Building Tooth Health (and a new understanding of our teeth)
I've been highly interested in tooth health since I became vegan in 2003 (which I'm bifurcating from now). A few references to the work of Weston Price introduced me to the idea of teeth as living parts of the body--a concept that I have been slow to understand.
Since then, I've seen a bit of strange deterioration of my teeth. I say strange because while I have cavities and a bit of enamel loss, I have 0--yes, that's right, zero--decay. I'm left wondering, how can I have a cavity and have zero decay. This led me on a little bit of a research journey.
What I discovered is that we, as a society, drastically need a new relationship with our teeth, and a new understanding of them as part of our bodies. We need nothing short of a paradigm shift. I grew up thinking of the teeth as these kind of lifeless pieces of something in my mouth, which mysteriously grew, and are now there, lifeless, for the (hopefully) rest of my life. However, just thinking about the role of our teeth, and the unsurpassed intelligence of the human body, will challenge this understanding. We need our teeth to eat, and we need to eat to live, so why would the body make such a mistake as to put something lifeless and prone to wear right out in the front line of this process? It wouldn't. As it turns out, the teeth are alive, and if we give them proper nutrients, they are alive and growing!
I've noticed while researching on the Web that there is not a huge amount of information about what the body needs for tooth health, and about how our diets, even when we believe them to be fantastic, might be predisposing us to tooth sickness. For that reason, I'd like to share a bit of what I've found out, starting with soy.
Soy is a great place to start for several reasons. Firstly, because I would have never guessed it to be a culprit in my tooth problems, and secondly, because it illustrates how magnificence of our bodies and how tooth loss can happen. Soy, and all soy products, contain Phytic Acid, which binds to calcium and other minerals and renders them indigestible. Even if the calcium consumed in a meal exceeds the calcium in the soy, you'll still be at a calcium loss, because the Phytic Acid is attaching itself to all the calcium and making it indigestible to the body. The second part of how soy contributes to tooth problems comes with the body's insatiable need for calcium.
The body has a huge need for calcium, and the brain takes top rank in the hierarchy of needs. While you might not guess the brain to be a huge consumer of calcium, it is. When there is not enough available calcium for the brain, and for that matter, for any function, the body will harvest the calcium from the most convenient location. If your brain needs calcium, and there is none available, it will mine the closest calcium deposit--the teeth. If you are at a calcium loss for long enough, your teeth will start to show the signs of all that harvesting, in the form of enamel loss. In my case, I have many cavities, but zero decay.
The body, as we can see, is a magnificent operation. And while the brain reigns top rank, the teeth are no less magnificent. If we are going to build a new understanding of our teeth and of tooth health, we need to begin to recognize the magnificence of our teeth. The old paradigm of lifeless chunks of whatever it is stuck in gums no longer fits. Luckily, through the work of Weston Price, and more recently Rami (Ramiel) Nagel, in Cure Tooth Decay, we are starting to change this understanding and build a new paradigm, where teeth are living--growing, repairing, and dying--parts of our bodies. Through proper nutrition, teeth not only stay healthy and strong and are impervious to decay, but they also have an enormous capacity to rebuild and repair. Your teeth actually have miles and miles of pathways from the inner pulp to the outer enamel, where in a healthy functioning body, new deposits are being brought out from within and fortifying your teeth. In order to be able to build healthy teeth, we need to fully accept that our current understanding of the teeth is completely flawed, and that teeth are living, with the capacity to repair.
Whether you believe in Creation or Evolution, you can see the logical error in our current understanding of the teeth as lifeless. It just does not make sense for this one area, so vital for our well-being, to be so improperly designed. It just would not have happened that way.
Weston Price, and Rami (Ramiel) Nagel both document the missing components from our diet in building strong teeth, as well as some of the instigators in our diet leading to poor tooth health. Starting with the instigators first, all refined foods lead to mineral, including calcium, loss, causing a cascade of problems very similar to the Phytic Acid in soy. Because refined foods, like white flour, white sugar, and white rice, have had all of their nutrients removed, when they enter your system, they actually require certain minerals to be digested. Your body will pull calcium and phosphorus (both key ingredients for dental health) out of your system to digest these foods. Through digestion, they become lost and unavailable, leading to further tooth loss. Without detailing a list of foods to avoid, remember, if it’s processed, it’s going to be bad for me.
Now onto foods that heal. I recently started to eat some of these foods, as a vegan for seven years, because I figure that it is more veganRami (Ramiel) Nagel details this list, and for a comprehensive discussion, buy his book or request it from the library.
- 1/2 - 2 Tablespoons of raw grass fed organic or wild liver -- together with--
- 1-4 Tablespoons raw yellow butter 2-3 times daily with meals
He then recommends:
- 2 or more cups a day of raw egg smoothy;
- Raw wild fish, or raw pasture raised beef, lamb, or chicken (medium rare is ok--never eat raw chicken or pork);
- Almost daily consumption of raw, fresh oysters, clams, or similar mollusks;
- 2-4 cups daily fresh vegetable juice.
For vegetarians, he recommends:
- 1-4 Tablespoons of raw, yellow butter, 2-3 times daily with meals;
- Cold pressed organic olive and coconut butter;
- 2-4 or more cups of raw egg smoothy;
- soaked and fermented whole grains (quinoa, whole oats, rice, and lentils);
- Many vegetables including tomatoes;
- Eggs raw and cooked, but raw egg whites should be consumed minimally. Eat the eggs runny;
- Fresh vegetable juice;
- High mineral supplements, like edible clay, spirulina, and blue algae;
- Nuts, soaked;
- Organic avocado and coconut;
- Seaweed once/twice daily.
Recipe for raw egg smoothy
- 1 cup raw milk;
- 2-4 ounces of cream;
- 2 raw eggs;
Daily objectives for mineral and vitamin intake
- Calcium: 1.5 Grams;
- Phosphorus: 2 Grams;
- Vitamin A: 10,000-20,000 IU;
- Vitamin D: 1,000-2,000 IU;
- Daily diet 40-60% calories from fat.
Remember, these are
. Aim to include some of these foods, while removing all
harmful foods from your diet. As a daily guideline, keep the above foods
in mind, while making sure that everyday you consume fermented cod liver oil several times a day, plus fresh, raw, yellow (orange is
better) butter. Make sure you get these, and include the above foods. No one is going to be perfect, and try your best.
When healing your body, you must give it the necessary "bricks and mortar" for construction, but you also have to believe that your body has the capacity to heal and has the capacity to be healthy, and that you deserve good health and to be happy. Without believing in your body, it will never heal. Start with the assumption that you have the capacity to heal and be healthy, and that you deserve these things, and everything else will fall into place.