You might think that telling you how to heal your teeth would be bad for my business – after all, if you stop getting cavities, what will I do all day long? I’ll happily spend my days teaching more of you how to stay healthy! You don’t hear much about healing teeth because of most people – dentists included – don’t know how it works. You can heal teeth. It’s not voodoo, it’s simple anatomy and chemistry.
There are two outside layers in your teeth. The enamel is the hard outer layer, made up of crystals. The dentin is the softer inside layer, filled with yards of tubules.
How are cavities formed?
Cavities form when minerals are removed from the crystals in the enamel and a weak, vulnerable surface remains. The minerals can dissolve from acid – from bacteria or your diet, or pulled out because the body needs those minerals somewhere else. Once these minerals are gone, the bacteria creep in.
The second step happens once those bacteria travel all the way through the enamel and invade the dentin. They infect the dentin and spread quickly because there is a super highway of tubes filled with fluid to travel along.
How can cavities heal?
Healing teeth is called tooth remineralization. If you can remove minerals from the enamel, you can replace minerals as well. The dentin is a deeper however, and remineralization is not as effective once the decay reaches the dentin layer.
So, this answers the biggest question about healing teeth – can any tooth be healed. Now you know the answer. If the cavity is still in the enamel layer, you can remineralize and heal the tooth. If the cavity has moved into the dentin, most times you will need to have that decayed dentin removed to stop the spread of the cavity. I told you it was simple.
So how do you know if it’s spread to the dentin? It can be seen on an x-ray, and cavity detecting lasers can tell how deep the cavity is. Both require a trip to the dentist, but now you know what to ask for.
How can you Remineralize teeth?
Two basic things need to happen.
- You need to reduce the acid – so no more minerals dissolve
- You need to strengthen the tooth.
Acid and Saliva
Every time you eat, your mouth becomes more acidic. It’s the first step in the digestive process and necessary to help digest your food. In a healthy mouth and body, saliva quickly clears the food and acid out, and helps the mouth return to a neutral level. In fact, saliva is a very important factor in remineralization. It is what caries the minerals back to your teeth.
The saliva returns your mouth to a neutral level if given enough time. This is where frequent snacking or sipping gets you in trouble. If I see a patient with a lot of dental decay, I ask them about their snacking and sipping habits. Some people tell me they drink soda, but only one can a day, sipping it slowly throughout the day. They think they are doing a good thing, but that’s the most damaging way to drink a sugary drink, diet soda and fruit juice included.
I tell them if they are going to drink soda, they should swig the entire can and be done with it. Why? Every time that soda enters the mouth, it makes the mouth more acidic. If someone sips soda every 45 minutes, the saliva never has long enough to help the mouth recover from that acid attack. The enamel will dissolve.
The other problem is too little saliva. Medications will often have dry mouth as a side effect. I’ve seen a patient with a healthy mouth one visit return with 10 cavities the next. What changed? They were put on a blood pressure medication and had a dry mouth as a result. Without that protective and remineralizing saliva, the teeth dissolved and the bacteria moved in to finish the job.
How to reduce acid in your mouth
The first way to reduce acid in your mouth is to stop putting it there. I’m not talking about a tomato or pineapple with a meal. Your saliva will take care of that. I’m talking about acidic drinks and overuse of acidic foods. See the chart to the right about common beverages and their acidity. The lower the number, the more acidic the beverage is.
Teeth start to dissolve at a pH of 5.5. The acid is more important than the sugar in the destruction of tooth structure. Sorry diet soda drinkers – that artificial sweetener will do nothing to protect the health of your teeth. It’s the acid, not the sugar!
How to replace minerals in the teeth
The enamel in your teeth acts like a tiny receiving dock. Your teeth are in constant flux, with the saliva removing and returning minerals throughout the day and night. As long as more minerals are being deposited than removed, your teeth will stay healthy.
Must be able to receive minerals
On that receiving dock, if the doors to the warehouse are closed, it doesn’t matter how many minerals are delivered. To keep the “doors” open on your tooth so the minerals can get in, the tooth must be clean. Regular cleaning will do the trick, but make sure you aren’t using a tooth care product that contains glycerine. It will coat the tooth and the minerals can’t get in.
Minerals must be present in the saliva
When the saliva comes to make a delivery, it needs to be full of minerals to spare. There are some great ways to make more minerals available to your body, bloodstream and saliva.
One of those ways is a revolutionary theory called “biological transmutations”. Silica is key in this. It seems silica combines with carbon in the body and forms calcium. This is an interesting concept. Our bodies take building blocks and change them into what we need.
Let’s use an example: Cows produce milk that has a lot of calcium in it, even though they don’t drink milk or take calcium supplements. They don’t get very much calcium from the grass or other plant foods in their diet either. So cows must suffer from severe calcium deficiency.
A good dairy cow gives 30 liters of milk a day, which is rich in calcium. Every day she is giving more calcium than she is taking in. She should be breaking bones right and left! But she isn’t. Her bones and teeth are strong… and she doesn’t suffer any signs of calcium deficiency.
So where does the calcium in the milk come from, and how are the cow’s bones and teeth strong without eating much of it? It must be coming from other building blocks that the cow can then convert into usable calcium for their own bodies and calcium for the milk. Cows take in a lot of magnesium, silica, and potassium in the grasses they eat. These are the building blocks.
Chemistry in Action
- Silica + Carbon = Calcium
- Magnesium + Oxygen = Calcium
- Potassium + Hydrogen = Calcium
So what CAN you do? You need to get the building blocks necessary for your body to build strong teeth. Where can you get those building blocks?
- Stop taking too much calcium. 500 mg per day is plenty.
- Make sure the foods you eat actually have nutrients in them. Refined sugar and flour have none. If you want to build strong teeth and bones, you have to eat the stuff that will build them.
- Take a Silica supplement. This is easy and inexpensive ($5 per bottle)! Look for Horsetail at your local Health Food store. How much? For teeth repair and building, 1,500 mg per day. For maintenance, 500 mg per day.
- Take a broad spectrum multi-vitamin that has plant sourced Magnesium and Potassium.
Other non-mineral ways to build teeth
Bentonite Clay– The toothpaste I recommended has a base of Bentonite clay. Used alone, directly on the teeth, this clay can be used to pull toxins from your teeth and facilitate adding minerals in.
Calc Fluor and Calc Phos Cell Salts – these are the homeopathic names for Calcium Fluoride (not to be confused with Sodium Fluoride used in toothpaste and water) and Calcium Phosphorus. They are two of twelve basic cell salts that form the building blocks of the body and facilitate enzymes. They are often lacking in today’s diet. These are especially important to strengthen teeth and bones in growing children and expecting women.
Dr. Michelle Jorgensen
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