We realize that cavity reversal might sound like something out of a sci-fi novel, but it is possible to reverse the effects of cavities naturally, despite widely held beliefs. Most people think that once they have a cavity, the only remedy is to have that tooth drilled and filled in with a biocompatible artificial material. In fact, one study published in the British Medical Journal asserts that cavities and tooth decay can potentially be reversed with a healthy and balanced diet.
Cavity Reversal Case Study
This study was performed on 62 kids with cavities, all of which were divided into three separate diet groups. Group 1 would eat a standard diet plus oatmeal (which is rich in phytic acid). Group 2 would eat a normal diet supplemented with vitamin D. Finally, Group 3 would eat a grain-free diet supplemented with vitamin D.
The results found that Group 1 had the least satisfactory results. This diet high in grains and phytic acid showed an increase in cavities across the board. Group 2 showed slight improvements in their cavities. Group 3 showed the most promising results — nearly all cavities were healed. Group 3’s diet followed grain-free parameters and replaced grains with nutrient-rich foods (vegetables, fruits, meat, milk and vitamin D supplementation).
This study helps to prove that most of us have a grave misunderstanding of cavities and also of the effects of a healthy diet that go beyond weight and physical appearance. At Bedford Dental Group, we educate our patients about the link between good oral health and good overall health, and this is yet another example of how living a health-conscious lifestyle can make your life better on multiple fronts.
Raw Milk for Teeth
Milk has always been associated with healthy teeth and bones due to its high calcium and phosphorus content. These minerals are vital for maintaining the strength and integrity of our teeth. Raw milk, which is milk that hasn’t been pasteurized, has garnered attention in recent years both for its potential health benefits and risks. Let’s dive into the implications of raw milk for dental health, and particularly the practice of swishing it around in the mouth.
Benefits of Raw Milk for Teeth:
- Rich in Minerals: As with all milk, raw milk is a good source of calcium and phosphorus, minerals essential for strengthening enamel and preventing tooth decay.
- Contains Beneficial Enzymes: Raw milk possesses certain enzymes that pasteurization may destroy. These enzymes might help in breaking down biofilm on the teeth and potentially combat harmful oral bacteria.
- Presence of Casein: Casein, a protein found in milk, may help in the stabilization of tooth enamel, especially in the presence of calcium and phosphate.
Swishing Milk: Is It Good for Your Teeth?
Swishing or rinsing the mouth with various substances is a practice that dates back millennia, but the efficacy and safety of each substance varies. Here’s what you need to know about swishing milk:
- Potential for Remineralization: Due to the presence of calcium and phosphorus, swishing with milk might aid in the remineralization of teeth. This can be particularly beneficial after consuming acidic foods or drinks that have eroded some of the enamel.
- Neutralizing Acids: Milk has a relatively neutral pH, which means it can help neutralize any acids present in the mouth after a meal, reducing the risk of acid-induced tooth erosion.
- However, Beware of Residue: While swishing with milk may offer benefits, leaving milk residues in the mouth, especially overnight, might not be advisable. Milk contains natural sugars which, if left on the teeth, can feed harmful bacteria leading to tooth decay. Always rinse the mouth with water after swishing with any substance, including milk.
- Considerations for Raw Milk: Raw milk can contain harmful bacteria since it hasn’t undergone pasteurization. This might pose a health risk not just for the teeth but for overall health, especially if the source of the raw milk isn’t known to be clean and reputable.
The practice of swishing should be approached with caution. It’s essential to ensure that no milk residues remain in the mouth after the practice, as these can lead to dental issues over time.
More on Tooth Decay
The ADA has a rather limiting definition of the cause of tooth decay:
“[Tooth decay] occurs when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) such as milk, pop, raisins, cakes or candy are frequently left on the teeth. Bacteria that live in the mouth thrive on these foods, producing acids as a result. Over an extended period of time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay.”
The ADA characterizes tooth decay as being caused by excess consumption of starches and sugars. But tooth decay can also be brought on by deprivation in the diet. When you leave out certain vitamins and minerals, your teeth are more susceptible to decay.
Tooth decay can be attributed to the following factors in addition to excess sugars and starches in the diet:
- Lack of minerals in diet (magnesium, calcium, etc.)
- Lack of fat-soluble vitamins (particularly Vitamin D, but also A, E, and K)
- Excessive phytic acid-rich food and beverage consumption
Reversing Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is a common concern among many. The good news is that it’s possible to halt or even reverse tooth decay at its early stages.
Tooth decay begins when the bacteria in our mouths convert the sugars from our foods into acids. These acids erode the tooth’s protective enamel layer. Over time, this can lead to cavities – holes in the teeth. If not treated, these cavities can deepen, leading to pain, infection, and even tooth loss.
Can Tooth Decay Be Reversed?
Yes and no. The early stages of decay can be halted and even reversed. Once enamel has been lost, it cannot regenerate. However, minerals can be redeposited in the enamel layer, a process called remineralization, strengthening it and preventing further decay.
How to Reverse Tooth Decay:
- Dietary Changes:
- Limit Sugar: Sugar is the main culprit behind tooth decay. When consumed, it feeds harmful bacteria in your mouth, leading to acid production.
- Increase Calcium and Phosphorus Intake: Dairy products, nuts, and meats are high in these minerals which are essential for tooth health.
- Consume Foods that Promote Saliva Production: Crunchy fruits and vegetables, like apples and carrots, stimulate saliva production, which helps neutralize acids and wash away food particles.
- Good Oral Hygiene:
- Brush and Floss Regularly: This removes food particles and plaque, which is a sticky layer of bacteria.
- Use Fluoride Toothpaste: Fluoride helps strengthen teeth and can aid in remineralization.
- Regular Dental Check-ups:
- Even if you’re diligent with your home care, regular check-ups with your dentist are crucial. They can spot early signs of decay and provide interventions to prevent progression.
- Consider Sealants: These are protective coatings that your dentist can apply to the chewing surfaces of back teeth. They act as barriers, protecting enamel from plaque and acids.
- Drink Fluoridated Water: If your local water supply is fluoridated, drinking it can help protect your teeth. If not, discuss fluoride supplements with your dentist.
- Chew Sugar-free Gum: Chewing stimulates saliva production which, as mentioned earlier, helps in neutralizing acids and cleaning the mouth.
- Avoid Acidic Drinks: Beverages like sodas, citrus juices, and even some sports drinks can erode enamel. If consumed, rinse your mouth with water afterward.
Points to Note:
- Once a cavity has formed, it can’t be reversed. It needs to be treated by a dentist. The above methods are preventive or for very early-stage decay.
- Everyone’s mouth is different. What works for one person might not work for another. It’s essential to find a routine that’s effective for you and stick to it.
- The health of your mouth reflects the health of your body. Other conditions, like diabetes, can impact oral health, so it’s crucial to manage overall health as well.
How to Heal Cavities Naturally
A couple of ways that you can naturally reverse the effects of cavities:
- Cut sugars and phytic acid (mineral blocker and enzyme inhibitor found in grains — also in nuts, seeds, and beans that forgo sprouting and sourdough fermentation)
- Eat raw dairy. Raw dairy is rich in important vitamins and minerals that contribute to healthy dental fluid flow. This helps maintain tooth strength and overall oral health wellness. Goat’s milk kefir, raw cheese, and organic grass-fed butter are good options.
For more information about how you can naturally reverse the effects of cavities and tooth decay, schedule a consultation with Bedford Dental Group today. We are dedicated to providing our patients with preventive dentistry education that will save them time, money, and hardship down the road. Give us a call today!