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Chronic infection can be located in many areas of the body. One area often overlooked though, is the mouth. Inflamed gums and tooth decay can create low grade chronic infection that impacts your overall health.

The common perception is that you can fix inflamed gums with flossing and brushing and tooth cavities by drilling and filling them in with synthetic fillers. While I totally agree with the flossing and brushing as part of the solution, I’d like to share some additional and potentially more powerful ways to reverse tooth decay.

According to a study in the British Medical Journal, tooth decay can be reversed with diet.

The study was done on 62 children with cavities. They were divided into three different diet groups. Group 1 ate a standard diet plus oatmeal (rich in phytic acid). Group 2 consumed a normal diet and supplemented with vitamin D. Group 3 ate a grain-free diet and took vitamin D.

The results?

Group 1 – had an increase in cavities

Group 2 – had an improvement in cavities and less formation of new cavities

Group 3 – saw the greatest improvement, nearly all cavities were healed

It seems we’ve been a little mislead when it comes to tooth decay. In his book, Cure Tooth Decay: Heal and Prevent Cavities with Nutrition, Ramiel Nagel encourages readers to look to dietary changes to heal cavities. Many of his ideas are based on Dr. Weston Price’s research. Dr. Weston Price was a Canadian dentist who studied the connection between nutrition and dental health and possibly the most well-respected dentists who ever lived.

According to the ADA, the cause of tooth decay is this:

“[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 a period of time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay.”

But this is only one of the main four pieces of the tooth decay puzzle. According to Ramiel Nagel and Dr. Weston Price, these are the four causes of tooth decay.

  1. Lack of minerals in the diet (calcium deficiency, magnesium deficiency and phosphorus deficiency)
  2. Lack of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K, particularly vitamin D deficiency)
  3. Too much consumption of phytic acid-rich foods (grains and beans)
  4. Too much consumption of processed sugar

So how do we start to reverse tooth decay and have a healthy, infection free mouth?

  1. Ditch the sugar! Sugar feeds mouth bacteria and creates an acidic environment decalcifies and erodes the structure of the teeth. Sugar is the number one thing that should be avoided if you want a healthy mouth.
  2. Eliminate phytic acid-rich foods. Phytic acid is a mineral blocker and enzyme inhibiter. This is founds in grains, nuts, seeds and beans. Since we don’t prepare foods like our ancestors did, soaking and fermenting foods like these prior to cooking them, these remain high in phytic acid. Phytic acid blocks absorption of minerals from your food and also leaches minerals from your body, bones and teeth.
  3. Consume nutrient rich, whole foods. These can include
    • Organic and pasture raised bone broth, meats and eggs
    • Wild fish
    • Plenty of dark leafy greens and other raw and steamed veggies
    • Small amount of low glycemic fruit like berries
    • Raw and or fermented dairy
    • Fermented grains sparingly like true sourdough though it’s best to avoid grains
    • Sprouted nuts and seeds in moderation
    • Healthy fats like avocado, avocado and olive oil and fish oil
  4. Get plenty of vitamin D. Get out in the sunshine without sunscreen or sunglasses for at least 20 minutes a day. Eat foods high in vitamin D like salmon, egg yokes and tuna. Worried you’ll get burned? According to Dr. Seneff, a senior research scientist at MIT (her research focuses on the relationship between nutrition and health) glyphosate which is a component of roundup and common in non-organic foods, disrupts the skins’ natural ability to protect itself. Switch to organic foods and drinks and your body will protect itself better allowing you to take in more sun and make more vitamin D. Also consider supplementing with D3 plus K2 if needed. Be sure to have your vitamin D levels tested in advance of supplementation
  5. Consider oil pulling. This is an Ayurvedic practice usually using sesame seed oil but now is more commonly done with coconut oil. Take a small teaspoon size of oil and put it in your mouth. Swish this gently in your mouth for up to 20 minutes and spit it out into the garbage so you don’t clog your drain. The practice is simple and helps to eliminate bad bacteria in your mouth as well as plaque buildup.

You’ll notice there’s a lot of commonalities between these recommendations and an ancestral diet. One thing to note is what Dr. Weston Price found in his research. When  people that he studies ate their ancestral diet, they had decay free, white teeth and a mouth large enough to hold all their teeth.

By decreasing inflammation in our mouth, we improve our chances of reversing chronic illness. Nutrition can be a big part of that solution.

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