How to Remineralize Teeth Naturally & Reverse Tooth Decay. Do you and your kids brush and floss regularly and limit sugar and still get cavities? Have any of your kids needed to have braces? Has your child under 6 had signs of tooth decay? Ever wish you could reverse those things?
If you are like me, you were raised with the notion (likely told by your dentist) that sugar and bad genes cause tooth decay and that if you were getting tooth decay as a child, you needed to cut back on sugar.
You likely also believe that genetics determine tooth spacing and that your genetics might have doomed you to braces… I believed all that stuff too… but as it turns out, there is more to the story!
What Really Causes Tooth Decay?
There is a lot of evidence showing that diet had a tremendous impact on oral health (even more so than brushing in some cases) and that there had even been cases of cavities reversing.
As I thought about this, it made sense…
Why would bones and other tissue be able to heal and regenerate, but not teeth?
How did other populations throughout the world have great oral health, no cavities and no need for braces when they didn’t even have access to modern dentistry?
As Dr. Weston A. Price (a dentist) found and detailed in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, there were cultures throughout the world who had perfect teeth despite no access to dentists or modern toothpaste, while similar cultures with different diets had very high rates of tooth decay.
The Differences in Oral Health.
He found examples of cultures with similar genetic backgrounds with some living in primitive type societies and eating primitive type diets and others who ate a modernized diet. He found that many primitive cultures were able to completely avoid tooth decay and the many oral health problems we struggle with today.
The image on the left shows a stark example of this: the woman in the top right ate a primitive, whole-food, high-fat diet while the other women ate a more modernized diet that contained grains and agricultural foods.
Price hypothesized that several dietary factors contributed to this difference in oral health.
Sir (Dr.) Edward Mellanby (he discovered Vitamin D) and his lovely wife Dr. May Mellanby were also influential in discovering the roles of nutrients in oral health. These two contributed much to research in the areas of bone and tooth health and mineral absorption.
In fact, it was Edward who discovered that Vitamin D deficiency caused rickets. They also discovered that tooth structure is determined during a child’s growth and that poorly formed teeth are more likely to decay (pretty logical).
The Doctors’ Conclusion: Diet Affects Oral Health
These doctors all reached the same conclusion after years of research, mainly that tooth structure and health is largely determined by diet, especially three main factors: The presence of enough minerals in the diet. The presence of enough fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) in the diet.
How bio-available these nutrients are and how well the body is absorbing them. They found that this is largely influenced by the presence of Phytic Acid in the diet and how much sugar is consumed.
What is Phytic Acid?
Phytic acid is a molecule of phosphorus tightly bound with other molecules to form a type of phosphorus that is not easily absorbed by humans. From the Weston A. Price Foundation:
Phytic acid is the principal storage form of phosphorus in many plant tissues, especially the bran portion of grains and other seeds. It contains the mineral phosphorus tightly bound in a snowflake-like molecule. Were in humans and animals with one stomach, the phosphorus is not readily bioavailable. In addition to blocking phosphorus availability, the “arms” of the phytic acid molecule readily bind with other minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, making them unavailable as well. In this form, the compound is referred to as phytate.
the “arms” of the phytic acid molecule readily bind with other minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, making them unavailable as well in this form, the compound is referred to as phytate.
Phytic acid is found in grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes and in much smaller amounts in some fruits and vegetables. The body naturally converts phytic acid into phytates, which are un-absorbable and take calcium from the body. Those who consume high amounts of phytic acid will lose calcium and absorb other minerals at lower rates.
Modern growing practices, including the use of high phosphorus fertilizer, mean a higher phytic acid content in many foods. Seeds, nuts, bran, oatmeal, and soybeans are especially high in phytic acid, and these foods are present in abundance in the modern diet.
Phytic Acid’s Effect on Bone and Tooth Health
People who consume large amounts of phytic acid (most Americans) in the form of grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes have higher rates of tooth decay, mineral deficiencies, and osteoporosis.
Over the long term, when the diet lacks minerals or contains high levels of phytates or both, the metabolism goes down, and the body goes into the mineral-starvation mode. The body then sets itself up to use as little of these minerals as possible. Adults may get by for decades on a high-phytate diet, but growing children run into severe problems.
In a phytate-rich diet. Their bodies will suffer from a lack of calcium and phosphorus with poor bone growth, short stature, rickets, narrow jaws, and tooth decay. And for the lack of zinc and iron with anemia and mental retardation.
Just as a lack of Vitamin D and poor calcium absorption can cause the malformation of the bones of the legs as in the case of Rickets. It can cause the jawbone to form poorly, resulting in spacing problems for the teeth and braces for the child.
Sadly, the most commonly eaten diet in America. These days are high in grains, sugars, vegetable oils, low in animal fats and fat-soluble vitamins. The exact opposite of what the Drs. Mellanby found to be helpful for optimal bone health and the prevention of tooth decay.
The good news is that teeth (and bones) are able to heal themselves in a process called remineralization. Basically, specialized cells in the center of the tooth are able to regenerate dentin the layers of the tooth. just under the enamel and the enamel can then properly remineralize from the outside. This same process happens in bones when phytic acid is removed from the diet and minerals/fat soluble vitamins are added.
To prove this theory, the Drs. Mellanby did a study on children with existing cavities and reported their findings in the British Medical Journal.
The children were put into three groups:
Group One: Regular diet plus oatmeal (which is high in phytic acid) and Group Two: Regular diet plus vitamin D. And Group Three: Diet low in phytic acid plus vitamin D.
Regular diet plus oatmeal (which is high in phytic acid) and Group Two: Regular diet plus vitamin D. And Group Three: Diet low in phytic acid plus vitamin D.
This is what they found:
The group consuming phytic acid with no supplemental vitamin D continued to get cavities with little to no healing. And the group that just supplemented Vitamin D showed some healing, but also got some new cavities. The group consuming no phytic acid and supplementing Vitamin D showed very few new cavities. And actually had many existing cavities heal!
When I brought this information up in health circles, it would usually spark a lot of debate. And some strong comments from dentists or dental health professionals.
The Enamel of Teeth Could Regenerate
Most would admit, after a time, that the enamel of teeth could regenerate but that once. A cavity was through the dentin (the layer under the enamel). It was impossible for it to heal without dental intervention.
In my own life and in further reading, I’ve found that this isn’t the case either. As this article elaborates:
Fortunately, a decaying or broken tooth has the ability to heal itself. The pulp contains cells called odontoblasts, which form new dentin if the diet is good. Here’s what Dr. Edward Mellanby had to say about his wife’s research on the subject. This is taken from Nutrition and Disease:
It has been known that when the enamel and dentine are injured by attrition or caries. Teeth do not remain passive but respond to the injury by producing a reaction of the odontoblasts in the dental pulp in an area. Generally corresponding to the damaged tissue and resulting in a laying down of what is known as secondary dentine.
In 1922 M. Mellanby proceeded to investigate this phenomenon under varying nutritional conditions and found that she could control. The secondary dentine laid down in the teeth of animals as a reaction to attrition both in quality and quantity. Independently of the original structure of the tooth.
The Diet of High Calcifying Qualities
Thus, when a diet of high calcifying qualities, ie. One rich in vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus were given to the dogs. During the period of attrition, the new secondary dentine laid down was abundant. And well-formed whether the original structure of the teeth was good or bad.
ie. One rich in vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus were given to the dogs. During the period of attrition, the new secondary dentine laid down was abundant. And well-formed whether the original structure of the teeth was good or bad.
On the other hand, a diet rich in cereals and poor in vitamin D resulted in the production of secondary dentine. Either small in amount or poorly calcified and this happened even if the primary dentine was well formed.
To be fair, most dentists probably don’t see many patients who are eating a specific diet. To improve their oral health and most of the studies and research. They read is probably done on people eating a somewhat average diet high in phytic acid and low in Vitamin D.
So it is very logical that they wouldn’t think that teeth could heal. It certainly isn’t common, but with very specific supplements and a very careful nutritional program, it is certainly possible! 🙂 🙂