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May 28 2014

Beyond Sugar and Soda: Nutritional Cures for Damaged Teeth

By Guest
256 Comments

Teeth - X-rayThis is another special guest post from our favorite study-dismantler, Denise Minger. Read all of her previous Mark’s Daily Apple articles here, here, here, here, and here, pay her website a visit, and grab a copy of her new book Death by Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics and Shady Special Interests Ruined Your Health. Enter Denise…

When you’re a teenager, a tad cocky about your flossing-and-brushing prowess, and a proud worshipper at the altar of Colgate, the last thing you want to hear is that you might need dentures by the time you’re thirty.

Unfortunately, that’s the exact situation I found myself in one fateful November day. I was seventeen. It’d been a full year since I’d become a strict, low-fat, fruit-noshing raw vegan — led there by a cocktail of food allergies and dewy-eyed trust in people from the internet (bad idea is bad). Perhaps too distracted by my constant brain fog, perpetual shivering, and the clumps of hair making a mass exodus from my scalp, I’d failed to notice the prime victim of my lopsided diet: my teeth.

Up until then, I had pleasant associations with the ol’ dental chair. My mouth had only ever seen one cavity — a fluke in an otherwise pleasing track record. I’d never missed a day of flossing. I’d never needed braces. For me, dentist visits were an opportunity for people to tell me nice things and make me feel good about myself, even if I’d gotten too old for their goodie drawer of parachute men and Lisa Frank stickers.

So when that familiar praise didn’t come, the blow was all the more devastating. After a series of “hmms” and heavy sighs, my dentist delivered the news: a grand total of sixteen cavities — more of an estimate, really, because the cavities-sprouting-from-cavities nature of the damage made it hard to count. Massive wear capped the surfaces of my back teeth, and my front ones were becoming translucent from enamel loss. Unsightly recession plagued my once-healthy gums.

The dentist didn’t mince words when telling me he’d never seen someone so young with such a terrifying mouth — and it’d all happened in the span of one year.

The next few months involved five trips back to that same chair: four to drill the heck out of all the quadrants of my mouth, and one to grind down the misaligned bite I’d acquired from my new ceramic fillings. But that was only the beginning. Nearly as soon as I’d gotten the old cavities cleaned up, new ones started forming. My teeth continued their rapid decline. The bacteria-filled “gum pockets” crawled deeper from bone loss. I knew a drill wasn’t going to be enough to save me.

To this day, I’ve never seen a group of people with such rapidly imploding dental health as the raw vegans. Even studies of their pearly whites seem to confirm that. It’s like some sort of hazing ritual, in which the Cavity Fairy comes and sprinkles decay upon the mouths of new recruits. But the problems I encountered as a raw vegan were far from unique to meat-free, non-cooking mouths, and neither were the solutions I eventually found. For most of us, even those of a real food/primal/Paleo/ancestral persuasion, decades of subpar eating, overzealous brushing, and other teeth-harming practices have left us with some damage to fix. It’s my hope that sharing the details of my own healing journey will help some of you on yours.

(This is probably the part where I should insert a disclaimer to protect my patooty from a lawsuit: dental problems can be quite serious, and if you’re experiencing something debilitating or extremely painful or infection-related, you should probably head to a dentist instead of reading this. Also, floss. Just do it.)

Zig-Zags and Prongs

Let me make one thing clear: my road to healing wasn’t linear. It had lots of loop-de-loops and mistakes and nights spent staring in the mirror, lips rolled over my teeth, convincing myself I would still be an okay person if I looked like Gumby. There were moments after trying things I was sure should work — adding more calcium to my diet, cutting down on fruit, eating pounds of kale — where I almost threw in the towel and resigned to a life of oral misery.

But eventually, I went from embracing mainstream beliefs about dental health — that cavities can’t heal, that calcium is the biggest tooth-relevant nutrient, that candy and soda are the only foods you need to worry about — to doing a 180 on all those fronts, and feeling pretty confident in the ability for teeth to regenerate. For anyone out there who’s struggling with dental issues, no matter how severe, don’t give up hope.

Ultimately, my own tooth-healing saga, as accidental and fumbling as it was at the time, became something of a two-pronged approach. The first prong was protecting my chompers from the outside in, minimizing sources of external damage. The second prong involved rebuilding my teeth internally, with many delicious things. (That prong was a lot more fun.) Here’s the full story.

Protect and Defend

In real-food circles, when you see an article about fermented foods, usually there are lots of exclamation points and pictures of beautiful bubbly sauerkraut, and testimonies about the slew of benefits those fermented things brought, and there is happiness. So much happiness. For that reason, what I’m about to say might get me booed off the cyber-stage:

Fermented foods wrecked my teeth.

Okay, that’s a bit hyperbolic, especially considering my teeth were already wrecked to begin with. But when I unveganized, as part of my early healing attempts, I went hog wild on all things kimchi and sauerkraut — convinced the beneficial bacteria would do something awesome for my teeth and hair and everything else on me that was broken.

What happened instead was pain, and lots of it. I used to sit at the kitchen table with a heaping bowl of gingery, zangy, raw, delightful kimchi, convinced it was the best thing I could be forking into my mouth. A few bites in, my mouth would seize up with sharp, dagger-like pain, evocative of what it might feel like to give birth through one’s jaw while also being electrocuted. The pain was so bad that it made “dentures by the time you’re thirty” sound like a pretty good idea.

Perhaps it was my raging kimchi addiction that kept me blind to reality, but it took months of wincing before I realized those fermented veggies were making my teeth more sensitive, and worsening the damage I was desperately trying to fix. And after a little research, it was easy to see why: sauerkraut and kimchi have a pH of about 3.5, making them extremely acidic upon contact with your chompers — and capable of chewing through enamel with the best of ‘em. That’s about the same pH level as soft drinks like Coke and Pepsi.

(High-school science refresher, in case you slept through that lesson: a pH of 7 is considered neutral; anything higher is alkaline, and anything lower is acidic. Foods with pH levels below 5.3 start entering the “enamel damage” territory, especially if your teeth are already in a compromised state.)

Not surprisingly, my tooth pain resolved pretty fast after I started limiting fermented vegetables and other highly acidic foods, especially fruits I hadn’t realized had such a low pH. I can eat those things now without any problem — at least in moderation; I still have to keep my inner kimchi-gorger in check — but during the early phases of healing, I had to be pretty cautious about giving my mouth an unintentional acid bath.

In case you’re curious, here’s a list of some of the low-pH foods that ended up on my “limit” list for a couple of years. You’ll notice a lot of fruit on there. Given that my own teeth healing occurred with a diet packed with low-acid fruits (papaya and melons, largely), I tend to think the acidity of fruit is a bigger problem than its sugar content, as far as dental health goes. (Values taken from a list produced by the FDA.)

Apples: 3.3-3.9
Apricots: 3.3-4.0
Blackberries: 3.9-4.5
Blueberries: 3.1-3.3
Cherries: 3.2-4.1
Frozen cherries: 3.3-3.4
Dill pickles: 3.2-3.7
Grapes: 2.8-3.8
Grapefruit: 3.0-3.8
Ketchup: 3.9
Lemon juice: 2.0-2.6
Lime juice: 2.0-2.8
Mangoes: 3.4-4.8
Nectarines: 3.9-4.2
Olives (green, fermented—black fresh or canned ones have a pH of at least 6): 3.6-4.6
Peaches: 3.3-4.1
Pears (Bartlett): 3.5-4.6
Pineapple: 3.2-4.0
Plums: 2.8-4.5
Pomegranate: 2.9-3.2
Raspberries: 3.2-3.7
Sauerkraut: 3.3-3.6
Strawberries: 3.0-3.9
Tangerine: 3.3-4.5
Tomatoes (canned): 3.5-4.7
Vinegar: 2.4-3.4
Orange juice: 3.3-4.2
Red wine: 3.4
White wine: 3.0

Along with limiting acidic foods, I picked up a few other tricks of the trade to protect my teeth from outside invaders. I stopped brushing immediately after meals (apparently, scrubbing enamel before it remineralizes is no bueno). If I did have a moment of weakness and invade the kimchi jar, I would swish afterwards with water and baking soda to raise my mouth’s pH. Boom! Sensitivity averted. And instead of using whitening toothpastes or other commercial whiteners to combat stains from chain-drinking tea, I started brushing with activated charcoal, which is gentle and miraculous. Seriously. I’m not kidding. It’s amazing.

But those things were only bandaid fixes — ways to prevent my teeth from getting worse, but not really doing much to help them heal. The other leg of my journey was nutritional.

Rebuilding: A Triage of Fat-Solubles

As a vegan, it is, by several universal laws, a requirement to hate the Weston A. Price Foundation. It doesn’t really matter why that hatred is there, so long as it’s strong and vocalized at every relevant opportunity.

In my case, even after my departure from veganism, I maintained my WAPF-hating duties like a champ. How dare they put a picture of happy people on their webpage! How dare they eat butter! How dare they use… words… and colors. Despicable. I gradually ran out of reasons for my loathing, and after seeing virtually no improvement in my teeth after guzzling calcium supplements and dark leafy greens, decided to peruse their articles on dental healing. That’s when the pieces started clicking together in a big way.

As I learned from a few WAPF articles, three fat-soluble vitamins — A, D, and K2 — tend to be the holy trinity for all things teeth. I wrote a bit about these nutrients on an earlier article directed towards raw vegans, but the nutshell version is that they work synergistically to support bone and tooth health, boost calcium absorption, and shuttle calcium where it needs to go. My own experience confirmed what I’ve heard time and time again from other self-healers of teeth: this combo works some small miracles.

(A special note on K2: hopefully everyone in this little corner of the food world has heard about this lovely nutrient, but if you haven’t, you owe yourself a research safari. A great book on the topic is “Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox” by Kate Rheaume-Bleue, and plenty of online resources abound — including some earlier posts here on Mark’s Daily Apple.)

During Operation Save My Teeth, before I knew anything about fat-soluble vitamins, one of the first non-vegan foods I’d added to my diet was “probiogurt” — a raw, 30-hour fermented goat yogurt I ordered from a farm in Austin. It was also the first food that actually pleased my pearly whites: within a week of adding it to my diet, the translucent tips on my teeth became more opaque, and my nagging, chewing-induced sensitivity began to quell. Unfortunately, I’d stopped eating the yogurt on account of the farm becoming terrible and scammy and no longer shipping the orders I’d paid for.

At the time, I figured the yogurt’s benefit had just been from its calcium content, and was genuinely baffled when supplementing didn’t do diddly squat. Oh, ignorance.

Enter the WAPF website and its vitamin K2 revelations. Epiphany time! As I read about this precious nutrient, it suddenly made sense: vitamin K2 is a product of bacterial fermentation, and the “probiogurt” I’d been eating was likely teeming with it. It was probably the first food-based source of K2 my body had seen in years. After that “aha” moment, I started religiously supplementing with vitamin K2 — 5 milligrams a day from Carlson Labs. (That’s still the brand and dosage I use to this day.)

Shazzam. Practically overnight, my teeth felt smoother, looked whiter, and lost a great deal of their painful sensitivity. And at my next dental cleaning, the hygienist confirmed a turn for the better: some of my “irreversibly” lost enamel was thickening; a few pre-cavity trouble spots were filling in on their own; and the periodontal pockets that’d been getting gradually worse were suddenly tightening back up — jumping from measurements of 4-5 millimeters on most teeth to 2-3. My lost-cause mouth was suddenly not so lost. Allow me to repeat: shazzam!

(Apart from supplementing, other K2 sources include natto, hard cheeses, soft cheeses, butter from pastured cows, egg yolks, liver, and probably other organ meats — K2 analyses are pretty sparse for most foods. Since I don’t do dairy anymore, my main non-pill source is liver. Speaking of which…)

Along with vitamin K2, one of the most pivotal edibles in my dental saga has been liver. As far as “building strong bones” goes, I’m pretty sure those Got Milk? ads should feature people with paté moustaches instead of milk smears, though something tells me that might ding sales. I really can’t praise liver enough. Along with being a decent source of vitamin K2, it’s awesomely high in vitamin A — something in short supply on vegan diets and even some omnivorous ones, depending on how wisely the animal foods are selected.

For the last few years, I’ve wobbled back and forth between taking cod liver oil (this kind’s my favorite) and eating free-range chicken liver a few times per week, and the result is the same: the benefits I already see from taking vitamin K2 get an even bigger boost. Whiter color, smoother tooth surface, less plaque build-up, less sensitivity, happier hygienists when I go in for a cleaning. When I slack off on the liver too long, my teeth are the first to chide me for it.

And last but not least, the third member of the fat-soluble gang: vitamin D. As a resident of the gorgeous but gloomful Northwest, vitamin D has been a lifesaver for me, maybe literally. After I moved out of Arizona in 2008 and landed in Portland, I started taking between 1,000 and 3,000 IU of vitamin D per day, depending on how quickly I manage to dash outside when the sun makes its forty-second cameo appearance. (There are plenty of feuding opinions on the best dosage, but in terms of maintaining the state of my teeth, that’s been my sweet spot.) Although the benefits I’ve experienced from vitamin D have been most noticeable in the realm of mental health (e.g., taking it helps me not be a Seasonal-Affective-Disordered zombie from October to March), I’ve noticed a decline in the state of my teeth when my bottle runs out and I don’t replace it for a few weeks. So, on my shelf it stays.

Flash Forward

It’s been a whoppin’ decade since I took my first bite away from raw veganism and towards better health, and seven years since the condition of my teeth really stabilized in a happy place. Of course, my mouth will probably never return to the pristine state it once held; I still have ups and downs when I’m not vigilant with the fat-solubleness of my diet, and I need more frequent cleanings than the average bear. But I’m 27 now, and all the teeth in my mouth are still mine. In three years, I expect it’ll still be that way.

(And if not, I’ll totally become that crazy lady who whips out her dentures at random moments and frightens the children. Win-win.)

Learn More About Denise Minger’s New Book Death by Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics and Shady Special Interests Ruined Your Health Here>>

TAGS:  oral health

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256 thoughts on “Beyond Sugar and Soda: Nutritional Cures for Damaged Teeth”

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  1. I wondered what other fruits are low-acid. I am surprised to see that so much of the fruit I eat is acidic, such as apples.

    1. I think almost all fruit is at least somewhat acidic. The melon family might be an exception. IMO, fruit is meant to be somewhere near the peak of the Paleo pyramid. It should be thought of as dessert, not a dietary staple like vegetables. I’m not a big fruit eater; no one in my family is, and we are all healthy. I normally eat a small piece of fruit or a handful of berries every day or sometimes once every couple of days, but some cultures eat fruit only now and then–say, once a week or once a month–and they aren’t harmed by the lack of it.

    2. What you have done with the supplements is probably an overkill.

      I don’t take supplements or vitamins of any kind. My tooth decay and dental plaque stopped 15 years ago on a high animal fat low carb (no wheat!) diet. I do eat fermented vegetables, occasionally. I never had to have a dental work done ever since, only a checkup once around 2003. I am 58. When the sides of two of my old filled molars broke off 7 years ago on nuts, exposing the core, I did nothing – the teeth sealed themselves with something resembling enamel, after a few months.

      Plant based diet is dental loss, animal fat based diet is dentist’s loss!
      8-:)

      Best Regards,
      Heretic

      P.S.

      WAPF rocks!

      1. Thank You for this comment , I totally agree with You ! Fat is the key to optimum health. The fat free ,high grain , carbohydrate mentality is killing ALL … Best wishes Heretic

  2. I’m sorry since you are both probably otherwise involved but for the good of humanity Denise Minger and Robb Wolf are going to have to have a child together. That way there will be at least one human being on this planet both smart enough to decide what to have for lunch and cook it too 🙂

  3. Very inspiring, and really informative! Thanks for sharing this with us all; I always knew about soda and candy being an issue, but somehow the acidity of ‘regular’ foods like fruit and vinegar consistently slip my mind…
    I have a question; as a lactose-intolerant vegetarian, if I wanted to take some of these vitamin supplements, would they still work? If dairy isn’t part of the picture, as long as there’s still plenty of fat in my diet from nuts, seeds, avocados, oils, etc, will these fat-soluble vitamins still do their job? Thanks!

    1. All fat-soluble (non-polar and hydrophobic) substances should dissolve in all liquid-state lipids (also non-polar and hydrophobic, which imply each other), yes.

    2. You might want to have a look at RAW milk. It is NOT the same critter that you buy in the grocery store. Many people that are lactose intolerant can drink raw milk without problem (there is an enzyme [lactase] that neutralizes the lactose but is totally destroyed by pasteurization).

      1. I will testify that raw milk is awesome. I happen to have the good fortune of living in a place where it’s legally available, and I go to a local farmer’s store to buy it.

        I stopped drinking milk at age 14 when I began running cross-country in high school. Years later I found that whenever I tried to consume something milk-based (whether ice cream — sinner, yes! — or a Bailey’s Irish Cream, etc) I got, shall we say, vile gastro-intestinal side effects. But I have to tell you that I have absolute zero problems with raw milk, and I love using it to make smoothies.

  4. This is so useful, thank you! As a 29 year old with osteoporosis due to cancer (cancer is now in remission) I’m working on building back my bones and my teeth. I have a feeling that these suggestions will help enormously with building back my bone strength.

    1. I started drinking a lot of homemade bone broth awhile back. I had wear spots on my teeth remineralize. I was pleasantly surprised. Good luck with your bone building!

      1. Hey Wendy, could you share how you made the bone broth? Thanks.

    2. You can also increase bone density and ligament strength with weight training. Its something else to consider as you go along.

  5. Oh Denise, where were you 5 years ago? Great stuff. I’m on the Wapf bandwagon now and my teeth are becoming wonderful at the ripe ‘ol age of 57. It really is a miracle when we add K-2.

  6. Fantastic article, thank you so much for the insight on the fat soluble vitamins, I’m going to research adding some Vitamin K2 myself.

    P.S. You are freakin’ hilarious! Thanks for the laughs along with the info 🙂

  7. Does anyone here GRIND your teeth? What causes this? I am 50, have been grinding since childhood. I have been doing the D/K2 for many years. My teeth are strong, but small from the grinding. Thx!! BTW…my dentist wants to put 7 crowns on my lower teeth, 5 on my upper, and at $19K, I just want to learn to stop grinding.

    1. Grinding can be caused my many things – stress is a big one. Your dentist should look into giving you a night guard to protect your teeth at night first. Look into ways you can reduce stress levels and get better sleep too (ie reducing caffeine) – it might help.

      1. Thanks Jen-I have been wearing nightguards for over 10 years. I am allergic to colly ffee and drink little caffeine. Light to moderate stress. I used to be reahigh stress. My sleep is good. I think stress and and/or toxins???

        1. Kamber, fly to Costa Rica, have a vacation, get your teeth fixed for $2,000 and have $17,000 left over for some raw dairy and grass fed meat.

        2. Going to Costa Rica will save you money, but you need to be sure the work they do can be followed up and maintained in the US, that is unless you are planning on returning annually. I know someone who had $10,000 worth of implants done in CR…they were a total botch job. So be carefull…

        3. Stress may be a factor but most people have some stress in their life and not everyone grinds their teeth. I started grinding my teeth when I was 18, living on my own, and eating an extremely poor (student budget) diet. Mostly white carbs. My dentist suggested a night guard as a solution but the one I was given misaligned my jaw and left it hurting even more. Night guards can help place a barrier between your teeth but in my opinion it’s like a band-aid — it just covers up the problem, doesn’t stop the grinding or treat the cause behind it. After some research I found a few studies that show that people (and pigs) grind their teeth when they have a diet low in magnesium.

          What finally stopped my nightly grinding (and the blinding morning headaches that came with it) was a combination of a magnesium supplement and spray. I buy a generic brand supplement and use Ancient Minerals magneisum “oil”. It’s not really an oil — more like a silky water. Once I started using both of those daily the grinding stopped and only returns if I eat a lot of grains, sugar, or vegetable oils – all of which you’re probably avoiding already. After about one month I was back to normal, no more headaches or stiff jaw muscles in the morning, plus I was sleeping much better. And it completely eradicated my menstrual symptoms which had been terrible up until then. Pretty amazing stuff, magnesium.

        4. Hi, I think it can be related to a B vitamin deficiency, I think, B5. I agree with the magnesium glycinate and mag oil, which absorbs quicker. Also, iron may be related. You need to get four different iron labs checked. I can’t remember them right off the top of my head, so google, iron panel. God bless.

        5. Oh yeah, B Vitamins need to be taken in B Complex for best absorption. Also, the parasite thing is real and you should find a natural/alternative/functional medicine doctor who’ll look for parasites and treatment with meds.

      2. My seven year old son grinds his teeth in his sleep, what can be done about this?

        1. For me, grinding teeth is about gut health. Since he’s a child, I’d say probiotics and some more outdoor play in the dirty soil and some mud wrestling! Eating fruits that are known to harbor probiotics… grapes… strawberries.. without too much neurotic washing and with a bit of neglect so they get a bit overripe (organic of course) helps me, but I’m an adult. and my body can handle a bit of fun. It is the time for pick your own….
          When it gets too bad, I take a laxative to clear out and start over, and wear a sport guard to bed.

      1. In my case, teeth grinding means I’m married. I’m serious. I didn’t start grinding my teeth until I got married. I’ve been divorced twice, and quit grinding my teeth each time. I’ve been married to my 3rd husband for 17 years, and started grinding my teeth again a few months into the marriage……

        1. Yeah, marriage can do that…there ought to be a warning label….I have this urge to yell out to you to stop getting married. You seem to be inducing stress on yourself when you say, “I do”….

        2. Maybe it’s the sharing of your bed, as opposed to the sharing of your life? Having someone else disturbing your sleep with elbows, legs and stealing bedding can lead to a stressful, disruptive sleep!

      2. You can take papaya seeds or soursop against parasites and to improve your digestive system.

    2. You’ll get the medical answer on why you grind your teeth, but I’m going to give you the real answer. That is, you probably have problems with your feet that you aren’t aware of.

      I am 50 years old and up until a few years ago, I ground my teeth to the point of actually splitting a molar in half. Literally. Doctors don’t know what they don’t know. And the reason why people develop TMJ is because of a fascial tissue imbalance between the front and back of your body. You have fascial trains that run from the tip of your head to the bottom of your feet. That train can become tightened when you develop postural deficiencies. Those are often associated with foot problems. I personally suffered from Morton’s Toe. I put a small pad under my metatarsal bone of my large toes and Rolfed myself back to health. No more teeth grinding. My TMJ completely disappeared.

      Btw, I first knew I had TMJ because I had a hip injury and a physical therapist was messing with my hips and my jaw locked later that day. That tension in your jaw is what causes grinding. However it develops, it is not what mainstream medicine believes. My hip injury was a direct result of feet problems.

    3. I wanted to respond to you about the grinding. I am a Chiropractor and I work on a lot of patients who have this problem. What I teach them to do is relax their jaw during the day because most of them “clench” during the day and grind at night. If that is you, then try this: Put a reminder in your phone to beep at you every hour and ask “Am I clenching?”. Clenching is holding your teach together. The correct rest position of your jaw, the position your jaw is supposed to be in all day long, is teeth apart, lips together, tongue resting on the roof of your mouth (like you are going to say the letter “N”), and breathing in and out through your nose. You should be doing this all day long. If you are not, and your teeth are together, then you are clenching. Most of the time if I can get my patient to stop clenching during the day, then they stop at night. Also, you may want to get a night guard because it is better to grind on the night guard than your own teeth. Best of luck!

      1. Dr. Justin-you are spot on with the clenching or catching myself doing that during the day. I will set a timer, that is a good idea. I feel it is related to stress/toxins and somehow the adrenals. Since caffeine is a huge stressor for me.

        Nocona-love that idea!!

        Got rid of the parasites years ago, and had my feet/posture taken care of.
        You guys are great! Thx! 🙂

        1. I also grind my teeth, even when I’m managing my stress, eating well, and getting plenty of sleep. I have a night guard, but I’ve also noticed that forcing myself to relax my jaw during the day (since I used to clench it when I was studying) helps prevent grinding at night.

          Hope it works for you, Kamber!

      2. I take spells of biting my tongue at night. Horrible. Sometimes I even bring blood, then of course, my tongue swells, and I have to be careful not to bite it again. I don’t know what brings it on, because it’s intermittent, and I may go a long time without doing this, then start right up again.

    4. Just me, probably…but I started to grind my teeth about the time my thyroid started to fail. By the time I was diagnosed I had broken a molar. Lots of neuro involvement for me…nighttime unsteadiness, choking on saliva, daytime brain fog, visual disturbances, all-the-time tremors. The grinding–and everything else–gradually abated after I started thyroid supplementation (Armour Thyroid, actually). You might want to get it checked out.

    5. We retired to Panama and recently I started same work same number upper and lower. Didn’t have another option. I am 70. Cost here approx. $6,000 but get a 20% discount for senior rate. Crowns are $450 each. In Panama City each crown is $650. So there is an advantage where you have the work done here. You could get work done and have a vacation for a lot less that that $19K. My dentist is amazing. Young and practicing for 9 years.

      1. I have wanted to pursue medical/dental tourism in such places as Panama, but have been concerned about how to locate a reputable provider. Can you share the contact information of this dentist (and/or other medical sources) or how you go about screening them? Thanks so much. D

        1. Beware of medical tourism. I live in Guatemala, and was almost killed twice on operatig table for eylid lift. Told both med tour person and the dr. I was sensitive to xylocaine. Then turns out she used it anyway, and as I was waking up and my heart stopped, she gave me more. Over dose of 2x, and my heart stopped twice. She was upset with me because the procedure took too long. Same issue with dentists.
          I had an implant done here in Guate, so I called the local dental schools and interviewed the head of the implant department. Another way is to call a good number of practitioners that have been trained in US or European schools, and see who has the busier schedule. Choose your restaurant on the highway by the number of cars in the lot. Most of the practitioners that use medical tourism representatives cant get a decent living from a caseload they build on their local reputation. Med Tourism reps get a percentage or other fee based on providing suckers, uh, I mean clients.

    6. I used to grind my teeth. I would wake up with a sore jaw. Turned out that a dairy allergy was the cause. When I stopped eating dairy, I stopped grinding my teeth!

    7. My dentist suggested magnesium deficiency as a cause for grinding. Sure enough, we added a mag supplement and his grinding stopped almost immediately. Most of the population is mag deficient anyway, so it is worth a try!

    8. Regarding dental appliances. Make sure your dental appliance fits on the front of your mouth, there’s less bite pressure in the front of mouth, where your teeth in the back are very powerful. Full bite guards (on back teeth) still allow you to grind and chew up the guard they don’t allow the muscles doing the grinding to relax. Research before asking dentist, know what you need and insist on it.

    9. I started grinding at about age 10. It woke the whole house. (everyone but me!)
      Our dentist suggested wearing a moldable (after boiling in water) silicone football mouth guard when sleeping.
      After just a few weeks I didn’t need it any longer.
      I have heard this to be a common way to resolve this problem.

    10. Hi there re: grinding or clenching. I went through this and through looking for the best ‘mouthguard’… I had an “N.T.I’ acrylic made for me by my wonderful dentist. It is small, and prevents grinding ON the appliance because it is only over the front teeth. Mine lower. Easy to sleep with. The end of clenching and helps my neck pain also. Most mouthguards allow clenching to simply continue because there is that surface covering all teeth! crazy!

      1. That’s what I use as well — wonderful and feels better than the full mouth guard.

    11. Did you have braces as a teenager? Are you missing several teeth? Are you a horizontal or vertical grinder? How far down is the wear on your teeth? Is it into the dentin? Teeth can remineralize, in fact, but not on chewing surfaces. Tooth wear is a complex and expensive problem to fix.

    12. I can say that grinding your teeth can be caused by your bite being off. I am 30 and have ground my teeth all my life. My mom said I ground my teeth so bad she could here me in the other room. I went to a holistic dentist and he fixed my bite. I do have to wear a night guard, it is different than the ones you get from a regular dentist. My gums would bleed real bad, too. Once my bite was fixed, they stopped. My headaches stopped, too. Go to a holistic dentist and have him/her check your bite. Check around if the one near you is expensive. I travel 3 hours away because it is cheaper than going to the one closer to me, even with traveling expenses.

      1. What kind of night guard is it? Brand name, style, material, etc.?

        1. What the dentist did was fix my bite, take a mold of my top AND bottom teeth. Separately and when I bit down. Then, they had a mold made from all those impressions to fit my mouth with my bite aligned. I had had a night guard when I was a teenager and it felt different and actually helps. It not only helps keep you from grinding, but it also keeps you bite aligned when you sleep. My bite was off so much I had to take several trips to the dentist. Before, I would go to a chiropractor to put my jaw back in place, but as soon as I walked out the door, it was out again. So, it is different than your jaw being out. Eating certain foods can cause inflammation there, too and make it worse. It is not one you just buy, they make it specifically for you. There should be a waiting period after they make an impression. I would limit the amount of sugar and grains, too. That helps me as well. But getting my bite fixed was the biggest help. I hope this helps.

    13. There can be a lot of causes for grinding. My dentist told me I was “grinding my molars into oblivion” and fit me with a night-guard. It’s important to get one that actually does not allow you to go through the action of grinding at night, one that allows your teeth to separate, and your jaw to rest and learn new patterns. Mine has been life-changing! So far, no crowns either. Best $800 I ever spent. Good luck!

    14. Magnesium deficiency can cause tooth grinding – I’ve found that taking magnesium taurate helps a lot.

    15. Have you checked for parasites? If I remember correctly Paul Pitchford author or Healing with Whole Foods says tooth grinding can be due to parasites. Do you notice if it happens in the early AM? Any itching? Do you wake unusually early? Do you have signs of toxins, irritability, brain fog? Are you fine for a week or two, then feel crappy…in cycles?

  8. Thanks for this post. I don’t have many problems with my teeth but I’m a firm believer in not waiting until I have problems with them when I can act now!

  9. Great article! As a current dental student who eats paleo, I feel that nutrition is often overlooked when it comes to oral health. It is truly unfortunate, as food can clearly have such a large impact on cavities and periodontal disease! I knew about the detrimental effect of acidic foods but never considered the importance of fat-soluble vitamins. I will definitely be sharing this article with my colleagues.

  10. Would love to keep seeing articles from Denise. Hope everyone has read death by food pyramid, it’s brilliant!

  11. Thank you for introducing me to Crunchy Betty and the concept of activated charcoal. Off to the health food store I go.

  12. i have been reading about drinking borax 1/8 of a teaspoon disolved in a liter of water 5 days yes and two days no.
    taking it as a regular drink during the day.
    this will strenght your teeth and bones.
    please read THE BORAX CONSPIRACY BY WALTER LAST (GOOGLE)
    WISH THIS CAN HELP YOU ALL.
    ALAN FORM MEXICO

    1. So true, Alan.
      After reading Mr Last’s article on Borax, at least four years ago, I began taking a small amount of it daily, probably about 1/16-1/8 tsp a day.
      Recently I had to visit a new dentist for a root canal and he insisted on taking a facial X-ray. Who’s to argue. He kept saying I had very strong bones, at least six or seven times during the examination. I was too concerned during the preparation to ask questions, but the next appointment I asked him if he meant strong bones for my age. He replied “For any age”.
      I have always been on the chubby size, never one for heavy exercise and I have never liked milk. I’ve always had a sweet tooth though I do temper it.
      I have never had good teeth and was surprised and wondered if in this late stage in my life, I am sixty-four, as the song goes, the borax is now at least strengthening my bones and possibly living teeth areas. He told me that the outer teeth could not be strengthened by anything once mature. Not sure about that, but . . .
      I occasionally take up to a teaspoon as a cleans and the first time I did this I saw white stringy things in my movement. It did not seem to bother my system in this amount.
      I use it in my laundry, a solution of it in my shower to wash, with my baking soda to lightly brush my teeth & gargle, and I add a little to my Xylitol and water concoction for keeping my sinus problems at bay, and then spray in my eyes, eyebrows (immediately stopped the eyebrow itch).
      Xylitol is also purported to strengthen bones and teeth. I have been using Xylitol for at least seven years and have not had a cold, flue or even a sniffle in all this time. Amazing for me.
      As Walter suggests, many think borax is a poison, but to mammals it is not.
      If borax and Xylitol do strengthen bones and teeth, wouldn’t it be a wonderful addition for all ages, children especially. Imagine children never having cavities and having super strong teeth and bones.
      Namaste and care,
      mhikl

  13. The best way to prevent cavities in my opinion is to regularly rinse your mouth after every ingestion of food or drink. It is also important to scrub the tongue. This habit reduces the bacteria in the mouth and prevents bad breath (in addition to cavities). Every time I use the bathroom, I look in the mirror to ensure the tongue is not coated with gunk (it should look a pleasant pink). The problem with most people is that they regularly consume food and drink and then continue with their work, instead of rinsing their mouth. The dental expenditures in this country can be cut by more than half with just this simple change in habit (even those highly acidic fruit don’t have much time to do damage). I am almost 54 and have no cavities and only go to the dentist once a year for a cleaning and preventive checkup.

    1. Great link, thanks! I was able to watch the first half and it has some great information.
      Thanks Mark, for another informative post.

  14. It’s always interesting to read articles about teeth!!

    Some good advice here and some questionable advice.

    There are some things we know:
    The cause of dental cavities. Bacteria + carbs = cavities.
    Hyposalivation increases cavity risk.
    Poor hygiene increases cavity risk.
    Frequent snacking on carbs/sugar increases cavity risk.
    Genetics have an influence.
    Some cavities can be “healed”
    Saliva naturally contains high levels of calcium and phosphate (which aid in remineralizing teeth).
    Fluoride helps make teeth even stronger.

    We’ve known these things for a long time.

    Put this all together and you end up with different recommendations for different people. If someone has multiple, large, active cavities then they need some fillings to fix the holes. They also need aggressive prevention strategies including homecare (brushing flossing rinsing), diet changes (less frequent snacking and less carbs/sugar/acid) and more visits to the friendly dentist/dental hygienist for monitoring.

    Baking soda + saltwater + peroxide = a great (and cheap) slurry to brush and/or rinse.

    I am happy to get into more detail if anyone is interested.

    Cheers,
    Jason

    1. That’s the same typical advise you’ll hear from every CW dentist out there. It might be enough for those who already have healthy mouths and healthy diets, but for those of us who need to address major dental problems, brushing and flossing just won’t cut it. The fat soluble vitamins have to be added as well as plenty of protein and calcium.

      1. Major dental needs need to be addressed. A large cavity in a tooth will not self-heal. Along those same lines, putting a filling in a tooth does not change the risk factors that someone may have.

        So, you are correct that someone with major dental issues needs to institute major changes in their care and prevention.

      2. Casey, you cannot remineralize chewing surfaces. If the bacterial infection has spread into the dentin, the correction, for most is restoration. A very few, like those on this site, will use the fat soluble vitamin, non acidic diet and neutral pH approach to arrest decay and prevent bacterial colony formation. The majority will not. Fluoride is bacteriocidal. We as dentists, have enough to do without getting into 15 minute discussions on nutrition with our patients that is not compensated. We, unfortunately, have businesses to run. Most patients expect any medical type discussions with dentists to be free. Try having several employees, rent, technology, health care, etc, and spend 2 hours a day discussing nutrition with patients to cut down on disease. I may spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, but patients are not all as educated as on this site. That is why I love savvy dental consumers.

      1. I’ve read the study.

        Look closely at the fluoride levels evaluated and their sources.

        The results aren’t what the headline would indicate…

        1. If you have a point to make, I’d rather you say it outright rather than being coy, with ellipses and all, expecting me to chase down the rabbit hole and find the information you are alluding to. Sorry, I don’t have time to read the entire 32-page study.

          Here’s what I know. This is the headline of the article:

          “Harvard Study Confirms Fluoride Reduces Children’s IQ”

          And this is the conclusion of study:

          “In conclusion, our results support the possibility of adverse effects of fluoride exposures on children’s neurodevelopment. Future research should formally evaluate dose-response relations based on individual-level measures of exposure over time, including more precise prenatal exposure assessment and more extensive standardized measures of neurobehavioral performance, in addition to improving assessment and control of potential confounders.”

          So these Harvard scientists have drawn the tentative conclusion that fluoride is toxic, and I see no discrepancy between that conclusion and the article’s headline. One could contend that the title oversimplifies the scientists’ position, but that’s a forgivable fault in a headline.

          So basically, fluoride is toxic. It’s not comparable to the arsenic in apples because the arsenic is in the seeds–which people don’t eat. And moreover, the reason they don’t eat them because it is well known that they contain arsenic. Yes, a trace amount of arsenic won’t kill you, but consumption should be avoided if possible. So it is with fluoride. A small dose may not significantly hurt you, but if it is a known toxin, it should be avoided. Who cares what the “source” is or what the “levels” are? Why purposefully ingest poison?

    2. Jason,

      Fluoride making teeth “stronger” is crap science. Fluoride is toxic to humans, AND to your teeth… try oil-pulling instead. If you want to “re-mineralize” your teeth, follow Denise’s suggestions.

      1. Sorry Mr Paleo, but you must be looking at different data than I am…

        Fluoride has a long history of being very effective at aiding in remineralizing teeth.

        Arsenic is also toxic but we seem to be fine when consuming apples on a regular basis.

        1. I think like a lot of nutrients flouride is ok in the trace amounts found naturally in food. The flouride they put in water and on your teeth is not the same thing, and is not good for you.
          We had flouride added to our water when my kids were younger and it caused flouridosis (white spots) on my older daughters teeth. I remember going to the dentist and having a hygienist comment on them, then try to push flouride rinse.
          Our city does not currently add flouride to our water, our current dentist does not use flouride at all in his practice and we use non fluoridated tooth paste and we have not had any cavities.
          We do eat really well with grassfed meat/dairy and organic or local veggies, and take vitamin d, our dental health is the best it’s ever been.

        2. Just because the body can absorb and use a component doesn’t mean it is ideal. The body is full of contingency measures to function through starvation to survive until better days before detoxing and healing. Aluminum isn’t so great but can take the place of magnesium as a cofactor(could the senile folks with high levels of aluminum in their brains suffer from chronic magnesium deficiency?) Anemics are at greater risk of absorbing lead. Mercury -> selenium. Etc etc.

          Fluorine is a helpful trace mineral in food — fluoride in the drinking water is not the same animal. If you *need* it, something else is likely wrong or deficient. Incidentally, fluoride binds to magnesium preventing absorption.

        3. “Fluoride has a long history of being very effective at aiding in remineralizing teeth.”

          In what dietary context? Full-time moderate- to high-glycemic SAD?

          My present personal posture is that if you are on a low-carb diet free of added sugars and starches rapidly converted to glucose (e.g. grains), and low acidic, any dental benefits of added fluoride are nil.

          And I specifically question the consequences of added fluoride in thyroid health. Given that consensus medical mis-testing, mis-diagnosis and mis-treatment of thyroid is a festering scandal, it’s apt to be some time before we have a clear picture on this.

        4. In adults – topical fluoride has proven save and effective for helping to remineralize teeth and reduce/eliminate sensitivity.

          Boundless, you are correct that a diet that minimizes carbs and frequent snacking (specifically of carb-rich food/drink) will reduce cavity risk significantly.

        5. It’s the type of fluoride. Fluoride, yes is good. But the stuff they put in your toothpaste and in the water supply and the stuff at the dentist’s offices is not just fluoride. It is a by-product of the phosphate mines. Farmers complained about the fluoride gas killing their animals and crops and so they had to figure a way to get it into a liquid form. Then, they had all this liquid fluoride that just sat there. The water companies said they can buy it and put it in the water supply. This fluoride is called sodium fluoride. This is the same fluoride Hitler used to, in gas form, to kill Jews in the gas chambers. The fluoride that is in the above mentioned things is highly toxic. The element fluoride, however, is not. This here tells a few things about it: http://fluoridealert.org/articles/fluoride-facts/

  15. Thank you SO much for this info! I enjoyed the first 25 years of my life cavity free and am now in free fall. Fairly severe gum recession, a root canal, crown and many fillings later (some on the front of my teeth because the recession/sensitivity gets off the charts) I had no idea what to try. I’m making my own remineralizing toothpaste but even that hurts to use (I may mix in some activated charcoal powder to see if that helps. It currently has Calcium Carbonate, xylitol, coconut oil, baking soda and spearamint essential oil). I have a green smoothie every morning but it has cherries/blueberries and strawberries in it so I’ll have to change that up. I am already taking the Green Pastures CL/Butter Oil 2x day and just started taking grass fed liver powder capsules a week or two ago but I’ve only been taking 2 a day while the serving size is 6 pills – so I’ll be upping that to 3 in the AM and 3 at night. I ordered the K2 you recommending and I’ll be crossing fingers and toes that this can get better with NO MORE FILLINGS!

    1. You many want to drop the spearamint. That may be causing the pain. Also, while everyone says to brush for at least 2 min, I find my teeth getting sensitive after doing that for a while. You may want to just brush your teeth long enough for them to feel clean, then quit.

      1. Thanks for the info! Do you have an essential oil recommendation to replace the spearmint? I think I have peppermint, lavender and lemon and tea tree on hand.

        1. I don’t really see the need for an essential oil, but I really don’t know that much about essential oils. Just looking at your ingredient list, the spearmint seemed like the most likely culprit for pain. Try your mix without any essential oils. If it does not cause any pain, then you know the oil is the culprit. If you still want an essential oil, try experimenting with what you have and see which, if any, can be used without pain. If your mix still causes pain, try it without one of the other ingredients, until you find what does or does not cause pain.

          I never had my dental health nose dive like yours did, but over a decade ago, every dental visit had a cavity (or more than one) that would likely need filled on the next visit and/or spot that needed watched. Shortly after a visit with several of both, someone posted to a forum I was on that she’d switched to using 2 parts baking soda and 1 part sea salt and it worked great for her, so I tried it. Next dental visit, about 6 months later, the spots that needed watched were gone and the ones that would likely need filled had become spots that needed to be watched. Next visit, in 6 months, those were gone. I mentioned to the hygienist what I was doing and she said not to use baking soda, it is too abrasive and would wear down my enamel. Hah! That’s not what the results of my checkups said.

          I don’t use baking soda anymore, just straight sea salt – don’t want to bother with mixing them. I haven’t had any problems for years. Back then, I was eating the standard American diet, but not a lot of processed junk. I did have a soda a day habit though, which I did not change with the change in brushing habits.

        2. You might want to try clove oil, eugenol, if your teeth or gums are very sensitive. it is mildly anesthetic as well as being refreshing.

    2. I use a bit of baking soda with a couple drops of oil of oregano, followed by a salt water rinse to brush a couple times a week. Simple and my teeth feel really clean. Oil of oregano works great to heal cuts, and is a natural antibacterial agent.
      Also make sure to use a soft toothbrush and brush gently, as rough brushing and too firm bristles aggravate the gums.

      1. My dentist recommended an electric toothbrush for me since I tend to use too much pressure when brushing. It prevents destructive brushing.

        1. I hadn’t considered an electric toothbrush as a means of using less pressure when brushing. I may give that a try. Goodness knows they’re easier to find then the extra-soft, compact head toothbrushes that I use. I tend to brush too hard too, and my dentist suggested the extra-soft toothbrushes. The darned things were so hard to find for a while, that my dentish would give me enough to last until my next cleaning.

    3. Drop the xylitol. You don’t need it and my dentist tells me that recent studies show it can be as wearing on the teeth as sugar. If your teeth are too sore for brushing you might try oil pulling for a while.

    4. Be careful of the calcium carbonate–I think it could be too abrasive. I have made the same recipe and decided it was too abrasive for my teeth. Especially if I was brushing vigorously. I have gone back to brushing with a little bit of original Crest, soft brush, then rinse with old fashioned Listerine for antiseptic help and then rinse with ACT original. My mouth and teeth have improved. My gums are nice and pink and healthy, said my dentist just this week. I do eat Paleo/primal. I rinse my toothbrush in Listerine everytime and buy a new brush once a month. Stuff lingers on them. I am happy with this regime at the present. Good luck.

    5. Hi Kristen. It looks like you and I are in a similar boat. My mouth was in perfect condition for 25 years, then boom. Health problems and severe periodontal disease. I can’t tell if my efforts to have fixed it over the past year have helped or not, as the damage has just been progressing. I’d like to know how you’re doing (since this comment is now 2 years old), and also have someone to relate to. The hardest part is seeing everyone else who is 27 with their perfect smiles and looking healthier than ever, while I’m falling apart.

      1. I haven’t been great about keeping up with it. I used to love going to the dentist but now I dread it. They keep saying that things are getting worse so I’m at the point of saying screw it, pull them all. I have other health things going on so it’s hard to focus on that specific thing. I keep trying but maybe it’s keeping things from spinning out of control rather than just only getting slightly worse, who knows.

    6. I hope your teeth are better aunce 4 years ago! Regarding tooth paste check out Jade Bloom Protect toothpaste, it contains hydroxyapatite instead of flouride, no glycerine (which prevents remineralisation), cocoa butter, coconut oil, clcium silicate, baknig soda, xylitol and amazing essential oils.

      I am just a week in on my first jar and I love it. I read many success stories about it so recommending it to everyone!

      Myself I am 29 and my teeth are in good health, however
      after starting noticing some signs of wear on the enamel and gums after a largely vegan diet with lots of lemon water and juices, as well as a life long habit of overzealous brushing, I have adapted a new strategy.

      Here is what I am doing:

      Dental hygiene
      1. Changed to extra soft tooth brush with extra thin bristles and adapted “modified BASS” brushing technique plus much softer pressure
      2. Changed to Jade Bloom remineralizing tooth paste + mouth wash
      3. Floss more (almost every day)
      4. OVC Coconut oil pulling first thing in the morning and sometimes at night, a few times a week, 20 mins at a time, rinsing with hot salt water afterwards and not brushing teeth for at least 20-30 mins after to protect enamel (have been oil pulling for years but increasing my discipline now)

      Preventative practices
      5. Swish with water after each drink or meal consumption when possible, especially after acidic drinks/foods
      6. If drinking juices or acidic drinks I use a straw or aim the liquid towards my palette so front teeth and outside of teeth are protected
      7. Drinking more water, and hot water no regularly neitralize ph

      Diet step downs
      4. Drastically step down coffee intake, replace with green tea, low sugar or sugar free cacao, herbal teas or hot water (plus wanna make a super healthy coffee substitute I found from Bridget Nielsen on youtube)
      5. Excluding wheat and grains as much as possible (….I know it is hard)
      6. Little to no pineapple (as I heard it is very acidic and also contains enzymes that break down protein)

      Diet Add ins
      (I have been vegetarian for most of my life and really can’t imagine consuming any meat, but I am adding back in the dairy and eggs I more or less stopped since a couple of years. I already eat lots of veggies of all colours and moderate fruit intake)
      7. Raw goats milk & kefir as much as I can get hold of
      8. Organic eggs from ducks and chickens
      9. Organic cheese & butter
      10. Fish broth (and maybe fish too if I get hold of some good ones)
      11. More greens
      12. Planning on making my own sour dough bread!
      13. Fermented foods such as saurkraut to make my gut even more super happy… although careful to rinse with water after!

      14. Getting more sun!

      PS. I also have been taking silica supplement for a long time, occassionaly take chelated magnesium, vegan B12, Calcium+VitD supplement.. although after this article I am considering buying myself some more vitamin D and K12 supplement, and potentially fermented cod liver oil!

      Hope this helps!

      Lots of Love
      Julia

  16. As a practicing dentist, I would say vegans have some of the worst teeth that walk through my door. This article is pretty spot on.

  17. thank you so much for sharing! i’m a HUGE vinegar and fermented food ingester… and i’ve got the receding gum lines to prove it. D, A, and K2 just bumped their way up on my priority list.

  18. Great post, thanks for the heads up on activated charcoal for whitening. Adn yes, I was goign overboard on fermented foods and water kefir. It caused rosacea for me, adn as soon as it I cut way back that settled down. I occasionally still enjoy soem kimchi or kraut, just not everyday adn totally cut out teh lombucha and kefir water (which i still ove, doesnt love me). The fermented drinks definitely made my teeth feel funny…like they were being attacked.

  19. What kind of D do you take, Denise? Is it D from the cod liver oil?

  20. Great info! I’ve never been vegan but was surprised to see apples on the list of fruits to limit since I always thought I was doing my teeth well by eating them (I guess another myth debunked?) Thanks for sharing this story.

  21. THE most bang for the K2 buck, I’m pretty sure, is Life Extension Super K. About $35 for 90 gets on Amazon. Each capsule has 1000mcg of K1 and K2/Mk-4, and 200mcg of K2/Mk-7. I’ve been taking this and other K vitamins for a couple of years, and 4000-10000 IU’s of Vitamin D a day. Vitamin A as is in my food and a bit in a multivite.

    Haven’t seen a dentist in five years, pre-vitamin dosing. My teeth are healthy, no pain, no gum issues, breath just fine.

    Think about it: Why would we evolve to have dental problems, especially in a long lived species? Of course we didn’t.

    1. Danger, danger!! With water soluble vitamins you don’t have to worry about overdosing;…BUT with fat soluble vitamins you do. You can have a blood test to determine your Vit D level which will help you decide how much Vit D to take. I think, though I am not sure that there is also a test for Vit K. Be careful…sometimes less is better.

    2. I have been doing the same with Life Extension’s Super K and 4-10K of D3. Vitamin A from food.

      I do go to the dentist every 6 months for cleanings and never have a problem with receding gums or tarter.

      Bones like a 20 year old! ( in my 50’s)

    3. I just ordered Life Extension Super K with Advanced K2 Complex from Swanson’s Vitamins for $22.50 for 90 gels. You might save a few more bucks with free shipping offers that happen frequently.

  22. Nice article. Might start looking into supplementing with K2. Already got Vit D at home.

    I remember a youtube video by DurianRider (the vegan that promotes the whole 30 bananas a day fad…garbage) showing his “pearly whites” and claiming that his diet wasn’t doing anything harmful to his teeth. My only thought was yeah right….you are practically washing your teeth in sugar 24/7 and claiming it’s having no effect???

    Btw….how in the world does one eat 30 bananas a day?!?

  23. I noticed that the Vitamin K2 says “do not take while pregnant or breastfeeding”. I wonder if that is just the generic statement that the FDA makes everyone paste on everything that hasn’t been specifically studied, or if there are actually reasons not to take it while breastfeeding?

    I have horrible teeth; even though I do everything the dentist tells me I get cavities regularly. I already have had one root canal and I have a bad tooth right now that may end up needing one. I’d really, really, really like to prevent that!!!

    So…anyone actually know about the safety of taking K2 while breastfeeding?

    1. I don’t actually know, but I would assume the naturally occurring Vitamin K2 is safe, so you can just eat more goose liver, cheese, etc, or consider butter oil or emu oil. WAPF is very concerned with nutrition for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, so there’s probably some more info about it on their site.

      There is a difference between the synthetic Vitamin K2 and the naturally occurring one, so I guess to be completely safe the natural one would be best. I only bring this up because the synthetic Vitamin K2 gave me very bad headaches. I’ve never heard of anyone else experiencing this, so it may just be me. WAPFers have for sure been using K2 during breastfeeding, so I’d recommend looking up their blogs to find out what they know.

    2. Nina Planck says quite a bit about K2 in her book “Real Food for Mother and Baby”. As mentioned by others, dietary sources of K2 will be safer and more effective than synthetic/supplements. I would agree with the previous commenter, though- there just isn’t enough research for them to say that it ‘is ok’ , so they prescribe caution. Try your best to get real food sources and don’t worry too much! If you want to go into hyper drive on K2 to help build teeth and bones, maybe wait until baby is done breastfeeding.

  24. Denise, think you got this post! I’ve been a low carb primal eater for two years now, and although it cleared up many of my health problems, I still wasn’t feeling 100%. When I found a hole in one of my teeth, I decided I needed to change something. I read Cure Tooth Decay, and then Weston Price’s Nutrition and Degeneration, and so many things clicked into place. I’ve been implementing many of the WAPF ideas into my diet, like butter oil and cod liver oil, organ meats, more veggies and fish, and raw dairy (plus I started oil pulling). It’s only been two weeks, but I can already see a difference in my teeth in general, and I’m pretty sure I can feel that hole in my tooth getting smaller! At any rate, the server temperature sensitivity has gone away. I hope this post helps others who might be having issues.

  25. Good article from Denise. There is a WAPF recommended book Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel which has more or less the same conclusions as Denise. Her writing style is far better though.

  26. My God! The true greatness of this website never ceases to amaze me! Mark, you and your team are bringin’ it baby! Thank you for your continuing passion and commitment to wellness. You are truly changing lives. This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I can hardly wait to brush with activated charcoal tonight!

  27. hi – re: activated charcoal for teeth. do you know if it can safely be used on a dental implant?

    1. I don’t know about activated charcoal (yet) but I do know that brushing with baking soda is very gentle (less abrasive than toothpaste) and cleans effectively.

      The biggest problem in toothbrushing is abrasive toothpaste and technique…too much aggressive scrubbing is bad.

      Brush in gentle circles and your teeth/gums will love you…oh, and make sure you are doing it for at least 2 minutes at a time.

      Again, this all depends on your individual risk factors.

  28. This is all SO interesting to me. I’ve been a vegetarian for 7 years and thankfully most of my teeth are okay. I was in a bad bike accident in high school though that left me undergoing massive amounts of dental work which resulted in 4 crowns last year.

  29. May I suggest you add to your supplements for your teeth, Magnesium in some form. I use Jigsaw Mag Malate w/SRT and get 5 times your wgt in Mg daily. Mag is like the delivery boy taking Ca where it should go, to bones and teeth. It has really helped me. And it keeps the excess Calcium out of the blood where it doesn’t belong. Excess calcium in blood ends up causing blockage in arteries, kidneys and all the stones wherever they deposit, and things like bone spurs, carotid artery blockage and even calcium build up in the heart and valves.

    1. Great post, Denise. I was wondering why you didn’t mention magnesium – maybe because you were already getting enough through your diet and/or supplements?

  30. So what about animals that eat these acidic fruits all the time? Their teeth would rot in no time and they would die early. Or does their mouths have saliva with a Ph level very different to humans and thus counter balances? The enamel in their teeth is very different from humans? I have a hard time believing that the small amount of time that a normal food like fruit is on one’s mouth that it can have a big effect on teeth.

    1. I think that the main culprit, as described above, was poor overall nutrition, which left the teeth vulnerable to the acid in the fruit. Given that animals which naturally consume large amounts of acidic fruit are meeting their nutritional needs, the acid in the fruit should not be a problem.

    2. That brings up another question… does this nutrition advice work for pet teeth too? And have the modern cat and dog foods ruined their teeth like it did for humans? I grew up with a cat 30 years ago, and I NEVER saw pet toothpaste and pet toothbrushes or pet dental chewey bones back then. I never heard of bad pet teeth back then either.

      1. Yes, modern cat and dog foods have been bad for the health of our pets. If you use this site’s search engine, and search for primal cat or primal dog, you will find some posts. Or if you go to the page for Primal Blueprint 101, down at the very bottom of the page are the links for Primal Eating Plan for Cats & Dogs

  31. Denise, do you brush or mouthwash the way crunchy betty describes? Charcoal sounds a mite abrasive.

  32. You are right on!
    I am a periodontist with 40 years of experience. I am one of very few periodontists who actively treat periodontal disease with an emphasis on ancestral nutrition and functional medicine. I have designed, and am currently implementing, a clinical study in my offices on how fermented cod liver oil and high vitamin butter blend in addition to kelp powder may reduce periodontal pockets, bleeding points, and overall systemic inflammation (measured by high sensitivity C Reactive Protein). As you know, these nutrient-dense food supplements will not only help inflammation but also assist in remineralization.

    1. Dr. Danenberg, I hope you will update us with the results of your study. Perhaps Mark would let you do a guest post to share your findings. I suspect a lot of people here would be very interested!

      1. I hope the results of the study will be available in the next 2 months. If Mark wants, I would be happy to report these results on this website. I have found that Mark’s research is superb. I often refer patients to his website to get detailed and unbiased answers to their primal lifestyle questions.

      2. I’m also very interested in the results of Dr. Danenberg’s study!

  33. Oil Pulling with extra-virgin coconut oil is worth researching to anyone with dental issues .

    1. I’ve been doing that for over a year now. All plaque has vanished and problems with bad breath are gone!

    2. Glad to hear someone testify to that- quite a few oil pulling articles I’ve read recommend safflower oil (gasp!) Or other inflammatory oils. vco it is!

  34. I am curious about the effect of sauerkraut and other fermented veggies on dental health. The low PH is obviously a danger, but the article states that “vitamin K2 is a product of bacterial fermentation” and many other sources confirm that sauerkraut is loaded with K2. Can sauerkraut be strategically added to my diet in a way that provides my K2 but minimizes acid-on-teeth time?

    1. Wouldn’t rinsing with water after eating or a meal do the trick? I read you shouldn’t brush your teeth right after eating acidic food and drink (including kombucha) because the food softens, but rinsing clears much of the acid off and then brushing later is ok. I read that recently and have implemented that technique. I just swish and spit after eating or drinking. Then brush before bed and after breakfast.

      1. You know, you just have to draw a line on how much fiddling around you do and not worry about it. If issues are not too bad, just do the best you can and move on. Relax and enjoy life. I am an old lady–trust me. LOL.

  35. I have awful teeth and my dentist just told me I need $4000 worth of dental work, so this is timely. Question: do all yogurts have reasonable amounts of K2? Not that I mind eating liver pate every day. 🙂

    Also, does bone broth help the teeth remineralize? I’d think it would have the right sorts of minerals in the right proportions.

    1. “Question: do all yogurts have reasonable amounts of K2?”

      Caution: most yogurts contain substantial amounts of sugar, and are generally incompatible with LC eating for that reason.

    2. Dear Meepster,
      Sorry, but there appear to be no commercial yogurts that contain K2, because they use the wrong bacterial cultures (Bifida, Lactobacillus, etc.)

      The way K2 can be produced in dairy is by the natural souring process. That’s the way buttermilk was made in the days before Pasteurization. It might be seeded by the cow’s own bacteria from the teat. My mom said real buttermilk was so delicious that there is no comparison. The British have something they call clotted cream, which may be made in a similar way.

      However, bone broth is an excellent way to get both K2 and minerals, as long as you don’t skim off the fat (that’s where the K2 is). Bone marrow is an excellent source of K2, because it is there to remineralize the bones! (Or rather, to activate the protein (osteocalcin) which does the job.) It also helps prevent bone cancer, and is being used in some countries as a supplementary bone cancer treatment along with chemo.

      But one caveat: CAFO cattle have only half as much K2 as grass-fed — because they don’t get enough K1, which their rumen bacteria convert to K2.

      Hope this answers your questions.

  36. Years of “healthy whole wheat bread” and low fat pizzas left me with 3 root canals and multiple cavities. I’m now enjoying perfect dental health with a high fat egg , liver, cheese bacon diet.

    1. Wow, 3 root canals and multiple cavities… shocking. Makes stroke, heart attack and cancer seem like a walk in the park~!

      1. Try incompetent dentists who grind healthy teeth down which stresses the rest of the teeth and result in chips and breakages.

        Going paleo or Wheat Belly does unfortunately NOT prevent against the smugness, incompetence, destructive and brain-dead behaviours of dentists.

        Or other so-called “health” professionals for that matter.

  37. This explains a lot. I started eating Sauerkraut and within two weeks, one of my filling came out and I had to have a crown put in. Wish I had known it would be so damaging to my teeth.

    1. Rinse with water after eating. That would help and you could still eat the yummy sauerkraut if you take that precaution. Of course, you would have to develop the habit to do that! LOL. That’s what I do–we do the best we can and it might not have been eating the sauerkraut anyway. Carry on eating healthy, zeb.

  38. I too am 27 years old, and really enjoy bragging about my teeth which, thus far, are perfect. Not even one cavity. No surprise as my sister, who is nearly ten years older, also has perfect teeth. Neither of us has ever needed dental treatment. Fluoride cannot be credited as we have never been exposed to it.

    But we were not exposed to sugar either. We grew most of our own foods or traded with neighbours. We always had fresh milk and eggs. What kids eat today really horrifies me. It’s no wonder many have rotten teeth before their third birthday!!!

    The evidence I’ve seen about vitamin D supplements suggests that they’re not necessary and can be dangerous, even at low doses. I would go with cod liver oil if I thought I needed a boost (I get plenty of sun) but most definitely not a supplement in pill form.

    1. Jill, few people are able to get sufficient Vitamin D from the sun, especially during the winter months (and even much of the rest of the year for those of us who live here in the Pacific Northwest or similar climates).

      Mark Sisson (and many other experts as well) has advocated Vitamin D3 supplementation here on his site (and I’m pretty sure he’s done his research). In one article he recommends taking 4000 I.U. per day (and possibly higher, depending) and then getting your levels checked periodically. However, since it works synergistically with vitamins A and K2, it’s important to make sure to have sufficient amounts of those in your diet if you do supplement with D. (The “evidence” you’ve seen likely failed to consider A and K2 levels.)

      Getting nutrients naturally is ideal, but it’s just not always possible. From everything I’ve read, the risks that stem from a deficiency in Vitamin D certainly outweigh the potential risks from supplementation (unless we’re talking unusually high doses, which can be toxic).

      1. +1
        There have to be at least a billion people on earth who CANNOT get enough D3 from the sun, for various reasons.

        My N=1 experience is that supplemental D3 without plenty of K2 gives me kidney stones.

        1. Harry, do you use a K2 supplement or rely on diet? If you do supplement with K2, which one do you use (if you don’t mind my asking)? I’ve used the Thorne brand (both K2-4 and D3), but like to hear other people’s experience and recommendations.

        2. Cheryl,

          Right now, I am using Now MK-7, 100mcg. I take two. I’m not rigidly locked into using theirs, but it contains nato and they are a good company.

          I do also eat quite a bit of aged cheddar from pastured cows. But after passing many kidney stones, i want to be sure to get enough K2.

      2. The claim that millions of us are chronically deficient in vitamin D is one of the biggest scams going. It simply is not true. Read the studies, you will find that deficiency does not exist even the far north.

        It’s important to know that supplements and sunshine are two entirely different things. This article explains:

        http://escholarship.org/uc/item/4m84d4fn

        There are also problems with vitamin A. Synthetic A and synthetic D have both been associated with increased susceptibility to asthma and allergies, and they tend to counter milk’s benefits by diverting calcium away from bones and teeth. It’s bad enough that these additives are in many of our foods, whether we want them or not. Taking pills of them is just foolish.

        1. Jill, please don’t assume the rest of us are idiots who haven’t done any research, know nothing about health and nutrition, and are so easily blinded by what you boldly allege to be a scam. You don’t know everything, and it’s obvious you haven’t done much research in this area.

      3. Seasonal fluctuations in 25OHD levels are quite normal. They don’t need to be at a certain level all the time.

        Please note that the vitamin D we get from sunlight exposure and food is stored in our tissues and released as needed throughout the year. We don’t need daily exposure to sunlight.

        I read all the studies pertaining to vitamin D and even correspond with many of the researchers. Who do you rely on for your information?

        Some recent articles:

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24692759

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22517291

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21369796

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17157660

    2. Great Information… I broke it down into the basic information she conveyed in the article:

      Two approaches to healthy teeth:
      (1) Protecting teeth from the outside in (minimize sources of external damage)
      (2) Rebuilding teeth internally
      Item (1) Protect teeth from the outside:
      – Fermented foods wrecked my teeth. Why: sauerkraut and kimchi have pH of about 3.5, making them extremely acidic upon contact
      – PH of 7 is considered neutral. Anything higher is alkaline. Anything lower is acidic.
      – Foods with pH levels below 5.3 start entering the “enamel damage” territory,
      – Tooth pain resolved after limiting fermented vegetables and other highly acidic foods,
      – Changed diet initially to low-acid fruits (papaya and melons, largely)
      – Believes acidity of fruit is a bigger problem than its sugar content.
      PH Index of some food items (FDA):
      >> Apples: 3.3-3.9
      >> Apricots: 3.3-4.0
      >> Blackberries: 3.9-4.5
      >> Blueberries: 3.1-3.3
      >> Cherries: 3.2-4.1
      >> Frozen cherries: 3.3-3.4
      >> Dill pickles: 3.2-3.7
      >> Grapes: 2.8-3.8
      >> Grapefruit: 3.0-3.8
      >> Ketchup: 3.9
      >> Lemon juice: 2.0-2.6
      >> Lime juice: 2.0-2.8
      >> Mangoes: 3.4-4.8
      >> Nectarines: 3.9-4.2
      >> Olives (green, fermented—black fresh or canned ones have a pH of at least 6): 3.6-4.6
      >> Peaches: 3.3-4.1
      >> Pears (Bartlett): 3.5-4.6
      >> Pineapple: 3.2-4.0
      >> Plums: 2.8-4.5
      >> Pomegranate: 2.9-3.2
      >> Raspberries: 3.2-3.7
      >> Sauerkraut: 3.3-3.6
      >> Strawberries: 3.0-3.9
      >> Tangerine: 3.3-4.5
      >> Tomatoes (canned): 3.5-4.7
      >> Vinegar: 2.4-3.4
      >> Orange juice: 3.3-4.2
      >> Red wine: 3.4
      >> White wine: 3.0

      – Stopped brushing immediately after meals (scrubbing enamel before it remineralizes is not good).
      – Swish after meals with water and baking soda to raise mouth’s pH. Improved sensitivity
      – No commercial whiteners for stains
      – Use activated charcoal for teeth stains

      Item (2) Rebuilding teeth internally:
      – Three fat-soluble vitamins — A, D, and K2 (do research) — Holy trinity for healthy teeth.
      – Vitamin K2 — 5 milligrams a day from Carlson Labs. Teeth gaps tightened back up. Measurements from 4-5 mm on most teeth to 2-3 mm.
      – Other K2 sources include natto, hard cheeses, soft cheeses, butter from pastured cows, egg yolks, liver
      – Can’t praise liver enough. decent source of vitamin K2, high in vitamin A
      – Alternate Source – cod liver oil , free-range chicken liver
      – Take Vitamin D – 1,000 and 3,000 IU per day, depending on how much sun you get (also improves mood)

      1. What is the adequate does for Vitamin A and Calcium? I see the doses for K and D, but not A and Calcium. Please let me know. Thank you.

      2. Sorry but now I am confused. If I’m taking green pastures cod liver oil/butter oil blend which contains A, D and K vitamins, so do I need to take an extra K2 and D vitamin or not???

  39. I’ve recently started using a homemade remineralizing powder that I’ve made from a recipe over at Wellness Mama. I do oil pulling with untoasted sesame oil (coconut oil is great too, but gag-worthy for me). Already take Vit D (from blood test results last year). I’m going to add the K2. Yes to 24 hour bone broth. My teeth might be too far gone (some dental work needed), but I’ve noticed an immediate reduction in sensitivity with the tooth powder and am hoping that this remineralizing regime works, or at least goes some way to halt. I’ve been doing paleo for years. Autoimmune issues resulting in dry mouth hasn’t done me any favors and neither has genetics, but there’s no reason not to give this a good workout. I hear/read good things about this remineralizing thing. I only wish I’d known about it 40 years ago!

  40. Does anyone know a good natural way to deal with plaque? I seem to make a lot of it.

  41. The best I understand that the body must immediately neutralize acid consumed, and uses calcium to do it. There is a ‘calcium cycle’ in the body, where teeth and bones are constantly de-mineralizing, then re-mineralizing.

    If acids, such as soda, enter the system, the body uses up the free calcium to prevent acid damage to the blood and organs. That calcium is then no longer available for re-mineralizing.

    I don’t think it’s a matter at all of “contact time with teeth” so much as overall body pH balance. Doubtless, the calcium, K2, Magnesium and other elements are all involved in cleaning up after the acid traumas from food and soft drinks.

    I really, really appreciate this article. THANK YOU!

  42. I was surprised to read this, because after a lifetime of cavities and broken teeth, since I started fermented veggies a year ago, no cavities. Zero. So – I don’t know. This has been my experience.

  43. What dosage of vitimin K2, D, and A would you recommend for kids?
    (Variety of ages)

    Specifically, I have a 4 yr old who has weak or no enamel on 3 of his teeth (back molars)… Which became pitted, damaged, and needed to be filled.

    Dentist said there’s nothing he can do to strengthen them, just keep filling them and hope they last till his permanents are ready to come in and pray that they have healthy enamel, like the rest of his teeth (or better, if you’re already praying might as well).

  44. A few years ago I found out I had been brushing my teeth to aggressively, and as a result had stared bruising my gums away. The dentist said this is permanent and can never be fixed. Since then I have been so careful with my brushing, but I still seem to have more damage to my gums. Is there anything I can do for this? My teeth are in great health otherwise. Never any cavities or decay of any kind. My my gums the issues with my gums really make me stress about my teeth. Is there a way to heal and grow gums, like with the restoration of teeth?

    1. I’ve been wondering this myself! I’m 22 and in the last year have developed a pretty drastic receding gum line. I’ve been working on making some massive lifestyle changes to improve my teeth and health in general but I was wondering if you can ever “regrow” your gums in addition to remineralizing teeth. The exposed roots of my teeth (due to the receding gum line) definitely are a cause of pain at times

      1. One theory is that this is actually less a gum issue than an advanced osteoporosis of the jaw issue and the gum is simply reacting to the inflammation. (This is not the popular official medical explanation.) Ensuring you are getting vitamins A-D3-K2 plus ensuring you are getting a full spectrum of colloidal minerals, is supposed to be the (eventual) solution for this. I don’t have the issue so haven’t tried it, but since one needs those things anyway doesn’t seem like it would hurt.

        1. I haven’t heard of the osteoporosis of the jaw theory although I can see how that might have some merit. I definitely agree with the last thing you said. I think that when your body starts healing in one area, there is a ripple effect of sorts (systemic healing?!)

        2. osteoporosis of the jaw? that is new to me, too

          i have heard that people who have of brace work can recede the gum (i did)
          also my dentist told me my ligaments (not sure what the name) are tight.

          i also want to regrow my gum. there has to be a way if bones can regrow, why not soft tissue?
          at least they’re not sensitive anymore & they hardly stain.

          regards,

    2. The brushing your gums away is the same thing as receding gums, which Denise mentioned as one of her problems, though she phrased it as “unsightly recession,” then later as “bacteria-filled “gum pockets,”” and “periodontal pockets.” All three are receding gums, which she was able to reverse by following the protocol outlined in this post.

      1. Just a quibble, but bacterial-filled gum pockets aren’t the same thing as receding gums. “Pockets” means you have an unusually large space up under your gums where bacteria can grow, regardless of whether the gum tissue has declined in quantity.

        1. Thank you. I’d tried to double check my info, before I posted, but, as in this case, I don’t always get it right.

    3. Try the sulca brush. I had bleeding diabetic gums two years ago and was very upset. I try so hard to prevent diabetic complications and I was more upset than one would imagine. A very sweet and committed hygeinist recommended the sulca and my gums stopped receding and even reversed by 2 mm. They were as excited as I was to reverse the damage. But like brushing, you need to be gentle and beware of damaging further. My gums are now healthier than a non-diabetic. I have a sulca in my purse, my car, my desk at work and in the bathroom. 🙂

    4. I woul also be curious to know if gums can grow back. About 6 to 10 years ago my gums started to recede, and the exposed roots became very sensitive — I would use Sensodyne toothpaste on and off to stop the sensitivity, at my dentist’s recommendation. The hygeinists would always give me dire warnings about how the recession was irreversible and I needed to brush more gently or it would get even worse.

      At the time, I was a vegetarian, & eating grains every day. A few years ago I made some changes to my diet (added meat back in, higher fat, and much less grains/sugar), and around that time my gums stopped receding. The sensitivity has gone down GREATLY — I no longer notice my exposed roots or have to beg the dental hygienist not to touch them! I also haven’t had any cavities/new decay since switching my diet.

      I have no idea if my gums have grown back at all. However, to anyone with tooth sensitivity I would highly recommend following the advice in this article — I think improving your nutrition can remineralize and strenthen the exposed roots.

    5. Upping vitamin C intake may help. Gums are connective tissue, good levels of vitamin C are necessary to create collagen (connective tissue). Along with gentle brushing using a soft brush. I can’t remember where I read or heard the info, maybe from a dentist (Hal Huggins?) on youtube. Also mentioned was ascorbic acid added to a waterpik actually regrew bone along the jawline, patients did this on their own.

      Another thing to try is rinsing/swishing with salt water, which can firm up the gums. The dentist said plain old white table salt (ugh, I’d try some multimineral salt first, myself).

  45. LOL, I love it when a good post gets everyone fired up.

    Just last week I went to the dentist. She said: “wow, your teeth look so good!”

    I said “I’ve been brushing with activated charcoal”.

    Her response: “hmmmm….”.

    I could tell she thought it wasn’t as good of an idea as her $300 whitening plan.

  46. Denise – thanks for sharing your journey and research. You help more people than you will ever know. Besides some of the suggestions others have made that i know to be helpful – borax, oil pulling, magnesium, fermented cod liver and high vitamin butter oils etc. – Here’s a few items you may not have come across yet.

    I think the problem you’ve had with the fermented veggies is a matter of quantity. Traditionally these are used as condiments – a tablespoon or two at most per meal and mixed with rice or salad – this would give the benefits while minimising the acidity. Also making sure you ensalivate each bite well.

    The old Chinese practice of running the tongue around the outside and inside of the teeth twenty or so times both clockwise and counterclockwise then swishing the saliva for 2 minutes, then spit or swallow, your choice.

    Make a saturated solution of celtic, Real or Himalayan salt (Sole) and add a teaspoon to a glass of water 1st thing in the morning and/or last thing at night. Great for getting your mineral base up. Also works great to swish a teaspoon of just the Sole after oil pulling. don’t rinse.

    Best website for tooth healing I have found so far – http://www.healingteethnaturally.com

    Especially check out all the info on Dr. Ulrich Bruhn’s research on xylitol rinses – this could solve your plaque problems and more. This may help you avoid the dental cleanings which can also damage your teeth. Also check out the urine therapy pages.

    And I resoundingly agree with your liver recommendation – even mores – I have found that a few ounces of raw grass fed calf’s liver 3 – 4 x a week to be great for everything – I cut it up fresh into portions, freeze it, then eat one portion slightly defrosted with knife and fork. Thanks to Mark for giving us the best forum for helping ourselves and each other find our way to better health.

    1. I find the Xylitol rinse interesting. I have a son, I’m sure everyone will be surprised to hear, who doesn’t like all that brushing business.Perhaps he can brush and then swish with xylitol? It sure would be nice to protect those little teeth while he sleeps.
      Also, are you telling me in that last paragraph that you eat raw liver that is frozen-ish? Does it have the strong liver taste?

  47. I’m a dentist and JUST TODAY I had long conversations with a couple of my struggling patients about this very issue. One proudly reported to me that because of heart issues she’s now following Ornish and is on a fully plant-based diet! I asked how she liked it and she said she hated it….. then the conversation began. Calcium (from food), K2 (not the kind from eating more kale), Vit D and Vit A. The whole deal! I was so glad to help.

  48. This could almost be a generic answer to MDA posts.

    The dose makes the poison. Paracelsus. It seems clear that some fluoride helps prevent decay. And too much is harmful. Duh

    Everything in moderation. Nothing to excess. Some old Greek guy. Not strictly true, of course. Some vinegar and sauerkraut are very healthy. Eating a whole bowl of kraut daily, not so much. Duh

    Before finding Primal, my teeth and gums were in poor shape. I had had to have a tooth pulled because my body was sucking the minerals (calcium?) out of it. Every time I went to the dentist, there was at least one filling that had gotten loose.

    I rinse with original Listerine.
    I brush with original cavity fighting Crest.
    I take lots of vitamins D3 and K2, and eat liver whenever I can choke it down.

    My teeth and gums seem to be fine. I see no reason to do some of the radical techniques mentioned here, but whatever floats your boat.

  49. I had the same experience eating fermented veggies, they made my teeth weak. We were making our own sauerkraut and eating it with at least 2 meals a day. I got to a point where I was in pain every time I bit down on the kraut. I am still experiencing VERY SENSITIVE teeth. I stopped on my way home and bought the K2. I have taken FCLO in the past and really struggle with it. I’ll try to start it up again one of these days. Oh, and the liver, that’s a tough one too.

    1. PS – it felt very validating that I was not alone in the fermented veggies hurt teeth.

  50. Good god woman!…Anyone who can turn a dental horror story into a funny and informative post has got my vote. Normally I would be cringing while reading about this subject. You are a joy to read…keep up the awesome work!

  51. oh my god. please please never stop what you’re doing here! I can’t stop smiling and my face hurts from it lol .. Thank you Denise for sharing what has also been my journey .. so so similar it’s crazy .. but you’ve given me a few ideas and filled in a few missing spots.. so thanks a million trillion gazillion. I love what you’ve said and covered and can only echo how true it all is.. I too had wonderful teeth all my life (alongside my marvellous athletic body..) and it was during a time of poverty and ‘spiritual fasting’ as well as pregnancy (in the opposite order lol) that saw both my body and teeth lose their balance and health. So .. once again. Thanks to Mark and co for the blog, the readers for all the entertaining and sometimes also informative comments ! and .. Denise !! you’re my new favourite author of the week. Really, truly, AWESOME.. 🙂 If only I lived in the State I’d invite you over for a cup of tea and we could swap recipes. All the best until another time I hope .. 🙂

  52. I too have had serious tooth deterioration. My local Naturopath Beverly recommended consuming 1 TBS of raw coconut oil (in your green tea, promotes healthy teeth) and swishing (BUT NOT SWALLOWING A TSP OF RAW COCONUT OIL) SPIT IN TRASH – the oil pulling (swishing with coconut oil) and spitting into trash can (NOT SINK- keep the water supply free of heavy metals, virus, and bacteria from your oral detox) Your teeth will be shiny and white as if you used a whitening agent for months. Great after antibiotic dosing. Black Walnut drops from Nature’s Sunshine on your toothbrush with the compound you are cleansing your teeth is an extra benefit.

  53. I just would like to say that unless your teeth are already completely screwed up (lack of enamel, etc), eating acidic foods should not be a problem so long as you help your saliva re-alkalizing the mouth after eating said foods (even … gasp! sucrose). So instead of brushing your teeth right after eating (bad habit really), use something that can help rebalance the mouth’s pH. In my case, I simply chew a few xylitol chewing gums or rinse my mouth with xylitol dissolved in water for a few minutes. My teeth were not in good shape until 2 years ago. Today, I can say I have not had a single issue with either gums or teeth.

  54. I also had tooth problems when I was vegan. My bottom wisdom teeth crumbled in my mouth, and the first one happened pretty quickly, within the first year I think.

  55. This is a great article Denise! I think I’m gonna make an effort to get that trinity of vitamins into my diet as much as possible and turn my teeth into a weapon.

    It’s amazing how veganism is a purported healthy diet in some circles. The proportion of vegans that suffer some sort of health problem like this is insane.

  56. Has any research been done on Desiccated Liver Tabs such as Uni-Liver by Universal Nutrition? Would these pills contain the vitamin A and K2 that regular cooked liver contains?

    1. Im curious if anyone has a good answer for this. I was wondering the same thing after my mom recently told me she was supplementing with dessicated liver!

  57. I’m taking the Swanson brand of desiccated beef liver; two capsules in the morning and two in the afternoon and that seems to help quite a bit. What I do to make beef liver more palatable is marinade in lemon juice, white wine, Worcestershire sauce and various spices for a few hours and sometimes overnight. I cook up sliced onions in grass-fed butter and some leftover bacon fat on medium heat and then add in the liver and cook on medium low heat until the liver is pink in color. It’s important to not overcook the liver so that it stays tender and retains the flavors of the marinade.

    I do have to pay attention to which foods (especially fruits) cause more plaque buildup problems than others. I’m beginning to think that it may be a combination of fructose and acidity that are causing the plaque buildup issues.

    As a side note, I think that the assumption that all legumes are toxic and need to be excluded is a fallacy and may have been a part of an initially flawed low carbohydrate way-of-thinking. Instead, the main line of thinking needs to shift towards reducing inflammation throughout the body. I do agree with soy being an not-so-nice legume. This one is highly inflammatory (for myself, anyway) as I can’t even handle the soy lecithin in chocolate.

    On the other hand, I have found that Anasazi “cave” beans and sprouted lentils resulted in no buildup of plaque on my teeth. The same was also true for split peas and white beans. I have also noticed that I have much better quality sleep after the reintroduction of these non-toxic? beans and potatoes as well, and that my health and quality of sleep both deteriorate when I leave these foods out of my diet.

    a1 casein in Holstein cow dairy: This one trashes the autoimmune system which resulted in more plaque buildup on teeth and problems with bleeding gums. This one, along with the agglutinin, Amylopectin A, and gluten in wheat, also appears to be highly inflammatory.

    I suspect that there are a lot of vegetarians that eat wheat, dairy, soy and industrial-grade (more like F- grade) vegetable oils.

  58. Great article! I just want to add that acidic foods serve a purpose as digestive aids/tonics. Eat deliberately at meals with other foods and make like my golden retriever and gulp it down without it touching the fangs.

  59. Thanks so much for this, Denise and Mark! I had been hoping for a while Denise would share more details of her dental struggles. I had a similar history. Generally good oral health until age 17 when my lifelong hygienist asked me very concerned if I was bulimic because my enamel was extremely worn down. I was not bulimic. In college, a different dentist independently asked me the same. Pregnant with my first child, yet another dentist asked me if I had had very bad morning sickness. Until I started reading up on ancestral health, I had no idea that diet could be a factor. I am hoping to be abñe to reverse some of the damage my carbotarian diet did on my enamel!

  60. You know, I think it was four years ago that a dentist I’d only seen one time said I had ~ 9 cavities. With all my tooth sensitivity I totally believed her. Got one side filled in and left the other for another date that never happened.

    2.5 years after that I started eating primal. Tooth sensitivity was one of the major things that just disappeared. I haven’t been back to the dentist since, but you’d think if I actually had these cavities they would be in a dire state right now.

    A, D, K2. That’s my motto- earns some weird looks, but what works works!

    1. Oh, you probably had the cavities, but they healed. Years before I found this site, I quit using toothpaste and began using baking soda and sea salt and had cavities heal on their own. In 3 dental cleanings, each 6 months apart I went form having some “those will probably need to be filled after your next cleaning” to “we need to watch these spots” to nothing. In the first of those 3 cleanings I had some that needed watched, they were gone by the next visit. I’d guess that in your case, eating primally resolved some nutritional deficits that allowed your teeth to heal themselves.

      A couple of things that came to my attention after I’d quit using toothpaste was that your saliva contains things that can rebuild your enamel (a “gross but true” bit of information curtesy of Radio Disney). Right after learning that tidbit, I noticed that a bunch of toothpaste comercials advertising the protective shield or barrier provided by their toothpaste, which are supposed protect your teeth from the acid in the foods we eat. That got me to wondering if the toothpaste was also “protecting” our teeth from the recalcifying agents in our own saliva! No wonder they are now advertising toothpastes that not only protect, but have added stuff to “rebuild minerals.”

      1. That is all very interesting. I’ve noted abig improvement in the dental health of everyone in the family since they all went primal with me april of last year. We also just switched toothpastes to something more natural two months ago or so. Giving it another 4 months to see how they go.

        The first dietary change was switching to grassfed butter over from country crock. Probably a good place to start, right? Haha.

  61. The K2-A-D trifecta is truly amazing for teeth. Well, it also helps when you cut out refined sugar, which I did when I went paleo.

    I haven’t had a cavity in a few years, and once I added the trifecta I got nothing but positive reviews from my dentist, something I could not claim even remotely in years past. I used to dread going to the dentist because of the bills I knew would be coming from the fillings that I would inevitably need.

    Now? I’m all good.

  62. I use baking soda mixed w/ a little cinnamon and cumin and a bit of chili powder to give the gums a little lift…any problems w/ this?

  63. Nice article. Google CAMBRA when you get a chance. It talks about the process of remineralizing your enamel.

  64. This could be another issue. My husband was taking anti-histamines at bedtime as a sleep aid and the dentist found 5 cavities at his next visit (within 6 months). Turns out the excessive dry mouth was allowing cavities to form.

  65. Experiment this morning was – coconut oil and activated charcoal to brush my teeth. They feel great, however, wow what a strange view in the mirror!!!! Black mouth, eek. I should have my son try it for a good laugh, he hates brushing and toothpaste.

    1. REPORT: I like brushing with both coconut oil and activated charcoal. I added some baking soda this morning to the mix and didn’t like it much. The baking soda added too much “flavor” so my saliva glands started producing a river. Oh well, it’s still fun to brush with black powder. Well, for me at least, the son (who apparently has NO sense of adventure) refused the experiment.

  66. Great post! I’m a big fan (of Denise). I loved your book Death By Food Pyramid, and I loved this post. I’m noticing periodontal pockets and my husband complains of tooth sensitivity. I am going to give the K2 supplement a try, and up my liver intake.

    How often do you eat liver, Denise?

    1. Jill:
      I love you, I have been looking for this and your other studies for a long time as I have felt uncomfortable with oral D3, but took it nonetheless on the advice of a almost perfect chiropractor. It just doesn’t feel right. I took Dr Mercola’s example and get my D from sunlight and tanning beds in the winter (sporadically, 100 minutes lasts me the year).

      Now I have some science to back my stance. Again, Thank You!

  67. I loved Denise’s latest book, Death by Food Pyramid, and feel that her views are well researched and supported, but as a dentist, I have to question her assertion that the translucent tips of her worn incisors became more opaque or that enamel thickened following her diet modifications. The improvement in gum health is quantifiable as evidenced by a reduction in pocket depths, but the enhancement of enamel thickness has to be a subjective assessment (wishful thinking) on her part.

  68. Try the sulca brush. I had bleeding diabetic gums two years ago and was very upset. I try so hard to prevent diabetic complications and I was more upset than one would imagine. A very sweet and committed hygeinist recommended the sulca and my gums stopped receding and even reversed by 2 mm. They were as excited as I was to reverse the damage. But like brushing, you need to be gentle and beware of damaging further. My gums are now healthier than a non-diabetic. I have a sulca in my purse, my car, my desk at work and in the bathroom. 🙂

  69. Hi Denise –

    Thank you for an informative article! I see that you brush with activated charcoal, but do you use anything else for cavity prevention? A natural toothpaste, maybe?

  70. Denise, you’re awesome. Informative and funny, and, for me, a right on time topic. Thanks to you and to Mark and the MDA worker bees for another great post.

  71. So, can anyone actually list a rough starting point for dosing of the magic vitamin/mineral combos?

    How much per day?
    A (retinol palmitate): D3 amount/ratio?
    K2 — just how much?
    Mg – keep hearing this mentioned — how much?

    Thanks!

  72. I didnt know food played a role in teeth. I might have to supplement my current strategies.

    personally I did some research and discovered healthy teeth is not just protecting against cavities. Its also protecting against teeth erosion and hardened plaque by flossing or equivalent.
    amazing how dental education is purely focued on the effect of sugar, ignoring the effects of acid, and the effects of not flossing. I used to bleed from my gums all the time before I flossed. and i used to suffer effects from acid, before I started using straws alot and rinsing my mouth with water right after eating fruit.

  73. So how does regular greek yogurt stack up? In particular the ones where they will add fruit since it is a probiotic type of food as well?

  74. My dad was about to get a “Reclast” bone remineralization pharmaceutical infusion, very toxic, for his osteoporosis…he got this idea to try doing Vitamin D in pretty massive amounts, and no one could talk him out of it. So, he took 20K of D3 daily for a few months. They monitored whatever it is they monitor …. no problems. He cured it. They cancelled the treatment. No more osteoporosis and no side effects.

  75. No one ever said that candy and soda were the only things to give you cavities. The first time I brought my daughter to the dentist, he warned against crackers and cookies as well, which of course are a staple of a toddler’s life (I realize this is a Paleo site, but kids might not be Paleo yet). The crumbs stay trapped in the nooks sand crannies of teeth, as opposed to chocolate, which melts away. Also, raisins, juice and ‘fruit leather’ can be just as bad as candy and soda.

    But, wow! I will be trying activated charcoal soon!

    1. My toddler didn’t like the cookies/crackers snacks so I would carry jerky, dried fruit, fresh apple slices and cheese. Grandma (who lived next door) would ask if he wanted a cracker or cookie, he’d always say yes and then not eat it. She finally gave up on that when she’d find them uneaten every time.
      I think he was just naturally primal when he was that age, he refused to eat cereal in the mornings, meat or eggs for him. He was a “real foodie” for sure, now that he’s 11 he likes to supplement with junk food but that’s getting more rare now that summer is coming on. Hmmmm, makes me wonder if he just needs more Vit D in the dark days of winter.

  76. I think i have read most of the comments but no one has mentioned Dr. Mercola Vit K2 product. Is it any good? It is K2-7 and only 150 mcg in a daily capsule. Carlson Labs K2 is in fact K2-4 (i don’t know if this matters or not) and the daily dosage is packed in a capsule of 5 mg.
    The dosage is considerably different. Can anyone help me with this? Thanks!

  77. The best news is if you’re getting what I call the Holy Trifecta of vitamins (A, D3, and K2), you’re helping so much else in your body too.

    I was alerted to a problem when my cycle returned after having my daughter. I did extended breastfeeding so it took a while, and then the monthly got really heavy and I had other weird symptoms related to it. I wondered if I had endometriosis and did some reading around on natural treatments since I had no insurance at the time, and then I remembered reading something at the WAPF site about A versus reproductive health. I went back and looked at their vitamin A info, and discovered the vitamin’s important in kidney development too, as well as the development of teeth.

    See, my daughter had been born with vesicoureteral reflux (VUR), diagnosed at four months because she got a UTI, which is never supposed to happen to a baby. Rather hair-raising time, and she had to have surgery to reinsert the right ureter when she was almost two, which was even worse.

    And then when her teeth came in all hell broke loose. The first four on the bottom were fine. When the top fronts came in I noticed small holes on the backs of them. It just got worse and worse from there with every new tooth that came in. It wasn’t baby-bottle mouth, since she wasn’t on a bottle and breastmilk has antibacterial factors that keep bad bugs to an extreme minimum.

    I did further homework on the kidney issue, since the ureters grow from the kidneys during the prenatal stage and the worse reflux happened on the same side as the smaller kidney–and we’re talking way smaller, like half the size of the left or so. Come to find out vitamin A is important in the signaling process that induces the ureteral bud to develop. It grows in two directions: in one direction it becomes nephrons, the little filtering doohickies that also determine the size of the kidney, and in the other direction it becomes the ureter. Dingdingding.

    And then it occurred to me that when a fetus is developing its tooth buds it probably develops the front lower ones first, since those are usually the first teeth to sprout. Further lightbulbs came on. She’d had enough resources to make four healthy baby teeth and the rest… well, they just quit. To the tune of five caps and lots of fillings.

    I simply hadn’t had enough vitamin A during my pregnancy, and probably hadn’t had enough in years. I liked carrots and I liked sweet potatoes and I thought beta carotene was enough. Nope. Not even close.

    Supplementing vitamin A helped with my symptoms. Eventually as I was learning all this stuff, I started feeding my daughter more animal fats, especially dairy fat. (Happily, we can get grass-fed dairy here, including cream.) Lo and behold when her permanent teeth came in, there were no cavities. The dentist put a watch on one tooth and then the next time we came in there was nothing wrong with it at all.

    The Mayo Clinic website tells me urinary tract defects are the most common class of birth defects in the United States. On top of that a friend of mine who worked at a transplant clinic informed me that VUR is a risk factor for end-stage renal disease.

    And with all this in mind they are now telling pregnant women not to eat liver.

    I try not to beat people over the head with this story, but I do tell it from time to time because I think people need to know. Sorry for the textwall.

    1. Dana – a gem of a post, don’t apologize! No doubt you are helping a number of people with your insights. You have an excellent ability to assimilate information, draw reasoned explanations/conclusions, and communicate your thoughts in a well-organized manner. I have enjoyed your posts on J Stanton’s site also (still lurking there). I will definitely check out WAPF and explore ways to improve or supplement A and K2. Thanks on behalf of myself and my daughter.

    2. Dana,

      wow. thanks. did not know the connection between A & kidney.

      the conversion rate from beta carotene to A may be pretty low for some people. so animal sources are still the best.

      (i also need to eat more liver; i’m borderline in & out anemia all my life)

      stay well,

  78. I think I should gorge on pork liver paté today. I just started buying a kind recently because it’s cheap, portable and ready to eat, like sardines. It’s got a bit of preservative but I figure not a horrid amount for how nutritious it probably is. It also has a gelatin rind. I assume it’s overall good.
    I’ve been feasting and fasting and moderately kind of starving myself lately (partially on purpose to benefit my metabolism, get leaner and shrink my stomach and partially just not really hungry). I’ve had a lot of nutritional and lifestyle setbacks, speaking especially of the past year, and think I should spend some time tweaking a bunch of aspects of diet and trying to get down as much micro-nutrition as reasonable.

  79. It is interesting that you posted this, Mark. I have been researching the history of grain agriculture and its effect on human health, and not only does cancer first appear at the very time that agriculture became very widespread, but tooth decay also became much more prevalent once we introduced grains into our diet. I found this article: http://turbocharged.us.com/history-of-grains/. As you can see, our tooth health has been getting worse and worse over time, particularly in those cultures who eat a preponderance of refined flour products. Just thought you might find that interesting. Thanks for the article! I’ll be increasing my intake of A and K, for sure!

  80. I am always afraid of going to see dentists and feel ashamed when they say “I’ve never seen someone’s teeth so terrible”. I work so hard to prevent my teeth from getting worse and dentists usually tell me what “NOT” to eat without giving advices about what I should eat more.

    After reading this post, I realize there are some possible “proactive” ways I can do to improve my dental health. And therefore I am so happy that I discover this blog 🙂

  81. After just finishing dental school…I can offer this general advice for the general public; please realize that cavities are a multifactoral disease.

    There are many factors which lead to “cavities” or the demineralization of enamel. The demineralization of enamel is caused by the acid byproducts produced by bacteria which have accumulated in your mouth. Thus the development of cavities depends on the pH in your mouth, the type and number of microbes in your oral cavity, and the substrate you are providing for the bacteria.

    In short, whenever you eat, the pH in the oral cavity lowers which makes the enamel suspect to demineralization. Once the pH is lower than a critical level the enamel becomes at risk for this demineralization. Your bodies saliva helps neutralize this acidity and bring the oral pH back to its physiological level. What people don’t realize is that its not only what you eat but how you eat it. Snacking or eating often, keeps your oral pH in that critical level even longer thus subsequently leaving your enamel in a compromised state for even longer!

    The bacteria which produce the acid thrive on complex carbohydrates as well a sugars. The bacteria take the mono-di-polysaccharides as substrate and produce acid as a byproduct. The acidity makes the enamel suspect to demineralizing(calcium leaves the enamel).

    So what can you do? Eat less complex carbs, sugars, acidic foods, eat with less frequency(ideally 1 big meal/day would be best) and keep up with oral hygiene! Basic foods definitely help the cause as well.

    What to do if you already have cavities? To some extent demineralization of enamel can remineralized. The best method with the use of Calcium Phosphate Fluoride(also known as MI Paste). This varnish helps replenish the calcium and phosphate which was lost from your enamel when it demineralized. Fluoride also helps in not only creating a basic environment but can also be included into demineralized areas in your enamel.

    But please realize, not all cavities can be remineralized. There is still a lot of debate regarding the ability to remineralize cavities but its safe to say that once the demineralization has reached the inner dentin layer of the tooth, its time to get it drilled and filled! The drilling removes the bacteria from progressing any further, and the filling replaced the structure lost and provides a seal for the more porous inner part of your tooth. If the bacteria reaches the inner nerve/blood vessels portion of your tooth, a root canal is the next step, thus the filling halts the progression of the bacteria to this area and protects from future attacks as well!

  82. On one hand, there are patients who don’t make an effort to properly care for their teeth, and then there are others who do make a serious effort, but aren’t properly informed. One common issue patients run into is caused by crooked teeth. If you have teeth that have not been straightened, it’s much harder to keep them clean.

  83. Weston A Price Foundation is great for healthy people but if you’re not healthy start with GAPS – Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride. I went from a decade of food allergies to only gluten sensitivity (but I can still eat it on occasion and not have a problem), from any sort of lactose causing instant gastric distress to drinking raw milk several times a day, and from a lifetime of dental problems to nice strong healthy teeth.

    Heal and seal your leaky gut first otherwise it won’t matter what you put in it.

  84. Most parts of the articles sound like an oxymoron: “Fermented foods wrecked my teeth” vs. “get more K2 vitamin”. Actually, sauerkraut and kimchi, which “ruined your teeth” are both great sources of K2, which “your body hasn’t seen in years” (although that is not possible consuming fermented foods).

  85. 1. I’m a bit jealous that you got parachute toys at the dentist!

    2. There’s a mile of difference between acidic foods and acidic candies or snacks. I can think of two primary factors:
    a. composition: acidic foods, like sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, fruit, etc, tend to contain essential vitamins and minerals, so in (a vague sort of) theory they give back what they take from the teeth. You confirm this yourself with the statement that “vitamin K2 is a product of bacterial fermentation” and your consumption of an acidic food to help your teeth (yogurt).
    b. consumption habits: We eat acidic foods. We don’t snack or sip on them. I might gobble up a breakfast of sauerkraut and eggs and wash it down with some rinse water. I don’t sip sauerkraut or snack on kimchi, though. Snacking might be one of the worst consumption patterns for us to express — both in terms of the toll it takes on our teeth and on our blood sugar (thanks to Kathy Abascal for hipping me onto that idea! Caveat: she never addresses how home cooks might minimize their snacking on all the food they prep!). Eat discrete meals, then let your body digest!

    I can understand your extreme measures to deal with the crisis. That said, I don’t see why people should avoid acidic FOODS (vs “candies” and “snacks”) unless they struggle with a similar crisis of tooth health.

  86. Very interesting article. After my first multiple sclerosis bout 14 months ago i switched to a healthier diet (there was a lot of room for improvement), eliminating gluten, dairy, processed foods, etc.

    I also incorporated taking apple cider vinegar+lemon juice+warm water, as the malic acid and alkalising properties are supposed to be beneficial to us MSers. Unfortunately im thinking this, plus all the fruit I eat, plus the cheap vitamin C tablets I take have not been kind to my teeth..im having gum recession issues as well as the edges of some teeth becoming more translucent.

    I really hope this helps as its worrying to see gums receeding when in all honestly I have pretty good oral hygiene.

  87. Fabulous article, except for the part about ‘pasteurized butter’. You’re the researcher, go and do your research!!!
    Unpasteurized milk products are super dee duper, just find a good small farm that sells raw milk and milk products or has a cowshare ( I live in canada and can’t buy raw milk because our dairy lobby is corrupt and retarded)
    On a side note there are tons of countries all over Europe that allow one to buy raw milk from the store. In France they have raw milk vending machines.
    Milk became pasteurized in industrialized countries when farms became huge, incorporated and started mega cow farms. The result was poor cow health, diseased milk. The solution was to pasteurize milk. Result is milk that blows goats. The end.

  88. I guess I am sort of surprised to find this article. I used to eat all high fat and low carbs then found myself 50 lbs heaver. Recently I have decided to try eating only raw for a few meals then eat a normal dinner. I have lost a ton of weight so far this week and could swear by eating raw. It seems though that you have found a real down side to this. Can you tell me if you still eat raw and how do you maintain weight?

  89. Denise,

    Have you read Dr. Ellie Phillips book, Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye? She says there is a difference between the acidity of a food and its effect on the acidity of your mouth.

    It seems very hard to believe, so I tested it. Bought some litmus paper. Tested my mouth before eating an apple — pretty neutral. Then tested it afterwards. Slightly more alkaline. You should try it yourself.

    1. Apples cause increase in saliva flow. Saliva is alkaline. More saliva, more alkaline mouth.

  90. I know this is an old post, and if this was already in a posted reply, forgive me. But what about digestive issues due to low stomach acid? We take either lemon juice or Apple cider vinegar to help reduce reflux and heartburn. If we rinse with baking soda aftwerward, do you think that will help with the acid problem? Because if we reduce all the acidic fruits, fermented foods, etc, we will end up increasing digestive problems. Thanks.

  91. The information about alkaline and acidic foods on internet is so confusing… I carefully checked the list of foods on the website you provided but how to take it as undeniable truth when pretty much all the other food charts on the internet state an opposite. Most of them provide the information that the highest ph alkaline food is lemon with a ph as high as 10 while on the website you provided it shows that lemons have a 2ph. Is one part giving a wrong information or i am not understanding something? I am looking forward to someones replay. Thank you in advance!

  92. Hello,

    I was curious about the Vit D, K2 and A. Do they have to be taken internally or can you use them as a toothpaste or can they be crushed and packed into the cavity?
    If you used as a toothpaste, would you swallow it to get all the benefits or spit out because or potential toxins being pulled out of your teeth?

    How long would one use these or does it depend on the damage done in the mouth already?

    Thank you

  93. I have been vegan for 30 years and a fruit addict for 15 years I eat about 3 kg fruit per day. and mostly raw veg. My teeth are in a similar state to yours were, and I also have osteoporosis with high fracture risk ( I am not yet 50 years old!) my calcium and iron levels just never get up to normal inspite of supplements. I also have restless leg syndrome, no doubt due to low DHA etc… thankyou for your advices, I will try them. I can’t stop eating the fruit, tho. I guess eventually the pain will prevent me.

  94. I heard about another vegan’s journey that led her to adding liver to her diet as well. She recommended that if you don’t want to eat liver, take a calcium-magnesium-zinc supplement. I get lazy about taking vitamins, and when my teeth begin to hurt, it reminds me to take it again because it’s such a noticeable difference. You can find the calcium-magnesium-zinc as an all-in-one supplement, and I take it with orange juice because I hear vitamin C helps with absorption. Even in my lazy vitamin taking, the cavity that was “on watch” at the dentist was better by my next visit. Also, I love those mini-flossers. They’re so much easier to use than regular floss. I only need one hand to do it, and I just do it while I’m sitting around reading the internet. It feels more like a massage to me than work, especially since I’m flossing more often. I’m also using SLS free toothpaste. My whole mouth thanks me for it. I don’t get canker sores like I used to since going SLS free. That activated charcoal toothpaste that you mentioned sounds interesting. Maybe I’ll try that sometime, too. Folks are beginning to realize there are plenty of SLS free tooth cleaning possibilities. I hear wild Maine blueberries are good, too. I’m sure that the real thing is probably best, but I just started a wild Maine blueberry supplement today. I don’t know if it works yet, but I’ve read nice things about it. Thank you for sharing your story! I’m going to look into A, D, and K2 as you mentioned, also. There’s vitamin K in my spirulina powder, and I’ve read that our bodies will take vitamin K and convert it into K2. Thank you for sharing! I get so much of my health advice from folks like you posting your stories, and I appreciate it so much more than words can express. All the best to you!

  95. It this FDA list right?
    Because most of the other sources around the internet post completely different ph results. With, for example, almost all fruits (apart from some berries, plums, bananas etc.) being alcaline, liver being acidic and so on.
    So which ones are real?

  96. I think a huge factor in tooth/gum health, perhaps the biggest factor, is the biochemical nature of an individual’s saliva, Brushing with this or that toothpaste, eating this or that low ph food has little relevance compared to what your mouth is bathing in 24/7. There is some evidence that the fat soluble vitamins will increase minerals in the saliva which may be why those vitamins are so vital to improving tooth health. It seems like dentists should routinely be taking saliva samples of their patients and prescribe various nutrients based on what they find. Fat soluble vitamins, minerals, amino acids, nitric oxide precursors and probiotics would all be helpful in these mattes.

    1. Saliva is produced in large amounts at meals. Otherwise teeth are not really “bathing” in saliva. Calcium and phosphorus are the two main minerals to help with enamel integrity. Your saliva mirrors the profile of your blood plasma. These two minerals are usually at an equilibrium in your blood so there isn’t much you can do to change these levels since your body will regulate them so they stay constant. Diet( sugar content and pH) and oral hygiene play a huge role. Vitamin D and K2 directly help regulate these minerals to protect bone. If you don’t get enough of these minerals, the body will extract them from bone to keep the blood levels steady. Acidic foods and sweets will cause loss of enamel by causing loss of these mineral. When the destruction is faster than the bathing of the teeth, you will have problems. Elderly patients with dry mouth but good diet and good oral hygiene won’t have rampant decay. As soon as oral hygiene gets worse or diet includes a high sugar content, decay starts. Quantity of saliva is probably more important than quality.
      Anthropology shows primitive man did have acid erosion but very little decay to no decay. Why? No simple sugars(junk food) in the diet. Things changed when sweets were invented. If we continue to eat them then oral hygiene is the only thing that will prevent decay. Saliva does have a role but not the biggest one.

    2. Not sure if first reply took:
      Calcium and phosphorus are the main two minerals that help with enamel integrity. They are found in saliva but you can’t increase their levels because your body maintains a steady level of these in your blood and your saliva mirrors your blood plasma. Vitamin D and K2 deficiency may take these minerals out of bones not teeth to maintain the proper mineral levels in your blood. If you eat a lot of sweets or foods high in acid, you will get acid erosion and decay and lose enamel. So, you need to maintain good oral hygiene and watch your diet because saliva alone won’t protect your teeth. There are toothpastes and gels that contain calcium and phosphorus to help repair the loss but at the micron level. People with dry mouth who maintain good oral hygiene and good diet rarely have decay. But most people with dry mouth usually have poor oral hygiene and diet is not ideal and having saliva would help but it isn’t the main thing to prevent mineral loss. And it is saliva quantity not quality that is important because saliva mineral content is stable. People who produce XS saliva usually have few to no cavities because the pH of saliva buffers the acid from acidic food and acid produced by Strep. mutans, up to a point. If you are a senior or had head and neck radiation treatment or take meds that reduce saliva flow you have to watch diet and OH. Whatever saliva you have, the Ca and phosphorus in it are at the body’s normal values. You just don’t have enough of it.
      Too much of these minerals in the blood? Your kidneys remove the XS or it can be deposited in tissues and bone. K2 though helps to move it to the correct destination and not dump it into the cells that line the arteries but to make sure it is properly metabolized by the cells. At the cellular level it helps with proper use of Ca and one bonus is it prevents it from precipitating out and calcifying plaque deposits.
      If these minerals were dumped into saliva you would produce tons of tartar which in turn is not good for Periodontal health. Again, not quality but quantity. Lots of saliva or saliva that pools, you will produce more tartar.
      You have to consider all 3 factors. Saliva is not the most important.

      1. Speaking from personal experience, I can raise the PH of my saliva from 6 to 7.2 by eating 12 oz of a nitrate rich vegetable like beets or butterhead lettuce, This effect will remain for 12 hours or so (the rise in PH is not due to the chewing, buffering effect of saliva but a response by nitric oxide producing bacteria in the mouth). This HAS to have a significant effect on oral health. There was a study done on populations who live in a region of Chile where there is a high level of naturally occurring nitrite in the soil. This population has a significantly lower decay rate than those who live in areas with less/no nitrite.

  97. Your story about your enamel thickening is full of poo poo. Once you lose enamel it’s gone. The only way to restore it is by having dental work done. Eating fermented vegetables is not a vegan issue or problem. There are many foods and drinks that are low in acid, even wine fits in that category. If you were a religious brusher and flosser, then you probably had acid erosion on your teeth, not cavities. Regardless they have to be treated the same way as a cavity. If you had cavities then it may have been sticky fruits that got stuck in the grooves and pits of your teeth, which were already softened by your high acid intake.
    I have many patients with an acidic diet. What I find is that if there are many cavities, there isn’t much gum disease. And vice versa, if there are no cavities, there is a greater chance of gum disease because the higher pH promotes tartar which in turn will promote periodontitis. If your gums worsened then it may have been due to poor oral hygiene at the gum line, or you produce a lot of saliva that would have buffered the gum line environment (creating tartar which causes gum disease) but not your occlusals.
    Your sensitivity on the biting surfaces was probably due to acid erosion. If you brushed daily then its rare to see cavities form in a year. It was the ingested acid, not the bacteria-produced acid. And I suspect if you had recession, which can occur just with age, the acid may have removed some cementum on the roots exposing dentin or the CEJ area had some exposed dentin, both causing sensitivity.
    Omnivores eat the same acidic foods. It not a vegan thing. 99.9% of my patients with acid erosion are not vegans.
    Watch your diet for acid content. Don’t brush immediately after an acidic meal or drink. Wait half hour before you brush.
    As for calcium metabolism, your saliva mirrors the plasma content for calcium. If calcium intake is low, your body does remove calcium from the bones, not from your teeth. Your saliva will bathe your enamel to keep the hydroxyapatite crystal integrity intact. K2 ain’t gonna help. Toothpastes or gels with calcium and phosphorous help. Reducing high acid foods and refraining from aggressive brushing reduces calcium loss from teeth. Dry mouth is another factor that will promote decay or acid erosion. Biotene products can help with this. And last but not least, your dentist can help by performing the required restorations to repair the cavities and acid erosion.
    Leave the dentistry to dentists

  98. Does anyone have any pictures?
    However, it is also possible to cure broken teeth? My incisor is broken horizontally, so I have only half incisive.

    Sry for my terrible english.

  99. How come some people who eat acidic foods all the time don’t have teeth problems??? Must be something else at play here…

  100. I think its also important to eat room temperature foods and drinks and avoid hot and cold such as hot teas and ice-cream. I wonder if that is why our teeth crack because they can’t handle that extreme of temperatures.

  101. Finally, people are hearing about taking vItamin K2 with their D3; without the K2, the calcium in your body won’t make it to your bones/teeth. Without the K2 to direct the calcium to where your bones, it will arbitrarily block your arteries. There is no need for strokes and heart attacks, never mind tooth decay! Thank you! These issues can be reduced; research Drs. Berg and Bleu

  102. If you eat whole fruit with a balance of vegetables, fruits and grains, I feel large quantities are highly beneficial. I love eating a full container of raspberries or blackberries in a sitting and apples, bananas, mangoes and strawberries everyday. I think if you are getting too much you will detect signs, such as your body won’t want any more. Refined sugars or fruit juices without pulp are still the culprits to me.

  103. In any case, I totally appreciate your website as I did not know anyone was as determined and teeth obsessed as me, in similar shoes. I have fought a long, hard battle to recovery as well. But I will tell you one thing for sure, the power of apricot seeds to restore tooth structure and enamel is crazy amazing and unprecedented. I had gum disease and bone loss causing gaps between my teeth which are now snug together once again. An extremely painful healing process which is not over yet, but miracles are clearly taking place in my mouth. Essiac tea is also putting a cherry on top. Be careful, and be patient, slow and steady. The pain will eventually subside and your teeth will be new again. Hopefully you have less pain than I.

  104. Great article. A lot of us (especially me, a heavy coffee drinker) will benefit from this. Thank you for this post, a lot of useful information. I’m building my own website for teeth whitening and your post is one of the source of my inspiration.