How one mom healed her son’s cavity

In this series on nutrient dense foods and Dr. Price (Other posts: Are you really eating a nutrient dense diet? The diet that cures cavities, and The synergy of nutrients), I ย mentioned that I was going to share some personal stories. Because Dr. Price was interested, as a dentist, in how healthy food affects dental health, that topic has been a part of our series too. But it wasn’t only Dr. Price who found a nutrient dense diet helpful in halting cavities and dental issues. Many modern people have found it effective as well!

Today, Sarah from The Healthy Home Economist, is sharing with us her experience with nourishing food and dental health. I find her story about her son so interesting, as there was only one missing element to his otherwise stellar diet. Once that missing element was added back in, his apparent cavity healed itself quickly. Synergy of nutrients are indeed needed.

Disclaimer: While I am a firm supporter in naturally treating teeth, I should note that dental infections are serious, and therefore a dentist should oversee you or any child with any dental health issues.

KH: Sarah, what is your past history with diet and cavities? Did you eat well when younger and how was your dental health at that time?

SP: I didn’t eat a particularly great diet when I was a child. I was only breastfed for about a week and my mother did not enjoy cooking at all. I ate a lot of fast food and sugar growing up. My typical breakfast as a child consisted of a bowl of sugary boxed cereal with pasteurized milk or a slice of Sara Lee pound cake with a glob of Peter Pan peanut butter on top!

Amazingly, I didn’t have a single cavity growing up and I didn’t need braces either. I attribute this to the influence of my grandparents who lived down the street from me. I visited there frequently and ate liver and eggs at their house at least once if not several times a week. My other siblings had cavity problems and most needed braces, so I find it very encouraging that the simple act of eating liver and eggs on a frequent basis likely saved my oral health at a young age.

KH: I understand that you noticed a personal difference in dental health when you made dietary changes, can you tell us a little more about that?

SP: After I went away to college and stopped eating liver frequently, I started to experience a few cavity problems in my 20’s. I also ended up with a very bad cavity after my first child was born in my mid-30’s. It was around this that time that I discovered the work of Dr. Weston Price and his research on dental health and diet. After transitioning to a Traditional Diet, I noticed that my cavity problems were no longer occurring and tooth sensitivity that I had was also gone.

KH: What changes do you think were the most important?

SP: The inclusion of raw grassfed dairy in my diet and frequent consumption of homemade bone broths were the two changes that had the biggest effect on improvement in my oral health when I first adopted a Traditional Diet. A daily dose of high vitamin cod liver oil and eventually butter oil too when it was introduced to the market a few years later also contributed greatly to the improvement.

KH: I read on your blog how you were surprised to have your sonโ€™s apparent cavity heal itself before you got into the dentist within a couple weeks time. What was his typical diet at that time, and what change did you make to help heal it?

My son’s diet at the time he developed a cavity was excellent. However, he was not taking his butter oil regularly with his morning dose of fermented cod liver oil. He had also gotten away from raw butter on his toast for breakfast. Making these two small changes … adding butter oil with his fermented cod liver oil each morning and making sure he ate raw butter every day (with toast for breakfast in this case), was enough to resolve that early cavity.

I believe that it was the K2 in the butter oil and raw butter that made the difference. K2 works synergistically with Vitamins A and D which he was already getting with his fermented cod liver oil. Adding a daily source of K2 obviously supercharged the effect of the fermented cod liver oil and ensured that the calcium in his diet from raw dairy and bone broths was most efficiently used to recalcify that tooth.

KH: Any advice for those who want to make changes in their diet for general and dental health?

SP: Make sure that you get the fats right first. You can make many other changes that are fantastic, but if the fats in your diet are not mostly saturated with the commercial vegetable oils eliminated, it is very hard to achieve optimal health and in particular, optimal oral health.


KH: Thanks so much, Sarah, for an interesting and insightful interview!

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. says

    I have been thoroughly enjoying your series on nutrient dense foods. It has given me a lot to think about regarding this idea of synergy. Your previous posts have caused me to consider that I need to be eating/feeding to my family these nutrient dense foods all together in one meal to have the best results (as opposed to one good thing here, another good thing there, spread out through the day/week). The comments from The Healthy Home Economist in today’s post, however, don’t appear to back that up. I see that she is advocating the high vitamin butter oil in tandem with the cod liver oil, and also the regular consumption of raw butter, but there is no mention of eating these at the same time as bone broth, organ meat, etc. As we are all still trying to figure out this synergy issue, I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Is it that just certain foods work best with other certain foods, such as the CLO/butter oil combination, as opposed to these needing to be eaten at the same time as other nutrient dense foods as well? Maybe Dr Price had such great results not because of ALL the foods he was feeding those children at the same time, but rather because he happened upon some excellent combinations within those meals? Again, I would love to hear your thoughts here. I love the testimonial of healing cavities with nutrient dense foods, and have seen incredible and amazing dental health in my own children and myself as well. Thanks so much!

    • KimiHarris says


      I am been mulling about this topic, obviously, for the last couple weeks. I don’t think all meals needs to contain all of those elements. No. Dr. Price felt that it was more effective to have the cod liver oil and butter oil served with a meal, rather then by itself. But I also think that a lot of it depends on where you are at in health currently. For example, the body can store quite a bit of magnesium and vitamin A, so when eating a meal that doesn’t contain those elements, the body can pull it from your stores, if it needs it. But would it work the same if you have depleted stores? Those are some of the questions I have been thinking about.

  2. Christy Lindsay says

    I am curious if you know if grass fed butter such as Kerrygold would have the same effect as butter oil. Using Kerrygold butter is more cost effective than buying butter oil and currently I make sure we all have this butter when we take our fermented cod liver oil; but I guess if you need less of the butter oil than maybe that would be cheaper in the long run. Any thoughts?

    • Brenda says

      I know that Kerrygold makes a regular grassfed butter and then a grassfed butter made from the cream of grassfed cows during the spring and summer months. When the cows are eating fast-growing green grass, the butter is much higher quality and higher in Vitamin K2, I believe. So, I would think that it be most beneficial to use the better quality (and unfortunately, more expensive) Kerrygold butter.

    • KimiHarris says

      I asked this question to my naturopath/MD, who uses a lot of these principles as part of his recommendations to patients. I think he believes that getting plenty of grassfed butter adequate.

      I think that there are a few advantages to the butter oil, but it’s probably not absolutely necessary, if you are eating grassfed butter. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. says

    I would also like to know about the difference between grass fed butter and raw grass fed butter….as I am in tropical Asia at the moment and haven’t been able to find raw grass fed butter yet ( but can get organic grass fed butter from NZ…quite expensively).

    Also wish more would write about the difference between type A and Type B grass fed dairy products and how that impacts things such as cavities ( ie Devil in the Milk research). Most raw cow dairy in the USA and Europe ( some say Oz & Nz too) are type 1 ( which some say are not healthy even if raw).

    As I mentioned in another comment, I have cured gum disease and severe bone loss ( regrew it all starting at 55 years old proven by X-rays that stunned dentists) naturally ( but not by diet) and now looking to solve the dental cavity problems with my child/husband…so reading everything on this topic.

    Just found some good raw goat milk here in Asia ( no problem with fresh, new green grass supply all year long and lots of VT D here at the equator) ,,,hoping to be able to make my own butter and butter oil from it ( already making kefir, kefir cheese , lots of lacto-fermented things with the whey).

    Luckily there is someone raising amazing ( DQ) pastured chickens , which I make my bone broth with, but no grass fed beef around so far. Pastured eggs are here and some salmon they say is wild, but I am not sure. Taste great but comes from Norway, so not sure if it farmed or wild.

    If it is not wild, then I wonder where I find out if it is better to not eat it or better farmed Atlantic than nothing?

    Finding ways to eat this way why traveling the world on a tiny budget …adds a little bit of challenge to say the least. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for this series and all your posts!

    Terramin is also a great product for teeth and lately we are using that as a tooth powder ( full of minerals …only clay used by NASA astronauts).

    Interestingly, my research to help my 85 year old mother’s osteoporosis is also useful for teeth. How about cell salts, trace minerals, silica, homeopathis,herbs etc…any one using those in their oral health routine?

    • KimiHarris says


      Truth be told, it is really hard to get raw butter around here, so I just get Kerrygold. I believe the site, has a lot of great information on the different types of milk. I think it most important for when drinking milk, and probably less important for the butter. But that’s just my opinion. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Thanks for the recommendation on Terramin! Sounds interesting!

    • Beth says

      Jeanne, you should try to catch the last day of the free online HealThy Mouth Global Summit, which ends tomorrow. The final day includes talks by none other than Hal Huggins, “yoda of biological dentistry” as well as Gray Graham and Julian Holmes.

      Here’s the link:

      Other speakers have talked about minerals, homeopathics, herbs, etc. so you will probably find a lot of what you’re looking for!

      You can also get the whole series at the link above.

  4. karenhinoki says

    I follow a lot of the principles you talk about, but have blanched at the idea of cod liver oil, which I now understand has to be fermented? I went to our local Whole Foods, and they had CLO but not the fermented kind, which they hadn’t heard of. I see I can get it on Amazon, but any quick words about why it’s worthwhile to force oneself to take CLO, and why the fermented matters? Thanks for all your work. Bone broths have changed our lives.

  5. misterworms says

    I’ve been curious about the grassed ghee or butter vs. “butter oil” issue myself. I wrote to green pastures and asked about the difference between a ghee like that from Pure Indian Foods (which is specifically from cows eating spring/summer grass) and their butter oil product and this was their response:

    “The High Vitamin Butter Oil is extracted from 100% grass fed cows butter. It takes approximately ten pounds of butter to make just one bottle of the HVBO and the butter is never heated.

    To make ghee, butter is heated at low temperatures so that the milk solids, which only amounts to a very small portion, to separate. ”

    First I thought what happens to the rest of the 9 pounds of grassed butter?! And then, we don’t really have verification that treating the butter this way actually extracts the promised nutrients or whether it just makes a really expensive product. There is no nutrient analysis available.

    I also wonder what elements are being left out. Butter is already a fraction of milk. Then it’s being further split apart in this process. IMO, nature is much smarter at creating nutrient “synergy” than we’ll ever be in cobbling together this and that. My thoughts on the butter oil is just to slather veggies with grass fed butter and get the other beneficial micro- and macronutrients that come with it. Plus, it’s so yummy ๐Ÿ™‚

    On the subject of K2, natto is actually the world’s best source of this vitamin. I wonder if Dr. Price had knowledge of it and/or access to it as it doesn’t require any special processing other than fermentation. OTOH, the flavor might have been objectionable to children not used to eating anything like it and not suitable for his experiment.

    • KimiHarris says

      Hey There Misterworms,

      I had left a long comment for you, but somehow my blog didn’t save it! Darn! Basically, no, Dr. Price didn’t go to any Asian countries, which is really too bad. I think that it would have rounded out his cultural studies nicely. Natto is definitely the highest source and we really like it too! (But I know many won’t touch it…their loss).

      As far as butter oil or ghee goes, I believe the vitamin k2 is found in the butterfat. Making ghee is a very traditional practice. So taking out the milk protein does a couple of things. It first allow the fat to be more heat safe so that you can use is in cooking. It also make ghee or butter oil a safe fat for many with milk allergies to have. Thirdly, it will only have a more concentrated form of vitamin k2. I both love Indian Food’s ghee and also make my own! Buying the butter oil would simply allow you to make sure you are buying a concentrated vitamin k2 source.

      However, using plenty of pastured butter should suffice. (And there are other sources of K2 too!)

  6. Willom says

    I’ve brought this up before, but need to address it again. I’ve been doing everything that you mentioned in this article for years , but it doesn’t necessarily work for all people. I just discovered I have two new cavities, after doing all you’ve written about for years now, plus oil pulling with coconut oil, flossing 2x a day, brushing with neem, etc. It’s just a genetic thing. I have a friend who brushes for probably 10 seconds once a day, never flosses, doesn’t pay attention to his diet, and barely forms any plaque, never gets cavities! He went to my dentist after not going to one for years, and the dentist said his teeth and gums were great!! Every dental visit I expect the dentist or hygienist to say how amazing my teeth have become, what’s the secret? But no, they just tut-tut over the amount of plaque on my teeth. My point here is that it’s great to eat nutrient-dense food and all, but don’t all of you expect to be “cured” of cavities and such.

    • says

      I am wondering if you are right Willom. I DO think genetics plays a part in this ( and perhaps epigenetics).

      Cavities just don’t run in my family ( I am 60 with a mouthful of white teeth that dentists still marvel over and didn’t get my first pinpoint cavity until I was 36 and have siblings with a similar pattern) and we ate typical bad American diet. My peppy ( still golfing) 85 year old mother has great teeth and her dentist says based on her teeth she will live into her 100’s ( yet, interestingly she has osteoporosis and has drunk diet sodas daily for 40 years..until I recently got her to stop).

      My husband grew up on a very similar diet and has always dealt with tooth decay despite having impeccable home care. We have friends in Spain who has a similar pattern, the husband never had a cavity and the wife has many..despite almost identical diets.

      Unlike your friend though I did have problems with very heavy plaque and gum disease since I was 20 ( when they first recommended that I get gum surgery). I didn’t discover the key to naturally healing that until I was in my 50’s and cured both the gum disease as well as regrowing all the bone loss ( proven by x-rays that stunned my dentist).

      Look into Dr. Paul Keyes work ( which I think is part of the key) and have you checked your Vt D levels to make sure you are keeping it high? Dr Mellanby has some interesting reports and studies in that area.

    • KimiHarris says


      It is discouraging not to have the results you’d like and hope for. Hopefully your good work with your diet has prevented even more decay. Who knows?

      Dr. Price didn’t find success in every single child he treated. I think it was around 90%. That being said, sometimes there is a hidden reason. For example, a celiac often has teeth decay “for no reason”. Along the same lines, digestive issues could be hampering some people’s absorption. I am sure there are many reasons that can be hard to pin point. I know that you aren’t alone either. Other “Nourishing Tradition” foodies have also had teeth issues.

      I am not sure, Willom, if you have read my other posts, but just curious, do you get the amount of nutrients each day that Dr. Price used in his healing protocol? It was pretty high everyday! It involved 2 cups of whole milk, 1 quart of soup made with homemade stock using plenty of marrow bones, freshly ground whole wheat rolls served with high vitamin butter, a vitamin C source, a fruit “dessert”, and cod liver oil and butter oil. Most children ate seconds. That was what helped 90% of the children he treated.

    • Marie says


      I know how you feel. I just recently discovered I had 7 cavities after years of never having any dental issues.

      I’m not well-researched on any of this, but I suspect that there may either be mineral deficiencies or issues with mineral absorption. I say this because I grew up on a SAD diet and didn’t learn about Weston A Price until I was pregnant with my 3rd child. I was pregnant 4 times in 6 years (i miscarried my first baby) and being pregnant so often can definitely pull minerals and nutrients. I never had cavities until after my 3rd child and I had 7!!! I started eating nutrient dense foods about 3 months into my pregnancy and I had a very healthy and happy little boy. I was still extremely disappointed to have 7 cavities, especially after adding in all this great nutrient dense stuff.

      I came to a couple conclusions which may be incorrect, but I will throw them out there as food for thought:

      1) my body was severely depleted of minerals after 4 successive pregnancies and my teeth were a reflection of that.

      2) I was probably consuming some foods that were blocking my ability to absorb the amount of minerals I needed

      3) as Kimi pointed out, we need to consume enough minerals and synergistic foods for it to be effective. I wasn’t consuming enough.

      4) years of eating low fat and near-vegetarian diets probably took their toll. Dr Natasha Campbell McBride (author of gut and psychology syndrome) said that sometimes allergies or other reactions can be present, but masked because of other issues. As you begin to heal your gut, some of these latent things may surface and have to be addressed.

      I would guess that genetics play a part as well. My brother and I had awesome teeth growing up while our other friends often had cavities etcetera.

      Keep on eating good food. Sometimes I get discouraged because of cavities like mine or I feel like everything I do isn’t quite right, but by making good food choices now, it has the potential to improve the quality of your life and you have the opportunity of leaving a good legacy for the next generation. One of the benefits I have gleaned is I don’t suffer from depression and major mood swings like I used too and I have happy good-natured kids. I think both are related to good dietary choices.

  7. says

    This is so interesting to me. I was raised on grass-fed beef and tons of vegetables and liver and eggs, and in the last several years started oil-pulling with coconut oil…. and still unable to heal a cavity. The growth of it stopped, but it didn’t go away.

  8. says

    How can a person with dairy intolerance get a proper synergy of nutrients for good dental health? It seems that the inclusion of raw milk is really important in the Weston Price diet.

  9. Bekah says

    I am also in need of help getting the minerals without the dairy. I have two children who cannot have ANY dairy. Even the butter oil caused a reaction.

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