A few months ago I started on a quest to take better care of my teeth. After chipping off parts of a molar that had a huge chunk of amalgam in it, I started worrying how or if the tooth, or whatever’s left of it, would hold out for long without giving me problems.
Not having the funds nor even the time to go to a dentist, I resolved to learn about dental health on my own and find out what could be done about broken teeth — outside of the dental clinic.
That was when I found out about naturopathic therapies like oil pulling and teeth remineralization. “Remineralization,” you ask? That’s right. Few people have heard of it, nor do many dentists acknowledge it; and those who do wouldn’t be the least inclined to discuss it with you. But if everyone knew just that they could treat, stop, reverse, and even prevent cavities from occurring, how many patients would even visit dental clinics, right?
The fact is that teeth are living organs that are dynamic. They are constantly in a state of either growth or decay — thriving and replenishing their cells, or else regressing and degenerating. Its various parts – the enamel, the dentin, the pulp, cememtum, roots and all the many nerves and tubules — thrive and depend on the nourishment we get from the foods we eat. Like bones, skin, nails and hair, the state of our teeth is a good indication of whether we’re getting enough nourishment in our bodies or not.
Cavities are essentially a process of demineralization. They develop when acids in our saliva, produced by ever-present bacteria in our mouths as well as the sugars we eat, proliferate and surpass the alkalinity of our saliva. The enamel of our teeth, being porous, allows the acidic fluids to pass through. The acids eat away at our tooth enamel until the pores become bigger and progress into what is known as cavities. It is actually a natural process in our body where old cells die and are replaced by new ones, just as dead skin cells are replenished all the time, too. But when there aren’t enough minerals in our blood to nourish our teeth, the cells in the dentin and enamel cannot regenerate or “remineralize,” causing the decay to progress, unchecked.
But the good news is we can stop and even reverse this demineralization process, if we change or eliminate the conditions in our bodies that are causing it. In the research that I’ve done which leans towards natural healing, the factors I’ve found to be commonly associated with poor teeth are:
- Poor nutrition and spikes in blood sugar. To have strong teeth, we need to have nutrient-dense blood pumping through our vessels, feeding the cells with the necessary minerals that build our dentin and enamel. Calcium and phosphorous are critical. According to Dr. Melvin Page, DDS, and anthropologist Leon Abrams, c-authors of Cure Tooth Decay: Heal and Prevent Cavities with Nutrition, a disturbance in the ratio of calcium to phosphorus in the blood causes tooth decay and gum disease. They also discovered that when blood sugar levels grew too high or low, the minerals were withdrawn from the dentin and bone to compensate, resulting in tooth decay. Other minerals like iron, magnesium, strontium and silica are also important.
- Too much phytic acid found in foods like beans, grains, nuts and seeds which prevent our bodies from absorbing those same minerals. Phytates are anti-nutrients or “self-preservation systems” that protect the stored proteins, vitamins, minerals and fats in nuts, seeds, legumes and cereals. They may interfere in our bodies’ capacity to break down the essential minerals we ingest
- The absence of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K which help our bodies absorb those minerals
- Acidity of saliva. Dental doctor Judene Smith says when our mouth is neutral (pH 7) or slightly alkaline, our saliva will naturally remineralize our teeth. “When our saliva’s pH drops below 7, it is not able to remineralize our teeth and in fact, our teeth will be demineralized,” she says.
To remineralize teeth, we need to do just the opposite:
- Improve nutrition by eating foods rich in minerals mentioned above: bone marrow or broth; wild game or grass-fed meat and organs; wild -caught fish (including eggs, organs and heads), shellfish and seaweed; eggs from free-range chickens or wild fowl; and high-quality, organic green leafy vegetables. If you haven’t gone into the habit of drinking green smoothies, now is the time to do so. I know this to be effective because I’ve been drinking green smoothies for many months now and when I stopped for just a couple of weeks, I started feeling some sensation in my broken tooth. That, coupled with the unhealthy habit of keeping late nights, put my body into a lot of stress and deprivation. So my poor tooth was probably the first to suffer. (So I went back to my green regimen faster than I could say “toothache.”)
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- Help your endocrine and pituitary glands stay in balance by avoiding foods that cause blood sugar swings. Cut down on starches, white flour, refined sugar, honey and high fructose corn syrup. Even sweet fruits and fruit juices are high in (natural) fructose — limit those to just 1 serving per day. Avoid sodas, caffeine, processed, denatured and packaged foods that are bereft of nutrients and cause mineral deficiency. Reduce citruses and foods high in phytic acids. (You can reduce the phytates in seeds, beans and grains by soaking them overnight before cooking. Sprouting them is even better. It produces enzymes which break their proteins into simple amino acids easier for our bodies to digest.)
- Eat raw foods with live enzymes like unpasteurized milk from grass-fed cows or goats, raw organic eggs, fresh organic veggies, sashimi and fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir and kimchi — these populate your gut with good bacteria (probiotics) that help you digest and absorb all the good stuff.
- Make sure you get enough of the 4 necessary vitamins that help with proper mineral absorption: A, D, E and K. It may be necessary to take supplements, too. While we can certainly get a great deal of nourishment from food, many vegetables are grown in nutrient-poor soil so the amount of vitamins and minerals found in them isn’t so great, either. In wintertime or in places where there is a lack of sunshine, Vitamin D supplementation should be considered. Taking cod liver to supplement Vitamin A is also a good idea.
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- Eat fats that are essential for storing those “fab-four” vitamins (A, D, E and K). Foods rich in good, healthy fats are those from plants like coconut and avocado, while those from animals — saturated fats like butter, lard, tallow, eggs and cheese — are not bad. Contrary to what we’ve all been told, saturated fat does not increase our risk of heart disease or stroke. Cholesterol is in fact vital for many important functions in our bodies, including the production of hormones.
- Raise your mouth pH. Dr. Judene Smith suggests putting chlorophyll drops in our water, drinking green smoothies and never leaving our mouth in an acidic state.
- Maintain good oral hygiene. Watch the chemical substances you put into your mouth when brushing your teeth. Most store-bought toothpastes contain fluoride which we all know is toxic, as are artificial sweeteners like saccharin and bubble-enhancers like sodium laureth sulphate. Commercial ones that use natural ingredients are either hard to come by or else quite expensive. So I suggest you make your own. There are lots of simple DIY recipes online, but one that I like uses diatomaceous earth, a food-grade substance that’s high in silica, which aids in depositing minerals, especially calcium, into our bones and ligaments – in this case, our teeth.
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- Try oil pulling, which minimizes the accumulation of toxins in the mouth.
A comprehensive program for remineralizing cavities, preventing tooth decay naturally and achieving nutritional balance is available in the book, “Cure Tooth Decay” by Ramiel Nagel.
You can also listen to some of his videos and interviews free on YouTube.
Have you tried remineralization, and if so do you have any tips? Share them in the comments section below: