By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
March 10, 2013
- Why sugar is only half of the dental story
- What your teeth need to stay strong
- Natural solutions for a toothache
When you were younger, you probably made your fair share of jokes about older people with no teeth, and bad dentures. We all did.
But if you’re like me, these jokes aren’t as funny as you get older. Losing your teeth is one of our primary fears about aging.
While some people do have a genetic predisposition to “good” or “bad” teeth – there are ways to protect your teeth, particularly as you age.
Most of us were taught as children that sugar is the enemy of our teeth, and brushing and flossing – and fluoride in our water – will save them. But there are a few facts about healthy teeth many of us weren’t taught.
Such as the specific vitamins and minerals your teeth need to prevent decay. Or the fact that bacteria don’t cause tooth decay, and fluoride isn’t protecting your teeth as much as you’ve been led to believe.
Now, I’m not saying you should stop brushing and flossing. Or that you don’t need to think about how much sugar sticks to your teeth after each meal.
But I do want you to know a few more important steps you can take to ensure you always have healthy teeth…
We spend most of our dental care on the outside of our teeth. Brushing and flossing away the sweet or sticky foods we’ve eaten throughout the day.
But your teeth are made up of calcium, phosphorus, and other mineral salts. This hard outer shell serves to protect a soft core of nerves and pulp. And you don’t need me to tell you how painful it is when that strong outer core decays and leaves the soft insides exposed.
Keeping the outer shell strong is as much an inside-out job as it is a cleaning and scraping job. The health of your teeth is a direct reflection of your overall health. If you aren’t getting enough vitamins and minerals for healthy bones, heart, and other organs – you certainly don’t have enough to maintain healthy teeth.
The most important vitamins for your teeth are the fat-solubles, particularly vitamins A and D. If you are deficient in either of these – and vitamin D deficiency is at an all-time high these days – your teeth are going to be more vulnerable to decay.
Then, there’s calcium and phosphorous – the two most abundant minerals in your body. Or at least, they should be. So, when you experience bone loss, osteoporosis, and other conditions as a result of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, your teeth will be affected as well.
Unfortunately, calcium deficiency is common.
And while many of us have enough phosphorous, we need the calcium and phosphorous levels in our body to be balanced – which is trickier. Most people supplement with calcium carbonate or calcium citrate, neither of which contains any phosphorus. Only calcium phosphate contains calcium and phosphorus in the same ratio as bones and teeth. Also, many of us are magnesium deficient, and magnesium helps your body to maintain calcium.
So, while eating too much sugar or processed foods is bad for your teeth… it’s not necessarily because of the way these foods stick to the outside. It is more that you don’t get the nutrients that keep your teeth healthy.
This year, in addition to making sure you visit your dentist, check out your diet, too:
- Make sure you are getting – or supplementing – enough vitamins A and D.
- Have your levels of calcium and phosphorous checked.
- Eat a diet rich in calcium and phosphorous including plenty of dark, leafy greens, nuts, and fish.
Keep in mind through the holidays, too, that alcohol and caffeine both inhibit calcium absorption – so if these are part of your holiday celebrations, take extra care to get enough natural calcium in your diet.
Tooth decay is not inevitable. But maintaining optimal nutrition is the key to having healthy teeth that last your entire life.
And if you do start to have dental pain, there are some natural solutions you can try before reaching for the drugs…
Try one of these remedies if you have mild tooth pain:
- olive oil soaked on cotton applied to the tooth
- vanilla extract or almond extract applied to your tooth
- cut a slice of onion and put it into your mouth near pain
- crushed garlic on the tooth
- oregano oil
- clove oil
- golden seal powder
- baking soda swished in mouth
- oil pulling (swishing in the mouth organic sesame seed oil for 5-10 minutes)
And if your gums are sensitive or even receding, try applying this oil remedy around the gums:
- 10 oz Echinacea Tincture
- ¼ cup Tea tree oil
- 4 oz Bayberry tincture
- 2 oz Oak Gall (or 3x oak bark) tincture
- 2 Tablespoons Cayenne tincture
- 2.5 dropperfuls Peppermint oil
- 2.5 dropperfuls Clove oil
Shake well before use.
While these remedies won’t cure tooth decay or gum disease, they offer some relief using either household items or natural ingredients – which may be just what you need if it crops up over a weekend and the dentist’s office is closed until Monday!
Nagel, Ramiel. Cure Tooth Decay