Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Reversing Tooth Decay

In the last post, I discussed the research of Drs. Edward and May Mellanby on the nutritional factors affecting tooth formation. Dr. Mellanby is the man who discovered vitamin D and identified the cause of rickets. Nutrition has a profound effect on tooth structure, and well-formed teeth are inherently resistant to decay. But is there anything you can do if your teeth are already formed?

Teeth are able to heal themselves. That's one reason why traditional cultures such as the Inuit can wear their teeth down to the pulp due to chewing leather and sand-covered dried fish, yet still have an exceptionally low rate of tooth decay. It's also how the African Wakamba tribe could traditionally file their front teeth into sharp points without causing decay. Both cultures lost their resistance to tooth decay after adopting nutrient-poor Western foods such as white flour and sugar.

Teeth are made of four layers.
Enamel is the hardest, most mineralized outer shell. Dentin is another protective mineralized layer that's below the enamel. Below the dentin is the pulp, which contains blood vessels and nerves. The roots are coated with cementum, another mineralized tissue.

When enamel is poorly formed and/or the diet isn't adequate, enamel demineralizes and decay sets in. Tooth decay is an opportunistic infection that takes advantage of poorly developed or maintained teeth. If the diet remains inadequate, the tooth has to be filled or removed, or the person risks more serious complications.


Fortunately, a decaying or broken tooth has the ability to heal itself if the diet is good, including by remineralizing enamel and dentin, and/or forming a limited quantity of new dentin. This new dentin is deposited by specialized cells called odontoblasts. 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. On the other hand, a diet rich in cereals and poor in vitamin D resulted in the production of secondary dentine either small in amount or poorly calcified, and this happened even if the primary dentine was well formed.
Thus, in dogs, the factors that affect tooth healing are the same factors that affect tooth development:

  1. The mineral content of the diet, particularly calcium and phosphorus
  2. The fat-soluble vitamin content of the diet, chiefly vitamin D
  3. The availability of minerals for absorption, determined largely by the diet's phytic acid content (prevents mineral absorption)
What about humans? Drs. Mellanby set out to see if they could use their dietary principles to cure tooth decay that was already established. They divided 62 children with cavities into three different diet groups for 6 months. Group 1 ate their normal diet plus oatmeal (rich in phytic acid). Group 2 ate their normal diet plus vitamin D. Group 3 ate a grain-free diet and took vitamin D.

In group 1, oatmeal prevented healing and encouraged new cavities, presumably due to its ability to prevent mineral absorption. In group 2, simply adding vitamin D to the diet caused most cavities to heal and fewer to form. The most striking effect was in group 3, the group eating a grain-free diet plus vitamin D, in which nearly all cavities healed and very few new cavities developed. Grains are the main source of phytic acid in the modern diet, although we can't rule out the possibility that grains were promoting tooth decay through another mechanism as well.

Dr. Mellanby was quick to point out that diet 3 contained some carbohydrate (~45% reduction) and was not low in sugar: "Although [diet 3] contained no bread, porridge or other cereals, it included a moderate amount of carbohydrates, for plenty of milk, jam, sugar, potatoes and vegetables were eaten by this group of children." This study was published in the British Medical Journal (1) and
the British Dental journal. Here's Dr. Edward Mellanby again:
The hardening of carious areas that takes place in the teeth of children fed on diets of high calcifying value indicates the arrest of the active process and may result in “healing” of the infected area. As might be surmised, this phenomenon is accompanied by a laying down of a thick barrier of well-formed secondary denture... Summing up these results it will be clear that the clinical deductions made on the basis of the animal experiments have been justified, and that it is now known how to diminish the spread of caries and even to stop the active carious process in many affected teeth.
Dr. Mellanby first began publishing studies showing the reversal of cavities in humans using diet in 1924. Why has such a major medical finding, published in high-impact peer-reviewed journals, faded into obscurity?

Dr. Weston Price also had success curing tooth decay using a similar diet. He fed poor children one very nutritious meal a day and monitored their dental health. From Nutrition and Physical Degeneration (p. 290):

About four ounces of tomato juice or orange juice and a teaspoonful of a mixture of equal parts of a very high vitamin natural cod liver oil and an especially high vitamin butter was given at the beginning of the meal. They then received a bowl containing approximately a pint of a very rich vegetable and meat stew, made largely from bone marrow and fine cuts of tender meat: the meat was usually broiled separately to retain its juice and then chopped very fine and added to the bone marrow meat soup which always contained finely chopped vegetables and plenty of very yellow carrots; for the next course they had cooked fruit, with very little sweetening, and rolls made from freshly ground whole wheat, which were spread with the high-vitamin butter. The wheat for the rolls was ground fresh every day in a motor driven coffee mill. Each child was also given two glasses of fresh whole milk. The menu was varied from day to day by substituting for the meat stew, fish chowder or organs of animals.
Dr. Price provides before and after X-rays showing re-calcification of cavity-ridden teeth on this program. His intervention was not exactly the same as Drs. Mellanby, but it was similar in many ways. Both diets were high in minerals, rich in fat-soluble vitamins (including D), and low in phytic acid.

Price's diet was not grain-free, but used rolls made from freshly ground whole wheat. Freshly ground whole wheat has a high phytase (the enzyme that degrades phytic acid) activity, thus in conjunction with the long yeast rises common in Price's time, it would have broken down nearly all of its own phytic acid. This would have made it a source of minerals rather than a sink for them. He also used high-vitamin pastured butter in conjunction with cod liver oil. We now know that the vitamin K2 in pastured butter is important for bone and tooth development and maintenance. This was something that Dr. Mellanby did not understand at the time, but modern research has corroborated Price's finding that K2 is synergistic with vitamin D in promoting skeletal and dental health.

If I were to design the ultimate dietary program to heal cavities that incorporates the successes of both doctors, it would look something like this:

  • Rich in animal foods, particularly full-fat pastured dairy products (if tolerated) and bone broths. Also meat, organs, fish, and eggs.
  • Fermented grains only; no unfermented grains such as oatmeal, breakfast cereal, crackers, etc. No breads except true sourdough (ingredients should not list lactic acid). Or even better, no grains at all.
  • Limited nuts; beans in moderation, only if they're soaked overnight or longer prior to cooking (due to the phytic acid).
  • Starchy vegetables such as potatoes and sweet potatoes.
  • A limited quantity of fruit (one piece per day or less), but no refined sweets.
  • Cooked and raw vegetables.
  • Sunlight, high-vitamin cod liver oil, or vitamin D3 supplements.
  • Pastured butter.
  • No industrially processed food.
This diet would maximize mineral absorption while providing abundant fat-soluble vitamins. It probably isn't necessary to follow it strictly. For example, if you eat more mineral-rich foods such as dairy and bone broths, you can probably get away with more phytic acid. Or you might be able to heal cavities eating like this for only one or two meals a day, as Dr. Price demonstrated. 

This post is focused on diet, but obviously oral hygiene also matters.  Brushing your teeth, flossing, and rinsing your mouth out after meals will also reduce dental risks.  

The technique described above is applicable to early-stage, small cavities, not necessarily to advanced decay.  If you try to heal your own cavities using diet, please do it under the supervision of a dentist.  

201 comments:

1 – 200 of 201   Newer›   Newest»
Martin said...

Once I changed my diet to one close to what is listed in this entry, and added a vitamin D3 supplement, my dental health greatly improved. No more cavities, and beyond that, no more rapid build-up of dental plaque. To prevent gum problems, I used to have to get my teeth cleaned four times a year, now, once a year is enough, and it seems to me, even that might not be necessary. The change is very welcome, and I'm glad to see a scientific explanation for it. I do have one question, though. Why do you say to eat no nuts? Phytic acid? Thanks for the work you put in on this blog.

Gyan said...

Perhaps there exists differences in the phytase activity among various human populations?
People whose ancestors have been eating grains for the longest period (upto 10000 years) may be expected to have more phytase activity than people
whose ancestors did not eat grains.

Mark said...

So just to clarify:
-All kinds of nuts are to be avoided? What is the reasoning behind this?
-What is your opinion on Ezekial Bread?
-Also, white bread is bad because it still has phytic acid in it but probably less than a whole wheat bread? It's good to know that sourdough is ok.
Great stuff. Since adding fish oil and vitamin d3, I can feel myself starting to lean out despite eating higher carbs, some white bread and more calories overall.

Andrew S said...

Sounds like a good prescription for hungry people!

Joseph said...

I second the questions about nuts? Are they high in phytic acid? Is pastured butter only because, grain fed doesn't have the K2? I bought some pastured a couple days ago at Whole Foods much more expensive. It said it was only available for half the year. I wonder if I can find it year round or whether I'll need to buy it and freeze. If its the K2, can I just get that from hard cheese or does it have to be hard cheese from grass fed cows or any cheese from grass fed cows?

Great article, Stephan. Another one to save, thanks.

Jenny Light said...

As phytic acid is bound into the hulls of seeds and nuts, I would think that foods such as blanched almonds, pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds, and hulled sunflower seeds would be free of this substance?

Jenny Light said...

Stephan:

Have you also read this title by Dr Edward Mellanby:

A Story of Nutritional Research: The Effect of Some Dietary Factors on Bones and the Nervous System The Abraham Flexner Lectures Series Number Nine. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins, 1950

This one was published in the US vs UK and is a bit easier to find second hand (it is out of print).

UofMWolverine81 said...

While my knowledge on the topic is somewhat limited, would sprouted nuts(or at least what many refer to as sprouting in this case) skirt any of the issues that had you make the "no nuts" suggestion in this instance? Or would any inherent issues still exist and such preparation wouldn't serve much purpose?

And as far as vegetable prep, I see a lot of back and forth between those touting cooked versus those saying raw is the way to go (and a few in between who advise a mix between the two) on account of anti-nutrients, bio-availability of nutrients, etc. Your recommendations in this post suggested cooking them well.......is there a specific preparation method you'd tend to favor in this case (outside of strictly personal preference)in order to sidestep as many negatives as possible while still preserving as many of the valuable components as possible?

Thank you for producing such an informative and fascinating blog. You certainly have a top flight production here.

Dave said...

Our family has had similar experiences. In particular, my daughter had a poorly formed molar (she was a spring baby, before we started Vitamin D, hmmmm). The tooth had quite a large crater in it. I put her on D3 and cod liver oil/butter oil. We finally got a dentist she'd cooperate with enough for X-rays. The result was exactly as described above: a thick layer of dentin had formed. The dentist was thoroughly puzzled, which I enjoyed immensely :-)

Different topic: I suspect the diet you describe would improve metabolic syndrome to some extent, but is not optimal for this case. There is certainly some evidence (e.g. in Daphne Miller's book "The Jungle Effect") that metabolic syndrome can be helped somewhat even when continuing to eat starchy vegetables. But the most rapid improvements are seen with drastic carbohydrate reduction across the board. That makes sense, as broken carbohydrate metabolism seems one of the core issues in metabolic syndrome. Volek and Feinman have an excellent paper discussing this:

http://nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/2/1/31

Jeff said...

I was shocked by the graph. Another brilliant post. That is amazing.

I just had a dentist visit, first in almost 3 years. No cavities for the first time in a while. Your advice and a Paleo diet are the reason, in my mind.

I am so glad I found your blog a year ago. My only wish was I, and my parents, were aware of this years ago.

arnoud said...

Stephan, thank you for this most informative and highly relevant post.

"These data were first published in 1924. Why has such a major medical finding, published in high-impact peer-reviewed journals, faded into obscurity?"
- Why do I feel like our doctors/dentists are living in the Middle Ages, even now. All they talk about is cleaning techniques and Fluoride. (Fluoride in fact does not seem to be relevant at all, and may be more damaging for overall health.)

About nuts - I enjoy almonds and macadamia. Should they be avoided alltogether?

Mee-Lise said...

What about coconut (meat)? Isn't that a staple of traditional diets as noted by Weston Price?

Cheeseslave said...

Wonderful post! I love your blog.

I have also eliminated cavities since I changed the way I eat. I avoid all phytic acid (I try to only eat sprouted bread or naturally fermented sourdough) and I soak or sprout all my grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. I also take cod liver oil, and eat a nutrient-dense diet consisting of mostly meat and dairy.

For those of you asking about nuts, you can eat nuts as long as they are soaked or sprouted. See Sally Fallon's book "Nourishing Traditions" to learn how to properly prepare nuts to reduce phytic acid.

Jessica said...

This is a revelatory posting for me! I have bruxism which has gotten worse in recent years and I've tried everything to reduce it's affect on my teeth. While mouth guards and reduced caffeine have helped, I didn't know what to do, till now, about the damage already done. I have a new cavity every six months and am running out of non-effected teeth! Now I at least have a way to battle this. Thank you so much! I'm telling my whole family about this.

Ed said...

Can you buy phytase?

It would be great if I could go to the supermarket and pickup a bottle of phytase, right next to the Beano.

Also, it must be noted in the graph that the largest change came from adding D3 supplement, not from reducing grains. Reducing grains had an incremental beneficial effect, but wasn't (apparently) responsible for the massive turnaround.

Critical thinkers might say "but all my milk today says it is supplemented with vitamin D3. Isn't that good enough? Why make any other changes?"

I think the problem with D3-supplemented milk is that it doesn't have enough. I seem to recall the recommendation being approximately 1000 IU of D3/day per 25 lbs of body weight. So at 150 lbs, I should get 6000 IU/day. (I get maybe 3 minutes of sun/day, on my hands and face only.) www.nutritiondata.com says that 1 cup of whole milk has 98 IU of D3. Clearly supplementation is required.

Does anyone have any salient comment on the 1000 IU D3/25 lb recommendation?

Jenny Light said...

I recently eliminated grains from my diet (4 weeks ago), but until that time occasionally followed Sally Fallon's instructions for soaking grains in water and whey (especially oat porridge). This method was not always followed (laziness-lack of time) so I decided to eliminate them completely.

I just ran across a reference to a 1950 study by Mellanby (this could be in the 1950 book I referenced above) where he gives the phytic acid content of grains after soaking in acidified water (PH 4.5) at a SUSTAINED temperature of 45 degrees C /113 F.

Please read this online excerpt from the book "Rebuild from Depression" by Amanda Rose PHD:

http://www.rebuild-from-depression.com/resources/book/Chapter13.pdf

It doesn't sound like the method of heating water, pouring it on the oats (or any grain)adding whey and soaking this covered on the counter all night is doing much for the phytic acid content! Rather, perhaps we should be soaking our grains on the STOVE at low heat for a sustained period. Phytic acid was reduced to 0% in wheat and rye in just 2 hours time. Oats and corn still had 75% phytic acid content after 12 hours at 113 degrees (additonal procedures are needed for the oats and corn).

Anyone interested in phytic acid might want to definately check out this book excerpt. I have just secured copies of both of Mellanby's books, as I am most curious about the whole of his study.

Harold Fowler said...

Wow what an amazing study. Very informative indeed!

RT
www.anonymity.us.tc

StephenB said...

Stephan wrote: We now know that the vitamin K2 in pastured butter is important for bone and tooth development and maintenance.

Are there any references anywhere that hint about how much K2 is actually in high vitamin butter oil?

Ed wrote: Can you buy phytase?

Yes, you actually can. See Country Life, Maxi-Zyme Caps, 60 Veggie Caps
Country Life, Maxi-Zyme Caps
, and for more money Enzymatic Therapy CompleteGest Mealtime Enzyme Formula

Jenny, thanks for that informative post.

Stephen

Anna said...

Ed,

The 1000iuD3/25 lbs of body weight guide line got our entire family's 25 (OH)D level up to optimal level (70-80 ng/mL) this year. Prior to that I tested after supplementing with lower amounts or trying to get more sun instead of supplements, with results in the lower 40s. Might back off on my son's D3 supplements in summer as he's young and more efficient at making his own D3, being outdoors a lot more, but not for myself and my husband. We need to supplement all year it seems, and we live in Southern California!

I've mentioned before that my 10 son has terribly lazy tooth brushing habits. Yet he hasn't a cavity yet, which I think is largely due to the amount of butter I put in and on his food, plus a minimal amount of sugary, starchy, or grain foods in the second half of his life. Some of friends have no dental enamel at all and are very cavity prone, some even have crowns already.

KerryGold butter (Irish) says on their website the that cows have access to pasture, though the label doesn't identify the butter as such. Ireland does have a lot of green grass... Trader Joe's sells Kerrygold butter at a much lower price than other stores, in salted and unsalted versions, 8 oz packages (easy to cut into a 4 oz stick if necessary). I noticed Costco had the salted KerryGold butter now in a three pack, but I prefer unsalted.

My local natural foods store also stocks Organic Pastures May-Sept Pasture Butter (for what seems like most of the year, so it must be produced and stored for later sale). Not knowing when it might not be available, I stocked up on some when it was on sale. I store it in the freezer in a freezer bag. But the KG at TJ is much less expensive than the OP Pasture butter.

Organic Pastures in California has raw grass fed butter that is great, but their out of state-mail-order options have been sharply curtailed by the nanny state opposition to raw dairy at the FDA, etc. I feel fortunate to still have raw dairy as an option in California. NYS and other states sometimes allow farms to sell their product direct from the farms. Farmers markets are options in some states. Try www.localharvest.org or eatwild.com as well as www.realmilk.com for more options in your neck of the woods.

Robert M. said...

Lots of phytase in buckwheat, from what I remember.

Splantrik said...

I assume it's an accident that this is an April 1 posting. It would be a very unfunny April fools' post, and I have no good reason to doubt it, but I'm just making sure ...

arnoud said...

The April 1 fools' day post was posted early that day!

Jesse Crouch said...

Are there any tests on human adults with such diets?

Book Wolf said...

Uh, this study is old and was done on dogs. Not arguing with the anecdotal stories posted here, but should we really change our diets based on this article alone?

Matthew B. Richards said...

I think the addition of xylitol to the diet would help considerably.

For those unaware of this substance, it is a sugar extracted from Birch trees and has confirmed dental health benefits.

"Recent research confirms a plaque-reducing effect and suggests that the compound, having some chemical properties similar to sucrose, attracts and then starves harmful micro-organisms, allowing the mouth to remineralise damaged teeth with less interruption." via wikipedia

I've been using it for a few years now and have noticed a significant improvement to my dental health.

Vishal said...

I think he says "no nuts" simply because the diets in the studies did not include nuts, but most nuts are good sources of minerals (e.g. zinc from almonds).

I tend to eat a diet like that described, and I also find that my cravings for salty food is extremely diminished - to the point that the food "most" people eat is too briny for me. Here's what I think is going on: even a trace mineral deficiency (in any mineral) can lead to cravings for salts, and the way that these cravings are usually ameliorated is by adding more table salt to the mineral-poor food... table salt, being only sodium, chloride, and a little iodine, does not satisfy the cravings, and leads perpetually to a host of other health problems.
I bet if we used sea salt or rock salt instead, we would both fulfill many of the mineral deficiencies and also decrease salt consumption.

Also, as phytic acid is a chelator of minerals, it may be beneficial if, for example, you had a big fat steak for dinner. Eating oatmeal for breakfast the next morning will "clean up" the red meat's oxidized iron, which is one of the culprits that researchers think may be behind the red meat-colon cancer link.

Finally, check out molasses: 1 tablespoon is loaded with iron, magnesium, and calcium. I make a tea from it.

Ed said...

Nikki,

I don't normally reply to trolls, but I thought some hard data might be interesting to other readers.

Take a look at the table on this page:

http://www.beyondveg.com/nicholson-w/angel-1984/angel-1984-1a.shtml

You'll notice that as we switched to an agricultural diet, humans got much smaller. Humans were larger when on our "raw" food diets prior to the agricultural revolution circa 10,000 years ago.

(Not that humans 10,000+ years ago didn't sometimes cook food. But grains are pretty much inedible without cooking.)

Scott W said...

Unfortunately, there is a certain level of incivility creeping into the comments. I have always enjoyed the civil discourse on this forum, even between those who don't agree with each other.

The news of the excellence of this blog is obviously spreading. I hope newcomers can put on their critical-thinking caps and be willing to contribute in a constructive manner, or simply keep their thoughts to themselves.

As many of the others have done, I thank you once again for a very instructive and thought-provoking post.

Scott W

Carl said...

Wow Nikki, Yes I'm a College Graduate...in Science too...And I read this Blog with interest and find it enlightening.

Debbie SLP said...

I can agree with no processed foods (flour, sugar, and oil of all kinds), and with Vitamin D supplementation. Those things alone would help most people on a western style diet.

However, organ meats and dairy make me barf. On a vegetable based diet for the last 20 years with fruits, seeds, nuts, legumes, and a few meat or egg servings a week (local, not factory-farmed), I've not needed a filling, a new glasses prescription, or any medication. My BP and blood pressure are like that of a healthy teen. My exercise tolerance is very good, and my body fat very low.

I find I sleep better, digest better, and have more energy and better moods eating this way; I lost my PMS, menstrual pain, skin problems, thyroid problems, migraines, and excess 70 lbs; and get 1-2 mild colds a year rather than several more severe ones (not bad for working daily with sick children). I do take a purified fish oil (not fish organ oil) for DHA. Oh, and I get my teeth cleaned about every five years or so, mostly to please my elderly mother.

My last cavity (and all my 12 cavities) were from my childhood, when I was fed a high meat and dairy diet, as well as processed foods. At least I don't have to worry about high cancer, heart disease, stroke, autoimmune disease, and dementia risk. Zero risk factors. Too many protective phytochemicals.

I suppose we are all different. You can think of me as the one exception if you wish. Good luck to all of you with fixing your tooth decay. And may you be at the high tail on the bell curve (in other words, good luck) for those other nasties.

Blake D. Haw. said...

Interesting and good to know. What are the sources?

pnw fitness said...

Great article good to know I'm doing most things right.

I will definitely be passing this along.

Voyagerfan5761 said...

This post is awesome. You're getting hundreds of votes on Reddit; that's how I found it. I'm going to email this to my mother, too; she's into nutrition/dietetics and will likely find it very interesting.

arnoud said...

Why is current medical/dental practice so ignorant of information that has been known since 1924?

Too some the idea that excellent health can be achieved by diet possibly is just too hard to believe (so it must be wrong). After all a lot of smart folks with extensive education and experience are telling us that we just need to get correct treatment: fix the cavities, pull the wisdom teeth, get a stent, or get a triple heart arterial bypass....

Or could it be that some intentionally stick their heads in the sand? After all, filling cavities, doing root canals, adding crowns, adding stents, os doing triple bypasses have one thing in common: guaranteed cash flow.....

Or could it be that we just don't want to expand energy to think critically and allow ourselves to learn something....?

How long will it take before this knowledge will be incorporated in commonplace medical/dental practice?

If the history of Vitamin C is an indication, then it could yet take quite a while:

From the first report that a small amount of citric juice (Vitamin C) fully eliminated the deadly disease scurvy amongst sailors(in 1601), until standard dietary practice of citrus intake for sailors (in 1865), took 264 years....

It is to be hoped that our current communication practices (internet) and societal learning has improved somewhat.....

(For more on the Vitamin C story: http://www.lef.org/news/LefDailyNews.htm?NewsID=8074&Section=VITAMINS&source=DHB_090331&key=Body+Title )

Ger Beans said...

It seems to me the number one cause of tooth decay or cavities I've noticed occurs mostly in people who drink one or more "soda pops" a day. And adding Honest Scotch Snuff (none of those sweetened/flavored tobaccos) seems to help as well. Avoiding pop and enjoying plain powdered tobacco leaves has left me cavity free for at least two decades, maybe longer. :)

Stephan said...

Martin,

Thanks for the anecdote. Nuts contain a large amount of phytic acid. I don't think that's normally a problem if you eat them in moderation, but it's not ideal when you're trying to maximize mineral absorption.

Gyan,

That thought has crossed my mind as well. Although I haven't seen any data that confirm your theory, I wouldn't be surprised at all if there were variations among ethnic groups.

Mark,

Nuts may not be ideal when you're trying to heal tooth decay, but I think they're fine in moderation normally. There are ways to reduce the PA content of raw nuts but it's complicated so I didn't want to get into it in this post. I would think Ezekiel would be lower in PA but I'd have to know exactly how they make it. White bread is bad for a number of reasons. It actually doesn't contain much PA, but sourdough contains even less. I don't think wheat is a good idea in general, even sourdough, but for reasons other than minerals.

Joseph,

Please see my response to the nuts question above. Grass-fed dairy is different from grain-fed in a number of respects, but the difference in K2 is probably a critical one. It's definitely more expensive, I agree. Cheese is a good source of K2 (multiple isoforms). I wouldn't worry about making sure it's always grass-fed, but in my opinion grass-fed will always be preferable.

Jenny Light,

Let's take rice for example. Most of the PA is in the bran, so when you turn it into white rice it's lower in PA. The endosperm also contains some PA however, so you don't get rid of it all. Hulled nuts and seeds still contain PA. I haven't seen the book you mentioned, but it looks interesting!

Stephan said...

UofMWolverine81,

Yes, soaking and/or sprouting raw nuts should help, but I didn't want to get into it in this post because it's nuanced. Here's my opinion on cooking vegetables: vegetables that have been bred to be eaten raw, such as lettuce, radishes and carrots, can be eaten raw or cooked. Vegetables that have been bred for cooking, such as potatoes, artichokes and brussels sprouts, should be cooked. If they're bred for cooking, they aren't going to be well digested raw and they may contain anti-nutrients and toxins.

Dave,

Thanks for the anecdote. I'm still open-minded to the idea that carb restriction can be helpful for some people.

Jeff,

Cool, another success story!

Arnoud,

I wouldn't worry about a moderate amount of nuts if you're in good health and your teeth are OK.

Mee-Lise,

Absolutely. Coconut is not a nut and has low levels of phytic acid.

Cheeseslave,

Thanks, I like your blog too. I agree with you about nuts, I just didn't want to get into it in this post because it's complicated.

Stephan said...

Ed,

Yes, you can find phytase in digestive supplements. It should be effective. Adding vitamin D definitely made a big difference over no D, but the grain-free plus D group still had 2/3 fewer cavities develop than the vitamin D alone group. I'd say that's a big difference.

Jenny Light,

Yes, freshly ground gluten grains have a high phytase activity. Oats don't because they're toasted before purchasing, which kills the phytase.

StephenB,

I don't know exactly how much K2 is in pastured butter. Grain-fed butter contains roughly 15 micrograms per 100 g. Price said the quantity in butters varied up to 50-fold but his method wasn't quantitative.

Splantrik,

Nope, this post is for real.

Jesse,

I'm not aware of any controlled trials on adults like the ones I mentioned, but Dr. Price did report healing of cavities in adults on his nutritional program. The medical anthropology lit is also full of cases where cultures stop eating traditional foods in favor of white flour and sugar and develop rampant cavities. There are even instances where they reverted back to a traditional diet and their cavities healed. All this is published in "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration".

Book wolf,

Uh, you clearly didn't read the whole post because half of it was about human studies. The fact that the studies are old doesn't invalidate them. Dr. Mellanby discovered vitamin D even before he did this research, and vitamin D still exists doesn't it?

Vishal,

Nuts are full of vitamins but you can't absorb most of them because they're complexed with phytic acid.

Scott,

Thanks for your support. We have quite a few new people here today; I got 45,000 hits from Reddit!

Debbie,

I'm not against plant-heavy diets. But when it comes to maximizing mineral absorption for healing tooth decay, there's no question that minerals are generally better absorbed from animal foods than plant foods. That being said, I think you could design a plant-heavy version of the diet that would work if you were thoughtful about it.

Blake,

The sources are from the book "Nutrition and Disease" by Dr. Edward Mellanby. The book references dozens of primary literature papers from the 1910s through the 1940s. Many of them are in the British Medical Journal and the British Dental Journal. You can get the book second-hand (it's out of print) if you want to take a look.

Arnoud,

I think people have forgotten what the human body is capable of. They're incredulous even to peer-reviewed research showing health improvements that are beyond what they're used to seeing. We've come to accept sick as normal.

westie said...

Interesting post, Stephan!

I found this from sugar manufacturer Danisco's report:

"Starch is sticky and there for it is especially harmful for teeth."

That might explain atleast partly why wheat starch seems to be so problematic for teeth.

GoEd said...

Great Blog Stephan :-)
and very interesting post.

Just one question, I can't figure out how you obtained the values for the healing cavities in your graph. From the graph it seems like there is a factor of 10 difference between diet 3 and diet 1 in healing cavities, while in the BMJ paper (Table II) I pulled the following values:

Total number of carious teeth in which hardening has occurred
14.0 7.0 13.0 (Diet 3, Diet 1 & Diet 2) which seems to be only a factor of 2 difference.

What have I missed??

Jenny Light said...

Stephan:

I so love your blog, because it makes a person step back and truly think! I look so forward to each new post!

Your comment on oats prompted me to search for the manufacturing process used to create rolled oats as used for oatmeal. Indeed, just before rolling, they are steam cooked (not roasted) at a temp of 212 degrees! No wonder there is basically no phytase activity!

I will be visiting my dentist the end of this month for my six month check and clean. I will be most curious six more months down the line to see if there has indeed been a reduction in plaque/tarter buildup as a result of my very recent change to a strict low carb, grain free WAPF diet, and of my increased dosage of D3.

I have been a member of the WAPF for 7.5 years, but never really fully let go of my sugar addiction, and never fully embraced the diet. Have been doing raw milk and raw butter the entire time, and taking very sporadic doses of HVCLO/butter oil throughout. As of March 1st I have cleaned up my act for good!

Stephan said...

Westie,

I don't think starch per se is enough to cause cavities. Some of the Pacific islanders and Africans Price studied had high-starch diets but low tooth decay prevalence. In the first case, they ate low-phytic acid tubers, in the second, they fermented their grains to reduce phytic acid. I think the bigger problem is what comes along with the starch... the phytic acid.

GoEd,

I drew those numbers from Dr. Mellanby's book "Nutrition and Disease". The way he references the study is a bit confusing so I may have picked the wrong reference. Try this one:

Mellanby, M. British Medical Journal. 1932, issue 1, p 507

I'll try to look into this myself later today if I can get access. Thanks for pointing it out.

Jenny,

Thanks for clarifying about oats. Please keep us updated on your progress.

Mark said...

Wow, great job responding to EVERYONE! So if we're going to buy peanut butter/almond butter/cashew macadamia butter, should we be going for raw or toasted and/or blanched or unblanched? I'll stick with getting carbs from veggies, fruit, white rice, white potatoes, sweet potatoes and keep the sourdough to moderation. Thanks!

pythagoruz said...

Hey, great post. I quoted you in a blog I did today:

http://pythagoruz.blogspot.com/2009/04/good-and-bad-news-about-eating-crabs.html

Keep up the good work!

homertobias said...

Stephan,

To me this post is a little off base. If I am wrong please convince me, don't just say "its complex".
The Mellanby graphs, what is the "p" value and 95%CI between group 2 and Group 3? With an N of 62 it can't be statistically significant. So all you have here is Price revisited, D and K2 help heal tooth decay and not a condemnation of phytic acid.
Yes phytic acid is complex and like most things has good and bad properties. Phytase is available thanks to the industrialized food industry who want every nutrient possible available to their soybean or corn feed chickens and pigs. They are not interested in the animal's health, they are just interested in making them big and fat for slaughter.
I certainly don't want to add it to my diet. And it certainly is at odds with paleolithic philosophy to force our bodies to digest what they usually wouldn't.
I know, you didn't suggest supplementing with phytase.
Phytic acid - some good, some bad: Many articles on pub med showing inhibition of gastric and colon cancers with inosthitol (sp) ie phytic acid. Looks like the most likely complexed cations are NA, K, not CA. Yes high phytic acid diets yield dietary phosphorous loss but its the CA, D, K2 that we need not the phosphorous. High phosphates in sodas have been linked to osteoporosis but in general humans have not been known to be phosphorous deficient.

Look at this study: J Med Food, 2008 Dec; 11 (4):747-52. This is a longnitudinal study of phytic acid consumption in women and risk for osteoporosis. The higher the phytic acid consumption, the lower the risk of osteoporosis. As goes the bone so goes the tooth.

Respectfully, HT

Andrea said...

Stephen,

I just stumbled on your blog today. I'm a fellow PhD candidate at another University in the biomedical sciences and I'm also interested in the type of topics you discuss. I really appreciate the fact that you bring science--and the figures--into your blogs. I especially appreciate the citations, so I can read the studies on my own. Thanks!

ASBP

Stan (Heretic) said...

This is off-topic but interesting:

From Dr. Fuhrman's latest e-mail:

"Leaders of the Vegan Movement Develop Parkinson's: Case Studies"


"McDougall's forum"

Stan (Heretic) said...

Sorry the above link won't work, it should be this:
http://www.drmcdougall.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=11105

Robert M. said...

homertobias:

I read the study you cited. Here is the direct link for anyone else who wants to read it:

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19053869

The study is observational, with the dividing line between low phytate and high-phytate being eating phytate three days per week. This is a somewhat nebulous, arbitrary criteria.

They did not assess vitamin D status, nor magnesium intake. Blood serum or tissue phytate levels were not measured either.

The study shows that the low-phytate group differed from the high-phytate group significantly in the following factors: older than 45, female, low weight, exercise, smoking, consumption of pharmaceuticals known to cause osteoporosis, have a chronic disease, be calcium deficient, have been pregnant in the past, and actively contraceptive medication.

The items in the above list all (excepting age) had a greater statistical significance than the phytate consumption. Yet against that list, phytate is the responsible factor?

dr j said...

A fine piece of work and comments.
My questions are
1. Time? do we have an idea of how long does it take to renew the cavity and is each component renewed?
2. Enamel Layer. Does the enamel layer get partly or fully renewed as well?
3. Phytase quantity. How much phytase is needed per unit of food ? i now feel that i may need it for my 8 week test diet. (My test diet is to take 140g of rice protein per day as the base protein for a total of 200 g of protein, 50g of a range of fats and 50g of carbs)

homertobias said...

Robert M

Do you have a direct link to the entire article and not just the abstract?
The abstract contains none of the data you claim.
Almost all studies involving human nutrition are observational in nature. Ths does not invalidate them. 99% of Westin Price is observational. Only his work with children, cod liver oil and activator X was interventional. And of couirse it was in the prefloride era and was not randomized and placebo controlled. Observational studies almost always have confounding variables. That does not invalidate them.

If you can get me the full article for all of us I thank you. If you can show me any compelling evidence that inostitol is damaging to teeth or all cause mortality, or anything I'd love it.

Mulder said...

Homertobias:
"So all you have here is Price revisited, D and K2 help heal tooth decay and not a condemnation of phytic acid."
I think I agree with the observation. The confounder is the adding of Vit D3 to the two other ones. Even though I readily agree that there are lots of problems with phytic acid. For us not in the least the fact that it acts as an acid chelating Niacin and if I may quote Cordain:"The high phytate content of whole grain cereals can impair mineral metabolism i.e. iron, calcium, and other anti-nutrients have the potential to interact with the gastrointestinal tract and perhaps the immune system as well. The high lectin content of whole grain cereals can bind enterocytes in the small intestine and cause villous atrophy in addition to changing tight junction characteristics thereby allowing intestinal antigens (both dietary and pathogenic) access to the peripheral circulation".
And lets not even talk about the pigfarmers (pigs don't have the enzyme either) where all the phosphorus ends up in the manure, the fields, the rivers and the lakes, producing a green killing machine, the algae. Guess what they did in Guelph, Canada. Right, they changed the pig, called now the Enviropig (GM)which produces now the enzyme and healthier shit.
For now I stick to my oatmeal with all the extra's... and a solid table spoon of cocobutter.
And then I haven't even mentioned the AGES(advanced glycation end-products) which do a lot more than threaten our teeth.
Isn't it amazing that we're doing as well we are we all these dangers on our table? Wasn't it our father of medicine who said: 1/4 of what is on your table feeds you, 3/4 feeds your doctor.
Keep it up Stephan.
James

homertobias said...

Mulder

I do not know who "Us" is. I've read Cordain, I've read Price, I am not a grain eater. But you must metaphysically separate the
"wheat" from the chaff. We are not talking about grain consumption, we are not talking about gluten enteropathy, we are not talking about refined carbohydrates. We all agree on those subjects.
We are talking about phytic acid also known as IP6. The phytic acid content in nuts and vegetables has led Stephan to recommend eliminating nut consumption and cooking vegetables through and through to prevent tooth decay. His evidence so far revealed is 62 people in the prefloride era with no statistically significantly difference to my eyes between group 2 and group 3, the low and high phytic acid groups. Yes phytic acid can inhibit absorption of Na+,K+,Fe+,Zinc+,Ca+,Mg+ perhaps in that order, I'm not sure. Whether or not this leads to improper enamel recalcification is another matter. Whether or not phytic acid from nuts and raw vegetables is good or bad for you is an entirely different matter.

homertobias said...

Phytic Acid, IP6 is used to treat and prevent cancer, increase white blood cell production, prevent heart attacks, prevent and treat kidney stones, enhance the immune system and as an antioxidant.

Just because it is used for these reasons doesn't mean there is compelling evidence that it works. To the contrary, the data is quite preliminary and I would never take this as a supplement.Still, it is widely available from Life Extension and everybody else.

Still it does have some good preliminary evidence. Evidence is strongest for its ability to reduce formation of calcium and oxylate crystals in the urine and renal papillae. Preliminary evidence indicates that it decrease iron mediated colon cancer risk and may lower triglycerides. Elevated serum ferritin (storage form of iron in the blood) acts as an acute phase reactant and has been associated with increase risk of stroke, diabetes, and decreased cardiovascular fitness. There is interest in using IP6 for cancer. IP6 inhibits cancer cell proliferation and increases cancer cell differentiation sometimes reverting back to a normal cell line in vitro. IP6 has anticancer activity against models of breast,colon,liver,prostate, and hematologic cancers.

I'll give you references for any of this if asked. It's just that phytic acid (IP6) really has a mixed review. For me, I am going to continue to eat my handful of raw nuts and raw or lightly cooked vegetables. Goodbye for now.

Robert M. said...

Homertobias:

Wow, you cited a free access article you didn't bother to read. Amazing.

Ok, Pubmed for dummies: In the top-right hand corner of the abstract is a heading called "Links." You will notice the button with the title, "Marie Ann Liebert, Inc." which is the publisher of the journal beside Links. Click on it to forward you to the publisher's web-page.

Now on the publishers webpage you will see two links to PDF versions. Click on one of them and read the article. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed, it can be downloaded from:

Adobe Acrobat Reader

You may have to reboot your machine after installation.

P.S. anyone can go to the library of their local university of college and access articles that are not public-access. To reiterate, however, this one is free to the general public.

Stephan said...

Mark,

I wouldn't worry about eating nut products in moderation unless you're trying to heal cavities or bones. I'm generally in favor of eating nuts toasted rather than raw, unless you're willing to soak them, because toasting increases digestibility.

Pythagoruz,

Cool, I love crab.

Homertobias,

I went back and looked up the original data that Mellanby compiled for that chart I posted (BMJ 1932 1:507). He didn't do statistics on it and I can't get the raw data. We can't assume it's statistically significant, nor can we assume it isn't. However, he presents the data from all 8 of his dietary interventions. The results are very consistent between similar dietary groups. Normal diet plus vitamin D always beat no vitamin D by a wide margin. The vitamin D no-grain diet beat all of the other vitamin D diets (5 of them) by a factor of three when you consider the number of new cavities forming.

That's a major difference. In fact, so few new cavities formed on the no grain D diet that Mellanby said "Thus the new carious points observed to develop during the feeding period were only 0.05 per child as compared with the previous best result of 0.2 per child [among the other 7 trials]. The figure 0.05 is so small that it probably falls within the margin of error of this type of observation, and new caries may be considered, therefore, to have been suppressed."

I agree that it's possible it could have been a statistical fluke. To evaluate that possibility, we have to see whether it agrees with other data from the literature. Mellanby published a compilation of his exhaustive research on dogs called "The Rickets-Producing and Anti-Calcifying Action of Phytate" (J. Physiol. 1949. 109: 488). He demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that phytic acid, at normal dietary levels, decreases bone mineral density in dogs even when ample vitamin D is given. It's the result of dozens of experiments that are mutually buttressing so I'm very confident that phytic acid decreases mineral absorption and bone mineral density in dogs. Dr. May Mellanby published a number of studies showing the same applies to dogs' teeth.

Dogs are about as good at breaking down phytic acid as humans, which is to say not very. Rats express about 30X the phytase in their small intestines as humans, so they can extract minerals from seeds better than us and cannot be used to study the effect of phytic acid on human health.

Bone minerals are primarily calcium and phosphorus, and phytic acid inhibits the absorption of both. The effect on calcium varies but it's more pronounced on phosphorus. Phytic acid also inhibits magnesium absorption, also a factor in bone health.

OK, so we have controlled studies in dogs that are agreeing nicely with the controlled studies in humans. I always prioritize controlled studies over observational ones, for exactly the reasons Robert M. mentioned. You're often comparing apples to oranges in observational studies. People with a higher intake of phytate are people who eat whole grains. Those are also people who smoke less, exercise more, get more sunlight, are better off financially, more educated, etc. You can't properly control for all that.

The DART trial, which is the only controlled trial in humans that has looked at the effect of increasing grain fiber (and thus PA) on survival, showed that replacing refined grains with whole grains caused a trend toward increasing mortality. That's at odds with many of the observational studies. In my opinion, that's because the observational studies aren't properly in control. I'm going to go with the controlled trials on this one.

The idea that phytic acid could promote bone health is hard to believe mechanistically. How would a substance that inhibits the absorption of bone-building minerals improve bone health?

The data linking PA with reduced colon carcinogenesis are mostly rodents, which secrete phytase. No controlled human trials have been conducted, and the observational data are lukewarm (ex: PMID 8707094). Rodents are adapted to eating seeds, so they try to get rid of PA by enzymatically digesting it in the small intestine before absorbing minerals. I don't see why they would break it down if it were beneficial. Unfortunately humans haven't been eating significant quantities of seeds for long enough to have ramped up our phytase production, so we have to do things like ferment grains to mimic what rats do naturally in their small intestine.

Stephan said...

Andrea,

Nice to hear from you. Stick around!

Stan,

Thanks for posting the link, it's interesting. I'll keep it in mind.

Dr. J,

I'm not sure how long it takes, but the interventions I posted lasted 6 months. Enamel will not regenerate. Once that's formed during tooth development, you can't make it any more. But dentin will regenerate, and that's enough to heal cavities. I don't know how much phytase is required to break down a normal dietary amount of PA. Why are you going to eat so much rice protein? I don't know what you're trying to achieve on this diet but rice protein doesn't contain the proper balance of essential amino acids to survive on if it's your only source of protein.

dr j said...

Thank you Stephan,
if and when my experiment works I'll let you know!rice protein is about 2/3 of the protein/amino acid profile i am doing for 6 weeks test. A roughish profile is shown here http://www.sunwarrior.com/product-information/protein/amino-acid-profile.html

best
john

CSM said...

Soaking grains in acid at a warm temperature...

How about stomach acid at 98.6 F? Is that too acidic for phytase?

This just has me wondering if raw wheat might be more digestible than wheat cooked incorrectly. More phytic acid and so forth, but the enzymes to break them down would still be intact.

This might explain the difference between old fashioned stone ground and modern roller milled: heat. Just how hot did the old water powered millstones get? Perhaps some phytase survived.

homertobias said...

Robert M

Thanks for the computer help. Every time I look for a free article it is locked up. You've opened up my world.
I certainly disagree with your conclusions. As long as everyone has the same access, everyone can come to their own conclusions.
I find it fascinating to find that phytic acid inhibits bone resorption, abnormal calcification in aortas as well as renal papillae, and may act in essence as a natural bisphosphimate. So the most powerful drugs Big Pharma has to reverse osteoporosis (Fosamax, Boniva) are related to phytic acid. There is more to this story than meets the eye.

Ryan said...

Assuming this works, should I have my fillings removed before my teeth begin to recalcify?

steve said...

I definitely believe in the relationship between adquate nutrition and tooth health! Not a cavity for years, to the dismay of the ol dentist. A little surprised to see you advocate for "No breads except sourdough because they typically aren't made from fresh flour." From what I've read of your stuff and other sources isn't there an argument against bread for plenty of other reasons than the phytic acid and the flour not being fresh? Poor nutrition can cause the body to leech nutrients out of teeth and bones too, another argument between good diet and dental health.

Off topic, where'd your April Fool post go? I liked it!

Other funny april fools I caught in the blogosphere that day:

USDA Approves New Low-Fat Cow for Meat and Dairy

NRA Reaches out to Foodie Community with Gag Gadget

SDK said...

excellent article - i've already forwarded it to my friend who's about to become a dentist. she's usually pretty skeptical about anything going against the dental education grain, so i'm expecting a pretty ferocious response and rebuttal.

another friend who has celiac disease has already caught on to the whole grain-free diet thing.

she has been posting grain-free/gluten-free, high-protein recipes for a couple years now - they are pretty easy to make and usually mimicking traditional desserts and dinners.

check it: elanaspantry.com

Anna said...

SDK,

My only problem with Elana's Pantry recipes is that so many have a lot of agave syrup in them. Agave syrup seems to be her preferred sugar, as she states maple syrup and honey have too much glucose. But she seems to ignore the concentrated fructose issue of Agave syrup/nectar, which is a highly concentrated source of unnecessary fructose that I'd rather avoid. As a person with glucose intolerance, managed by diet and not meds, I'm aware of the problems with concentrated glucose sugars, too. So my strategy is to minimize any concentrated sweet stuff, except to extremely rare occasions, rather than substitute concentrated fructose for glucose.

Now that our family has gone gluten-free, too, I've noticed that so many GF cooks cling to the GF variations on wheat cuisine. To a point I can understand that it's hard for some people to completely leave breads, pancakes, pastries, and other baked goods completely behind. But I don't understand why more people don't just reduce the amount of wheat-like foods and make it easier on themselves. Isn't it easier and healthier to just focus more on non-grain foods instead of avoiding and/or recreating GF sugar/starch foods?

Stephan said...

CSM,

The stomach will break down some phytic acid if there's phytase around. But I don't think it would be wise to eat raw wheat. Although you might break down the phytic acid, you would bear the brunt of the other toxins that are normally broken down by cooking. Raw, dry grains are full of toxins and cooking is an important processing step for any grain that will be a staple in my opinion.

Phytase does survive in freshly ground whole wheat. It's actually quite effective at degrading its own PA when you put water on it. But modern wheat flour seems not to have much phytase activity anymore, probably because of the length of storage, plus the bleaching and bromation process. Maybe the heat of milling too, as you mentioned.

Ryan,

I don't know what's best in that situation. I can't recommend having your fillings removed.

Steve,

I'm still not big on wheat, including sourdough. But from the perspective of mineral absorption, it doesn't seem to be a problem unless you have celiac.

Chris Masterjohn said...

Stephan,

Awesome set of blog posts.

What was the "vitamin D" they were using in these remineralization experiments, however? In your last post, the "vitamin D" was cod liver oil or egg yolk. These are sources of A and D, as we now know.

This is from my Vitamin K2/Activator X article:

==========
http://www.westonaprice.org/basicnutrition/vitamin-k2.html#dental


We now know that the growth and mineralization of the dentin that Price observed in response to the combination of cod liver oil and Activator X concentrate would primarily require three essential factors: vitamins A, D, and K2. There are three calcified tissues of the teeth: the cementum forms the roots, the enamel forms the surface, and the dentin forms the support structure beneath it. Cells called odontoblasts lining the surface of the pulp just beneath the dentin continually produce new dentin material. If a cavity invades the dentin and reaches these cells they can die. The pulp tissue, however, contains stem cells that can differentiate into new odontoblasts that could regenerate the lost dentin if the right conditions were present.54

Dentin is unique among the tissues of the teeth for its expression of osteocalcin, a vitamin K-dependent protein better known for its role in organizing the deposition of calcium and phosphorus salts in bone. In the infant rat, whose teeth grow very rapidly, dentin manufactures much more osteocalcin than bone does, suggesting that osteocalcin plays an important role in the growth of new dentin. Matrix Gla protein (MGP), which is required for the mineralization of bone, is also expressed in dentin.55 Vitamins A and D signal odontoblasts to produce osteocalcin,56,57 and probably regulate their expression of MGP as well. Only after vitamin K2 activates these proteins' ability to bind calcium, however, can they lay down the mineral-rich matrix of dentin. The remarkable synergy between these three vitamins exactly mirrors the process Price observed.
=========

After writing it, I found that MGP (primary protein essential to mineralization) is indeed upregulated in teeth by both vitamins A and D.

So this indicates to me that vitamin A is just as important a component of cod liver oil and egg yolk as vitamin D, at least at the level of odontoblast differentiation -- maybe not at the level of intestinal calcium absorption.

Chris

jlyall said...

What an interesting post. The Ontario Dental Association has been advertising on the radio urging people to see their dentist to diagnose if they are suffering from tooth decay. I also suspect they would likely recommend more visits to the dentist to fix the problem, rather than getting to the root of the issue-diet (unless they are a holistic dentist of course)

Rod Newbound said...

Thanks Stephen.

Excellent article.

As a nurse who works with geriatric patients & editor of an antiaging blog, I wonder if a similar diet might also reverse osteoporosis. If you know of any studies related to this, please email me.

Stephan said...

Chris,

In diet number 2, the children were given irradiated ergosterol (D2). I'm having trouble figuring out how much though. It's hard to read on his table, but I believe he gave them 2.5 g in diet 2 and 0.4 g in diet 3. From what I can see online, irradiated ergosterol can range widely in IU per gram (just glancing I saw values of 6,000 to 20,000 IU per gram). Either way, it's probably a large dose of D2.

Also looking at the diet table, the children in group 3 were drinking over a kg of whole milk per day, plus 70g butter/cream! So they were definitely getting their K2. Group 2 drank about 300 g less milk and ate less butter, while group 1 ate less than either group (although still 1/2 kg of full-fat milk/day). Group 3 also ate the most eggs. Not a very controlled experiment, and it's looking more and more like Price's data, isn't it.

So I suppose vitamins K2 and A were probably all playing a role. It's funny that Mellanby ascribed it to vitamin D without hypothesizing that another vitamin was involved. It's also interesting that his best results by far were on the grain-free, high-vitamin D, high-full-fat dairy diet. That soundly beat another diet that had a similar amount of dairy but the vitamin D coming from CLO (that diet wasn't represented in the graph I posted). So either you need a lot of D for the full effect, or grains are interfering with the diet's benefits. Or maybe the CLO had too much A and not enough D.

Rod,

I'm glad you asked! I do believe it would be effective for osteoporosis. Please see this review of vitamin K2 supplementation and fracture incidence:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16801507

I think a low-phytic acid diet that incorporates K2, A, D and mineral-rich foods would likely benefit bone health as much as dental health.

motherofblessings said...

What about those of us who grind their own wheat? I grind my own wheat right before making bread. Is the PA taken care of when baking this way? How can I find out?

Mulder said...

It may not be exactly a walk in the park though.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19053869?log$=activity
Phytate consumption had a protective effect against osteoporosis, suggesting that low phytate consumption should be considered an osteoporosis risk factor.
James

Stephan said...

Motherofblessings,

Fresh-ground whole wheat has a high phytase activity, so it will break down its own phytic acid within a couple of hours of adding water.

Mulder,

That's an observational study. Phytic acid = whole grains = people who also exercise, don't smoke, get sunlight etc. The only controlled trial that evaluated the effect of increasing grain fiber (rich in PA) showed a trend toward increased mortality in the fiber group (the DART trial). Please see Robert M's comment above for all the reasons why that observational study does not constitute evidence in favor of PA. The #1 reason is they didn't control for vitamin D status.

Chris Masterjohn said...

Stephan,

Thanks for your response. Diet 3, however, outperformed diet 2. What was its source of vitamin D? Sounds just the eggs and milk? Sounds like it would have had plenty of vitamin A, relatively speaking.

I'll have to look at that research myself when I have the chance. Thanks so much for posting it.

Check out my blog for the latest on the A/D/K2 interactions:

http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2009/04/tufts-university-confirms-that-vitamin.html

Tufts University made the first big step towards confirming my hypothesis that vitamin A protects against vitamin D toxicity by helping to suppress excessive increase in the vitamin K requirement.

Chris

Stephan said...

Chris,

Diets 2 and 3 both contained irradiated ergosterol (D2). 2.5g for diet 2 and 0.4g for diet 3. I don't know what the potency per gram was, but it's likely to be a fairly high dose in both groups, particularly #2.

I suspect diet 3 outperformed 2 because of higher K2 intake and reduced grain intake. Vitamin A may also have played a role. The reduced grain intake may have exerted its protective effect through reduced PA.

Glad your theory is getting more traction. It makes perfect sense to me. Although honestly I don't know how Polynesians and Melanesians could possibly have had a high intake of vitamin A. Where would it have come from? Maybe it was just high compared to the average deficient American diet of Price's time.

Olga said...

Hi Stephan:

Thanks for all the great research. This may be a silly question, but if phytates make minerals so inaccessible, then how are children able to grow bone, and teeth so effectively, being some of the biggest consumers of phytates in our society? It seems to me that a big part of the equation must be missing. This would suggest to me that the minerals are being absorbed, but something must be happening after they are assimilated. Perhaps vit d. It seems to be more of an allocation problem. Perhaps vit d directs the minerals to be used more efficiently where they are most needed. This would explain why groups 2 and 3 were so similar.

Another question is about wheat. My husband and I have been on a protein power-ish diet for many years. Our biggest challenge is to try and encourage our children to eat this way as well. In the end we have to compromise. They eat pretty well when at home, not so well when they're at school or elsewhere. From what I have read in this blog and elsewhere, generally speaking, root veggies are preferable to bread but if one does occasionally indulge in bread, the best choice (apart from soaked fermented or sprouted) would be highly processed bran/germ free grains. Thus rendering the grain to the macro nutrient equivalent of a potato. Is this correct? Try as I may to soak, or ferment grains, there are only so many hours in a day to fit in all that needs to be done, when you're a working mom. Thanks again for the excellent blog.

Stephan said...

Olga,

Children are able to build bone, but probably not as effectively as they would on a diet of higher calcifying value. Mellanby did quite a bit of research on bone development as well, and found that the same factors apply as in tooth development and maintenance. At adequate vitamin D levels, phytic acid and mineral content were the primary determinants of bone mineralization in his experiments in dogs.

If you want to eat bread, in my opinion sourdough rye is the best. Sprouted grain breads should also be pretty good.

Olga said...

Thanks for the information. I'll try to get the kids to eat sprouted grains, picky little eaters that they are. Cheers.

Belmondo said...

Stephan, I'd love to hear your opinion on fluoride?

Helpful or harmful?

Stephan said...

Belmondo,

I haven't really formed a strong opinion on fluoride yet, except that it's bizarre that the government is allowed to conduct involuntary mass medication. Why force people to ingest it when you can apply it to the teeth directly at the doctor's office? The teeth are the target tissue but when it's in the drinking water, every tissue gets it.

It's certainly no substitute for a good diet, and I try to avoid it as much as possible on principle. But I do drink tap water and that's fluoridated. I'm sure my teeth are full of fluoride. I think it's probably effective at preventing tooth decay from the little data I've seen and conversations I've had. But I don't know if I'm going to go there on the blog because it's an inflammatory topic.

bunnygirl said...

Interesting. I've always wondered why the only cavity I've ever had (I'm 42) recalcified before a dentist could even see it.

Olga said...

Hi Stephan:

Am I correct in assuming that eating phytic acid only effects mineral absorption of the foods eaten simultaneously in that meal? If so, it may make sense to eat nuts occasionally as a separate snack by them selves, thus minimizing their potential effect on mineral absorption. They're just too yummy and convenient to give up.

Stephan said...

Olga,

Yes, phytic acid will bind minerals it's in contact with but presumably won't interact with previous meals.

I don't really advocate giving up nuts in general, in the post I was just designing the optimal diet for healing cavities based on what I know. I think nuts can be part of a healthy diet.

BK said...

Stephan,

Where would you say pasta fits in here? Thanks.

Stephan said...

BK,

Pasta is not ideal because it isn't fermented. I also think wheat is a bad idea in general, especially modern wheat flour because it's treated with chemicals for appearance and texture.

Kyle said...

How much vitamin D did they take?

Great article, by the way.

Stephan said...

Kyle,

They got large doses of irradiated ergosterol, which is vitamin D2. I can't say exactly how much D2 because the IU per gram varies with how much you irradiate the ergosterol and Mellanby didn't get into the details in the paper I read. But they were large doses even by today's standards, in the thousands of IUs.

CLARE said...

thankyou so much for this informative article. My teeth have been rapidly decalcifying over the last 5 yrs (new decay every 1-2 months). I've always brushed, flossed, cut out sugars, orange juice and tomatoes...etc. The dentists say they are rapidly deteriorating, yet they have no advice to why this is happening. This post just may be the awnser that i have been looking for!

Stephan said...

Clare,

Glad you enjoyed the post. Please let us know if it helps.

Muchacha en la ventana said...

I have read your post and comments.My doughter 30 months old diagnosed with 6 cavities( according to other dentist 2:-)
I already sow that her second mollars coming and they already have brown spots too.I don't understand how a tooth decay even not completely poped up??
Anyway I really don't want her going through filling procedure.I am still breastfeeding her and dentists are blaming BM for the cavities that another thing that I am puzzled with.
I am looking for aan alternate way -such as healing them.
My questions are
1- What brand of pastured butter would you recommend
2-My husband agains giving her row milk.We give her cow milk is that OK?
3-I would like to start cod liver oil but worried about over loading vitamin D.Is it safe for kids?
4-We were giving her lots of nuts and oat meal -cream of wheat etc .So you post makes sense to me .What ae the fermented grains?
Thanks.
Alev

Stephan Guyenet said...

Alev,

This is not advice, just a few ideas that you can take or leave:

Definitely continue breast feeding. However, make sure you have a good vitamin D status so that your milk will contain vitamin D. This will require frequent sun exposure or supplements in the several thousand IU range.

I believe high-vitamin cod liver oil is safe for children, but the dose should be small of course. Just make sure it has a good ratio of D to A, 1:10 or higher. If it has less vitamin D than that, then it may do more harm than good.

In my opinion, grains (including oatmeal and cream of wheat) and nuts are not a great weaning food, with the possible exception of thoroughly fermented ones. If you're going to feed her starchy foods, roots like potato/sweet potato are a better choice. But eggs and meats are even better.

I would recommend any brand of pastured butter. The highest quality butter is the darkest yellow.

I don't think there's any reason to give her cow's milk if she's getting breast milk.

Muchacha en la ventana said...

Thank you Stephan;
It helps.I bought Kellygold butter from Wons today.Regarding meat,should it be gras fed too? It is not easy to find grass fed poultry and meat .Not all organics meats are.
I am taking prenatal vitamin since I am still breastfeeding and checked vitamin D content in it and it is only 400IU and says %100 of DV for lactation value.You are suggesting couple of 1000 .I dont really get it how come 400 IU is %100 then?

I am going to stop oat meal completely soaking wouldn't assure me:-))

Great blog and port BTW.

Alev

Muchacha en la ventana said...

Hi Stephan;
I have checked Carlson and Nordic Cod liver oil for kids but their vitamin Ato D ratio is not 1:10.
The one for adult has that ration .I am not sure if I can give adult one to my kid.Don't you think that kid's cod liver oil ratio should be okay for them?

An also what do you think of whole wheat pasta??

Thabks-Alev

Muchacha en la ventana said...

It is me again,
Carlson kids cod liver oil has 400 to 950 ratio.
I wonder why you said if the ratio is less can make harm than good?

Sorry for so many questions,hovewar I think I am getting there.

Thanks again

Stephan Guyenet said...

Alev,

Grass-fed/pastured meats are ideal. I understand that not everyone can afford them. Eating conventional meats is not a serious problem from a health standpoint in my opinion.

The RDA for vitamin D is low because vitamin D is also made in the skin. The body burns through roughly 2,000- 4,000 IU per day, depending on the person. But if you were to take 4,000 IU every day, and get a lot of sunlight, you run the risk of overdose (although the risk is quite low). That's one of the reasons why they set the RDA so low.

If you get lots of sunlight, don't worry about vitamin D. If you get no sunlight, it's a good idea to supplement D3 whether through high-vitamin cod liver oil or D3 supplements. 1,000 IU per 25 lbs of bodyweight is a good starting point, but the only way to be sure is get your level tested.

I can't recommend Carlson's CLO. It's basically fish oil with added synthetic vitamins.

I think whole wheat pasta is probably not a healthy food.

Crissy said...

What is the best Cod liver oil to start giving my daughter?? And what is best way to give it to her so she won't taste it? Also does high vit butter oil and CodLoil have to be given TOGETHER for them to work? My daughter already eats generous amounts of grassfed butter through out the day but she would not be taking it together at the same time. By the way since eating the Kerry gold butter myself my skin in fantastic!! Love this post and all answers would be appreciated:)

Anna said...

We recently switched CLO and my son didn't like the switch. I'm trying to use up a bottle of Sonne's CLO that is unflavored, Norwegian, and not very tasty for my 10yo (after that I plan to buy some fermented Blue Ice CLO). I squeeze half an orange and mix the CLO dose with the juice shot for him. He'll take it without too much of a grimace.

I don't use very much juice because this way he consumes all the CLO in one or 2 swallows. It might be less offensive with more juice dilution, but it might be harder to get him to finish the juice, too (you know how kids are about not finishing things). And I don't tend to push juice as a beverage in our house anyway.

Crissy said...

I have narrowed it down to the Blue Ice orange oslo CLO. It is emulsified, what is the difference between emulsified and not emulsified? I know what you mean about kids not finishing things. I have found that if I give my girl something VERY COLD like after being in the freezer for about a half hour she tends to down it faster.
Very excited today, found raw milk cheddar cheese at the fresh market. Girl said it had just come in and it has been selling out. Daughter loves it!!!!!!!!

Stephan Guyenet said...

Crissy,

I'd check the WAPF website for CLO recommendations. I believe Green Pastures is going to stop selling their regular Blue Ice CLO, which is the one I used to recommend. Now they'll be selling fermented only, which by the way Anna, I can practically guarantee your son will not take. It tastes awful and it burns the throat if taken by itself.

I actually have some reservations about the fermented CLO. The vitamins D and A get modified into all sorts of metabolites by the fermentation process, and who knows what those metabolites do in the body. Although I suppose we can be somewhat reassured of its safety because it's similar to the traditional production method.

Kyle said...

Thanks for responding! Do you know if peanut butter is high in phytic acid?

Muchacha en la ventana said...

I bought Nordic CLO with strawberry taste.My 2.5 years old doughter likes it.I am giving 1 teaspoon for her and taking 2 teaspoon myself.
I bought Kerrygold butter but it was salty one that she didn't like.I found row butter in Wholefoods then our pediatrician strictly warned me not to give ant unpastorized milk and derivatives.
May be giving High vitamin butter oil is an better solution.
I am really confused about this diet.I understand that it may improve tooth health( which I have discussed with many dentist that they don't agree)but on the other hand what about the intake of cholosterol,fat etc/

Stephan Guyenet said...

Peanut butter should contain a fair amount of phytic acid. Nuts and unsoaked legumes generally contain a lot.

Crissy said...

Thanks so much for responding Stephen!! So have you tried the regular Blue Ice CLO? Is it acceptable? My daughter will do it if I can mask the flavor in juice. Getting ready to order.Have really changed her diet and so happy with all of this info. Thank you so much for all the responses:)

Anna said...

muchacha,

I have been serving my family raw milk and raw butter for three years. My son didn't like to drink milk very much until we switched to raw milk; now he loves it. I don't discuss raw dairy with our pediatrician or our dentist; I don't even mention it. I'm quite sure they wouldn't approve. What they *don't know* about raw dairy could fill a stadium.

I also don't discuss the lack of grains with the doctor, either. What he doesn't know about nutrition and gluten sensitivity could fill the Grand Canyon.

Stephan Guyenet said...

Alev,

High-vitamin butter oil is a good product if it's in your price range. Grass-fed is probably more important than raw in my opinion, so you could still feed her pasteurized grass-fed butter.

One of the premises of this blog is that animal fats, and by extension, saturated fat and cholesterol, are not harmful. You are free to form your own opinions on that. If you'd like to read my opinions, I've written about it extensively on the blog. Just search for the phrase "saturated fat".

I think it's interesting to note that human breast milk is full of saturated fat, the human liver makes saturated fat from carbohydrate, human body fat is roughly 40-50% saturated, and our cell membranes are about half saturated fats.

Stephan Guyenet said...

Crissy,

I think the taste of the Blue Ice CLO is acceptable, but I know people who object to it.

Classic TV said...

Great article. I'm going to add your plan to my diet and get back to you soon. I have done some looking around, and found that folic acid, along with CoQ10 can be useful in maintaining the health of your gums.
Just for the guys: Here's a good article about preventing prostate cancer http://prostatehealthvitamins.blogspot.com

gypsypuppy said...

any idea if you can heal cavities on the root? my dentist found one during a cleaning below the gum line (i hadn't had a cleaning in almost 3 years and the tartar that was stuck there had caused it). my dentist, an advocate of ozone therapy and mi paste to remineralize teeth, says that the root cannot remineralize. help?

Stephan Guyenet said...

Gypsy puppy,

I don't know, sorry.

Kate said...

HI stephen

Just wanted to ask what modifications you would make to the diet for teeth etc for a little girl allergic to dairy in all forms and also eggs. CLO is obviously a source of Vits A and D but what would sub for the butter?

Kate said...

Just wondered what you would add to the recommended diet for someone allergic to milk and eggs?
Thanks

The Green Entrepreneur said...

Hey great post. You are my new hero Stephan and I look forward to reading more of your posts.
I am going into naturopathic medicine so any medically related news which has to do with nutrition and smart healing I am a huge fan.
Anyway, just a little addition - I had bad gums and some decay for a long time until I was introduced to Sangre de Drago, an Amazon Rainforest sap which has a 90% OPC content and some unreal healing qualities. My gums are now perfectly pink and my decay has halted and reversed noticeably. I get mine here: http://savetheamazon.amazonherb.net/ProductInfo.aspx?ItemID=5042 Anyway I look forward to our future contact.

The Green Entrepreneur said...

Oh I forgot to say the sangre de drago is dark red ( like dragon's blood ) and I not only swish it in my mouth for healing the inside of my mouth, but also since starting to ingest it I have had a much better functioning digestive system as well! Ah, the power of the rainforest. In case you missed the link on the best place I have found to get my rainforest botanicals is at: http://savetheamazon.amazonherb.net/ProductInfo.aspx?ItemID=5042
Pure and potent - natural healing all the way!

rambabu said...

nice content related to health services

thanks

trinkwasser said...

A reason for avoiding nuts may be mechanical damage, I snapped the corner off one of my teeth.

More proof that dentists' competence ranges as widely as that of doctors: one of my otherwise highly competent ones was of the opinion that plaque and cavitites were largely genetically determined and you could only shift the incidence slightly by eating sweets or flossing a lot.

Yet this information was out there back when he was being trained - only he never picked up on it.

There've been similar threads on Mark's Daily Apple and at least one diabetes forum looking at reduced incidence of plaque with starch avoidance but I haven't seen much elsewhere suggesting you can actually *heal* your teeth rather than just avoid further damage.

OK dentists largely make their income from fixing stuff, maybe this is why they are not taught about the benefits of dietary changes. But considering they seem to suffer from high levels of "mental" illness, probably due to mercury exposure and now to plasticisers, they could also be protecting their own health by reducing their workload.

rambabu said...

great content written related to teeth decay
thanks

Get it Done said...

xylitol is also very important to fight tooth decay.

themickinhiding said...

http://www.automateyourwebsite.com/app/?af=969532

Tooth Soap

The stuff is amazing! ... its leaves my teeth squeaky clean without residue! :) ... and its only saponified olive and coconut oil

Karen said...

Thanks for this post. Just wondering though, does anyone know if this regime would be helpful for really extreme cavities? Or is it better used for prevention of cavities and for restoring superficial cavities? I had a carious tooth become abscessed last week and it happened so quickly and became so painful so suddenly that I had to have the tooth extracted. I think that was the right choice, but the dentist is also recommending I have another tooth extracted (the root of this other tooth is also decayed) It's not actually causing me any pain at the moment, however, (though the the dentist thinks it will eventually become abcessed too, thus should be pulled now) and I wonder if I should hold off on getting it extracted for a few months to see if this adopting this regime will help? (I already eat fresh ground bread and minimal grains and sugar, but would like to try the pastured butter and cod liver oil and vitamin d, and broths made from meat bones) or if I should just go ahead with the extraction because the cavity if so extreme. If anyone has any idea about this, I would really appreciate hearing from you. Thanks, Karen.

Karen said...

Thanks for this post. Just wondering though, does anyone know if this regime would be helpful for really extreme cavities? Or is it better for prevention and for superficial cavities? I had a decayed tooth become abscessed last week and it became so bad so quickly that I had to have the tooth extracted. I think that was the right choice, but the dentist is also recommending I have another tooth extracted (the root of this other tooth is also decayed) It's not actually causing me any pain at the moment, but the dentist thinks it will eventually become abcessed too so needs to be pulled. I wonder though if I should hold off on getting it extracted for a few months to see if this adopting this regime will help? (I already eat fresh ground bread and minimal grains and sugar, but would like to try the pastured butter and cod liver oil and vitamin d, and broths made from meat bones) If anyone has any idea about this, I would really appreciate it. Thanks, Kimberley.

Stephan said...

Hi Karen,

I would not expect a change in diet to reverse a severe cavity that has affected the root. That one is probably best left to the dentist.

Karen said...

Hi Stephan, thanks for the quick reply. That is very helpful for me, as I have a dentist's appointment tommorow. I am definitely going to try these diery changes for prevention of future cavities though, as I think the fact that I am getting these cavities is a definite sign of malnutrition in my body.

Jeff Ferguson said...

A diet rich in animal foods is going to cause lots of other problems due to the acidic nature of those foods. A predominantly plant based diet is always best for health. That is based on my own 30 years (I'm 53) of experience.

Dr.Gee said...

Hi, Stephen,

great post. thanks.

i have only switched diet about a month ago to a somewhat paleo diet : lower carb (less grain) & higher (saturated) fat. not drastic changes since i don't need to loose weight (my BMI = 18.3 & i exercise few times/week). i was trying to cut my mild sugar addiction.

one result i noticed right away is dental hygiene is easier --- less plaque build-up.

now i have a really funny problem: i lost weight.
now my BMI has dropped to 17.8 in less than 1 month.

how do i gain weight back in a healthy way without going back to high carbs? i really dont' want to keep loosing weight.

carrol said...

What is the content in sweets & chocolates that decays the teeth? You have mentioned that nuts are not recommended for dental health. But, nuts are a good source of nutrients right? I am a veggie & sea foods can't be eaten by me. What can i substitute it with? In my house, grains are often eaten as it is good for health. What is the food that you suggest for veggies to improve oral health.

HERO said...

i wanna ask question .. i have ablog about teeth http://www.htooth.blogspot.com
and some one asked me about a case
he has a missed tooth and he wanted to make a crown but one of the abutments must be treated endodontically and the dentist mad the cavity too deep till it reached the apical foramen so the amlagam reached the PDL how can we make a reduction to this abutment

pinthorsepall said...

The comment about Vitamin D is very interesting. I have had toothache for 4 months and awful cavities and am one of those people that are too embarrassed to go to a dentist for fear of them ripping my mouth apart!
I have been on painkillers for almost 2 months and felt my liver suffering as a result. I spent 15min or so in the January sun in the UK (which is weak) but have felt able to live without painkillers for the first two days for two months! I will definitely try the diet and look forward to not having to have extensive dental work done at the tender age of 29. At last, after hours of Web trawling looking for a solution to my dental woes I believe I have found something really hopeful! I will post back if it works (or otherwise!)

Stephan said...

Hi Pinthorsepall,

You should see a dentist as soon as possible. If the infection is well-established, which it sounds like it is, it may be too late to reverse it. Deep cavities are nothing to mess around with.

Anna said...

Pinthorsepall,

I agree with Stephan. See a dentist as soon as possible (asap). Don't be embarrassed. Dentists see reluctant patients every day. Ask your friends and colleagues for a good recommendation. Unfortunately, treating an advanced dental problem probably won't be cheap, but like all things, neglect can be far more expensive than regular prevention. If you are upfront and honest with the dentist (about your embarrassment, if treatment is a financial hardship, if you are very sensitive to pain, or all three), most dentists will try to work with your personal situation.

In fact, I think is quite common for serious dental problems to present themselves suddenly in young adults (late 20s and early 30s) who are a few years "out of the nest" if they have neglected to see a dentist regularly or have ignored their overall health. Old fillings and dental work from childhood eventually fail; new cavities can develop as as a result of lack of regular dental care or poor diet/lifestyle habits; gingivitis and periodontitis become apparent. For women, the hormones in BCPs and pregnancies can exacerbate oral health issues.

From my own ups and downs with dental health (I stopped seeing a dentist for several years after I was on my own and developed several failed fillings and a few new cavities when I was your age), I've come to see the mouth as a "snapshot" of overall health. If oral/dental health is not good or declining, it's a wake-up call that shouldn't be ignored or treated by yourself. Problems in the mouth are the tip of the iceberg and a review of overall health is in order, too, IMO.

Good luck with the dentist and getting your dental problems under control. If you are not a regular reader of this blog, read the back posts and reader comments; you'll find lots of good guidance for regaining your health, which will benefit your dental situation once you get this acute situation treated. You might also take a look at Dr. Art Ayer's Cooling Inflammation blog, too. The WAPF website (www.westonaprice.org) is also useful for nutrition support for good dental health.

Bernard said...

Hi Stephan I have a cavity and I think it might be deep but there is no pain . can I reverse it?

Jay said...

does soaking nuts makes them less crunchy?

Edem said...

I have a couple of questions to ask about the nutritional value of grains.

1. If eating wholemeal bread adversely affects mineral absorption, then are there any nutritional benefits from eating wholemeal bread?

2. Can snacking on wholemeal bread away from main meal times have any adverse impact on the mineral/vitamin absorption from eating the main meals.

I have justed started a trial of completely cutting out nuts and grains from my diet and at the same time increasing my organic dairy, fish and meat organ consumption to see whether my teeth and other aspects of my physical health derive any benefits from this.

After what length of time should I start to notice some benefits?

Stephan said...

Hi Edem,

Whole grains are also higher in vitamins. Eating a diet too rich in white rice or other refined grains is a one-way ticket to vitamin deficiency diseases. Even some unrefined grains can do it if they aren't prepared properly, like corn for example.

I doubt eating a slice of improperly prepared whole wheat bread away from a meal will have much if any effect on overall mineral status. You won't absorb most of the minerals it contains though.

Sneha said...

thnx.... I'm a dental surgery student...I'm in 2nd year,... now I'm 17 n have developed class 1 carries in my mandibular 1st molars... I cried a river when my profs told me that carries are irreversible... I cried cuz I never had oral health problems had tym to tym dental ck ups n brushed my teeth well + I use bacteriosidal mouth rinses ...yet i developed carries.... I read all comments under ur blog n now I can hope that my carries will too heal by forming thick hard dentin thnx so much for ur blog... this stuff is not even given in my dental materials books n conservative dentistry books... these all books just say that once tooth decay starts theres no way back... the tooth has to b drilled n affected black dentin has to b removed n filling has to b done... I even hate amalgam silver filling 4 my teeth cuz it has mercury n so many more problems.... like the H2 gas release wdin the cavity n pressuring n thn finally pain...the restoration may even fracture.... so now I'm gonna follow the diet in the blog... will eat cheese n drink lotta full cream milk.... n if it really works on my teeth I'll suggest the same to my patients in future. :D

HelpME said...

I NEED HELP BAD & FAST. My dentist wants $15,000 to fix my tooth decay. I just discovered this CLO thing. I bought "SPRING VALLEY ORANGE FLAVORED CLO" Is that kind good to help tooth decay. It's all I could get in my town. If it's good How do you use it for tooth decay? Do you swish it around your mouth & let it coat your teeth & stay there or swallow it then brush your teeth after? Also I could travel a bit & get CLO pills. What's better for tooth decay CLO Pills or CLO liquid? If liquid. Is the kind I have good or not & if so what are the directions basically? Also Can I use Biotene dry mouth toothpaste & mouthwash while I take it or not? I switch b/w Biotene dry mouth tootpaste/mouthwash & Colgate Cavity Protection/Listerine Kid's Smart Rinse b/c that's what the dental worker told me. Last is there any foods/snacks/drinks you can have while you do this treatment besides the somewhat disgusting diets I've been reading about all over the internet? I'll definitely do those diets. I'm just wondering if I can have some good tasting food/snacks/drinks once in a while or not? THANKS. I hope this site finally answers these questions. I've had this CLO for 3 days but never took any b/c I couldn't find any answers out. One More Thing. How will I know if I'm getting too much VITAMIN A &/or VITAMIN D with the CLO plus the things I eat? How much of those are normal on a daily basis?

Anna said...

Jay asked:

"does soaking nuts makes them less crunchy?"

Yes, but dried slowly in a dehydrator or a very, very low temp oven (preferably under 150°F) with the door slightly ajar, they become very crispy and crunchy - a really nice texture that is different than both raw and roasted nuts.

Air drying without some slightly warm air moving over them is tricky as damp nuts can mold quickly. A single layer is best for faster drying. Taste for crunchiness and complete dryness.

Anna Delin said...

Very interesting stuff. Yet another reason to stick with the D3 supplementation, both for myself and the kids and also up K2 and minerals. During later years, I have encountered several dentists who did not go right ahead and fill a small hole I had. They all claimed that small holes can heal spontaneously and therefore the best thing to do would be to just observe it and fill it only if it started to grow. So apparently at least some knowledge is out there regarding tooth decay reversal. Nobody made the connection with vitamin D though.

Scott said...

First, I have no health insurance as an entry-level small business employee. That said, I do not visit the dentist because of the financial setbacks it will incur. It has been about 6 years since I went to the dentist, and I know I have some cavities that need taking care of, HOWEVER.

Specifically a back molar tooth has a decent amount of decay to the point of discoloration and a cave-in effect... the bulk of the tooth is fine, but the center is a bit tender. After reading this article and going out and buying a bottle of Vitamin D, and once or twice a week loading up on a few more glasses of milk, I have noticed over the course of...

Two weeks later and I already notice an improved feeling of my teeth - I can chew down on the tooth and I don't have any discomfort like I used to once every few days - I haven't had this occur in weeks. There is almost no "light throb" now and then like there used to be, known as simple tooth pain.

While I haven't seen any visible changes /yet/, I don't feel pain as often as I used to on a daily basis.

Overall, even if this diet doesn't 'heal' cavities, it will make your teeth feel better regardless.

Dr.Gee said...

Hi, Stephen,

regarding "cooked vegitables"

in traditional Chinese medicine, a lot of vegitables (esp. raw) & fruits are considered "cooling." so Chinese traditionally don't eat raw much vegi (too "cold" & hard to digest).

regards,

pam

Megan said...

To the author Stephan Guyenet, thank-you so much for hosting this website the information you provided is very helpful and encouraging. I recently took my second daughter, who is 16 months, to the dentist because I suspected caries, both early signs of caries (bright white spots and pits) and more progressed caries (brown colored pits) in her top four teeth. When I took her to the dentist they verified that she in fact had cavities and proceeded to paint fluoride on her teeth. The dentist strongly suggested that I get fluoride applied to her teeth every three months. The dentist also warned that if the caries got to bad they would just pull the teeth out because they don`t fill baby teeth. The fillings don`t seem to last in baby teeth and the child would have to be sedated to even work on her teeth. I was very concerned that we had irreversible teeth problems until I read your article on reversing tooth decay. Again Thank-you very much.

Dr. Bathurst said...

A very interesting and well written article. They do not teach you that you can reverse or heal early cavities in dental school. But this is definitely a possibility.
Richmond Hill dentist

MEOHMY said...

READER IN MARYLAND: I was wondering if it is safe to apply some of these things directly to a child's molars to speed the results. For example, could I apply a daily dab of cod liver oil and pastured butter directly to my 5-year-old's tooth where small signs of decay have begun to show. I was ignorant up until now about the need for using fluoride and protective rinses. I was brushing his teeth twice daily but apparently not doing a good enough job reaching his back teeth, hence the decay on his otherwise gorgeous set of baby teeth.

AnetaCuse said...

It's my first visit to this blog, and I can't get my head around all the information yet. I'm a vegetarian locavore interested in healthy eating and lifestyle.

What about the sun for vitamin D absorption? If I spend several hours a day in the sun, but I'm virtually covered head to toe (face covered with sunblock and a brimmed hat), does my body produce vitamin D or not? How long should sun exposure occur daily and what percentage of my body should be uncovered for maximum benefit? Thank you.

George said...

Very interesting post, Stephan. I agree that the tooth can heal itself. My trusted Myrtle Beach dentists had advised that I take xylitol. I've also read that it can really help the teeth in the mineralization process.

joanne said...

Stephan,

Thanks for this post, and for your blog. I am glad I found it through a link someone posted in a comment on the WAPF website.

I have been wondering for sometime about the PA content of freshly ground whole wheat flour, and I'm happy to see you mention here that it has a bit of phytase in it, and is therefore better able to reduce PA.

I received a grain mill for my bday this year, and have been making whole wheat breads with my fresh flour, and I have noticed that I find my breads a LOT more digestible, and less "heavy" with the freshly milled flour. In the back of my mind, however, was a worry about PA. I haven't been soaking my flour at all when I make bread, but I will start doing that with the knowledge that the phytase is present in the flour to reduce PA.

Thanks, too, for your list of what you consider a healthy diet. It coincides with mine, although I admit to having too many sweet teeth. :) Leaving out nuts isn't hard for me, because I suspect they are a major trigger for my migraines.

Best, joanne

juan said...

my teeth have become some what see through what can i do? taking cod liver oil and butter oil will help?

order from chaos said...

All my life I had a pretty crappy diet, lots of sweets, lots of wheat and other unfermented grains, pasteurized dairy, few healthy fats, a lot of canned food etc. Though my health was bad, I never had a cavity. After I switched to WAP style eating, I still didn't have a single cavity. After going low carb, however, I had my first after 28 years!! All the good fats, fermented cod liver oil, all the grass-fed meat, pastured eggs etc. did not protect my teeth from that. I'm off of low carb and never going back.

Sally said...

Thank you for such a great post. I'll be a regular reader!! Even read all the comments and I never do that. We are fairly new to the WAPF world, but have been reading and changing our diets for a couple of years now. Chelating with the Cutler protocol, reading and using the Traditional Foods cookbook, lots of supplements but hoping to cut those down (except for the hard to come by like D3) and get our nutrition from food. Duh!

To answer the person who asked about lots of sun exposure, you can read about VitD at the Vitamin D Council website. It's hard to get enough regular VitD from daily sun exposure because if you are tan or use sun-block, you get less. Also, the amount of skin exposed to the sun matters. It's a formula, you have to make sure you don't get tan and get enough sun... D3 supplementation is cheap and easy, so we do that. We take 5,000iu a day (husband, wife and two gigantic teen boys).

Ildiko said...

I am determined to follow this diet because my teeth are in bad condition and I have already fillings in many of them. My question is: what will happen to my teeth with fillings? How will they recover on the surface where there is a filling? Stephan, do you know the answer for this or at least a guess? Or anyone some experience already with recovering teeth and fillings?

Bruce L Grubb said...

For those of you who want even more scholarly support for this here is a list of references I have found:

Agnew, M. C.; Agnew, R. G.; Tisdall, F. F. (1933) The production and prevention of dental caries. Journal of the American Dental Association, JADA 20; 193-212.

Anderson, P. G.; Williams, C. H. M.; Halderson, H.; Summerfeldt, C.; Agnew, R. (1934) Influence of vitamin D in the prevention of dental caries. 'Journal of the American Dental Association 21; 1349-66.

Bennett, N. G.; et al. (1931) The influence of diet on caries in children's teeth. Special Report Series - Medical Research Council, UK No. 159, 19.

Day, C. D.; Sedwick, H. J. (1934) Fat-soluble vitamins and dental caries in children. Journal of Nutrition 8; 309-28.

East, B. R. (1938) Nutrition and dental caries. American Journal of Public Health. 28; 72-6.

His Majesty's Stationery Office, London. (1936) "The influence of diet on caries in children's teeth. Report of the Committee for the Investigation of Dental Disease".

McBeath, E.C. (1938) Nutrition and diet in relation to preventive dentistry. New York Journal of Dentistry Dentistry 8; 17-21.

McBeath, E.C.; Zucker, T.F. (1938) Role of vitamin D in the control of dental caries in children. Journal of Nutrition 15; 547-64.

McBeath, F.C. (1934) Vitamin D studies, 1933-1934. American Journal of Public Health , 24 1028-30.

Mellanby, Edward (1930) The relation of Diet to Death and Disease; Some new investigations BMJ Apr 12, 1930 pg 354 ((Edward Mellanby was the discover of Vitamin D)

Mellanby, May C. Lee Pattison and C. W. Proud, (1924) "The Effect of Diet on the Development and extension of caries in the the teeth of children" BMJ Aug 1924 pg 254

Mellanby, M. (1937) The role of nutrition as a factor in resistance to dental caries. British Dental Journal, 62; 241-52.

Price, Weston A. (1931) "New Light on the Control of Dental Caries and the Degenerative Diseases." Journal American Dental Association 18, 1189

Price, Weston A. (1932) "Control of Dental Caries Through Diet." Journal American Dental Association 19, 1339

Price, Weston A. (1933) "Additional Light on the Etiology and Nutritional Control of Dental Caries with its Application to each District showing Immunity and Susceptibility." Journal American Dental Association 20, 1648

Tisdall, F.F. (1937) The effect of nutrition on the primary teeth. Child Development 8(1), 102-4.

Nutrapro said...

Can someone make me understand why it is necessary to take vitamin K2?

Literature suggests that vitamin K deficiency is rare....

Rex

Chris Masterjohn said...

Nutrapro,

Here's my article on vitamin K2 from 2007:

http://www.westonaprice.org/abcs-of-nutrition/175-x-factor-is-vitamin-k2.html

Hope that helps,
Chris

kennelly said...

Hello,

I have two children who just recently visted the dentist, 3, and 5 years old.Well the news wasn't good, they both have severe cavaties which require sedation in a hospital. This is scheduled for January. I would like some exact dosages and of what remedy?

Tony Destroni said...

nice post and thanks for the information this is only one of the major problem of kids and adults. to avoid this take care of your teeth and visit your dentistas regularly for your teeth check up

Dr.Gee said...

Hi, Kennely,

Ramiel Nagel wrote a book on how he reversed his baby daughter's cavities. (i have not read it.)

but it may be worth checking out.

regards,

pam

Melissa said...

This is very interesting.

I believe I cracked one of my molars last week. I was in incredible pain for a couple of days before I finally could see the dentist.

He took an x-ray and found nothing wrong, but he wanted me to go see an endodontist.

I've read a lot about health complications from root canals, and I want to do my best to avoid one.

I've been reading a lot about vitamin D lately too, and decided to take as much as our bodies generally make in a day (if we are exposed to the proper amount of sunlight).

I work in a lab all day so you can guess how much sunlight exposure I get....

After just a couple of days of the high vitamin D dosages, I was feeling no more pain unless I bit down. This was a dramatic improvement from the constant throbbing, aching, can't sleep pain I had been dealing with.

It's been a week now and I feel great, although I still have to be very careful chewing - although I can chew now and before I could not because the pain was too bad.

When I do bite down too hard, it is painful but much much less than what it was. I will continue taking the vitamin D to see if it can heal my tooth completely.

So far I am greatly impressed.

Oh, and I generally eat very little processed foods, only organic produce and grass-fed meats.

I have also been oil pulling with coconut oil. I'm not sure if it is doing anything but it certainly can't hurt!

Wishing everyone the best of health.

Melissa

http://www.how-to-boost-your-immune-system.com/

Sarah Smith said...

Thanks for posting this information, Stephen. I've been following your blog for awhile, but have only recently started digging into the archives to see what you have to say about tooth decay. My 4-year-old daughter has a small amount of tooth decay (little brown spots) on a couple of her teeth, despite the fact that she has been on a Nourishing Traditions-type diet her whole life (and that I followed the same diet while pregnant with her).

Up until about 7 months ago, our diet was pretty high in grains, although they were almost all soaked or sprouted. We've been following the GAPS diet since last August, and for my daughter the reason for the diet is to attempt to try to remedy the tooth decay as well as boost her immune system and improve her weight gain. (She has a VERY low weight, but it does seem to be improving with the GAPS diet). She also has some crowding of her lower teeth, and I am very concerned that her palate needs to widen out or she will not have room for her adult teeth. Anyhow, I'm trying to learn as much as I can and I appreciate that you have taken the time to post information that really helps people take control of their health (rather than the mainstream advice of just popping pills).

It does not seem like my daughter's tooth decay has improved at all since going on the GAPS diet, but I've been thinking that perhaps we need to reduce her consumption of nuts. Your post confirms this. I am a bit unsure about fruit given another post of yours showing that the sugar consumption was not decreased on the Mellanby's tooth decay reversal diet. We don't eat many desserts, but my daughter does like to have fruit every day (I try to limit it to no more than 2 pieces, but maybe this is even too much given her size). And of course my daughter has never had refined sugars in our house. Are there any other resources you can recommend about fruit in the diet as it relates to tooth decay? I know that processed sugars are no good, but am unclear on the effects of natural sugars and whether there is anything about them that inherently increases tooth decay. I'd appreciate any thoughts you have about that.

tim nelson said...

i am wondering about a couple details regarding nuts and oatmeal.

how about roasting nuts? does that neutralize phytic acid? does soaking do it completely or nearly? and does the water need to be discarded( i imagine so)
is it better to just scrap them altogether or is correct processing good enough to not affect dental health?

and oatmeal, is warm soaking overnight or 12-24 hours with yogurt mixed into water enough to neutralize phytic acid or is this now found to be an insufficient practice?

thanx, great resource

tim nelson said...

and one dental carie question. in a small composite filling of mine that had failed long ago was found a fairly deep cavity. 25% of molar, not in nerve, not crazy serious but serious to take some sort of action immediately.

does anyone know to what extent the dental healing regime works, i have seen it work on smaller situations, myself and others, but i have no experience with a large cavity.

Jessica said...

My son is 5 and he has some cavities in between his teeth. We don't want to fill them due to the dangerous side effects of fillings. Do you think we could try this as an effective alternative?

Zoran said...

What a great info. I wonder why most of the dentist won't go and learn a few things like this so they can pass it on to their patients. I also saw this video about tooth cavities it has some great info too
http://www.checkdent.com/en/videos/tooth-cavities-89.html

Will and Susan said...

Great post! I will definitely repost on our site.

I particularly appreciate how you were able to condense the research into such an easy to grasp format.

Just what our customer base wants to hear. We help folks take control of their oral health using a two prong approach, from a system wide immune one through diet as well as incorporating safe, organic antibacterials in the mouth.

To your health!

Will at OraWellness.com

dennis said...

Great article! A lot of useful information about tooth decay and plack! For a good dentist in the Philadelphia area, check out www.smilemakerpa.com

Rachel said...

For clarification:
Steven,
You mention that grain and wheat should be removed from the diet, because of the high phytic acid content. What would be replacements for grains and wheat?

jewiuqas said...

What I don’t really understand is why fruits are bad for you. This is the first time someone tells me to limit my fruit consumption to one fruit per day. Fruits contain lots of vitamins, right? Vitamin C, for instance, which is a cornerstone of good health. I rely greatly on fruits for my vitamin C daily needs. Should I now give up fruits and start taking pills instead, to improve my dental health? Avoiding fruits strikes me as unnatural. It is not even compatible with the paleo approach to nutrition. I simply cannot imagine that our nomadic ancestors (no matter how carnivorous otherwise) didn’t eat copiously of any ripe fruits they came across in their wanderings. Or is it because of the acids in fruits, that they are no good for teeth, as the acids soften the tooth enamel, facilitating bac-terial attack. But then you should avoid all acidic foodstuffs, even vegetables.
Thank you for commenting this.

dd said...

how we can get all of magnesium we need from diet?i cant find a god mg supplement.where i am there is just mg oxide.is there realy a way to geting 400 mg of magnesium from diet?
thank you

34210c9a-0a76-11e1-b0c9-000bcdcb2996 said...

Do I want to radically change my diet for tooth remineralization at the expense of my lifespan?

TOWING said...

excellent article Thanks for the work you put in on this blog.
Dr karagodsky

Megan Winn The Binding Bee said...

This is so helpful. Thank you very much for making it available.

David Ritchson said...

A very comprehensive guide indeed for those who wants to reverse their tooth decay problems, Maybe you can add some links on product on where we can buy these stuff.

dentist Bondi Junction wisdom teeth

leetx said...

REBUILDING Teeth ROOTS

I had braces at age 13. Ever since 17 or 18, I've had x-rays that show that my roots have gotten shorter than before, due to Root Resorption aka Root Blunting. The Dentist says this is usually caused by Braces, and is the body's immune response to eat it's own roots shorter.

The Problem is, with shorter roots, tooth are less durable and more likely to get knocked out or fall out. I don't think anybody wants to have their teeth missing like those poorer folks who haven't taken care of themselves. I know everyone wants to keep the teeth God gave them forever or as long as possible.

Losing your teeth is much, much much worse than male pattern baldness

What kinds of things could help the roots of the teeth regenerate/heal regrow longer and stronger? I know brain cells have been found to regenerate themselves too.

leetx said...

BRACES TYPICALLY DAMAGE TOOTH ROOTS for good

I had braces at age 13. Ever since 17 or 18, I've had x-rays that show that my roots have gotten shorter than before, due to Root Resorption aka Root Blunting. The Dentist says this is usually caused by Braces, and is the body's immune response to eat it's own roots shorter.

The Problem is, with shorter roots, tooth are less durable and more likely to get knocked out or fall out. I don't think anybody wants to have their teeth missing like those poorer folks who haven't taken care of themselves. I know everyone wants to keep the teeth God gave them forever or as long as possible.

Losing your teeth is much, much much worse than male pattern baldness

What kinds of things could help the roots of the teeth regenerate/heal regrow longer and stronger? I know brain cells have been found to regenerate themselves too.

lavaniya said...

Could you be specific about the amount of d3 and oil you gave your daughter and how old she was? Dentists want to cap my 10-mobth-old son's teeth (and anesthetize him) and I'm hoping we can stop or slow the decay so he doesn't have to go under.

www.fusehp.com/terry said...

Funny how I would read this in time of need. I have a tooth that should have a deadly root canal. But I will not do that! But after reading this...I see where my tooth actually got worse. I started eating oat meal for breakfast. Organic grained cereals. Having 3 apples a day and dried fruits. Started eating organic bread.I also stopped taking my Vit d3 from my company. Wow. I guess I am going back to strickly raw everything (lots of garlic)and getting some code liver oil. Thanks whole health source! I will keep you posted. Love the site. Terry Abood FHP

www.fusehp.com/terry said...

My body has been full of acid and I could not understand why. It was the food combination that was wrong. Now I understand how to get my body back to PH. I was always a fruit eater. Salads along with nuts and melons, raisins,cranberries. We are not suppose to have that combo. This would explain the tooth issue as well! I will also get a yrs supply of Vitd3 from my company now. Thanks for the great posting guys and gals. Terry

Antonis Sarantakis said...

My 8 year daughter had yesterday a small tooth fracture after falling down . Two small pieces of the main front teeth were broken and lost. The big one was about 1/6 of the size of the tooth, the other one barely noticeable.
We would like to know the therapeutic dosage of the Blue Ice Blend Capsules. She is proper weight for her age. Also for how long would you suggest this dosage and when shall we switch to a smaller one (which I guess is one capsule a day)
I know that major dietary changes should go along with that.
Also, can you tell us your opinion regarding the chances we have that the tooth will grow again, producing adamantine / enamel where it has broken?
thanks

Susan said...

I'm a vegetarian. What would I eat, since I can't eat meat or most fish. I do eat fish occasionally, but not too much. I love lentils. Would they be ok if I soak them? Help!

Stephen said...

Thank you for leaving a link to the full text of the study, much appreciated.

itslyn said...

Hi all, thx for this! My concerns are about exposed dentin and receding gums.
Chris, your link isnt live; can you repost: http://www.westonaprice.org/abcs-of-nutrition/175-x-factor-is-vitamin-k2.html
I really apreciate all the info; have been looking at VitK discussion, purchased FCLO and have butter coming. I have some doubts that the butter has enough vitK tho - grass back then was prob'ly mush richer than now.
Stephen/folks, what do you think about monosodium phosphate? I kinda wonder if it would increase complications related to salt but maybe thats silly (i use good sea salt).
any thoughts? TY!!

Chris Masterjohn said...

itslyn,

Here you go:

http://www.westonaprice.org/fat-soluble-activators/x-factor-is-vitamin-k2

Chris

Toushirou1989 said...

mmm this a good read and very big wake up call for me that good thing is am young old just turned 23. but i know i need to get my teeth i have not been to the dentist in over 4 years. and really was scared at the time to brush my teeth from when i was younger around that age 11 or so watch some infomercials it was something to do with clean the tooth brush or bad things would start grow on the tooth brush witch are not good for you. but know that i am older that its natural for stuff to grow on the tooth brush but it still stuck with my about that even tho i knew it was not bad for me. now i guess i am paying for that. but better the check it now then later. i have small hole it looks like in my top tooth near the root. witch i will have to make a app with a dentist for that. and to see how much it will cost for me, i already in money trouble trying to keep my car and have student loan that need to be taking care on top of basic living exps. it good to still see this even thos its 2013 and it was posted in 2009

caroljkiwi said...

I have a mostly meat and dairy free diet for the last 2 years and while I don't want to change that I wonder if it is contributing to my increased teeth decay. I have just had a molar removed rather than have a root canal done and have a nasty hole in the next door tooth which I am hopeful will heal itself with taking Vit D3 supplement and codliver oil. I don't eat that many grains but will restrict them more also.
My questions are that I replace my dairy milk with oat or rice milk and I am wondering if this is still considered a grain? And where can I get the required fat from if I don't eat butter?

Cheryl said...

Thank you so much for a wonderful article; we spent the bulk of our time today on the radio discussing this for our audience. CthePower in YOU - on www.freedomizerradio.com - Our focus is on empowering the individual and my co-host has a particular interest in the subject. I will be bringing it up again in the future. Anything we can do to bring power to the people over their own lives. Thanks again

Oppps_TryIt said...

My 9 year old daughter always gets tooth decay (now an abscess on the gum due to a bad decay). She takes daily fluoride vitamins prescribed by the dentist. Dentist says that she should avoid sugar completely. But, about 95% of everything we feed (snacks & drinks) now-a-days have sugar on it. Is there a sound dietary list for this age group (with balanced nutrition)? How to prevent these decays? Thanks.

Marie Farrar said...

As a dentist, I think a little clarification is in order. Yes, caries (tooth decay) can be arrested and enamel can be remineralized. And yes, decay that reaches into dentin can be stopped by the dental pulp's response if the caries process is slower than the dentin's response. Dentists recognize this as eburnated dentin.
I am a full believer in the benefits of Vit K2, and appreciate about 90% of Weston Price's findings. BUT please understand that holes in the enamel can never be repaired by the body after the initial tooth formation. The ameloblasts that form the enamel are part of the tooth bud. Perhaps one day we will be able to inject some stem cells into a flap of tissue, but at this point in time, holes in the enamel can never fill in on their own.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amelogenesis

Stephan Guyenet said...

Hi Marie,

I agree, enamel cannot repair itself once it's lost (though it can remineralize if it has been demineralized). Dentin is the tissue that can regenerate to heal teeth, as I explained in the post.

healthfully said...

Hi Stephan,

I followed a link to this blog post, read it, and then read all the comments and discussion that followed: very interesting. I would like to subscribe and receive notifications when you post, but there doesn't seem to be a way to do this: I don't have a netvibes, my yahoo or atom (whatever that is). There is no worpress, google, Facebook or just a simple email subscription possibility?

Guillaume

healthfully said...

Hi again,

You approved the comment but did not reply to my question. Could you please: how can I follow this blog without netvibes, myYahoo or atom?

Nicky Bordignon said...

Well said xx

Caitlyn Hayes said...

I wonder if you know if this can help a decayed tooth that is completely decayed (only pieces of the tooth) and there is no tooth pulp as it had all been removed from a root canal years ago?

S Lee said...

"Despite experimental and animal studies suggesting that some starch-containing foods and fruits are cariogenic, this is not supported by epidemiological data, which show that high intakes of starchy staple foods, fruits and vegetables are associated with low levels of dental caries. Following global recommendations that encourage a diet high in starchy staple foods, fruit and vegetables and low in free sugars and fat will protect both oral and general health."

The role of diet and nutrition in the etiology and prevention of oral diseases.
Moynihan PJ. Public Health Dent. 2000 Summer;60(3):197-206; discussion 207-9.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16211161

Janis Alnis said...

I would like to share my experiences. I have a lot of fillings and situation improved radically when 10 years ago stared to suck 2mg NaF tablets before sleep. Teeth bacame stronger and no new cavities formed.

After eating apples or lemon drinks or Cola I feel my teeth gets ssensitve.
Ca containing food afterwards help to neutralise acid. Milk, cotton cheese or cheese. Also can keep in the mouth NaF containing tablet, or "basica" tablet used for body acid level devrease (containg minerals like Ca, Mg)


I brush teeth with sodium fluoride containing paste and keep it in the mouth for longer time ca 10 min if my teteh are sensitive. Think that teeth take up something from toothpaste that helps remineralisation.

suzgrrl said...

What about spelt as a substitute for regular unbleached wheat or whole wheat flour for baking bread? Or can you recommend any other good flour for baking bread? I only really eat a serving a day (for a sammich at lunch or dinner) and I can easily give up my cereals for breakfast (though I'll miss them at first) in the interests of healing all my cavities without having to resort to dentists!

suzgrrl said...

A couple more questions, if I may: Is drinking coffee OK? How about wine or unsweetened fruit juices? Is quinoa OK, or does it have the same problems with PA? And finally, how MUCH K2, magnesium, vitamin A, C, and E is recommended? I've not found any specific MDRs, I want to make sure I'm going to get enough. Oh, one more thing:
Will this do any good for teeth that already have crowns or fillings in them but have new decay forming underneath them?

Suzanne Johnson said...

Thank you for such amazing information. I have read every post in this series and am amazed. My daughter had 'invisible braces" which left her teeth a mess. I know we can regenerate our teeth and have taken careful notes on your vitamin suggestions. Now that I just fractured my pelvis into quite a few pieces in a horse riding accident, I am wondering about the effects of the K2, Vitamin D and A, Cod Liver Oil, grass fed butter, root vegetable regime for bones as well. Are there any connections there?

faceplant53 said...

This article didn't mention that the dairy must be from grass-fed cows. (It does, right?) If so, you may want to edit this article accordingly.

CrazyMom said...

Wow! Just stumbled on this, looking for an alternative to having a tooth pulled eventually. Thank you for the information!

The Grocery Girl said...

Huh, I'm nearly 37 years old. Never followed any particular diet, but include high fiber and protein. I just ate (like 5 minutes ago) 2 sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles. Where am I headed with this? Here it is... I have NEVER, EVER, in my life had a cavity. Not even in a baby tooth. I brush twice a day, floss every few days, and that's it. Evey time I go to the dentist, she's always amazed. 37 years and not a single cavity. I eat lots of carbs and take two table spoons in my coffee. Still, nice, white teeth without a cavity. Personally, I think some people are prone to tooth decay and some aren't. Oh, I'll also tear up a bag of mixed nuts.

Melody said...

Thanks so much for your online presence regarding this topic! I just recently read an article on Colgate's website, which supported proper diet, hygiene, and re-mineralization over drilling cavities. http://www.colgateprofessional.com/patienteducation/Too-Much-Drilling-Not-All-Early-Tooth-Decay-Needs-A-Filling/article

arnoud said...

My personal experience supports "Reversing Tooth Decay." After a long history of tooth decay, it was stopped in its tracks completely, some 6 years ago, after making nutritional changes (Vitamins D3 & K supplementation).
Seven years ago, my dentist said that several old fillings would need to be replaced, as the teeth were weakening around the the fillings. The nutritional changes strengthened the teeth structurally, and no fillings have been replaced.

Recently my dentist discovered that the glue between a crown and a tooth had failed. A large amount of bacterial pus had filled the narrow space between the crown and the tooth, and had been present for an extended period of time. The dentist expected the base of the tooth would have been decayed extensively underneath the crown. However no decay was observed at all: the bacterial pus/acid had not been able to cause any damage.

shortcakeja said...

OK Help me understand this... All of the foods listed as "to be avoided" (fruits, nuts and grains) are the very foods that comprise the original diet of mankind, as listed in the Bible (for those who subscribe to such views), while some of the foods listed as "to be preferred" are the ones almost all natural health practitioners say actually damage mankind (white bread, milk???!)

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