Tooth Decay and Cavities: Prevention and Treatment With Diet

Tooth Decay
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Tooth problems like cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, and a host of other dental problems are on the rise these days despite the oral hygiene practice and “good toothpaste” we have around.

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This shows that there is something we are not getting right and it isn’t far from our diet. Man has strayed far from natural foods.

Our great grandparents would not be able to recognize most of what we call “food” today. The modern man has shifted from whole natural foods to junks and unnatural foods which are lacking in vital nutrients that re-mineralize the teeth.

If your diet is wrong and deficient in vital nutrients like fat-soluble vitamins and minerals, no amount of toothpaste and dental hygiene can save you from tooth problems.

Quality nutrition heals and strengthens your teeth from the inside out. When your diet is wrong, diseases start developing and the first signs of most diseases are found in the teeth and gums.

It’s no more news that gum disease is linked to heart disease.

Dental hygiene alone is not responsible for tooth problems. If not, there wouldn’t be an ever-increasing rate of cavities with all the top-notch toothpaste and toothbrushes, mouthwashes, and floss we have today.

A lot of people with strict dental hygiene and properly brushed teeth are having cavities and this happens when the teeth are not getting the right nutrients they need.

The real Cause of Cavities (Tooth Holes)

The view of modern dentistry is that bacteria are responsible for tooth holes. When the enamel has a hole, bacteria get inside and destroy the pulp thereby killing the tooth.

Well, this theory doesn’t have strong scientific backing, and the one with strong evidence which is poor diet causes cavities and tooth problems has been dismissed.

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Acid or bacteria on the teeth does not cause tooth decay. A popular dentist, Dr. Weston Price developed his nutrition theory after traveling the globe and studying many cultures.

He noticed that primitive people who were disconnected from modern life and ate traditional foods have the best teeth and overall health.

He noted what these people ate and he noticed that their diet was rich in whole foods, fat-soluble vitamins, and minerals. They had no relationship with refined grain and sugars and therefore, they had no cavities.

His observation didn’t just end here. He also noticed that these people had strong and healthy teeth irrespective of dental hygiene.

He also noticed that cultures that ate modern and highly processed foods like sweets, sodas, jams and jellies, white bread, pastries excessive sugary fruits, etc. had worse dental health even if they had the best dental hygiene.

This made Dr. Price take his hypothesis further to the lab and he carried on a series of studies to prove his theory. And all results pointed to the fact that a healthy diet can prevent and halt tooth decay.

In a particular study, he got children whose teeth were decaying and changed their diet to a healthy one. Their new diet nourished their bodies, their teeth re-mineralized, and their cavities healed and new cavities did not form.

The progression of existing cavities halted and X-rays showed that their teeth had healed and become strong. From the many studies of Dr. Price, we see that malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies are responsible for tooth decay and problems.

Dental problems cannot be prevented by dental hygiene only and neither can it be treated by filling extraction, or other forms of surgery. Only proper nutrition can prevent and reverse tooth problems.

We’ve been programmed to look to filling as the only solution to cavities. It comes with its side effect. For instance, filling a hole will block the proper flow of nutrients to the tooth and this will kill it.

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This is why most people who have fillings are told that they have to replace the old ones or that they need root canals on a tooth that has already been filled.

Well, fillings and root canals are a temporary solution in severe cases of decay, they are not the ultimate.

Also, note that proper nutrition will not grow new tooth materials in a tooth with holes. Any bit of tooth lost, is gone permanently. Proper nutrition stops the progression.

The affected tooth becomes hardened when you take in lots of fat-soluble nutrients and the area around the cavities turns glassy. This helps protect the inside of the pulp from bacteria and infection.

The nutrients will seal your tooth naturally and strengthen your tooth to resist future cavities.

Bad Foods To Avoid

We’ve established the fact that diet can heal your teeth and stop further damages but what is the right diet? I will start by letting you bad foods you should avoid.

They damage the teeth, weaken your immune system, and make you nutritionally deficient in nutrients that re-mineralize and strengthen the teeth.

Refined sugars

Refined sugars and artificial sweeteners are the main attackers of healthy teeth. Due to nutritional deficiencies, the immune system becomes weak and bacteria can thrive and act freely.

A weak immune system caused by nutritional deficiencies is a breeding ground for tooth decay. The bacteria in plaque (which the immune system is supposed to put in check) react with these sugars and form acids.

This acid destroys the enamel and attacks the teeth. When this happens regularly, your enamel will break down and a hole in the dentine will occur.

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From this stage, the tooth starts decaying quickly.

Avoid all forms of refined sugars that have many names now. Examples are:

  • Sucrose
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Brown rice sugar
  • Molasses
  • Lactose
  • Malt syrup
  • Maltodextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Raw sugar
  • Demarara sugar
  • Sorbitol
  • Treacle

These are the many sneaky ways sugar is hidden on the labels of processed and highly refined foods packaged for mass consumption.

There are over 50 alternative names for sugar but these are the common ones you should familiarize yourself with. And if packaged, canned, or junk food doesn’t indicate sugar, it still doesn’t mean that the food is sugar-free.

Even foods labeled “sugar-free” are more dangerous and you should avoid them. These sugars even weaken your immune system and cause your immune cells to hibernate for a while.

When you avoid all kinds of refined sugars and the foods that contain them and eat whole-based plant foods instead, you will nourish your body and strengthen your immune system.

A set of teeth that is truly healthy and nourished have a strong immune backup and your tooth will be able to resist any kind of sugar invasion.

Dr. Miller, the doctor who developed the acid theory of cavitation said that “A perfectly healthy tooth can resist cavitation indefinitely”.

Excess sugar also overloads the liver and this prevents it from carrying out its functions. And one of the major functions of the liver is to break down fat-soluble nutrients.

If the liver can’t process these nutrients, they can’t get to your teeth. This, in turn, makes your teeth malnourished and weak. When this happens, your teeth won’t be able to resist sugar and bacteria attack.

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Don’t be used to a higher level of sweetness in your food than nature designed. Don’t allow your taste buds to control your choices so that you can live a healthy life.

The bacteria that destroy enamel thrive on sugar.

Can and junk foods

Processed and packaged foods and drinks are highly acidic and they can erode your enamel. Acidic foods have low pH numbers while alkalis, foods with high pH cancel out the acidic effect of these foods.

Sugars are acidic. Apart from the acidic nature of these foods, they are loaded with all forms of dangerous chemicals and preservatives that deplete the immune system and cause metabolic disorders.

Avoid snacks totally if you can or eat them once in a while. Don’t replace main healthy meals with snacks. If you eat too many fruits, they are acidic and can affect the teeth.

Eat raw vegetables, (they are alkaline) 2 hours after eating fruits.

Foods That Boosts Dental Health

Foods that nourish your entire body and promote tooth health and strength are:

Fresh and cooked vegetables

Vegetables whether raw or cooked are highly alkaline foods that counteract the effects of acidic foods. They are also rich in nutrients, enzymes, and phytochemicals that boost overall health.

They also have very low sugar. Vegetables boost your immune system and offer your teeth resistance against bacteria and sugar attacks.

They also help you produce more saliva, especially when taken raw to neutralize bacteria that cause plaque and cavities.

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Whole grains

Grains are known as the Staff of life. There are very important in the diet of man. However, where we’ve got it wrong is through the intake of refined grain.

Refined grains have lost all their nutrients and what’s left is starch/carbohydrates. Ditch this for whole wheat and other grains like oats, rye, etc.

Water

It boosts the functions of the immune system, the transport of nutrients, and the elimination of bacteria and waste products.

Drink a sufficient amount of clean water daily. Eat watery fruits and veggies. Just make sure that your water intake is more than the amount of water you lose.

Fermented foods

Fermented foods and drinks are rich in probiotics. These beneficial bacteria fight off harmful bacteria and kill them. Increase your intake of this food daily and thereby boost your immune system.

Broth

Vegetable or bone broth is rich in nutrients that nourish not only the teeth but the entire body. There are many recipes for making either bone broth or vegetable broth.

Learn how to make this and include them in your meals regularly.

Seafood

Wild-caught fish and seaweeds are rich in nutrients and healthy fats that nourish the body and teeth. Include them in your diet and your body will thank you.

Cod liver oil

In traditional medicine, fermented cod liver oil is known as the liquid dentist. It is rich in vitamin A and D. just a half teaspoon of this oil 2 or 3 times daily can immediately stop tooth pain.

Note that all supplements are not equal. Avoid heated cod liver oils or oils with synthetic vitamin D which the body can’t use. Look for quality oil that meets the above standards.

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Pasture-raised animals (organ meats)

For people who eat meat, go for pasture-raised meat and not meat raised conventionally. Conventional meats are not as healthy as pasture-raised meats because they are given a lot of antibiotics, growth hormones, and raised in unnatural conditions.

Pasture-raised meats, on the other hand, are rich in nutrients and healthy, especially organ meat. The liver, hearts, brain, intestines, and pancreas of healthy animals are rich in nutrients the teeth needs.

Free-range poultry and eggs

Just as pasture-fed animals, free-range poultry birds are healthier than birds raised in cages and disconnected from nature. Free-range eggs are rich in vitamin D.

Fat-soluble vitamins

These are vitamins A, D, E, and K. They are similar to oil and do not dissolve in water. These nutrients are also better absorbed in the body when eaten with fats.

Vitamin A boosts the immune system and reduces susceptibility to bacteria attack. Natural sources of vitamin A are fish, eggs, poultry, liver, grass-fed butter, and fish liver oil.

Vitamin D is needed for strong teeth and bones and a deficiency can make your bones and teeth weak. Although vitamin D can be gotten from sunshine, we can also get it from animal and plant sources.

Vitamin D is also needed for immune system regulation to fight off bacteria. Natural sources of vitamin D are sunlight, mushrooms exposed to sunlight, fatty fish, and fish oil.

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects your cells from damage and free radicals and boosts the immune system. Natural sources of vitamin E are vegetable oils, seeds, and nuts.

Vitamin K supports bone and teeth health. a deficiency of this leads to weak bones and teeth. Vitamin K1 is found in plant sources like green leafy vegetables.

While vitamin K2 is found in animal sources and fermented grains and legumes like soy.

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Fat-soluble minerals

These include calcium, iron, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and potassium. These minerals have various roles they play in building the immune system and strengthening bones and teeth.

You can get them from eating healthy whole plant foods, pasture-raised animals, eggs, and by taking quality supplements in cases of severe deficiencies.

The formula is a healthy body, healthy teeth. If the body is sick, the teeth won’t be healthy. This is a holistic approach that works better than what conventional dentistry has to offer.

When your body is properly nourished with fat-soluble vitamins and minerals, your teeth will also have access to them and these will strengthen and heal them.

Other Useful Tips to Prevent and Halt Tooth Decay

Avoid fluoride toothpaste

This may sound ridiculous but it’s the truth. Many studies are out there pointing to the fact that fluoride doesn’t stop tooth decay but causes it.

This explains why tooth decay and cavities are on the rise in developed societies and cities despite the high patronage of fluoride toothpaste among the population.

Use non-fluoride toothpaste, it is safer and healthier. Fluoride is a neurotoxin and competes for vital minerals in the body like iodine. Fluoride displaces iodine and it causes much havoc in your body.

Avoid chemical-based toothpaste

Apart from fluoride, there are a lot of chemicals in toothpaste and we should avoid them by all means. The common ones to watch out for are:

  • Diethanolamine (DEA): This is a foaming agent added to toothpaste and other products like soaps and shaving creams. This chemical harms your teeth and counteracts the purpose of using toothpaste in the first place.

Apart from damaging your teeth, DEA impairs the functions of your liver and kidneys. The kidneys and liver process nutrients and make them available to the teeth and the entire body.

When they are unable to work effectively, the body will be depleted of nutrients thereby affecting the teeth.

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  • Triclosan: This is added to toothpaste and soaps as an antibacterial agent. It is a pesticide and very detrimental to the body. Triclosan weakens the immune system.

Even the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that ingesting this harmful chemical or exposing yourself to it is dangerous to your health.

Your teeth will be the first to show the signs of a weak and unhealthy immune system.

Triclosan is even in the group of chemicals called chorophenols and they are implicated in causing cancers in humans.

  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS): This chemical is in almost everybody care product you can think of today. This is a known carcinogen and it causes organ toxicity.

SLS is also labeled as Sodium Salt.

  • Propylene glycol: Commonly used as a toothpaste surfactant and anti-freeze but it is unhealthy and dangerous. It is a skin irritant, potential neurotoxin, and can even cause organ damage.

These are just a few of the chemicals you will find in commercial toothpaste and you should be scared of them. Go for natural toothpaste without these harsh chemicals.

Make sure you read the labels well because most so-called natural or organic toothpaste contains double of these dangerous chemicals and even more.

When you start your day with a mouthful of these chemicals, you are setting your body up for a breakdown. We’ve been conditioned to see these products as necessary for our dental hygiene.

But there are many healthier alternatives and it is possible to keep your mouth and teeth clean without using these dangerous chemicals.

Brush your teeth with clay

Clay is a wonderful alternative to cleaning your teeth and mouth. There are many types of clay but when it comes to teeth and oral health, use a food-grade clay.

You can easily get this at a good health store or order it online. Calcium Bentonite clay is good for your teeth. Humans have been using calcium Bentonite clay for centuries and it is healthy.

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Clay contains a mixture of minerals, organic matter, and metal oxides. It is also good for your digestive system. Some of the health benefits of using calcium Bentonite clay are:

  • Tooth polishing effect
  • Remineralization of your teeth
  • Absorption and elimination of toxins

Clay toothpaste is quite rare but you can find them if you persist. A good brand you should get is Earthworks. You can also make your clay toothpaste. It is very easy.

How to Make Clay Toothpaste

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons of calcium Bentonite clay powder
  • 4 tablespoons of filtered water
  • 2 drops of birch xylitol (to mask the clay flavor and prevent tooth decay). Avoid commercial xylitol sourced from corn.
  • 2 to 4 drops of mint extract or any essential oil of your choice

Procedure

Mix all the ingredients gently until you get a smooth paste. Adjust the water content until you get your desired consistency. You can also adjust the xylitol taste by adding more or less.

Pure liquid stevia or crushed dried stevia leaf can be used in place of birch xylitol if you don’t have access to it. After making this, store it in a glass jar with a tight lid.

Don’t use plastic containers or bags because clay is a powerful absorbent. It can suck up leeching toxins from the plastics.

When you want to use the clay, scoop a small amount, and place it on the end of your wet toothbrush. Brush your teeth with this gently in a circular motion and make sure the brush touches all parts of your mouth.

Spit out and rinse your mouth. This is a healthier and safer alternative as all the ingredients are edible, natural, and healthy. They are also of great benefit to your immune and digestive systems.

Brush with tooth soap

Hey! Wait a minute. I don’t mean the bar soap you use in bathing. There are tooth soaps and you can even make yours. It is not only healthy for your teeth, it makes them strong and gives a pleasant cleaning experience.

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Some health experts choose tooth soap above toothpaste because they don’t have glycerin. Toothpaste contains glycerin which forms a coating over your teeth.

This will need many rinses to remove and some people don’t even rinse their teeth at all after using toothpaste. Also, if your teeth are covered in a coating that is tough to remove, they might not be able to absorb phosphate and calcium needed for Remineralization.

Tooth soap removes this coating, disinfect the gums, and kill any bacteria clinging to your teeth. There are many brands of natural tooth soaps but they are quite expensive.

However, you can make yours at home.

How to Make Tooth Soap

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons of unscented liquid castile soap. (If you don’t have access to this you can use Castile bar soap. Don’t use the handmade version because the glycerin hasn’t been removed).
  • Half cup of melted cold-pressed virgin coconut oil
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of granulated birch xylitol or pure stevia extract for taste and other benefits
  • 25 to 30 drops of antimicrobial essential oil. You can pick any of the following oils: clove, cinnamon, spearmint, or peppermint.

Procedure

Put 2 tablespoons of boiling water in your blender. Add the soaps, coconut oil, essential oil/oils, and sweetener. Blend until the mixture becomes light and frothy.

Transfer the soap to a clean pump dispenser. The first option to pour it in is to place a funnel on the top of the dispenser and press the sap in.

The second option is to pour the soap into a large icing or plastic bag, then cut a small corner of the bag open and pipe the soap into the container.

To use your tooth soap, squirt a small amount of this on your moistened toothbrush and brush your teeth as you would with toothpaste.

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It might take a while before you get used to the taste and texture of your tooth soap but you will decide to stick with it no matter what when you notice that your teeth are whiter and healthier.

Use chewing sticks

For thousands of years, our ancestors have been cleaning their teeth with chewing sticks before the invention of the toothbrush.

Chewing sticks are gotten from plants with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. The sticks scrape plaques off your teeth and kill germs before they infect your teeth.

Using this reduces the instance of bleeding gums and it is easier to manipulate and clean your teeth well. This is a good alternative to the modern toothbrush and you can find chewing sticks in a good health shop.

Sources;

  1. Diet and dental health; ADA
  2. Periodontal disease and diet; PL
  3. Dangers of fluoride; FA
  4. Dangerous chemicals in; toothpastes
Tooth Decay
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Faith Ebiojo David
I am a Biochemist and Naturopath, I love writing and educating people on health and wellness matters.
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