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5 Superfoods for Strong Healthy Teeth

5 Superfoods for Strong Healthy Teeth - Holistic Squid After the birth of my son, at the age of 31, I got my first cavity.  Not bad, I thought, to make it three decades without any dental decay!  I got the cavity filled, and didn’t think much of it.

Three and a half years passed, and my daughter was born.  Low and behold, another cavity in the same tooth!  This time, the dentist reported that I would probably need a root canal.  YIKES!?!

After thirty-some years of taking good teeth for granted, I suddenly became very interested in my chompers.

How do teeth fit into the big picture of my body and overall health and wellness?

Why did I get cavities after birthing my babies?

Was a root canal really the only solution?

That’s when I discovered the world of holistic dentistry and the book Curing Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel.

I was lucky enough to find a great, skilled dentist who did a special filling that did not require drilling away as much tooth plus ozone therapy that reduced the likelihood of a root canal in the future.  I set about to change my diet to one that promotes remineralization of teeth and bones.

This meant cutting way back on sugar and refined carbohydrates because too much sugar disrupts calcium and phosphorus ratios in the body leading to tooth decay.

I also learned that it is important to reduce grain consumption and prepare any grains I did eat via soaking, sprouting, or souring.  This reduces the anti-nutrient, phytic acid which blocks mineral absorption in the body leading to weak bones and teeth.

Most importantly, I began to include nutrient-dense foods.  These foods are rich sources of animal fats, fat-soluble vitamins, and essential minerals and as such help protect, strengthen, and actually rebuild teeth.  Some of these foods I was happy to eat (clams, butter, cream, and rich stocks) and others required mustering up a bit more sense of  adventure (organ meats, eew).  Here are my…

Five Favorite Super Foods for Strong and Healthy Teeth:

#1 – Bone Broth

Though it may sound a bit barbaric, bone broth is simply a broth made from bones and leftover meat- the perfect base to the universal superfood – grandma’s chicken soup.  It can be made from beef, lamb, pork, or fish too (the latter being especially good for teeth).  Unlike the canned or cartoned varieties of store bought stock, homemade broth is loaded with minerals, gelatin, and collagen all necessary for strong teeth, bones, hair, and nails.  Bone broth is a digestive elixir that nurses the weak and gives superpowers to the strong.  Make a big pot at one time and freeze by the quart or in ice cube trays.  You can use it for quick soups and savory stews, pour it over meals in gravy, drink it warm or cold, or use it instead of water to cook your properly prepared grains or beans. Don’t want to make your own? Buy bone broth online here.  If you live in LA, you can have wonderful bone broth delivered to your door from Real Food Devotee.  Easy-peasy.

#2 – Raw Dairy

Just like mamma said, “Drink your milk to grow big and strong,” but with a two caveats -choose raw dairy (not pasteurized or homogenized) and make sure it comes from cows grazing grass out on pasture.  Raw milk, cream, butter, cheese, yogurt, etc will be loaded with calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K2, and other important nutrients, and since it is not pasteurized, the body will be able to assimilate those nutrients with ease.  For extra healing power for your teeth as well as the rest of your body, take a High Vitamin Butter Oil supplement.

#3 – Liver

I had a big mental block about this one at first, but Ramiel Nagel points out that the healthiest people consumed the whole animals – organs and all – not only the breast, flank, or leg meat. The all-important fat-soluble vitamins are found in the fat and organ meats, so I worked up my courage and started experimenting beyond ground beef, chicken breasts, and steaks.   One of the most nutrient dense foods on earth, liver from healthy animals provides us with more fat-soluble vitamins A and D than any other food.

Vitamin A is a potent antioxidant that will prevent gum disease and reduce the likelihood of dental decay.  Vitamin A from fruits and vegetables does not work in the same way the type of Vitamin A in animal sources.  Vitamin D is also important for a strong immune system, but also increases the body’s ability to calcify and mineralize the teeth and bones.

Liver and onions, liverwurst, chicken liver pate, fois gras…  We like to make burgers with ground liver and heart mixed in.  They are absolutely delicious!  If none of these foods are in your dietary realm of possibility right now, start with a cod liver oil supplement (Where to find liver capsules/fermented cod liver oil). Start with the capsules to avoid the taste but make sure you take a big enough dose.  My kids gleefully take their FCLO mixed with Child Life Liquid Vitamin C (which is essentially like a spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down).  Good quality cod liver oil provides essential omega 3 fatty acids as well as vitamins A and D, and is a supplement that would benefit nearly everyone to take whether or not you have liver on your plate.

#4 – Shellfish

Clams, mussels, oysters are an easy way to eat “the whole animal” to benefit from the fat soluble vitamins as well the important cholesterol, fats, calcium, and trace minerals.  Shellfish commonly appear on the menu at restaurants and are super easy to make at home. (We like our clams steamed with white wine, garlic, and lots of butter).  Eat them raw if you like them that way.  I found that after thirty-some years of rejecting raw oysters, my palate has changed and they are now a favorite.  Please be sure to buy sustainable sources that come from clean waters.

#5 – Bone Marrow

This may seem like something that you never really want to eat, but OMG is this stuff amazing.  More and more often I’m seeing bone marrow appear on restaurant menus, and once you taste bone marrow spread on crusty bread, it will appear in your dreams too.  Eating marrow, “even on occasion will strengthen your body’s resilience against cavities,” say Nagel since it contains “important bone-building cells that help rejunenate bone and promote bone growth.”  Well, I would take marrow over cake any day, and that says a lot.

Personally, I try to take my cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil every other day and double up on the dose since the fat soluble vitamins are stored by the body.  I drink some raw milk or cream and eat raw cheese or yogurt daily.  Liver and shellfish usually make an appearance in my diet about once a week and bone broth 1-3 times (though leftovers may stretch this out for days), and bone marrow is a special treat.  This list is not all-inclusive, just my favorite selection of nutrient dense foods that especially promote healthy teeth and bones.

Now that I eat this way, I really enjoy the “strange” foods in my diet and feel physically and emotionally better too.  Time will tell if I’m destined for more cavities, but my teeth feel strong and less sensitive than before.  My way not be the perfect regimen for you depending on your teeth and your overall health.  You can read all about the nutrient dense diet for healing tooth decay in Ramiel Nagel’s book, Curing Tooth Decay.

Bon appetite and big, healthy smiles!

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Comments

  1. Christina says:

    Great post! I haven’t tried liver, but after reading that you mix it in with burgers… I could start there. I also keep reading about FCLO and really need to bit the bullet and get some. Tooth decay is where many other diseases start. Your teeth are so close to your brain and heart that any sort of decay or disease spread quickly to those areas and cause major damage. So here’s to good health via strong teeth :)

    • KristenK says:

      Christina – I mixed some beef liver with burger (both from the same cow from a local source) and it was really good!! My husband who claims he was afraid of liver even liked it…I loved the liver – but I could probably eat it plain! Give it a try! :)

  2. Ann Marie says:

    Yum. Oysters.

  3. Roxanna says:

    I love your story!!! I found this diet not because of teeth (though now I am super excited knowing how much better our teeth will be!) but because my son stopped growing. GAPS, which is based on the Nourishing Traditions diet from Weston A. Price, has been a godsend and a pain in my butt! I’ve been amazed by how wonderfully different my son is :) Being a vegetarian for 8 years I never would have imagined not only cooking liver, bone broth, goat milk kefir, homemade applesauce/ketchup/mayo, homemade nut breads, etc… but enjoying it and looking forward to eating it again!!

    • admin says:

      Thanks for sharing Roxanna, and glad to hear your kiddo is thriving. I first found WAP when I was pregnant with my first and was repulsed by all things with additives. I found myself simmering bones in my kitchen and spreading cultured butter on everything. The teeth thing, though, has been what’s taken it too a whole new level for me with the liver, marrow, lard, and other “strange” animal parts. I love sharing this fun adventure with you, if even from afar!

  4. Mariposa says:

    Great post! I too have been including bone broths and raw dairy into my diet. I get great bones from the grass fed beef folks at the farmers market. I would love to have a Canyon Mama’s food Co-op where we all divided up the different recipes and food and share them with each other.

  5. Peter says:

    Hi

    In your bone broth section you say broth contains gelatin as well as collagen. This is a misunderstanding since gelatin and collagen are the same. It is collagen in your body, or any animals body, but gelatin when hydrolyzed and cleaned into small particles. What you could include is glycosaminoglycans. That is, bone broth contains minerals, gelatin and glycosaminoglycans. The latter include substances like chondroitin and glucosamine, keratin and hyaluronic acid and more. These are also sold as food supplements for bone health as well as skin health. You may enjoy this article about bone broth and health – http://www.townsendletter.com/FebMarch2005/broth0205.htm

    Have fun :-)

  6. Ester Perez says:

    HI Emily,
    I wanted to get your thoughts on a cavity issue I have had with my children. We began Ramiel Nagels protocal and my daughters teeth began to remineralize, but then, she began to get severely constipated, only having 2-3 bowel movements a week. I am an Iridologist and in my reading, her blood and lymph became highly congested. So she ate mostly raw for a month to cleanse and she is now having regular bowel movements, plus taking digestive enzymes, but now, her teeth are starting to decay again. Oh my, the frustration. She continued taking cod liver oil and raw butter during the last month, but it was not enough. Now I am adding back broths, pastured eggs, raw homemade kefir into her diet plus taking enzymes to help with digestion. I am hoping her teeth will continue to remineralize. It has been tricky due to her poor digestion. I have a very poor digestion too and benefited from a 30 day cleanse, but I am now back to rebuilding with high quality fats.
    What is your opinion on getting her teeth strong with her digestive issues. She is 4 1/2 years old. Also, my son has one small cavity and is already showing decay on a molar. We do not eat refined sugars and eat low glycemic fruits. We are gluten free and have been working on keeping grains to a minimum. I sprout everything. I just read that the Mother can pass bacteria to her children from sharing spoons and be the cause of the childrens cavities. Have you heard of this??? I wonder if it is the case with us… Blessings, Ester

    • Emily says:

      Hi Ester,
      Have you considered trying the GAPS diet for you and your kids? It sounds as though your daughter’s digestive imbalance would benefit from this protocol that restores healthy gut flora and heals digestive weakness/allergies/etc. This would be a good stepping stone into the Cure Tooth Decay foods. If you’re not familiar with GAPS, I think you’ll find it very interesting. Let me know how it goes!

    • Martin says:

      Ester,

      You may want to try eliminating the kefir for a while. I have not only heard, but have experienced that it can cause constipation. It can be mucus forming. I know it is wonderful as a probiotic, but if you find that eliminating it helps, that would be a plus.

      Martin

    • Jan AmRhein says:

      consider magnesium to balance all that calcium. Calcium constipates. Magnesium does the opposite.

  7. Ester says:

    When I read the GAPS diet, I felt she was writing the book just for us. So I tried to implement the GAPS diet a few months ago for all of us but she refused any of the stocks. Then, we did the raw cleanse. I started making stocks again and I am going to sneak them into her favorite soup. Today I made a delicious Nourishing Traditions meal and she turned it away. The rest of my family loves it, but its challenging with her. I will continue to persist. I will make the coconut bread today which she loves made with eggs and coconut flour. She loves raw cheese, hopefully with the help of the enzymes, she will have regular bowel movements. Its very tricky with her but I know we will get it right soon. Thanks for your reply.
    Ester

    • Emily says:

      Natasha Campbell-McBride actually say that picky eating is usually a sign of GAPS. Transitioning a picky eater can definitely be tough, but a kid can’t eat what you don’t have, so it may help to purge your kitchen of anything you don’t want your daughter to eat. In the short term she may be miserable and hungry, but eventually she will eat what you are offering. We had to do this with my son when he was about 3 – we had gotten lazy because he had always been such a good eater, but gradually would only eat the typical kid convenience foods – pasta, peanut butter and jelly, etc. Now he eats about 75% of what I offer.

      Broth can be challenging. One option is to try giving it to her in a large medicine dropper throughout the day. Many kids (including mine) think medicine droppers are fun. Jello is another great kid friendly way to have gelatin/bone broth too. You could probably do a GAPS friendly version with hibiscus tea and a little honey.

  8. Ester Perez says:

    Hi Emily,
    You have inspired me and I have decided to start the GAPS diet. Yes, I will be removing all non-GAPS friendly food from the home tomorrow. That is a very good idea. I have lots of shopping to do too. One question I have is since she has lots of cavities, should I remove or just limit honey and fruits. I know Dr. Campbell says that the fruit helps to remove toxins out of the body, but Ramiel Nagel says to limit fruits. We have been already limiting fruits so I think the real problem lies in the digestive tract.
    Also, after reading her book I discovered the answer to a question I have had for over 20 years. I get a runny nose every time I eat. After reading her book, I discovered it is due to a lack of good microflora in the ears, nose, mouth and throat. What an amazing discovery. I am now putting drops of whey in my ears and having a spoon of cultured veggies before going to bed. I will try the bone/broth jello. That sounds great! Do you have a recipe??? Thanks. Ester

  9. [...]  Mineral deficiency is associated with a whole host of conditions from anemia, bone problems, tooth decay, depression, anxiety, hormone imbalance and much, much [...]

  10. [...] puts across a pretty convincing argument that cavities can be prevented and even reversed with the right foods. And while sugar certainly doesn’t help matters, it’s more our nutrient deficient diets [...]

  11. [...] wonderful health benefits…one of those being improving the health of your teeth! You can read here about bone broth and other tooth friendly [...]

  12. [...] in oysters and other shellfish make them an ideal food to build healthy teeth and bones and even reverse dental issues - a concept discussed in detail by Ramiel Nagel in his book, Cure Tooth Decay: Heal and Prevent [...]

  13. allison says:

    I had something quite similar happen – With my first I had a filling, then with the second, I had that filling turn into needed a root canal…yuck. But – I grind my teeth something terrible, i’ve always been warned by the dentists that if I kept it up and kept spitting out my mouthgaurd at night that I’d break a tooth – that’s what happened with the filling.

    I eat liver, broths, bi-valves, shellfish and take CLO – I have Celiac Disease, I’ve done GAPS, I’m quite healthy and soak the remaining “grains” I do eat, and don’t eat them too often, more of a fish, beef, veggie and fruit kinda gal,

    I’m having another baby soon – we’ll see how we go….

  14. Molly says:

    I really need to get this book. I have battled with my teeth forever but it had a lot to do with the garbage I was eating before I discovered WAPF. I just wanted to mention to anyone who hates liver (including me) that I take dessicated liver capsules every day. Its just freeze dried liver. Perfectly acceptable. I hope someday that I can find a type of liver that I can eat but until then I’m taking my liver capsules!!! I also started oil pulling. Its a pain in the tush but WOW, my breath is improving and my bleeding gums are improving!!!

  15. allison says:

    Emily – I’m not really sure…I don’t think it is a very “controlled” experiment. We’ll wait until 2014 and see if I have another cavity. I never had one before I was in my 30s…for the most part, except for a few years in my late teens and early 20s, I’ve always eaten well…who knows?

  16. [...] food from the teeth after eating, dental health is not just about what we use to clean our teeth.  Healthy teeth depend on the overall health of our bodies determined by dietary intake, toxic exposure, and [...]

  17. [...] wonderful health benefits…one of those being improving the health of your teeth! You can read here about bone broth and other tooth friendly [...]

  18. Deven says:

    Will this help a child’s gums? My son has braces & his gums are swollen & sensitive. I don’t know what to do to help them heal & they are in danger of growing over his brackets. I don’t think this is just an issue of not brushing or floshing.

    HELP? IDEAS?

    • Emily says:

      Hi Deven,

      Yes, I would absolutely implement this diet for all children to support the development of healthy teeth and bones. As for the inflammation, I would be sure to include foods for him that will reduce inflammation – like fermented cod liver oil; probiotics to ensure his body has strong beneficial bacteria to fight infection; and avoid junk foods which will exacerbate inflammation.

  19. Monica says:

    I got my first cavity when I was pregnant too! I was so disappointed and it made me feel gross. I have been delaying getting it filled; I have read several places of people recommending this book. My only problem is that I assume it is mostly based on diet, and I’m afraid that my cavity will get worse before I have time to make all these dietary changes. It may sound like a silly excuse, but we are living with my in-laws until we close on our house in October, and there’s just no room in the fridge or kitchen for very much food!

  20. Benjamin says:

    5. Bone Marrow – This may seem like something that you never really want to eat, but OMG is this stuff amazing. More and more often I’m seeing bone marrow appear on restaurant menus, and once you taste bone marrow spread on crusty bread, it will appear in your dreams too. Eating marrow, “even on occasion will strengthen your body’s resilience against cavities,” say Nagel since it contains “important bone-building cells that help rejunenate bone and promote bone growth.” Well, I would take marrow over cake any day, and that says a lot.

    Change “rejunenate” to rejuvenate :)

  21. Vince says:

    So maybe back around 5 or 6 yrs old I just started eating marrow right from whatever bone I had. Chicken is the one I have most often but I love a good beef bone. Here’s the thing I’m 30 and as of this point I’ve never had a cavity or broken bone. Ok that’s fine but I play real rough, and I loveeee candy. At least 2 Big bags a week of sour patch kids since highschool. Cut down on the sugar as I got older but that’s only because well you have to eat healthier as you get older. However my point is I have eaten so much sweets there really is no way I just never got a single issue with my teeth like a cavity. But they are Perfectly straight perfectly white. I have always had exceptionally clean healthy looking nails, hair, and skin my hair grows so fast I get it cut once a week. No lie since grade school. Women walk up to me and say what beautiful nails you have for a boy, but these are man hands with blisters on my palms. Awesome nails though. And believe me its not genectics, i came from two nerds with nerd skin problems. Acne, eczema, glasses allergies. Its probably unrelated but i come from a family of large somewhat obese people. And for some reason im that dude who eats whatever and never gains. Like I said I’m 30 but I still get carded hard. Hard. They actually make me tell them what it says on my own license. It may sound like im bragging and i am. Because i have been sitting on this gem for years just totally reaping the Benny’s. I try and tell people about cartilage and marrow. Every time I get a funny look like I said the craziest thing. But I’m laughing my butt to great health that doesn’t cost me anything more than not throwing something into the trash and keeping an open mind. So give it a try, it actually tastes great. Do your research too its more common and scientifically proven than most americans know. Just never do it in public, oh god no not even worth that hassle of questions.

    • Shanni says:

      Bone marrow … never had it before! How do I prepare it? From Vince’s post, I’m assuming that either chicken or beef bones are good.

      What about the collagen/ gelatin? Can you get that from the chicken and beef stocks? Any other sources.

      Thanks for any tips!

  22. [...]  Mineral deficiency is associated with a whole host of conditions from anemia, bone problems, tooth decay, depression, anxiety, hormone imbalance and much, much [...]

  23. [...] puts across a pretty convincing argument that cavities can be prevented and even reversed with the right foods. And while sugar certainly doesn’t help matters, it’s more our nutrient deficient diets [...]

  24. [...] like chondroitin and glucosamine, keratin and hyaluronic acid and more.) These nutrients known to benefit teeth, bones, hair, nails, and joints.  Bone broth is also a digestive elixir that helps to heal the gut [...]

  25. [...] keratin and hyaluronic acid and more.) These nutrients help in the development and health of teeth, bones, hair, nails, and joints in babies and adults [...]

  26. [...] like chondroitin and glucosamine, keratin and hyaluronic acid and more.) These nutrients known to benefit teeth, bones, hair, nails, and joints.  Bone broth is also a digestive elixir that helps to heal the gut [...]

  27. [...] over again.Here’s a partial list of some obvious and not-so-obvious effects of sugar:Promotes dental decay and plaque accumulationExacerbates hyperactivity in childrenUpsets tummyDisturbs sleepDepletes the [...]

  28. [...] Beyond avoiding sugar and processed carbs, a nutrient dense diet plays a huge role in the health of teeth and gums as well as the formation of a proper palate and bite in early childhood.  In fact, there have been many isolated cultures throughout the world that never even saw a toothbrush, but had perfect, straight teeth, wide palates, and very little decay.  These people all ate nutrient dense foods and avoided modernized foods, resulting in a balanced constitution, excellent health, and perfect teeth.You can read about nutrition and dental health in this post. [...]

  29. [...] 5 Superfoods for Strong Healthy Teeth [...]

  30. […] You can read more about  superfoods for strong, healthy teeth here. […]

  31. […] delicious, but the disguised organ meat packs a nutrient-dense punch that is wonderful for healthy teeth and bones, fertility, and growing kids – just to name a […]

  32. Tandy says:

    I’ve hear that if cod liver oil or fish oils smell/taste rancid, or taste like fish that it’s bad. I bought skate liver oil and just received it a few days ago. I’m not familiar with skate, the bottle I received does taste like fish. Is it bad or is that the nature of skate?

  33. Ginny says:

    Hi Emily, I live in LA and would love to see your local resources, but I don’t see any on your links page. I’m especially interested in finding a good holistic dentist, as I’m looking for someone to replace my fillings, which contain mercury. I’d appreciate any recommendations! Love your blog!

  34. […] 5 Superfoods for Strong Healthy Teeth […]

  35. Marilyn Ciociola says:

    Where do you buy raw dairy and bone Marrow? I go to a whole foods health store and I will ask them but if you could tell me that would be great, thanks. I really was amazed at the information regarding teeth and bones. I need all the help I can get for my bones. Right now I have to drink lactose milk because regular milk is hard on my digestive track. Thanks for your help. Marilyn

    • Emily says:

      Hi Marilyn – Thanks for your comment. I get my raw milk from Organic Pastures and bone marrow from Best Beef Ever. Hope that helps!

      organicpastures.com
      bestbeefever.com

  36. Giggly says:

    Hi, I enjoyed reading your website :-) it’s great. I’m glad you have found a way of eating that is benefiting your health and enjoyment of course!

    I just wanted to say that I’ve been vegetarian for 14 years, it’s the best thing I ever did. I have regular checkups and my health is exemplary, extremely low cholesterol and I’ve never had a cavity or issues with teeth. I used to eat a lot of the animal and dairy foods you mention here, they didn’t have positive results on my health. I was only eating organic and unprocessed, avoided additives etc. It made me foggy headed, gave me high cholesterol, high blood pressure, a general feeling of being clogged, heavy, overweight, constipation, spotty skin and was hormonally imbalanced. I was exercising, doing yoga and aerobics. I did not do well on this kind of diet. As soon as I stopped eating meat and dairy my health dramatically changed for the positive.

    I went to my doctor and saw a dietician, I was basically clogged up, even though I was fit and my diet was balanced, I wasn’t thriving. A vegetarian diet was suggested and was a very natural choice for me, it felt right in my heart too.

    I thrive best on veggie/vegan diet, I have beautiful skin, hair, nails, teeth, look much younger for my age and don’t get any weight problems, naturally low blood pressure etc. I feel light, have loads of energy now, sleep great. It just fits for me.

    I think you have to go with what works for your body. For me I’m a natural vegetarian. I love animals too, but thats a reason aside from health. I think everyone is different and not one size fits all – especially with diet.

    I’m glad you have found a diet that fits; anyway it is lovely to meet you and share this, kind regards!

    With love, all the way from a cold but very sunny England! x

  37. Elizabeth Johnson says:

    Emily,
    What do you know about chromogenic bacteria? My 4 year old daughter has it on her teeth and they look green down around the gum line. I have researched it and have not found a cause, even the holistic dentist in my area says to just have a cleaning to get it off. I would like to find the cause of it. I have her oil pulling (which is kind of helping). I have been giving her kefir and some diatomaceous earth. I think it is a parasite in her gut. Maybe yeast? What are your thoughts??
    Thanks!
    Elizabeth

  38. Marie says:

    Can you please tell us the name of the dentist you
    Went to? Thank you so much!

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