Eating For Dental Health

Speaking personally, my teeth are the most anxiety causing aspect of my health. From a young age I was in and out of the dentist on a regular basis. Cavities, root canals, braces, expanders, you name it. These were all things that were commonplace in my dental care. The crazy thing is, many kids go through this process. Cavities and dental operations are seen as everyday issues, things that we all have to go through. This is due to how we think about what habits maintain healthy teeth, and what compromises dental health. Based on a growing body of evidence, how we think about both of those topics is deeply flawed.

In the current model, all of the blame for dental cavities is placed on bacteria. According to the current model these bacteria thrive on foods containing sugars and starches. The bacteria consume these foods that are left on the teeth and secret acid that decays tooth enamel over time. So, by limiting these high-carbohydrate foods and keeping up with hygiene we can combat tooth decay. The problem is that the decay still happens for most people, no matter how much they brush or try to limit sugars.

Look no further than the work of doctor Weston A. Price. Dr.Price was a dentist in the 30’s that knew instinctually that something was wrong with the populations dental health. The paradigm of his day (basically the same as today), simply was not keeping up with the level of tooth decay in the United States. He embarked on a years long journey around the world to study cultures who hadn’t yet been modernized. These people include hunter-gatherers in Canada, the Everglades, the Amazon, Australia and Africa. The common theme between these peoples diets was that they ate plenty of game meat and seafood, some ate a variety of wild plants, and none of them had any form of refined sugar or carbohydrates in their diet. Animal fat and protein was prized above all. In particular animal organs and adrenal glands were prized.

Price found without exception zero or very low rates of tooth decay or modern disease. People that had starchy foods smothered on their teeth and payed no attention to dental hygiene had ZERO tooth decay. How could this be? If you look at the nutritional content of the food these people ate, it was was high in fat soluble vitamins, in particular vitamin K2. Lets Look at why that is important.

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K2 Is Necessary For Healthy Teeth

K2 is a crucial nutrient.  It is key in proper calcium management.  Through our skeleton shedding calcium and dietary intake, calcium has the tendency to build up over time.  Vitamin K2 is in charge of shuttling calcium where it is needed most, i.e our bones and teeth.  Without adequate intake of K2 calcium is deposited in our blood vessels, building up over time and causing blockages.  It can’t get to weak parts of our skeleton or teeth unless K2 is there to shuttle it.

Our Teeth Are Designed To Health Themselves

The crazy thing is, our teeth are not doomed to rot once the process starts. They have the ability to heal themselves, just like other parts of our skeleton. Isn’t that a liberating thought? Well, its true. When our teeth have the right nutrients, decalcified dentin (the layer under our enamal) has the ability to reseal itself. In the 30’s this was known by some dentists. Along with Weston A. Price, Dr. Edward Mellanby had a complete nutritional protocol that resulted in the complete healing of dental cavities. Nutritional healing was a recognized possible outcome. Lets dig into what this could entail if you are looking to heal your teeth.

Consume Grass Fed Animal Products

This is the most important thing you can do. No other food (besides natto, a fermented soybean dish) contains bioavailable amounts of vitamin K2.

  • Get some certified grass fed butter. This is a cost effective way to eat some K2. A brand like Kerrygold is sold everywhere.
  • Pastured eggs. Make sure the eggs say “pastured” and not “cage free”. Chickens need to be continually in pasture to get real food to synthesize into K2 rich eggs.
  • If you can eat it, goose liver is one of the most dense sources of K2.
  • Hard aged gouda and soft aged cheeses like brie are good sources. Even better if they are from grass fed animals.

Cod Liver Oil and K2 Supplements

Cod liver oil is one of the densest sauces of vitamins A and D. These fat soluble vitamins work in concert with K2 to shuttle calcium to our bones. If you are having trouble getting enough of these vitamins in take a quality Cod Liver Oil supplement like Green Pasture’s Blue Ice product. This is truly a miracle supplement, and is what Dr. Price used along with grass fed butter oil to heal cavities.

If you are having trouble sourcing good quality grass fed products, by all means take a K2 supplement. I take one even when I am on the ball with eating right, just to make sure I am getting enough in. Get a supplement that says it is the MK-7 form of K2. This is much more bioavailable and is cheaper in the long run. Often the supplements will say it is sourced from natto. This is good. I like this one. Make sure to aim for the therapeutic does of 120 micrograms a day or more.

Avoid Grains and Legumes (Mostly)

Yes, even “healthy whole grains”. Grains like rice, oats, wheat , and legumes like black beans contain large amounts of what is called physic acid. Phytic acid is a storage form of phosphorous and stops the plant from sprouting. Phytic acid also prevents the absorption of key nutrients like zinc, iron, magnesium, and calcium. These are the very nutrients that we need in order to have proper bone and dental health. In countries where grain consumption provides the bulk of calories, there is actually a problem with malnutrition, due to the lack of absorption of key nutrients.

As with many things, there are exceptions. If grains or legumes are properly soaked the physic acid content is drastically reduced. In cultures where time is taken to carefully remove anti nutrients like phytic acid from these foods malnutrition is not a problem. However, when trying to heal the teeth I would steer clear of these foods to be safe.

Get Adequate Magnesium

Fat soluble vitamins A, D, and K2 work in concert to shuttle calcium and essential nutrients to our teeth. To properly absorb vitamin D, magnesium needs to be present in the metabolic process. Get good amounts of dark leafy greens, peas, nuts, and seeds in your diet to cover this base.

Thats it for this week everyone. Thanks for reading along and make sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay in touch with the latest things happening!

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Elliot Steele is a Primal Health Coach based in Chelan WA.  He strives to empower those looking to regain their health after a lifetime of misinformed  practices.  This is the essence of Steele Back Your Health, to truly learn how to be healthy with sustainable habits.  Check out the coaching and blog page for more info!

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