Healthy Teeth From the Inside Out

Healthy Teeth from the inside out supporting oral health with nutrition and supplements Healthy Teeth From the Inside Out

One of the things I was most excited about in my switch to real foods and healthier living was the big difference it made in my oral health. My tooth sensitivity went away, my teeth whitened naturally, cavities started healing and my gums didn’t bleed anymore.

Have you ever?

  • Gotten cavities despite being an avid brusher/flosser?
  • Struggled with yellowing teeth?
  • Had bleeding gums or been told that you have the beginning of gum disease?
  • Had to have root canals?

Consider This:
aborright 205x300 Healthy Teeth From the Inside Out 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.

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 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 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).

From a previous post:

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:

  1. The presence of enough minerals in the diet.
  2. The presence of enough fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) in the diet.
  3. 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.

What Influences Oral Health?

To prove this theory, the Drs. Mellanby did a study on children with existing cavities. The children were put into three groups:

  • Group One: Regular diet plus oatmeal (which is high in phytic acid)
  • Group Two: Regular diet plus vitamin D
  • Group Three: Diet low in phytic acid plus vitamin D.

This is what they found:

phytic acid causes cavities Healthy Teeth From the Inside Out

The group consuming phytic acid with no supplemental vitamin D continued to get cavities with little to no healing. 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! (Good reason to cut back on the grains ,eat good fats, and optimize Vitamin D!)

Why Oral Health Is so Important:

Oral health is intricately linked to the health of the whole body and the rampant rates of tooth decay and oral health problems is a sign of some deeper nutritional problems in modern society. Why? From a previous post:

The reason the negative impact of gum disease goes beyond the mouth is gum disease is an active bacterial infection that has access to the whole body via the bloodstream!  The ‘bad bugs’ involved with gum disease are very mobile.  They can and do swim upstream and colonize other areas of the body.  In face, the plaque deposits from bad bugs in the mouth are the same types of plaque found in arterial walls in heart disease sufferers!  Given the understanding that these ‘bad bugs’ in the mouth swim through the bloodstream, it makes complete sense.

Here is the official word on the increased risk of the main killers in our society if a person has active gum disease.  My guess is the real numbers are probably much higher than the official word…

Screen shot 2011 12 19 at 11.10.49 AM Healthy Teeth From the Inside Out

So these bad bugs colonize the mouth as their base, they are then able to access the rest of the body via the bloodstream.  We view this situation most folks have with active gum disease similarly to having an enemy inside your gates slowly but surely eroding one’s health by poisoning the system.

The known risks of this common situation are two fold.  First, these ‘bad bugs’ destroy flesh and bone tissue.  They have even been caught under a microscope ganging up and killing white blood cells!  They also dump toxins into the system.  So, the first risk factor is the actual damage the bad bugs do to the body.

I highly recommend reading these articles: How Oral Health Affects the Health of the Body (Part 2)

Supporting Teeth with Nutrition:

Like the rest of the body, oral health should be supported from the inside with quality nutrition and from the outside with quality oral health products. To recap, the diet that Drs. Mellanby and Dr. Price recommended and that is recommended in the book Cure Tooth Decay includes:

Diet to Help Heal Cavities and Improve Oral Health

  1. Drastically cut foods that contained phytic acid. (see list below) Removing grains and beans will remove most of the major sources.
  2. Limit foods containing even natural sugars or starches- For the short term, it can be helpful to limit foods with natural sugars and focus on mineral rich vegetables, bone broths, meats, and healthy fats.
  3. Eat a LOT of healthy fats. I added about 1/4 cup extra of coconut oil to my diet each day, and used only pastured, cultured butter. I also took Fermented Cod Liver Oil daily.
  4. I made an effort to consume a lot of homemade bone broth for its added minerals.

To recap: No grains, beans or nuts and limited fruits and starches. Lots of vegetables, protein, healthy fats and bone broth.

Foods highest in Phytic Acid:

Phytic Acid in common foods Healthy Teeth From the Inside Out

Supplements to  Improve Oral Health

To help the body improve oral health, it is sometimes necessary to increase mineral levels with supplements. While diet alone might be enough, many foods are depleted of nutrients from being grown in nutrient depleted soil, so supplements help fill the gaps. These are the supplements I typically recommend for improved oral health and dental healing:

  • Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Butter Blend- Green Pastures makes this as a Butter Oil/Fermented Cod Liver Oil blend  I prefer the combination in capsules or there is a liquid version (tastes terrible).   This is one of the main supplements recommended by Dr. Price from his research.
  • Vitamin D- This was the other main supplement that Dr. Price and the Drs. Mellanby found was extremely supportive of dental healing. In the study they did, cavities healed even when diet wasn’t changed if Vitamin D was optimized and the best healing occurred when diet was optimized and Vitamin D was added. This can also be obtained by daily, regular sun exposure and is contained in Fermented Cod Liver Oil.
  • Coconut Oil- An additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup a day of coconut oil in a smoothie or melted in tea each day will help boost nutrient levels and provide the building blocks for good oral health. We get ours from Tropical Traditions, but you can find it many places…. just look for organic, virgin and unrefined coconut oil.
  • Others: I also take Magnesium, Gelatin, and Vitamin C daily, though these aren’t as vital to tooth healing.

External Factors:

  • I brush with homemade remineralizing toothpaste (or tooth powder) daily and while I was actively trying to heal teeth, I swished with both calcium and magnesium powders dissolved in water daily to help provide minerals and to keep the mouth alkaline.
  • I also added Ora Wellness Brushing Blend to my regimen and use their (gentler) toothbrush daily.
  • I swished daily with Hydrogen Peroxide to keep mouth bacteria at bay (which had the added effect of whitening teeth).
  • I brushed with activated charcoal every couple of days to help pull toxins from the mouth and it has the added bonus of being a highly effective tooth whitener!

How is your oral health? Does it need improvement? Do you already do any of these things? Share below!

Reader Comments

  1. Pegobrien61 says

    On a related note, I just noticed that the company that makes your microfiber cloths also has a silver impregnated toothbrush. I’m intrigued, it seems like this may be a very good thing. Have you had any experience with the Norwex toothbrushes? Did you try them before deciding on going with the Bass?

  2. says

    This is something I’ve thought a lot about these last few years, as my daughter seems to get a lot of cavities – even though she chooses water over juice or soda any day, eats plenty of fruit and vegs,  and doesn’t even like candy that much. But she used to crave salt, so instead of asking for candy, she’d instead ask for “salt in a dish”. Yup, pure salt for her to munch on, and she was happy. I bought green celtic and pink himalayan for her, so that she’d get plenty of good minerals, but something is obviously up!

    I’m going to try the homemade toothpaste now, I hate the fluor that her dentist keep insisting on..!

    • says

      My mom did the same thing as a girl with salt.  She later found out it was caused by a vitamin B deficiency.  Even if your daughter is supplementing her B Vitamins she may still not be absorbing them.

      • Melinda says

        If supplementing with Vitamin B doesn’t work, there are under the tongue tablets you can get and also, B12 shots. I am not deficient, but definitely low in B12 and have been craving salt all the time–usually, I very rarely use salt on anything!

    • says

      I’ve been trying to research this lately. On the one hand, the tooth may have been damaged by the filling and not be able to heal,but I’ve also heard from people who thought they were able to… trying to find out some more definite answers though.

  3. Kelliwill4 says

    I was talking with my dentist the other day and I asked her if she thought teeth could heal themselves.  She said that she thought they could, but in her experience she has seen the tooth heal itself around the cavity.   What are your thoughts on that?  
    She was also impressed with how white my teeth are and asked what I was using, so thank you!  I referred her to your blog :)

    • says

      I’ve seen teeth completely heal even from deep cavities and they do seem to heal from the outside and bottom and eventually heal the inside too, but they can eventually heal…. I think most people just aren’t willing to be consistent and regimented enough to do it…

  4. Jrusk007 says

    Would you be able to post a list of what you DO eat?!?! I am a nursing mama and hungry all the time! I eat lots of veggies, fruits, nuts, grains, and dairy. We are on a tight budget and have meat occasionally, we only get grassfed/no hormones/antibiotics etc. According to your diet of veggies and broth how do you stay full?? 

    • Wayani says

      Yeah. I’m sad that this was never commented on. I am like, perpetually breast feeding and it’s really hard to cut out all of those calories, especially when you’re poor as hell.

      I know that people mean well when they post stuff like this, but I don’t get how people who can barely afford to put food on the table are supposed to be able to afford raw, fermented Cod Liver Oil supplements or stuff like that. I really don’t!

    • annie says

      thats my concern as well. i really, really want to improve my oral health but what am i to eat if i cant have lentils, grain, wheat, or oats???

      • Melinda says

        I love wellness mama, this blog has helped me with tons of issues lately! But I did find one piece of advice on another blog about sprouting or soaking beans nut or grains to cut down the phytic acid. Even those should be had in moderation, but at least they won’t hurt your teeth as much anymore! I’m pregnant with number 2 now and definitely looking into this since I know how hungry I will be when I start nursing again!!! Hope this helps even though it is pretty late! Check out blue mountain organics if you want to buy them sprouted, etc. or look online for how to do it yourself :) God bless!

  5. Shannon says

    I’d really like to hear your thoughts on oil pulling for oral health. Have you ever tried it? Any particular oil you would recommend?

    • annie says

      my brother tried it with organic virgin coconut oil. oh god….he had bleeding gums and he had the WORST breath ever. it was impossible to be around him. he kept hoping it would stop and the benefits would eventually show, but nothing happened. except that we suffered.

  6. Larissa says

    This is really interesting. I’m vegan and eat a ton of lentils, nuts and beans and my husband and I both have never had a cavity! Although my teeth are yellow and I would be interested in seeing if cutting down on some of those would naturally whiten? Any suggestions on how to get minerals without animal products?

  7. says

    Hi! Thanks for your helpful blog! I’ve had a terrible tooth ache for two days and think that I may need another filling. I’m 17 weeks pregnant with baby #4 and have had 3 miscarriages and I seem to get more cavities with every pregnancy. My baby must be pulling all the nutrients he needs from my teeth! I’ve decided to follow all you’ve recommended for tooth healing and buy the curing tooth decay book instead of going to the dentist for yet another filling. My question is what can I snack on, I am so hungry all the time! I used to snack on fruit and nuts. What can I snack on now? I’m getting sick of hard boiled eggs. Thank you, I love reading your blog, it’s so helpful and encouraging.
    Blessings from Australia, Peta

  8. annie says

    you say that you’ve remineralozed your teeth….why no before and after pics? especially given that alot of people are a bit skeptical of this claim.

    • says

      They would have to be x-rays to show definitively and while the dentist said the cavities are gone, I’m not willing to do any more x-rays as I have a thyroid condition and any radiation near the thyroid can be really problematic

  9. Lisa says

    I am really intrigued after reading this particular article. I have bad teeth due to poor eating in my childhood, teens and early adulthood. After many tooth infections, cavities and root canals etc. I always felt there has to be another way. I started swishing with hydrogen peroxide during my second pregnancy due to severe tooth aches caused by infections and this has always cleared them up when I was told only antibiotics would. My father had the same experience with peroxide and has not had a tooth infection for many years as he suffered terribly before. I will try all of your recommendations (have started the tooth powder already) and will let you know how it goes in the few few month Thank you

  10. sonya says

    There’s plenty of good evidence that says D supports gum health as well as MANY other benefits but keep in mind just because you are taking a D supplement doesn’t mean you are absorbing it. Gotta take it with food and must have oil for it to be absorbed.

    I question the benefit of removing nuts and beans from the diet. My husband and I eat nuts, beans and grains every day. We are both 55 years old. I have a total of 2 and my husband has had 4 cavities. All of those cavities happened by the time we were 25. I think what worked was very little refined sugar and always rise the mouth with water after eating. I brush once a day and we go to the dentist every 3 to 5 years.

    • Erik says

      Sounds interesting. I noticed after my increased frequency of visits to my dentist and them telling me to use Pronamel toothpaste my rate of cavities increased, and my teeth have become more sensitive… the past 8 months or so I haven’t been using toothpaste and have rinsed regularly with water and avoided things like soda, and my gums are much less sensitive than before and my teeth are no longer sensitive to cold or painful to bite down.

      I’m looking into going pseudo-paleo (I don’t think I can cut out bagels and pasta completely, hehe)… I was really worried when I saw that oats, nuts and beans should be avoided – those are some of the only foods I’ve found that substitute well for grains when it comes to snacks that keep me feeling full.

      Human health is a headache… a million different sources all telling us something different. Some say nuts and beans are amazing to include in the diet for their health benefits, and them I stumble across this showing it’s bad for oral health. I get the feeling human beings are just designed to be vulnerable no matter what so that no matter how intelligent we get, we’ll never be invincible. Ah well, I’ll try cutting out white flour & refined sugars 100%, reducing my sugars overall and cutting back on nuts and see how things go from here. I’m definitely not regretting stopping with the toothpaste though, it seemed to make things worse and I just felt awful constantly spitting this stuff down the drain that contains chemicals that ordinarily can’t be dumped in large quantities.

    • Grace says

      Hi Sonya,

      I’d love to know what else you and your husband include in your diet to maintain being almost cavity free. I have just been told I need 7 fillings and I am only 23 and thought I was eating a healthy diet!! However I did get a blood test and find out I had low vitamin D so it could be as simple as that..

      Grace

  11. steve says

    I highly recommend that people try brushing their teeth with soap. I use olive oil bar soap made by “Kiss My Face” – then afterwards I brush with regular fluoride toothpaste. But, I think brushing my teeth with soap has done wonders for them, including my gums.

  12. Sarah says

    We’ve also had to add lentils in place of meat due to finances. Do you know if soaking will help break down the phytic acid in lentils?

      • Ed Benz says

        Straight as in straight out of the already diluted bottle.. of course swishing 100% hydrogen peroxide in your mouth would probably terribly maim you..

        just wanted to clarify so nobody is confused. the Hydrogen Peroxide you buy in stores is usually only 1 or 2% of actual hydrogen peroxide so it is already heavily diluted

      • Karen says

        Hi, we used Hydrogen Peroxide on and off for years. Then one day my husband was having a toothache and he started the Hydrogen Peroxide ritual. 3 days later the tooth feel off. Our dentist said that Hydrogen Peroxide doesn’t only kill the bacteria but also kill your body’s ability to repair. He also told my husband that using the Hydrogen Peroxide was the reason for the tooth lost. Your thought?

        Thanks

  13. Dana says

    I’ve been wanting to try Hydrogen Peroxide after hearing about how bad regular toothpaste and mouthwash is for your teeth, and have read other articles saying its safe (as long as its diluted with water) but I have also seen articles saying it isn’t and can actually damage dental pulp cells….such as in this article:
    http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/hydrogen-peroxide-mouthwash-harmful-teeth

    I guess I’d better do a bit more research on it just to be safe, but I’m very glad to be changing my hygiene to be more natural and healthier and hope that means less visits to the dentist. I’ve been cutting back on grains and beans (easy because I’m paleo) and just bought the Green pastures Cod Liver Oil. I got the gel stuff, cinnamon, and it’s not bad at all! I was preparing for the worst.

  14. Jennifer says

    Katie,
    My son is 8 and has a cavity. We have been following the strict protocol in Cure Tooth Decay for one month and he is really getting tired of the bone broth and is anxious to eat sugar-containing foods again like his friends and siblings. How long do you think we should continue before having a dentist check for remineralization? The cavity is between his teeth so she can only tell with x-ray. Thank you!

      • Colin says

        If one is craving sweets it is a sign of a need for Calcium. Plant based raw is best. Try fine grated carrots and raw greens pulped or blended, this way it will help give a balance of calcium magnesium and other trace minerals.
        I had a tooth which was severely decayed and aching, through a heavy diet of appropriate proteins I actually had visual regrowth of the enamel surface on the teeth. However this is not something to be guessed at as my treatment caused me to have kidney pain from the proteins and can be dangerous for any not knowing how to do this. Nutritional balance is different for each and every individual because we are. taking notice of the myriad of subtle symptoms the body gives and learning how they are associated with deficiencies is the key to healing. keeping alkaline is a large step, also not easy to achieve.

  15. Jacob b says

    I put some leeches in my mouth in the morning and they clean off the sugars all day, then I just chew them up and eat them before bed, great source if vitamin D! :)
    As far as saving money, eggs is what we do a lot of because they are relatively cheap.

  16. Lyndsey says

    I am trying to heal my teeth and keep following your blog. Have you found out if cavities are able to heal themselves when there was already a filling? i currently need a crown and a few fillings and trying to get on the right track. I take Fermented cod liver oil (two capsules) and Butter oil ( 2 capsules) Daily. Plus a multi vitamin and homemade toothpaste. I also oil pull daily. Any advice?

  17. Morpheus says

    I haven’t cut out grains from my diet and I drink 90 grams of finely milled oats with mineral water on a daily basis to aid with my bodybuilding workouts.

    I have superficial holes in enamel and had a sealent done some time ago. My Dentist did an impression of my teeth so he could monitor wear and tear on each visit. It looks like a clay material and shows all teeth surfaces, holes, wear and tear, shape etc.

    For the last few years I have been researching diet and health and came across the Dental health book and I decided to try the Green Pastures fermented Cod Liver oil and High vitamin butter oil mix.

    Very soon I started to notice the inflammation near my wisedom teeth vanish, the inflammation on my upper gum that the hygienist used to pay particular attention to vanished. The sensitivity I would get every now and then vanished and my gums and teeth felt stronger.

    Due to this I decided to take a look at my Dental impression and compare my teeth, that was when I noticed that every single superficial hole had become less severe / less deep and one hole in the enamel had completely healed.

    I looked again to make sure I had not confused the model layout or anything but it had gone.

    The other holes you could clearly see on the model were no longer as noticeable. I have also started to use this jawcerciser that is made out of natural resin (from the rubber tree). http://www.rawfamily.com/news/2012/04/12-04-03.html

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