Is it really possible to cure a cavity without going to the dentist? Without having to spend money on fillings and getting potentially dangerous material implanted into your teeth?
The answer is yes.
Not only are they preventable, they can be reversed after they’ve started in nearly all cases. In fact, the secret to healing cavities naturally was discovered by a world-renowned dentist almost 100 years ago, his conclusions since confirmed by further research, and yet most people still think they need expensive procedures to fix their teeth.
That is a misconception we hope to change. Thanks to a natural process called remineralization you can rebuild tooth enamel and fight the bacteria causing decay right from your home.
And that’s exactly what we’re going to teach you how to do in this guide.
First we’ll begin by giving you a background on what that dentist mentioned earlier discovered during his studies so many years ago. This will unveil the real cause of tooth decay so you’ll have a better understanding of how to reverse it. After that we’ll cover a variety of home remedies, things you should be doing and avoiding, to ensure your teeth are able to regenerate on their own.
Now let’s begin!
The Real Cause of Tooth Decay
Make no mistake about it, our dental problems are in no way natural. It should be a sign we’re doing something fundamentally wrong when 91% of Americans between the ages of 20 and 64 have had a cavity.
Yet, if you were to visit the remote villages of the Amazon, or the Pacific Islands, you’d find native populations with a perfectly healthy set of teeth. No crowding, no decay, and no toothpaste or even floss, let alone modern dentistry to help them out.
So what do they have that we don’t?
That’s what Dr. Weston A Price sought to uncover.
The founder and chairman of the National Dental Association from 1914 to 1928, which went on to become a branch of the American Dental Association (ADA), Dr. Price authored the pivotal Nutrition and Physical Degeneration which documented the oral health of indigenous people living in isolated tribes throughout the world.
In his studies, he compared people of a similar culture and genetic background. These were people who ate what we would consider a primitive diet: lots of plants and meat which provided a high intake of several key nutrients most people today are deficient in. Those who didn’t eat this type of diet but ate a more modern, westernized diet had more instances of decay. Otherwise, cavities were non-existent in these populations.
During the same time period and unrelated to his studies, Dr. Edward Mellanby, the scientist who discovered Vitamin D came to similar conclusions of his own. He studied how an anti-nutrient called “phytic acid” and cereals in particular contributed toward rickets through the “leaching” of key minerals caused by Vitamin D deficiency.
Furthermore, Ramiel Nagel, the author of Cure Tooth Decay, which was published in 2010, also outlined how nutrition is the number one factor affecting the health of teeth and warned of the dangers of amalgam fillings.
Together, their findings can be summarized in the following 3 points as being the most important factors toward preventing and reversing cavities:
- The presence of an adequate amount of fat soluble vitamins in the diet.
- The presence of several key minerals (more on what they are further below).
- The bio-availability of these nutrients. In other words how well the body is able to absorb them.
More Research Confirming The Link Between Diet And Decay
It shouldn’t be a surprise the dental community has fought back with criticism and attempts to discredit Dr. Price’s theory. After all, they have a financial incentive to get more people coming into their offices, and make more money by drilling and filling teeth.
So is there anything beyond anecdotal evidence that validates his findings?
Yes there is, in a study performed by Dr. Mellanby and his wife May Mellanby, published in the British Medical Journal.
They separated 62 children with cavities into three different dietary groups for a period of 6 months. Here’s what they were:
- Group 1: Ate their normal diet plus oatmeal.
- Group 2: Ate their normal diet plus Vitamin D.
- Group 3: Ate a grain-free diet plus Vitamin D.
You can see the results below.
Group 1 which consumed the most grains including oatmeal (high in phytic acid) suffered with the greatest increase in cavities.
Group 2 had less cavities forming and a greater number of them healing thanks to the Vitamin D supplementation, one of the fat soluble vitamins we mentioned before.
Group 3 had the best results, eating a diet rich in vegetables, meat, dairy, fruit and NO grains resulting in very little if any phytic acid in their diet which further decreased the number of cavities forming and increased the number healing.
For an in-depth view of this study refer to Whole Health Source which has a great piece detailing it further.
But the point here is that this is no hoax.
You can actually cure cavities on your own by remineralizing the lost enamel.
At this point you might be wondering: “Okay what exactly is phytic acid?” or “What foods are high in it?” since it obviously appears to be a problem.
That’s what we’re going to talk about in the next section.
The Tooth Remineralization Diet
If our bones are able to regenerate and become stronger, why shouldn’t that also apply to our teeth?
Remineralization is the process by which teeth are able to heal themselves. A special group of cells called odontoblasts found inside the tooth are what form the new dentin which is the layer just below the enamel that’s attacked by the cavity causing bacteria if it progresses far enough.
In order for the process to work, several things need to be in line with your diet. We’ll go through each of them, one step at a time.
Step 1: Eliminate All Processed Sugar
We don’t have to tell you how bad the sugar in soda, cakes, candies, and other junk foods are. Besides your waistline, they also wreck havoc on your teeth.
Oral bacteria strains like Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus sorbrinus, and Lactobacillus which are primarily responsible for decay feed on sugar. This is what creates the plaque that forms over your teeth. They also produce acid as a byproduct which is harmful. Your saliva naturally neutralizes this acid raising the pH level inside your mouth but when it’s below a 5.5 on the scale (meaning too acidic) that’s when the enamel dissolves, decalcifying and demineralizing the tooth until a hole or cavity forms.
In other words the exact opposite of what you want.
But here’s the thing, it’s not simply the sugar you might find in sweets. It applies to any kind of starch or carbohydrate. This means pasta, breads, even sugary fruits like pineapple can enable those bacteria strands to thrive. Fiber helps lessen the impact but you still need to be cautious especially of citrus fruits which can burn the gums and damage the enamel.
So do yourself a favor and avoid sugar. A paleo low-carb diet, at least temporarily, will be a big help here.
Step 2: Eliminate Phytic Acid From Your Diet
Phytic acid (also known as phytate) is what’s called an “anti-nutrient”. This is because it blocks minerals from properly being absorbed by the body. You can see why this poses a problem for remineralization. When you consume too much it literally leaches minerals from your teeth and even your bones which can cause osteoporosis!
Phytic acid is mostly found in nuts, seeds, grains, beans, and soy products. That’s why the oatmeal in the study we mentioned earlier increased the number of cavities in the children studied.
In foods, phytic acid is bound to phosphorus which decreases it’s bio-availability. The molecule also binds to other minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium making it harder for them to be absorbed. These are all essential minerals necessary for your teeth to be able to heal themselves.
Just as an example, phytate decreases magnesium absorption by about 60% and zinc absorption by 20%. So even if you’re meeting your minimum daily requirements, of these minerals, if you consume too much phytate you can still be deficient! And this makes it harder for your teeth to rebuild themselves.
Thankfully there are ways to reduce the amount of phytic acid these foods contain. These are traditional food preparation techniques that have been somewhat lost in modern times. Instead, we use high phosphorus fertilizer which only increases the amount found in foods…
Anyways here is what helps:
- Sourdough fermentation
So for example, if you’re going to eat beans, let them soak overnight before rinsing the following day and then heating them up. Fermenting your grains and sprouting them will also decrease phytic acid from anywhere between 50% and 100%.
Step 3: Increase Your Intake of Fat-Soluble Vitamins, Calcium, and Phosphorus
We mentioned Vitamin D earlier but here are the other three most important:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K2
The populations studied by Weston A. Price all had a high intake of each of these vitamins. They can be found in a variety of vegetables and the organ meats of animals. And as their name suggests, they need to be taken with fats in order for your body to properly absorb them. Preferably healthy fats and not vegetable oils that are high in Omega 6 fatty acids that can cause other health problems if consumed too much (compared to Omega 3s which are the good kind).
Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, and grass-fed butter are all good sources of healthy fats, as are the essential fatty acids found in fish and cod liver oil. Again, eat alongside dark leafy green vegetables for maximum benefits.
As for calcium and phosphorus, those are the two minerals most important for rebuilding the structure of the tooth. Without them, the enamel won’t be able to properly recalcify and harden its eroded areas.
That said, if you reduced your intake of phytic acid that will naturally increase your absorption of these minerals.
Otherwise, we highly recommend raw dairy products like milk, kefir and cheese to increase your intake. Other protein-rich sources of food like meat, poultry, fish and eggs are also high in phosphorus and calcium. Bone broth, while itself is overrated as a source of minerals, mostly gains its benefits from the vegetables that are added which the broth can help aid in digestion with.
Altogether, if you increase your intake of these vitamins and minerals, reduce the amount of phytic acid in your diet, and cut out all processed sugar, you can rest easy knowing your diet will be helping rather than hurting your cause.
Now let’s cover some supplementation options you should at least consider for optimal oral health.
The following, while not absolutely necessary assuming your diet meets all your needs, can make up for those hard-to-get nutrients which the majority of people are deficient in. Especially if you’re lactose-intolerant. They will also help the remineralization process in their own way so you should at least be aware of your options.
- Vitamin D – The single most important supplement on here. If you can only pick one, pick this. Unless you live somewhere near the equator or you’re outside the majority of the day soaking in sunshine it’s very unlikely you’re meeting your Vitamin D requirements through diet alone. Even the bottom-line recommended intake of 400-800 IU/day is way too low. You want at least 2000 IU/day for maximum benefits.
- Magnesium – We mentioned it before when we said phytic acid impairs its digestion by the body. By some estimates, 80% of Americans are deficient. Why is it so important for teeth? Magnesium helps regulate calcium levels and improves their utilization by the body – a must for remineralization.
- Fermented cod liver oil or krill oil – These have anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acids which if you don’t like fish, are probably deficient in. Cod liver oil is also high in Vitamins A and D and was one of the main supplements recommended by Dr. Price.
- Probiotics – Also found naturally in many fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, and dairy products such as yogurt, oral probiotics can help kill the bad bacteria residing in your mouth that cause decay and re-balance an acidic pH level. Look for streptococos salivarius which fights Strep. mutans and Candida albicans a type of yeast that can cause oral infections.
Now that we’re done with all things related to diet, let’s look at some more holistic cures.
Follow A Basic Dental Routine – And Stick To It
The next most important thing after diet is your everyday dental routine.
These are the basics everyone always talks about:
- Brush 2x a day, in the morning and at night.
- Floss daily or at least every other day.
- Use mouthwash to kill off cavity-causing bacteria.
Since you’re trying to heal decay, there are some adjustments you can make to your routine for optimal results.
First, consider swapping your toothpaste for one that focuses on remineralization. Fluoride, whether you find it acceptable or not as an ingredient due to safety concerns, can help assist remineralization by drawing the calcium and phosphate ions to the surface of the tooth which is why practically every toothpaste contains some as an active ingredient.
Alternatively, you can create your own that doesn’t contain fluoride.
The best ingredients to look for a DIY remineralizing toothpaste recipe are the following:
- Bentonite clay or Diatomaceous Earth clay
- Xylitol powder
- Calcium phosphate powder
- Magnesium oil /powder
- Coconut oil
- Cove oil
Earth clays like bentonite and diatomaceous are naturally abrasive which helps remove plaque and buildup on the enamel. Calcium and magnesium we covered already but why xylitol powder, coconut oil, and clove oil? You’ll find out in the sections below!
Chew Xylitol Gum
Xylitol is used as a substitute for sugar in certain types of chewing gum. We’ve covered it before in our guide to oral hygiene but it’s worth bringing up again because not many people know about it.
First off, it has proven benefits in fighting dental caries. This study, published in 2014 reviews a lot of the earlier medical literature showing that it promotes remineralization by increasing the flow of saliva rich in calcium and phosphate ions.
Here are some more interesting findings summarized in that paper:
- Oral bacteria found in plaque and saliva can’t ferment xylitol thus preventing the pH level from becoming too acidic and damaging the enamel.
- Chewing xylitol gum can reduce the risk of cavities by 59%.
- People who chewed xylitol gum had 27% less cavities than people who chewed sorbitol gum.
- Chewing the gum daily for at least 3 weeks reduced the salivary and plaque levels of the S. mutans bacteria. Furthermore, it appears the effect lasts even if you stopped using the gum for up to five years after in some cases.
- The more you chew, the more it reduces the bacteria count for a dosage up to 10.32 grams which it then levels off.
- Certain probiotic strains benefit from the presence of xylitol in decreasing the count of oral pathogens.
They recommend chewing for about 20 minutes especially after a meal and multiple times per day (up to 3 times) if possible. This would bring the total chewing time an hour a day. Good news if your habitual gum chewer. If not, you can still benefit even if it’s only for 20 minutes.
Our choice: Spry Natural Gum. It’s affordable, aspartame-free, and it tastes great.
Try Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is a technique that’s been around for thousands of years. It’s traditionally been practiced in Ayurvedic medicine to help improve oral hygiene.
The concept is really simple:
Swish a tablespoon of oil in your mouth each morning for 20 minutes before spitting it out. Does that sound weird? Several studies have showed it works. We recommend reading up on our guide to oil pulling for an in-depth explanation and full look at its benefits.
The oils most commonly used are organic coconut, sesame, sunflower, or olive oil. Out of all of them we prefer coconut oil the best thanks to its high concentration of lauric acid, the highest of any known food in the world, and the best type of fat at killing the S. mutans bacteria in your mouth.
The actual swishing should be a fairly gentle and relaxing process. If your jaw gets sore by minute 10 you know you’re overdoing it. But even if you can’t do the full 20 minutes, 10 or even 5 is still a good start until you’re comfortable doing more. After you’re done spit the oil into the trash or toilet, rinse your mouth with warm water and then brush your teeth as usual.
Alternative: Aloe Vera Mouthwash
Another alternative to oil pulling or traditional mouthwash is 100% pure aloe vera.
One study compared its effectiveness against chlorhexidine, the primary active ingredient in many traditional store-bought mouthwashes. Aloe vera proved to be just as effective at reducing the amount of plaque and gingivitis which they credited towards its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Clove Oil As A Spot Treatment
If your cavity has gotten to the point where the tooth hurts a good technique to reduce the pain is to add a couple drops of clove oil into your mouthwash before swishing.
Clove is antiseptic, antimicrobial, antifungal and can be used as a natural cure for oral infections. Another option is to soak the drops into a cotton ball and bite over the tooth to get it exactly over the area you need it at. Hold it there for about 10 minutes and see if the pain has subsided afterward.
We covered a lot of ground today. The following is a summary of what we learned.
The three most important things to consider for your diet are the following:
- Reduce your intake of sugar.
- Reduce your intake of phytic acid.
- Increase your intake of Vitamins A, D, E, and K as well as calcium and phosphorus.
This will get you 90% of the way there. Consider supplementing with Vitamin D, magnesium, fermented cod liver oil, or probiotics to get that extra nutritional boost.
After that, it’s important you continue brushing, flossing, and doing your everyday dental routine at least 2 times per day. In the morning, try oil pulling with raw organic coconut oil for 20 minutes before brushing. Throughout the day and especially after a meal, chew some gum that contains xylitol for about 20 minutes to increase the flow of saliva which helps reduce acid breakdown by bacteria.
These are the most important steps for curing cavities naturally. Be diligent and there’s no reason why you can’t do the same.