Ok, this is a fun one…. Let’s talk about tooth decay. No parent ever wants to see their child’s teeth chipping away! Believe me, we didn’t. Our little guy was still nursing and had a pretty incredible diet, so to say I was surprised, would be an understatement. Of course I immediately did a thorough inspection and he was missing chunks of tooth in three other spots! I don’t typically rush off to dentists and doctors, but we went to 5 dentists over the next two weeks, We found out that Emmet had “soft and weak enamel.” Basically, Emmet’s teeth had no protection and we were headed towards serious tooth decay. Four of the dentists said that we “HAD” to do dental surgery.
Umm, no thanks.
So, I researched and researched and researched some more. There are actually a ton of resources and help out there. Even though we’ve all been told that you need drilling and filling to stop and treat tooth decay, natural dentists and scientists have seen otherwise. I learned that Dr Westin A. Price, the man who pioneered work in understanding tooth decay causes, did several studies showing that tooth decay can be reversed with diet. I also read “Cure Tooth Decay” by Ramiel Nagel and I read everything that I could about healing diets including Traditional Chinese Medicine, Homeopathy, Essential Oils and anything else I could find about healthy teeth. Long story very short, we healed his tooth decay completely with no surgery!
I need to add a quick note her about cause because this is important for long term success. Tooth decay is simply nutritional deficiency or physical degeneration. To simplify further, we see tooth decay either when there is not sufficient nutrition in the diet (think starvation or very poor diet), or when we are not able to absorb nutrition properly (think chronic illness, food allergies, leaky gut, or inhibiting foods that contain phytic acid). Either way the minerals and nutrition necessary to maintain strong healthy teeth and enamel are not there. In Emmet’s case, he had gotten lyme disease, developed a leaky gut, and was also eating foods that were inhibiting nutrient absorption.
Here’s what we did….Ok, the reality is that we did a lot of things. All of which I think impacted our success, but I’m going to start with the things that I belive are the most important. The basics, as I’ll call them here. I have seen these basics generally improve dental health and heal mild to moderate tooth decay. After the basics, I will share the “extras” that I would say are a necessity in serious acute cases.
Healing Tooth Decay Nutrition Basics:
-Bone stock, bone stock, bone stock. Bone stock is a straight shot (literally) of minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and trace minerals) and contains collagen which aids in mineralization. Bone stock is also essential for healing the mucosal lining of the gut. If you don’t already use bone stock for general health, you should. If you are a pescatarian, consider using fish stock.
-Removing Grains from the diet including quinoa. Grains are high in phytic acid (phytic acid) binds to minerals making them not available to us, learn more HERE) and are relatively inflammatory depending on preparation. They also raise the pH in your body and take the place of other more nourishing foods. When you move out of the critical acute phase of tooth decay, you can consider adding back grains that are prepared by soaking and sprouting.
-Consider removing legumes from the diet. If you're a vegetarian, and need legumes in your diet, be sure to properly prepare all legumes by sprouting and cooking well. This decreases the phytic acid and improves your absorption of minerals. Choose legumes with lower phytic acid.
-Soak and sprout all of your nuts and seeds. There are many great ways to use and prepare sprouted nuts. My favorite is to dry sprouted nuts on a low temperature. They're super crunchy, easy to digest, easy to absorb, and don't mess with your digestion! Be sure that nuts and seeds are not too large a part of your diet.
-Add vitamin D3, vitamin K2, and fermented cod liver oil to your diet everyday. We used Green Pasture fermented cod liver oil. It’s a well know brand in the healing teeth naturally community. Remember that vitamins D3 and K2 are fat soluble, so you don’t want to over do it. Consider giving the highest dose until you see the tooth decay start to decrease. Don’t forget your other fat soluble vitamins A and E!
-Eat pastured animal products including eggs, meat and yes dairy. We don’t eat dairy in our regular diet, but we added raw dairy to Emmet’s diet while we were healing his teeth. Because he doesn’t do great with dairy, I was sure to give him raw fermented or cultured dairy only. We also used Green Pasture butter oil to maximize the fats from the dairy and minimize dairy proteins like casein and whey.
Remove sugary foods (a little fruit is ok especially berries) and only consume small amounts (up to one TB a day) of raw honey or organic grade B maple syrup. Sugar feeds oral bacteria and is highly acidic, decalcifying teeth. Avoid vitamins with sugar. Xylitol vitamins are great for kids and great for the teeth.
-Boost your other nutrition. Be sure to add a quality whole food vitamin and mineral supplement and add lots of leafy greens! Add other healthy fats such as coconut, avocado and olive oil.
-Add a high quality probiotic or consider a probiotic for dental health. Probiotics help to heal the gut, balance pH and replace other bacteria that disrupt gut and oral health.
With these changes, you should see significant improvements in dental health for mild or moderate cases of tooth decay!
If you are in an acute situation like we were with Emmet, and like many others we know, consider adding the extras below. I’m not going to lie, this part was extra work, but we felt that it was 100% worth it to avoid dental surgery and to reverse the nutritional deficiency!
Healing Tooth Decay Extras:
-Use food grade bentonite clay. We mixed a small amount with water every night and packed the clay into the areas that the enamel had chipped away. Bentonite clay is loaded with minerals and helps restore a more alkaline pH in the mouth. We did this for about a month. Bentonite clay is great to have around the house for many other things as well!
-Make your own toothpaste! We used coconut oil (antimicrobial), bentonite clay, xylitol and food grade orange essential oil. We used several times a day and rinsed well with water after eating if we didn’t brush.
-Consider Oil Pulling for adults. Unfortunately this just doesn't work for kids, but can really help adults treat tooth decay. Oil pulling helps remove bacteria from the mouth and support healthier teeth and gums. Learn more HERE.
-Remove all sweeteners, fruit, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds from the diet. This is short term, but necessary to shift your inner ecosystem, heal the gut, and maximize your absorption quickly. This is the plan above on turbo. I recommend doing this for a short period of time (1-3 months) while you try to reverse the decay process, decrease overall inflammation, increase absorption, and shift into healing.
-Swish or drink small amounts of xylitol water. This can be very helpful for young children to keep their mouth bacteria free.
-If you are nursing a child with tooth decay, consider eliminating or decreasing night nursing. I am a firm believer that breastfeeding does not cause tooth decay. However, breastmilk or any other sugar containing food or drink can cause further decay when dental health is compromised and bacteria is present. I decreased night nursing to one feeding and gave Emmet water during the day after nursing.
That’s everything that we did and we are now decay free! Emmet’s enamel filled in and is now rock hard. This really is possible and even though it may seem like a lot, I promise you will get into a groove with this and see improvement over time. Real healing takes time, patience and love!
To dental health and overall wellness!
Check out my blog for day to day useful self and and family nourishment and wellness guidance.