How to Remineralize Teeth Naturally & Reverse Tooth Decay

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How to reverse tooth decay and remineralize cavities
Wellness Mama » Blog » Health » How to Remineralize Teeth Naturally & Reverse Tooth Decay

If you are like me, you grew up with the idea that sugar and bad genes cause tooth decay. Cavities and tooth decay meant a person needed to brush better and eat less sugar. And it certainly wasn’t possible to remineralize teeth.

I believed all that stuff too… but as it turns out, there is more to the story!

This post shares my personal account of my research into oral health and my own results. It is not medical or dental advice in any way. I’m not a dentist or doctor and don’t play one on the internet. I recommend finding a great biological dentist to work with on your own oral health.

What Really Causes Tooth Decay?

Turns out, a lot of historical evidence and recent research points to the idea that diet has a big impact on oral health. In fact, diet might matter as much or more than brushing! As I started researching oral health, I found examples of groups of people with no tooth decay. I also found examples of people claiming their teeth had remineralized.

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?

Research of Dr. Weston A. Price

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 spacing and no evidence of cavities. This was despite no access to dentists or modern toothpaste, while similar cultures with different diets had very high rates of tooth decay.

Price showed examples of cultures with similar genetic backgrounds. Some living in primitive type societies and eating primitive type diets and others eating a more modernized diet. He concluded that many primitive cultures were able to completely avoid tooth decay and the many oral health problems we struggle with today. This was true even in cultures where they didn’t brush their teeth.

weston a priceThe 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.

Research of the Doctors Mellanby

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).

The Doctors’ Conclusion: Diet Affects Oral Health

These doctors all reached the same conclusion after years of research. Specifically that tooth structure and decay 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 and how much sugar is consumed.

Phytic Acid Effect on Oral Health

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.

More simply, it is a compound present in grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. It is also present in much smaller amounts in some fruits and vegetables. The body naturally converts phytic acid into phytates. Some research shows that these take calcium from the body. Those who consume high amounts of phytic acid can 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 modern diet.

Check out this article about phytic acid for a comprehensive list of phytic acid content in foods.

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.

Just as lack of Vitamin D and poor calcium absorption can cause 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 is high in grains, sugars, and vegetable oils, and 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.

Vitamin D and Phytic Acid

These doctors showed in their research that teeth are able to heal themselves in a process called remineralization. They explained that specialized cells in the center of the tooth are able to regenerate dentin, the layer of tooth just under the enamel. 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:

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

This is what they found:

grains cause cavities and bone loss

The group consuming phytic acid with no supplemental vitamin D continued to get cavities with little to no healing.

Participants 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!

This article at Whole Health Source explains more.

Can Teeth Regenerate?

Dentists know that the enamel of teeth can regenerate. Common belief is that once a cavity is through the dentin (the layer under the enamel), it is impossible for it to heal without dental intervention.
How to reverse tooth decay and cavities naturally

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. 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:

Since the days of John Hunter 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. Thus, when a diet of high calcifying qualities, ie., one rich in vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus was 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.

How to Remineralize Teeth

To recap, the things that Drs. Mellanby and Dr. Price found to be important for oral and bone health are:

  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 does this mean practically in the diet? It is not possible or necessary to fully eliminate Phytic acid from the diet. What should be considered is taking care to minimize the foods that contain the highest amounts.

Some preparations like soaking and fermenting can reduce the phytic acid content and should be practiced if the foods are going to be consumed, but in many cases, it is better to avoid these foods completely.

Foods to Watch Out For

Nuts, for instance, have a high phytic acid content which can be greatly reduced by soaking the nuts in salt or lemon water overnight and then rinsing and dehydrating in the oven (the same can be done with beans). While this step is time consuming, it is feasible with things like nuts or beans, but much more intensive with wheat (which contains more phytic acid!)

Grains especially are better soaked, sprouted and fermented,  if consumed at all, but this process does not completely eliminate the other harmful properties of grains. Avoiding the most common food sources of phytic acid can also help:

Phytic Acid in common foods

You might notice that meats, eggs, vegetables, and healthy fats are not on this list of high phytic acid foods. As I’ve mentioned before, these foods contain higher levels of vitamins and minerals are are more nutrient dense anyway.

If foods high in phytic acid are going to be eaten, check out this article from the Weston A. Price Foundation on how to sprout, ferment, and soak them to make them less harmful.

There is also a great book called Cure Tooth Decay: Heal and Prevent Cavities with Nutrition by Rami Nagel that explains in great detail the connection between phytic acid and tooth/bone health and practical steps to reverse it.

Remineralizing Teeth: My Experience

In early 2010, my regular dental check-up revealed that I had some soft spots and a lot of plaque on my teeth. I also had one “official” cavity. The cavity wasn’t bad, and while they suggested getting it filled soon, it wasn’t a huge rush. They did warn me that I had the beginning stages of gingivitis in several places and had a lot of plaque. (It took them about 30-40 minutes to scrape and clean my teeth, which I thought was normal). They took x-rays, so I have picture evidence of my teeth at this time.

I had every intention of getting the cavity filled quickly, but then life happened and I didn’t get around to scheduling an appointment for months. By the time I was ready to schedule an appointment, I had seen some interesting info in books about the ability of teeth to heal, so I decided to hold off.

Research Phase

I did more research, read the book Cure Tooth Decay and read accounts of other people reversing dental damage, so I decided to give it a try. I took advice from all the research I had done and figured out a specific diet and supplement regimen that I was going to use to try to heal my teeth.

After a couple of months, my teeth were whiter and much less sensitive to cold. This was big news to me as I used to have such sensitive teeth that drinking too cold of a drink could literally almost bring me to tears.

My Results

It was fall of 2011 before I finally got around to making it back to the dentist (I know, I know… every six months…) and I didn’t mention a thing about the cavities and soft spots that needed to be fixed… and neither did the dentist!

It also only took them about 5 minutes to clean and scrape my teeth. I thought she was still checking them and she was done! The hygienist told me that my teeth and gums looked great, and asked if I had started using fluoride or fluoride toothpaste (my chart made it very clear that I was anti-fluoride). I told her no but that I had been trying to make sure I was taking better care of my teeth lately (very true!).

When the dentist checked my teeth, he didn’t mention any problem areas either and remarked that my gums looked great! On a random note, I heard him telling another patient that cutting back on the sugar and starches was a good idea since “without starches, cavities can not form, since they feed on sugar and starches.” Newfound respect for my dentist!

So what did I do?

Diet to Help Heal Cavities and Improve Oral Health

  1. I drastically cut foods that contained phytic acid. I already wasn’t eating grains or beans, but I also cut or limited nuts. Podcast guest Dr. Steven Gundry points out that using a pressure cooker like an Instant Pot reduces phytic acid and lectin content and is a great option for people who still want to consume these foods.
  2. 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. Most dentists will back this advice up. Studies show it isn’t just sugar consumption but how often we consume it that is linked to higher risk of cavities.
  3. Ate a LOT of healthy fats. I added seafood, fish oil, olive oil, and healthy fats to my diet each day, and used only pastured, cultured butter. This helped increase the presence of fat-soluble vitamins.
  4. I made an effort to consume a lot of homemade bone broth for its added minerals. (If you’re short on time, I recommend buying your broth online.

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

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 I took it during this time to help my teeth. FCLO has become controversial recently, but it is the supplement I used to reverse my tooth problems so I’m listing it here but do not feel comfortable linking to it or sharing the brand.
  • 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. Patients healed most when diet was optimized and Vitamin D was added. I personally get my blood levels of Vitamin D tested often and am careful not to take too much.
  • Other supplements– I also took magnesium, gelatin and vitamin C daily. These aren’t as vital to tooth healing.

Toothpastes and Powders to Remineralize Teeth

Other Results

I’ve gotten a lot of emails from readers with cavity-free teeth as well. Here is one of my favorites:

Hey Katie-

I just want to say thank you and share a healing success story thanks to your encouragement!

Last year (at age 30)  the dentist told me I had my first cavity. It was not going to heal, he said it was too far advanced and not possible. I told him I didn’t want to deal with it because I was diagnosed with stage 4 carcinoid cancer and had recently had surgery to cut out a tumor. The thought of cutting something else out of my body when I was working so hard to heal my body didn’t make sense to me. So I found your site, read your tips, made homemade remineralizing toothpaste, ate a lot of bone broth and good butter, cut down on phytic acid, etc.

I went back to the dentist 6 months later and he was shocked that the cavity was gone. He wanted me to tell him everything I had done. I felt so good!

-Catherine D. from Virginia

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Lauren Jefferis, board certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor or work with a doctor at SteadyMD.

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Steven Lin, who is a Board accredited dentist trained at the University of Sydney. With a background in biomedical science, he is a passionate whole-health advocate, focusing on the link between nutrition and dental health. Listen to my podcast or read the transcript of my interview with him here.

As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor or dentist.

What do you think? Would you try remineralizing your own teeth? Do you already do these things?

Did you know it's possible to remineralize teeth naturally? Teeth must be taken care of from the inside as well as the outside. This is how you do it.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.

Comments

890 responses to “How to Remineralize Teeth Naturally & Reverse Tooth Decay”

  1. Sandra Nicola Avatar
    Sandra Nicola

    I got a glass ionomer filling for a deep cavity in my tooth not by choice. I’m worried about the fluoride release from the lifetime of the filling. Should I get this removed? Will it cause more damage to replace it with composite?

  2. elise sokol Avatar
    elise sokol

    Hmm… There are so many things to look out for… I’m presently walking the fine line balance of HIGH OXALATE foods (possible kidney stone formation) and HIGH SUGAR foods … (not just refined sugar but in fruits… to watch blood sugar) Following one list inadvertently puts me into the OTHER list. I did end up with a kidney stone situation. But back on track now. Hard to get that Venn diagram middle going I guess is what I’m thinking…
    Thanks for all the info!
    elise

  3. Petra Avatar

    Hello I have some tooth decay and I read your article How to Remineralize Teeth Naturally & Reverse Tooth Decay. I just wonder how to follow this diet as a vegetarian? I can only get protein and iron by eating lentils, beans and nuts. I really would like to try your diet and improve my teeth, but I also want to be vegetarian. Any suggestions?

    1. Karol Küster Avatar
      Karol Küster

      Yes, I managed to stabilize my child’s baby teeth lesions on a raw vegan diet. My goal now is complete regeneration, so I am supplementing with omega-3 and consuming free-range eggs.

  4. Trista Avatar

    Can you share a “what I ate” to help your cavities? I really struggle in feeding my kids.

  5. gretchen Avatar

    This is one of the best, if not THE best, article I’ve read on this subject. Thank you! Regarding the premature, fairly simultaneous deaths of an unusually high number of people from the Weston Price Foundation who advocated and/or took Green Pastures fermented cod liver oil, I wouldn’t be surprised if some or all of the deaths were basically caused by the Deep State criminals who tend to do away with any real competition to mainstream medicine or vaccine usage. It is not uncommon for those ruthless murderers to inject people with terminal cancers as well as the more obvious methods of murder, such as shootings or ‘car accidents’. It’s just a possibility, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

  6. Laura Avatar

    My daughter got a cavity at 6 and against my better judgment I let them fill it before trying to remineralize. She eats a TON of oatmeal, so this article makes perfect sense to me now, why her teeth have issues and my other daughter, who loves sugar, has no issues. Anyway, now, a year later they’re saying her cavity is BACK, under that filling and it has to be redone. I’m not sure what to do since it’s under it. I’m just now reading this diet stuff but worry I’m too late as they said several of her teeth had calcification. I am giving her Hylands cell salts, vitamins, etc. We cook only with coconut milk, good oils and only drink water. This will be her last filling to get done, I hope, as it is costing a fortune… but I feel so awful for not trying to heal it ourselves the first time. She’s truly traumatized by it all and is embarrassed as she’s a perfectionist who has been brushing her own teeth (maybe not good enough!) for years. Would you go ahead and get the original filling redone?

    1. Amira Avatar

      Thank you for this wonderful article about how to prevent the cavity. I have been always wondering why my husband and my daughter are having better teeth than me. I clean more frequently than all of them but I have more cavity than them. After reading your article, I realized that our diet are the main different. I love grain and beans and fruits and vegetables. But my husband and my daughter always eat more meat than me. I will change my diet on the amount of meat I should eat and decrease the flour intake. But I have one question: how can you cook the broth for 24 he or more?

  7. Paul K Avatar

    Dr. Mellanby actually said that sugar has a minor effect on cavities, and fed his test subjects canned fruit with sugar, a lot of potatoes, meat, and chocolate milk
    The main goal was to avoid phytic acid and supplement Vitamin D.
    Thanks I forgot about that
    Also very amazing results great work

  8. Tyler Rutland Avatar
    Tyler Rutland

    Thank you for sharing this useful article and information.

    I have been working so hard to evolve my body and catch up developmentally to my peers. The book calls it “Körperpflege” when we do this – “Pflege” is a German word meaning, like, “to cultivate, to grow, to nurture, to help develop”, etc. It is just like what we do to plants to grow them, like putting nutrients (magnesium, phosphoros, etc.) in their soil so they can absorb it.

    The book mentions “Zähnepflege” too — that is to say, “tooth cultivation” too — but I have just failed to do it. Now I will try this and be patient for a good result. It is nice to look very good with regard to everything else — hair, skin, etc. But my teeth right now are like a member of Davy Jones pirate ship!!! D: D: D:

  9. Tudor Avatar

    Great article. Now can I eat sweet potatoes as a source of carbs. I want to start this diet and reverse all of my cavities, and based on what I read 99% of carbs are a no go. I want to fully eliminate the phytic acid from my diet for 6 months.
    So can I eat sweet potatoes? btw other carb suggestion would be great!
    Thank you so much again! really mean it

  10. Sarah Avatar

    Hi Katie,

    I am interested in incorporating hydroxyapatite into my oral health routine, but I just bought a bunch of natural toothpaste (bulk is cheaper) that does not contain hydroxyapatite. I found some vendors that sell hydroxyapatite nanoparticles and am wondering what is the recommended amount I can add to my toothpaste (and do you have any recommended brands?) Alternatively, can I mix it with water and swish with it? If so, how much would you recommend I mix into 8 oz. water? Thanks for all your work.

    Sarah

      1. Riza Avatar

        I’ll definitely try it out but at $10-$12/tube it isn’t something that I can sustain. I’d like to see your response to Sarah for those of us who are not able to afford it and can put it the work to DIY.

  11. Shauna Avatar
    Shauna

    Hi Katie!
    You said you get your Vitamin D levels regularly. Do you do this through your doctors office or somewhere else? Thanks!

      1. Riza Avatar

        Would love to hear how you do it. How often, etc. You’ve inspired many of us and knowing how you approach it gives us a baseline.

  12. Julie Avatar

    Hi Katie ?
    Thanks for sharing all your wisdom, real life experiences and practical knowledge, I truly appreciate it. I’m wondering if you could suggest any “remineralizing diet” alternatives for us vegans out there? Thanks so much ??

  13. Sarah Avatar

    Hi, Wellness Mama—

    What type of calcium and magnesium powders did you swish with (added to water) while you were remineralizing your teeth? Magnesium gluconate? Magnesium glycinate? Magnesium citrate? And the calcium choices are even more numerous and confusing to me.
    Thanks,
    Sarah

  14. Catherine Avatar
    Catherine

    Hi Katie. What similarly helpful foods would you recommend for vegetarians and vegans?

      1. Bryant Avatar

        I respectfully disagree with your last statement….You absolutely CAN get all your nutritional needs from a plant-based diet to cleanse, strengthen and regenerate cells in the body, including your teeth!

      2. Susan Avatar

        That is not true. I am WFPB, have great teeth, haven’t seen a dentist in nearly 20 years. I use a sonic toothbrush. I mill my own grains and bake strictly sourdough method. I do use minimal amounts of homemade milk kefir, organic grass fed butter and rare meals that include some seafood or poultry. Of course there are many more variables, but eliminating wholesome foods in order to avoid phytic acid is overkill…..learn the proper way to prepare those foods and avoid the industrialized versions.

        1. Katie Wells Avatar

          Grains are one of the foods that can cause teeth issues, which is why I recommend removing them from the diet when trying to remineralize teeth…

  15. Amanda Avatar

    Fantastic article, such a brilliant read. I would love to try the things you have suggested. I live in the UK, and cant find some of the products you recommend. I am a little overwhelmed with all the products avaliable. Are you able to offer any help?

  16. Jessie Avatar

    Hi Katie,

    I just wanted to know if there was an amount and ratio for the calcium and magnesium you swished with and if it was twice a day or once a day as I didn’t see it in the article.

    Thanks!

  17. Dee Avatar

    Could this help restore teeth apparence if teeth are beinging to look translucent?

    1. Sue Avatar

      My front teeth recently started to look translucent and a bit blackish too. i was recovering from an infection and wondered if it has anything to do with that.

    1. Kishor rane Avatar
      Kishor rane

      Hi Katie I want to ask that.i have teeth cavity and hole formed already in may teeth.can I still reverse my cavities and after new dentine form,could I start to eat sweet food again?

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