I’m always been somewhat fascinated by oral health and even remember asking my orthodontist why my teeth were crooked to begin with when getting braces. Of course, his answer: simply genetic. Just like my dentist told me that teeth couldn’t heal and that sugar was causing cavities.
As I researched my way into a real food diet, a lot of things started making a lot more sense, but the idea that dental health was sheerly genetic and the presence of sugar on the outside of the teeth causing cavities didn’t make sense at all. Then, I read Cure Tooth Decay by Rami Nagel (much cheaper on Kindle if you have it) and Dr. Price’s Nutrition and Physical Degeneration and things feel in to place.
Like the rest of our body, our teeth and oral health systems are a living, changing environment that is, but just treating from the outside alone (brushing and flossing), won’t fix oral problems unless you address the inside too, though these are still very important.
How to Boost Oral Health
Optimal oral health comes with supporting the body and mouth from the inside and outside at the same time. Once I realized this logically, I was still shocked to see the changes start taking place in my own mouth! My teeth got whiter, my gum puffiness went away, and my dentist even commented that cavities were getting better and my plaque was gone!
There were several things that were vital for me to boost oral health for myself and my family members:
- Change in Diet
- Adding Supplements
- Balancing hormones
- Change in oral health products
1. Change in Diet
What you eat can impact oral health as much (or more) than brushing or flossing.
Teeth are in constant state of remineralization as the saliva in the mouth provides minerals to the teeth and the cells in the teeth use these minerals to strengthen themselves.
I first started researching this after reading Cure Tooth Decay by Rami Nagel and Dr. Price’s Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Both books delve into the work of Dr. Weston A Price, a dentist who studied the oral health of people in cultures around the world.
He found that certain tribes that never brushed or flossed had virtually no cavities or tooth decay, and everyone had perfectly straight teeth and wide jaw lines. His research showed that several factors contributed to this incredible oral health in certain populations, mainly:
- The presence of enough fat soluble vitamins in the diet
- Low levels of phytic acid in the diet
- Enough minerals in the diet
I talked about this in depth in this post about how I reversed my own cavities and this one about how to have healthy teeth from the inside out.
I followed the advice in Cure Tooth Decay and made some changes to my diet, mainly:
Diet to Help Heal Cavities and Improve Oral Health
- I drastically cut foods that contained high amounts of phytic acid (grains, beans, etc). I already wasn’t eating grains or beans, but I also cut or limited nuts.
- Limited foods containing even natural sugars or starches– I limited fruit and even starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and focused on mineral rich vegetables, bone broths, meats and healthy fats.
- Ate a LOT of healthy fats. I added extra of coconut oil to my diet each day, and used only pastured, cultured butter.
- 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, LOTS of healthy fats and bone broth.
2. Adding Supplements:
Supplements to Help Heal Cavities and Improve Oral Health
To help the body remineralize cavities, 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– This is one of the main supplements recommended by Dr. Price from his research and recommended in Cure Tooth Decay. Only the fermented Cod Liver Oil has the optimal combination of nutrients and is high i Vitamins A, D and K.
- 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. l I also spend time in the sun *gasp* at noon, everyday! When taking the Fermented Cod Liver Oil and spending time in the sun, extra Vitamin D is usually not needed.
- Coconut Oil– I take an additional 1/4-1/2 cup a day of coconut oil in a smoothie or melted in tea each day. We get ours from Tropical Traditions, but you can find it many places…. just look for organic, virgin and unrefined coconut oil. My favorite right now is to blend it into coffee to emulsify it with a dash of vanilla.
- Others: I also take Magnesium, Gelatin, and Vitamin C daily, though these aren’t as vital to tooth healing.
3. Balancing Hormones
Hormones can have a dramatic effect on oral health as they can control the acid/alkaline balance in the mouth and how well the body can heal or fight disease. Many of us have symptoms of hormone imbalance and things like optimizing sleep, stress, diet, and fitness can make a big difference in hormone health and oral health.
4. Change In Oral Health Products
Many conventional toothpastes and mouth products contain chemicals and artificial ingredients that can do more harm than good! Ever read the label on a regular tube of toothpaste? There is a list of cautions and warnings as even a small mouthful of toothpaste can kill a small child… not something I want sitting on my counter with teething toddlers running around!
The good news is that switching to natural toothpaste and other oral health products is often easier than switching diet, exercise or (*ahem*) getting enough sleep.
I’ve been making my own remineralizing toothpaste for years, and been using it in conjunction with OraWellness Products. In that time, I have had no new cavities, and several areas that the dentist was waiting to fill at my next appointment weren’t there when I went back! It also used to take them a long time to scrape down my teeth at each appointment, and now it literally takes a couple of minutes at most.
What is your biggest oral health challenge and what steps are you taking to overcome it? Share below!