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. It's the perfect base to the universal superfood, grandma's chicken soup.
You can make bone broth 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. Get my favorite chicken bone broth recipe here.
#2 – Raw dairy
Just like mama 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! Here are my four favorite ways to eat liver.
If none of these foods are in your dietary realm of possibility right now, start with a cod liver oil supplement and desiccated liver pills.
My kids gleefully take their FCLO liquid mixed with elderberry syrup (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. 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 rejuvenate bone and promote bone growth.”
Well, I would take marrow over cake any day, and that says a lot.
What I do at home
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!