job of removing my upper teeth. Above the gum line were a few rotted remains but below the gum line there were healthy roots which were not easily removed. I have worn an upper denture secured by implants for 1 year now.
I am experiencing an episode of more severe acidity in my mouth. It’s not that I am experiencing less saliva but that the components of my saliva are more out-of-balance. My tongue is raw, cracked and feels like it is burned. The buccal (inside of the cheek) surface is also painful and fissured. This episode has currently lasted 3 days and nights. More saliva is released into the mouth when there is food present and so eating has become a painful gruesome experience.
Last night I ate my dinner very slowly. One or two bites followed by 8 to 10 ounces of water and repeat. Overnight, I dissolved Xylitol lozenges continuously in my mouth. Xyiltol is a plant-derived sugar substitute. It has the unique characteristic of not forming acidic compounds when reacting with saliva and does not mediate with insulin. This morning, I ate breakfast with a Xylitol lozenge in my mouth, so I was able to tolerate eating more food without an increase of burning sensations.
Healthy blood pH is important because it affects how the brain interprets pain signals, allows healing and regeneration and much more. Hospitals can, and often, monitor the blood pH of their patients. At home, individuals can measure their saliva and urine pH as reference to what their blood pH is. Many things affect the blood pH. Many diseases, conditions or syndromes create or thrive in a more acidic environment. The specific foods that are consumed affects your pH. Processed foods and drinks are all more acidic. Sugary liquids and solids (like soda and corn sugar-based juice drinks; pastries, candy) and caffeinated liquids are acidic. I only drink filtered water. I have never been a coffee drinker nor have I ever smoked cigarettes.
Saliva and Autonomic Nervous System Research
I feel that my acidic saliva is a trauma related/mediated issue, much in the same way as my incredibly low blood pressure (70/50) is a trauma related/mediated physiological response. In researching saliva, I found some interesting and compelling information. The wikipedia at http://www.en.wikipedia.org says
The saliva stimulated by sympathetic innervation is thicker, and saliva stimulated parasympathetically is more watery.
Sympathetic stimulation of saliva is to facilitate respiration, whereas parasympathetic stimulation is to facilitate digestion.”
So then I needed to remind myself about the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, the two divisions of the autonomic nervous system. The wikipedia says,
“The autonomic nervous system is responsible for regulating the body’s unconscious actions. The parasympathetic system is responsible for stimulation of “rest-and-digest” or “feed and breed” activities that occur when the body is at rest, especially after eating, including sexual arousal, salivation, lacrimation (tears), urination, digestion and defecation. Its action is described as being complementary to that of the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for stimulating activities associated with the fight-or-flight response.”
And now I am saying to myself, this is a connection that I need to remember because it specifically is connected to my trauma and some of my current developmental issues of urinary incontinence, inappropriate sexual arousal, erratic body temperature, low blood pressure and acidic salivation. The wikipedia on parasympathetic nervous systems says,
“Nerve fibres of the parasympathetic nervous system arise from the central nervous system. Specific nerves include several cranial nerves, specifically the oculomotor nerve, facial nerve, glossopharyngeal nerve, and vagus nerve.”
√ ⇒ Bingo!! Vagal nerve – Peter Levine’s book In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness – Somatic Experiencing. Earlier this week I ran across the below image and found the article, “Somatic Experiencing: using interoception and proprioception as core elements of trauma therapy” by Peter Payne, Peter A Levine, Mardi A Crane-Goreau, on Frontiers of Psychology: Consciousness Research, 04 February 2015 | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00093, at http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00093/full
Somatic Experiencing is a form of trauma therapy that bests approximates my 12 years of intensive individual psychotherapy and energy work. Interoception can be defined as sensitivity to stimuli originating inside of the body. Proprioception can be defined as the ability to sense the position, location, orientation and movement of the body and its parts.
My experience of the relationship between interoception and proprioception has been confusing. Sometimes they are the same and sometimes they are far apart. I can sense where my physical body is and how it moves through space AND I sense where it feels like my physical body and parts are. For instance, I often have had the experience of knowing my physical body was standing up and walking with full mobility of both legs AND at the same time had a felt sense that my body was organized in space differently, such as split along my midline and the left side was orientated higher than the right. Another example is knowing that I am sitting in a chair and all my body parts are physically connected but have reported feeling/sensing that my body is cut-up and separated into parts like a horizontal cut at my waist, vertical cut at my midline, and further cuts separating limb parts and sometimes no sense of hands, etc. As a young adult, I learned to differentiate between the physical reality and the felt sense and honor both experiences.
Then back to making a connection to my developmental issues, I found the article “The Early Development of the Autonomic Nervous System Provides a Neural Platform for Social Behavior: A Polyvagal Perspective” by Steph W Porges and Senta A Furman on Infant Child Development, 2011 Feb; 20(1): 106–118, doi: 10.1002/icd.688 at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3079208/ . With my first read-through of this article, I feel validation for developmental issues and the correlation to my trauma experiences. I also feel more hopeful about effecting change developmentally.
Helping The Kids Sooner
The Kids are a group of internal parts aged newborn to 9 years of age. While I have been working on this post this evening, The Kids made it clear the burning tongue and buccal area needed to be addressed sooner as it is too triggering of their dire helplessness. Specifically, they began our conversation with chanting “Die, Die, Die”.
I researched homeopathic remedies via a few online homeopathic remedy finders and found that Belladonna 6C matches the symptoms of acidic saliva as well as my interoception of coldness and my general ongoing anxiety. So I’m looking for a local source of this remedy so that I can hopefully positive effect the acidic saliva as soon as possible. And then longer term explore what other options exist to treat and resolve it as a developmental parasympathetic nervous system issue. I continue to constantly be dissolving Xylitol orally and drinking water.