How to Reverse Tooth Decay

This is a step that has been shrouded in secrecy and voodoo. Some books and reports I've read claim that all dentists know how to heal teeth, but that we are keeping it a secret so we can continue to make money off our unsuspecting patients. I’m being facetious, of course.

Dentists genuinely want to help people. You don't hear much about healing teeth because most people, dentists included, have not been trained to do it, and don’t know how it works. You can heal teeth, and it's not voodoo. It's simple anatomy and chemistry.

Most of the rest of the body can heal itself and does so on a regular basis. Of course, the teeth can as well.

Back once again to that anatomy lesson. There are two outside layers in your teeth. The enamel is hard, made up of mineral crystals. The dentin is softer and filled with miles of tubules.

Remember what you learned about how cavities form. The first step is minerals being pulled out of the teeth because they are needed elsewhere or dissolved by acids. Once these minerals are gone, the bacteria creep into the enamel.

tooth decay

The second step happens once the bacteria get all the way to the dentin. They infect the dentin, and the infection (decay) spreads quickly because there is a superhighway of tubes filled with fluid to travel along.

You can heal teeth by adding minerals or remineralizing, as long as the decay has not moved into the deeper dentin layer. Once the decay has moved into the dentin, the minerals aren’t going to be as effective. This answers the number one question I get 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, and then fill the hole with resin filling material or cover the area over with porcelain depending on how large the hole the decay created.

How do you know if the cavity has spread to the deeper dentin layer and how you can reverse tooth decay? 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.

There are some new technologies to “arrest” or stop decay that has had mixed results. Keep watching as dentistry pursues more preventative measures.

How Can You Remineralize Teeth?

Two basic things need to happen. You need to reduce the acid in your mouth to prevent the further mineral loss, and you need to strengthen the tooth. Let’s talk about how you can accomplish both of those things.

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 carries 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 cause dry mouth as a side effect. I’ve seen a patient with a healthy mouth one visit return with ten 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. And without reducing the acid in your mouth, reverse tooth decay is not possible.

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 the overuse of acidic foods that don’t allow for reverse tooth decay.

My sons did a science fair project studying the effect of different drinks on tooth enamel. They soaked extracted teeth in seven different liquids and then measured the amount of enamel loss. Their findings were interesting, and I think they will surprise you.

If you are wondering about the validity of a high school science fair project, I’ve found research from dental journals that shows the same thing. This chart lists the most acidic (therefore most destructive) drinks from least acidic to most acidic:

Beverage Acid pH
Water                                                                                         7.0 (neutral)
Sports Drinks
Skinny Water Goji Fruit Punch 3.67 (0.01)
Activ Water Power Strawberry Kiwi 3.38 (0.03)
Sobe Life Water Mango Melon 3.29 (0.01)
Dasani Grape 3.05 (0.01)
Dasani Strawberry 3.03 (0.01)
Propel Berry 3.01 (0.00)
Gatorade Lemon-Lime 2.97 (0.01)
Activ Water Focus Dragonfruit 2.82 (0.04)
Powerade Orange 2.75 (0.02)
Activ Water Vigor Triple Berry 2.67 (0.01)
Fruit Juices & Fruit Drinks
V8 Fusion Pomegranate Blueberry 3.66 (0.00)
Juicy Juice Apple 3.64 (0.01)
Minute Maid Natural Energy Mango Tropical 3.34 (0.02)
CapriSun Surfer Cooler 3.08 (0.00)
V8 Splash Strawberry Kiwi 2.99 (0.01)
Crystal Light Fruit Punch 2.96 (0.02)
Sunny D Smooth 2.92 (0.01)
Tropicana Twister Orange Strawberry Banana Burst 2.89 (0.01)
Ocean Spray Cran-Pomegranate 2.72 (0.01)
Kool-Aid Mix Cherry 2.71 (0.00)
Barber’s Lemonade 2.69 (0.00)
Sobe Black and Blueberry Brew 2.69 (0.00)
Tropicana Juice Beverage Cranberry 2.59 (0.00)
Sodas
Canada Dry Club Soda 5.24 (0.03)
A&W Root Beer 4.27 (0.02)
A&W Cream Soda 3.86 (0.01)
7UP Diet 3.48 (0.00)
Mountain Dew Code Red 3.27 (0.01)
Sprite 3.24 (0.05)
Dr. Pepper Diet 3.20 (0.00)
Coca-Cola Diet 3.10 (0.05)
Sierra Mist 3.09 (0.02)
Mellow Yellow 3.03 (0.00)
Sunkist Orange 2.98 (0.01)
Coca-Cola Zero 2.96 (0.03)
Hawaiian Punch (Fruit Juicy Red) 2.87 (0.01)
Pepsi 2.39 (0.03)
Coca-Cola Caffeine Free 2.34 (0.03)
Energy Drinks
Fuel Energy Shots Lemon Lime 3.97 (0.01)
Redbull regular 3.43 (0.01)
Nitrous Monster Super Dry 3.46 (0.00)
Killer Buzz Sugar-Free 3.36 (0.00)
Redline Xtreme Triple Berry 3.24 (0.01)
Full Throttle Blue Agave 3.10 (0.01)
No Fear Sugar-Free 3.06 (0.01)
Jolt Blue Bolt 2.96 (0.00)
Rockstar Recovery 2.84 (0.01)
Redline Peach Mango 2.74 (0.02)
24:7 Energy Cherry Berry 2.61 (0.01)
Tea and Coffee
Starbucks Medium Roast 5.11 (0.05)
Red Diamond Tea Fresh Brewed Sweet Tea 5.04 (0.02)
Milo’s Famous Sweet Tea 4.66 (0.02)
Admiral Iced Tea Sweet Tea 3.76 (0.01)
Snapple Diet Raspberry Tea 3.39 (0.02)
Lipton Green Tea With Citrus Diet 2.92 (0.00)
Nestea Red Tea Pomegranate and Passion Fruit 2.87 (0.01)
Arizona Iced Tea 2.85 (0.03)

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.

In my son’s study, they also tested the Crystal Light diet drink. It was found to be the most destructive of any of the liquids they tested. It’s the acid, not the sugar!

Other sources of acid

Some food may be surprising in their acidity. We know lemon juice is acidic, but most fruit juices are as well (listed least to most acidic).

Beverage     Acid pH
Fruit
Tomatoes 4.30–4.90
Oranges 3.69–4.34
Peaches 3.30–4.05
Apples 3.30–4.00
Pineapples 3.20–4.00
Blueberries 3.12–3.33
Grapefruits 3.00–3.75
Pomegranates 2.93–3.20
Grapes 2.90–3.82
Blue Plums 2.80–3.40
Limes 2.00–2.80
Lemon Juice 2.00–2.60

Some other surprising foods that are acidic

  • Sweeteners, such as sugar, molasses, maple syrup, processed honey and aspartame
  • Condiments, such as mayonnaise, soy sauce, and vinegar
  • Hard and processed cheeses
  • Coffee

The second way to reduce acid and reverse tooth decay is to make sure you give your saliva time to do its work. Wait at least a couple of hours between eating or drinking anything other than water or simple herbal tea.

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 with the 7-minute regimen will do the trick, but make sure you aren’t using a tooth care product that contains glycerine.

Glycerine will coat the tooth and the minerals can’t get in. Most commercial toothpastes contain glycerine, which is one big reason to avoid them.

Minerals must be present in the saliva

When the saliva comes to make a delivery, it needs to be full of minerals to spare. First, check that your digestive system is absorbing properly with the Baking Soda Test. Once you are absorbing properly, you need to add more minerals to your system.

Use the following ideas to add more minerals to your system.

I grew up in a backwoods area of Utah, in a little town called Cleveland. It was a great place to live—our back yard bordered onto a field that felt like it went on for days. There were cows to chase around, open ditches to swim in, trees to climb… and asparagus.

I never saw asparagus in the store in those days, but it was growing wild all along the ditch banks behind our house. The fields weren’t ours, but I guess we thought the asparagus was! All spring my mom would send us out with a bag to pick whatever we could find.

If you’ve roamed ditch banks before, you’re sure to have seen another prolific wild plant that we called Snake Grass.

It’s the cool grass that looks like a green tube, with sections that you can take apart and put back together. I didn’t think it was useful for anything, but boy was I wrong!

Snake Grass, or Horsetail, is chock full of silica. Silica is a crystal that can be incorporated into the teeth and make them stronger.

Since only six hundred people live in Cleveland, and you most likely aren’t one of them, you are going to have to get your silica another way than along the ditch bank! You can take a supplement of Horsetail. Dosages will be summarized below in the Tooth Remineralization Game Plan, below.

Don’t take too much calcium

We’ve all been taught to take calcium supplements to build your bones…and teeth. But that’s not the whole story. Let’s take a journey with that calcium pill you took this morning. Down the hatch it goes, through the stomach and into the intestines.

It is then absorbed through the intestinal wall and enters the bloodstream. Looking good so far. The bones are needing a little extra calcium today, so the calcium heads over there and it’s REJECTED! That’s right – bones tend to reject calcium – the first problem with a calcium supplement.1

The calcium needs to be accompanied by two friends, Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2, to be effectively absorbed and used. Without these helper nutrients, calcium builds up in the plaque in coronary arteries and creates stones in organs.

In fact, without adequate Vitamin D3 levels, your body will only absorb 10-15% of the calcium from your diet or supplements. The Vitamin K2 is then needed to direct that calcium to the proper loca- tion.

Think of the Vitamin D3 as the gatekeeper and Vitamin K2 as the traffic cop. The gate can be open, but without direction there is chaos. Both are essential for healthy teeth.

Tooth Remineralization Game Plan

  1. Stop taking too much calcium. 500 mg per day is plenty.
  2. Take a Vitamin D3/K2 supplement. 5,000-10,000 IU Vit D3 with 300-500 mcg Vit K2 per day. (this is not the same as Vit K1 which affects clotting.)
  3. 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. Chapter Five explains this in detail.
  4. Take a Silica/Horsetail supplement. This is easy and inexpensive. For teeth repair and building, 1,500mg per day. For maintenance, 500 mg per day. It can be found at most health food stores or online.
  5. Calc Fluor and Calc Phos. These are two of the twelve homeopathic cell salts that form the building blocks of the body. They are often lacking in today’s diet and are especially important to strengthen teeth and bones in growing children and expecting women.

 

Every member of the family can take them in the dosage listed on the bottle daily. Hylands is a good brand.

At Your 'Total Care Dental Physical' You'll Get...

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