If we reach adulthood with any good habits ingrained from our childhood, brushing our teeth daily is certainly one of them. From a young age, we learn the horrors of being stuck in the dentist's chair, no matter how nice he is (sorry, Dr. Perchersky!) or what yummy flavor of toothpaste they offer us. Cavities, we also learn, can be avoided by our dietary choices and regular brushing. But once they're there, we can only drill and fill them in agonizing procedures nightmares are made of. Or are there other options? Can remineralizing your teeth reverse cavities?
Tooth expert and author, Ramiel Nagel (Cure Tooth Decay) believes we can heal our teeth, despite what we've been told by our dentists. Nagels suggests that mineral loss, not bacteria, is the real cause of tooth decay. From his website: "diet, trace elements, and hormonal balance that are key factors in triggering enzymes and tooth mineral chelation which results in tooth decay."
Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist who traveled the world studying diets and health issues, repeatedly found the same thing in his travels: native cultures typically had healthy teeth. Once they left their well balanced, unprocessed foods and began eating Western diets, that quickly changed. Price and others came to the conclusion that minerals, which are abundant in whole, unprocessed foods were a key factor in healthy teeth. So was the presence of vitamins including A, D, E and K. And the distinction—a food where the nutrients were naturally occurring versus fortified processed foods—is a big one.
Most Americans are mineral deficient, even despite our bulging waistlines. Remineralizing your teeth, means you're also remineralizing your body, which looks to be a good choice for most of us.
How does one remineralize?
You can start by making sure your diet is rich in highly nutritious whole foods including fresh fruits and vegetables. Cut down or remove meat, eggs and dairy products and all processed foods, especially those high in sugars and fats. Soak your beans and nuts before using (they can contain phytic acid, which can block some mineral absorption). Take mineral supplements.
Consider ditching the store-bought toothpastes and make a mineral-rich paste from scratch.
This is a simple and easy mineral-rich toothpaste recipe, modified from Keeperofthhome.org
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons calcium/magnesium powder
1 tablespoon green stevia powder
2 teaspoons mineral salt
½ teaspoon vitamin C powder (citric acid)
10 drops liquid trace minerals
20-30 drops of essential oils (mix them or use one): clove bud, cinnamon, peppermint, tea tree oil
This works best when coconut oil is soft enough at room temperature that it begins to melt when you touch it. If it's really hard, you can gently melt it in a saucepan over low heat. Avoid turning it all to liquid though.
Then, add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Store in a glass or ceramic container and use as you would normal toothpaste. It will be gritty and greasy, but you'll get used to it.
Important note: while some people have experienced cavity healing with bringing minerals back into their diet, it is not recommended to avoid going to the dentist, particularly if you're experiencing severe tooth pain. Tooth infections can cause serious health problems, including death.
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger
Image: Conor Lawless