28: Can Cavities Remineralize?

Can Teeth Remineralize - A Dentist Perspective

Years ago, I wrote about how I remineralized a small cavity in one of my teeth and I never expected the response it would get.

Now, there are dozens of comments from readers who have remineralized their own teeth, and dozens more from readers and dental professionals who claim this isn’t possible. I wanted to get to the bottom of this. I knew what worked for me, but wanted a dentist to really delve in and explain if remineralization is actually possible, and if so, how it works and the science behind it.

A Dentist’s Perspective on Remineralization

I was elated to meet Dr. Judene Benoit who uses a specialized approach to dentistry that combines the research and knowledge she learned in dental school with a holistic research-based approach to oral health. She has helped many people remineralize teeth and is the author of the book How to Stop Cavities: A Natural Approach to Prevention and Remineralization.

In this podcast, she and I delve into the difference between healing and remineralization and when each one happens as well as:

  • Can cavities remineralize?
  • How the body remineralizes
  • How large cavities can’t actually “heal” to completely regrow their normal shape, but they can stop decay, remineralize and actually become stronger (without the need for a filling)
  • Ways we can prevent tooth decay
  • What cavities cannot be reversed
  • The connection between oral health and overall health
  • What diet and lifestyle factors to optimize for better oral health
  • What Matrix Metalloproteinases are and why you need them (in moderation)
  • How bacterial balance in the mouth impacts oral health and how to create good bacteria in the mouth
  • The ways that hormones impact risk of tooth decay
  • Is Oil Pulling safe?

Resources we Mention

Thanks as always for listening and helping to create a better future for our children that’s healthier and happier. And until next time, have a healthy week. If you have questions about anything we discussed, please leave a comment below!

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Reader Interactions

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Reader Comments

  1. This was an informative podcast full of new information for patients and reminders for practitioners. I will definitely be sharing links to the podcast with my patients, buying the doctors book on remineralization and tuning in to more of your podcasts.
    Thank you.
    Amber Flowers RDH,CTE

  2. Okay, so small cavities can remineralize (which means the bone REGROWS), right? But your’re saying that teeth won’t regrow when the cavity is large?

    You know what? This logic doesn’t make sense.

    When you hear “can’t”, it actually means “According to my knowledge, no”. And I wouldn’t take a dentist’s word for it, especially when all of them study ADA (American Dental Association’s) research materials.

    Guess what? It was within the structures of ADA where it was ASSUMED (without study) that bacteria causes tooth decay. Now, most dentist want to turn holistic just to keep their clientele.

    tl;dr go throuth Cure Tooth Decay, Weston Page materials, and look for testimonials around the net – human teeth do regrow (if the nerve is present!), but it’s not CLEAR why.

    No hate intended – I’m just helping out.

    • Amen!!!

    • First off, tooth is not bone. It is enamel, dentin (under enamel), cementum (under the gum, on the roots), and pulp (where the nerves are).

      When the cavity is small (only in the enamel) it can be healed with proper home care.

      Once it gets into the dentin, which is is pores (like a pumice stone) and very soft (compared to the enamel) the decay eats away at it more rapidly. It can not be healed with remineralization.

      The reason most dentists push their treatments on people is because MOST people can’t don’t take care of their teeth properly .

      I have never in my life had a cavity. I take proper care of my teeth (with out fluoride). I also work in a dental office and explain how to heal the small cavities. I’ve also seen someone attempt to heal a tooth that ended up with an abscess.

      Your best bet is to prevent the cavity in the first place.

      • First of all.. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the best strategy is prevention. However healthy teeth require proper nutrition, too, beyond brushing and flossing, as well as regular check ups.

        Secondly, large cavities CAN be healed if there is sufficient live tissue left in the tooth that develops the tooth in the first place.. Weston Price prived this beyond a shadow of a doubt. I have seen this with some of my patients as I was dealing with nutritional deficiencies in general.

        An ideal balance of Vitamind A, D, and K2, as well as other minerals, such as magnesium, need to be consumed in order to properly utilize calcium throughout the body, including the teeth.

        Working in a dental office hardly qualifies anyone as an authority or expert on remineralizing teeth. I have seen what you claim as impossible occur wiyh my own 2 beedy little eyes..

        Dr David Thornton, DC

      • Thanks for the clarification . . .

    • It is known why.. The tooth is living, and with the right balance in necessary nutrition, living bone will regenerate.. Vitamins A and D, as well as Vitamin K2 are necessary to properly utilize calcium.. There is no mystery other than a self-induced mystery by Western medicine..

      Dr David Thornton DC

      • I did everything my dentist recommended and STILL suffered from bone loss – no tooth decay. This went on for several years until I recently had blood work done that indicated I was critically low in vitamin D . . . I’ve been supplementing now for a little over a month an notice a huge jump in my vitality and immune system boost. I will enlighten my Western dentist in two months when I go for my next visit . . .

  3. I’m pretty on board with a natural lifestyle as I was raised that way. Only organic foods, I have a fairly large organic garden, only organic/homemade beauty and cleaning products, avoidance of medications… I go to a holistic dr…etc. but I’m really starting to have an issue with statements that discredit medical professionals such as “dental professionals claim this isn’t true” and having an interview trying to show how your views are right and what other professionals have said is false. The only thing I can see as far as any discrepancy is the terminology used. Most dental professionals will not call a demineralized area of a tooth a cavity-they call it demineralization because that is what it is. This does not prove that dental professionals are wrong, and it only puts fear into people by making them distrust their dentist. I’m not trying to offend anyone, but there needs to be a greater understanding of why medical professionals disagree with any statement before saying things like “they disagree” I don’t work for a holistic dentist, I didn’t go to a holistic school, and I didn’t disagree with anything this dentist said, besides I guess a little discrepancy in the term used…

    • Meghan, I agree with you. Just as many medical professionals know very little about fungus in our bodies and the fact that often physicians mistake fungus for cancer. Most Medical schools don’t teach about fungus and other problems – even though there are medical books written in the 1950s (earlier & later) that discuss fungus and how much they need to learn about it.

      Instead our foods are filled with fungus, insecticides, etc. that continue to cause a great deal of problems in us.

      As for me and my teeth – I’ve been using a Re-mineralizing toothpaste (homemade) and a Re-mineralizing mouth rinse (homemade) and I like these both so much better than any store-bought than I’ve ever used.
      Is it working – don’t know ’cause I don’t have any cavities – that I know of. But I feel that it will strengthen my teeth – if not – they are still much better for me than any store-bought + I really like ’em!

      • Would you mind sharing your recipes, please? 🙂

  4. I am a dental hygienist and really loved this interview. I agree with all that was said and wish that all dentists and medical professionals took a holistic approach to health. Thanks for spreading such goodness!

  5. I enjoyed listening to this podcast and I thought it was a great way to clear up any misunderstandings.

  6. Enjoyed the podcast! Dr. Judene mentioned that she’s unaware of any research on the benefits of oil pulling.

    Those pH papers Dr. Judene mentioned can help us assess many things. Last summer I recorded my food intake and other lifestyle factors, and tested morning saliva pH. From this I learned that the two primary ways for me to alkalinize my saliva is to eat loads of potassium rich foods and take a calcium/magnesium supplement before bed. What makes pH worse– sugar and stress.

    I also took saliva pH right before and after oil pulling and found that different oils affected pH differently. Pulling with coconut oil ALWAYS raises my saliva pH, while pulling with unrefined sunflower oil always drops saliva pH.

    • Interesting! Thanks for sharing!

    • Very interesting.
      I am ordering some of those PH testing strips right now.
      I have been oil pulling for 3 weeks now, twice a day.
      I recently had a rear Molar out that had root canal work done 12 years previously.
      The other root canal tooth smells around the gum so I found out about oil pulling and started.

      I oil pull first thing in the morning for 20 minutes and then use a water pick and then electric toothbrush, salt water rinse,
      In the evening I oil pull again for 20 minutes, interdental brush and dental tape. Salt water rinse.
      I have given up Listerine because of the alcohol and glycerine content.

      I started doing it because of the smelling gum around the rear molar, it helps but comes back again.
      I tried placing Bentonite clay on the gum but it is so messy and difficult to keep in place. A tea bag on the gum for an hour does work though.
      But the oil pulling did take away sensitivity on my upper molars after 1 day, they had been sensitive for over a year.

      I swish with mineral water and bicarbonate of soda after meals to reduce acidity so the strips will let me know how effective that is.

  7. Hi, I took my almost 6 year old daughter to the dentist and they took her yearly x-ray and found a small cavity in her upper molar(baby tooth). They want to fill it and said she probably won’t need any freezing. The reason they want to fill it is because she won’t loose it until shes about 12. It looks like a small notch on the x-ray. Can I heal this cavity? My daughter does not drink pop, has no juice at home and very little candy!!! My older daughter who is 11 has zero cavities and goes days without brushing and rarely flosses. They told me to make sure to brush her teeth twice a day and floss at night. We were brushing once a day and not flossing. I don’t understand why she has this cavity?

  8. Just FYI, this podcast is not the one to remineralize teeth. It is on shedding…though I was able to read the correct transcript and get the jist of the audio.

  9. Excellent podcast and information. I’m 60 years-old and have always taken impeccable care with my teeth. The last several years my hygienist and dentist subtly admonish me for not brushing, flossing, etc. well enough. It’s been disheartening and frustrating as I loose more and more tooth structure. I have only 2 filings in my mouth so cavities aren’t the issue, it’s bone loss. I recently had a blood panel work up because I’ve been SO tired and rundown which is very out of character for me. Turns out everything is top-notch except that I’m critically low in vitamin D. Should be between 50-70 and I’m at 11. Vitamin D plays a critical role in bone loss and immune health. My dentist knows that I’m a 12 year vegan, over 50, had malignant melanoma 12 years ago so I do use sunscreen or cover up from most sun exposure. They never thought to suggest a blood workup. I’ve been taking a vegan vitamin D supplement and have begun with oil pulling (again). I’ve also begun adding liquid minerals to my RO filtered water. I’ll start brushing with activated charcoal tonight (I have some on hand in case of poisoning issues, etc.). I have a dental appointment in two months and I’m guessing things will appear better, certainly not worse. Thank you so much for giving us ways to empower ourselves in guiding us to healthier bodies and minds : )

  10. Is there a link somewhere to listen to this podcast? I am unable to find it 🙁

  11. Idk. I felt she was really confusing. And sounded like she (the dr) was reading right out of a book. This wasn’t helpful at all. If you really want to know how to remineralize teeth, I find Katie’s articles much better. Or check out Nadine Artemis from Living Libations.

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