In my post, The Diet that Heals Cavities, I mentioned Ramiel Nagel’s book, Cure Tooth Decay: Heal and Prevent Cavities with Nutrition, which discusses how to put Dr. Price’s research into practice for better dental health. There were a lot of questions from you, as well as requests for more practical information about how to make it all work. I am still working on my ebook of menu plans based on Dr. Price’s research, but meanwhile, Ramiel has agreed to answer many of your questions! I am really grateful for the time he spent answering all of these questions! Make sure you check out his website too, Cure Tooth Decay, as it has a lot of information on it too.
Also, I’d love for some of you who have had success with improving dental health (or general health!) with diet, to share your tips and stories in the comment section below as well.
Q: Can I heal my teeth or prevent cavities if I can’t have dairy? What can I substitute for raw milk and pastured butter or ghee?
Yes, but it might be more difficult. Again, I would really question whether one has a true dairy allergy which is very rare, vs. a dairy sensitivity. If it is a sensitivity, then that condition could be improved through herbs, digestive enzymes and exercise, and you might be able to get away with some goat cheese, or ghee. But your alternatives are to have plenty of seafood, seaweed, fish eggs where possible, and lots and lots of cooked green veggies. Also, when calcium is low, the body seems to like using magnesium. Getting magnesium chloride bath flakes or oil and using frequently probably will help.
Q: Does my milk and cheese have to be raw?
Your milk should be raw. If your cheese is grassfed and low temperature pasteurized, it is acceptable but not ideal. Yogurt from grassfed animals, or at least yogurt labeled organic that is pasteurized is also acceptable. It is fairly easy to find raw milk cheeses, as they are legal mostly everywhere provided they are aged 60 or 90 days. Try your best, but understand it is the minerals that you are looking for from the cheese.
Q: I am allergic to all seafood. What is a good substitute for cod liver oil?
There is no real good substitute for cod liver oil. We all need vitamin D to prevent cavities. In fact, it is now proven to reduce our cavity rate by 47%. I would recommend that you get Green Pasture’s high vitamin butter oil because it does have some vitamin D in it.
If you feel adventurous, animal blood is an excellent source of vitamin D. Chicken and probably duck eggs that are on a lot of pasture have some vitamin D, but not too much. Pork and/or beef fat from grassfed animals will also help. I would hate to recommend a synthetic vitamin D supplement because I don’t recommend synthetic products, nor do I know which ones are good. But that is also an option.
Q: I am a vegetarian. Can I eat a nutrient-dense, cavity fighting diet without meat?
I used to be a vegetarian myself, and I even have some vegetarian dietary guidelines in my book because a lot of vegetarians have tooth decay and I’d like to help. Here is the problem: many of our soils are depleted, so it is difficult to impossible to find vegetables and grains that are full of all the minerals they should have. In India, there are some areas where vegetarians can do this because they have 1000+ year old top soil. Everything they eat, including their dairy products, will be of higher quality than what can generally be found in the U.S. They also have strict biodynamic protocols and are careful to avoid foods like nightshades.
So the modern world solution is eating a moderate amount of meat, because grassfed cows or buffalo, for example, will have a decent amount of minerals and vitamins. Make sure to have high quality dairy, plenty of vegetables, prepare your grains carefully and have butter oil.
Of course, my book goes into more detail on the explanations of foods to eat and avoid. So you cannot do everything in the book if you restrict meat. Also, some vegetarians reluctantly take fermented cod liver oil so they can save their teeth.
Q: How can you control tartar buildup?
It’s a complex subject as there can be many causes, but using the gum cleaning technique is a simple solution. It is described here.
Other clues as to what causes tartar would be excess calcium in the diet, or an excess of calcium that is not absorbable. Having enough fermented cod liver oil will help in this area. Note that some people with optimal health have no tartar build up, even if they do not brush. If you are not a heavy milk drinker, then something is also out of balance, but don’t feel bad; most people have tartar, and I am working on learning and developing ways for people to obtain optimal health so they don’t have the build up any more.
Q: Do you really have to wait until adult teeth start coming in before expanding the palate
The younger you do palate expansion the better. The optimal appliance for a young child is gentle. This can either a soft splint, like a chewy piece of plastic, or the ALF, which is a light and flexible wire.
I suggest you find a good cranial person, because I am looking into ways we can actually change the shape of our face with body work. So get your child to have some cranial work. In particular, you can do work in the mouth to nudge the maxilla forward, and to massage width into the maxilla. Do this gently. Over time this will correct or help structural problems.
Q: Thoughts on coconut oil pulling?
It’s helpful for most people, although I know it pulled out too many toxins in one person and made them sick. I do it on occasion.
Q: What can help severely receded gums grow back?
This is a complex subject that I am investigating, but it helps to understand the cause. Receding gums are due to bone loss in the jaw, so you want to remineralize your bones. Particularly helpful treatments for this would be grassfed butter or ghee, fermented cod liver oil, food based vitamin C, such as this one, bone broth, and plenty of dietary calcium and magnesium. Someone just told me MSM is good for this condition as well, but I have not been able to test it out.
Q: I understand that phytic acid from nuts, grains, and legumes binds with minerals like calcium in the digestive tract, preventing those minerals from being absorbed. Do you know whether it generally binds only with the minerals from the grains/nuts/legumes themselves, or does it also bind to the minerals from other foods being consumed? For example, if I had a piece of whole wheat toast that wasn’t sourdough or soaked, and a glass of milk, would the phytic acid in that piece of toast have the potential to bind with the calcium in my milk?
To answer the first question, I do not know right now and I would have to review the research to see if that information is available.
I do know the answer to the second question. If you have adequate minerals, particularly calcium, consumed along with a food high in phytic acid, the minerals will neutralize or cancel out the effect of phytic acid either significantly or completely, although I do not know the science of what is happening.
If one had plenty of calcium together with a low phytic acid grain, such as I recommend, then one would in the end have more calcium available to the body. So it would be better to have a piece of sourdough toast made with unbleached flour, along with cheese or milk, than to have a piece of whole wheat bread with cheese or milk. I do not know the ratio of how much calcium you need to stop the phytic acid effects, or whether calcium would stop the iron, zinc, or magnesium effects of phytic acid.
A general note to everyone:
Healing cavities or gum disease requires slowing down and taking time to acknowledge the health imbalance that you face. I wrote “Cure Tooth Decay,” in the spirit of helping people achieve these goals. If someone is not feeling like they need focused help on healing cavities, they can subscribe to my online newsletter to learn more tips and tricks to stop cavities.