I’m a “traditional foodie”.
I’m a Weston A. Price Foundation member AND local chapter leader.
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Arts and Sciences, a certification as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I’m about to finish my board certification as a Holistic Nutritionist.
I work clinically- in a physician’s office- to guide people with traditional food nutrition and holistic health.
I have a traditional food and nutrition blog where I teach on this subject regularly.
My child STILL has cavities.
Enter: Mom Guilt.
Who is Weston Price?
If you aren’t totally familiar with traditional food and the Weston A. Price Foundation, basically Dr. Price was a dentist who traveled the world and documented how primitive and traditional cultures- untouched by modern industrialism and food products- were always free of tooth decay and were impressively immune to disease. He recorded his findings in his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Dr. Price was not a fringe quack dentist, either. He founded the research institute National Dental Association, which became the research section of the American Dental Association, and was the NDA’s chairman from 1914–1928. The Weston A. Price Foundation has continued his legacy of research by providing scientific support for the use of traditional foods and food preparation practices to help families resist modern diseases and have strong, straight teeth that are resistant to decay.
How did our cavities begin?
My 3 1/2 year old daughter tripped and fell head first into a chair last year and besides the blood everywhere (it’s amazing how much kids can bleed) she cracked two of her teeth. We actually didn’t even notice the cracks until a few months later when we were brushing her teeth and discovered little cracks. I didn’t think too much of the little cracks until they started becoming discolored. Soon there was obvious decay in the holes (a dark yellow color) and, even worse, the holes were growing in size.
We didn’t (and still don’t) have health insurance…particularly dental insurance. Long story short, the whole “affordable” health coverage thing is a big giant joke because there’s no way on earth we could afford the government coverage offered to us, and that coverage sucks anyway. (We are actually joining Medishare, a Christian medical sharing co-op to cover our butts in case of emergency and free us from the Obamacare penalty.) The point of me telling you this is that we avoided taking her to a dentist because we simply couldn’t afford paying cash. We also didn’t think these tiny little spots on her baby teeth were that big of a deal…until they grew to cover almost half of the tooth!
We decided to go to the dentist. Not only were there huge cavities in those two teeth, but she also had 9 (very new and small) cavities forming on some other teeth.
(Enter: More Mom Guilt.)
This traditional food mama couldn’t believe her ears. I kept saying (out loud), “It’s my husband’s fault…he always had cavities.”
I said this jokingly (he was there), but the truth is, both sides of my family have dental problems and I believe genetics have played a major role in our little crisis.
The other truth is- we haven’t been practicing what we preach very well lately. The whole “a little treat here and there is okay” and “grandma and grandpa don’t have to follow the rules” routines were taking over daily life. Our kids either see one of their grandmas and/or grandpas every day, or they’re invited to some special event or activity where junk food is served. We seemed to be making junk food allowances every day! Foods I would generally allow every so often as a treat were becoming part of our daily lives.
I also hadn’t stayed very consistent with taking our supplements- particularly fermented cod liver oil/high vitamin butter oil.
After receiving the bad news in the dentist’s office, immediately the dentist and her assistant started giving us important lessons on parenting and talking down to us like we were idiots. (More Mom Guilt? Actually I’m sort of ticked off at this point.)
For twenty minutes I had to listen to lessons on properly brushing and flossing my children’s teeth. I had to get a lesson in nutrition, too! I was questioned over and over again about our family diet even though I told the lady I was a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner! I’m pretty sure she asked me if I really understood what sugar was, and if I knew sugar is in fruit. (Shoot me.) It was like she was waiting for me to admit I fed my kids Mountain Dew and Mike & Ikes every day!
I simply kept my mouth shut- smiling and nodding as she told me to start giving my daughter fluoride treatments and to try to keep sugar off of her teeth. I left so frustrated.
Do I go with the treatment or try something else?
Let me assure you that if something is medically necessary for my children, I will do it. Even if we have no clue where the money will come from to pay for it, we will do it.
With that said, I looked at this estimate for treatment and all that the dentist wanted to do and I just didn’t feel right about it. I needed to spend time praying and researching more. I immediately started reading Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel. I had quickly read through the book before, but this time I read it paying full attention to the details.
1. Dental decay is typically NOT caused by sugar, bacteria and acid IN the mouth and ON the teeth.
This is the “mainstream” theory taught by dentistry schools but it is not necessarily what the research shows. In fact, the bacteria/acid theory of cavities is contrary to material published in the Journal of the American Dental Association (ADA). In Cure Tooth Decay, Nagel discusses the history of the dental industry and how this theory, though flawed and unscientific, is taught and firmly believed by mosts dentists, and therefore taught to their patients (and the world via marketing campaigns).
TRUTH: Nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances are the actual cause of dental decay, not sugar, acid and bacteria on the teeth. A strictly traditional foods diet paired with a specialized supplement program can effectively treat and cure tooth decay.
2. In addition to the damage sugar, flour and industrial food products cause, PHYTIC ACID is extremely prevalent in modern “healthy” foods, which robs the body of essential minerals and damages the digestive tract.
Whole grains, nuts, seeds and beans all contain phytic acid, an “anti-nutrient” that has the potential to block the absorption of each vital tooth-building mineral.
TRUTH: While most people consider whole grains, nuts, seeds and beans (especially soy) to be healthy foods, these foods contain high levels of mineral-blocking phytic acid and are improperly prepared. While there are many ways to properly prepare these foods to lower the phytic acid content, such as soaking and sprouting, it is best to avoid these foods completely while attempting to remineralize and cure decaying teeth.
3. It is absolutely possible to remineralize teeth and many common dental procedures are unnecessary-even damaging to health, particularly dentistry on children’s teeth.
We are looking for an “older” dentist to give us a second opinion about what do with our daughter because “Children’s Dentistry” is a relatively new trend. Red flags started waving in my mind when our children’s dentist was talking about exploratory drilling around her fillings and a possible route canal. On baby teeth?!
TRUTH: Textbooks used in dental schools actually teach that teeth are capable of remineralizing, even though dentists deny it: “It has been shown experimentally and clinically that incipient caries [small cavities] of enamel can remineralize.” (Sturdevant’s Art & Science of Operative Dentistry 4th Edition, 2002). The toxic materials used for treatments like fillings and route canals can be especially damaging to the body and should be used with caution and only when absolutely necessary.
While I would LOVE to give you more of the details from the book, I’d rather you just get the book (available for Kindle) and read it for yourself. There are too many wonderful points and guidelines to follow to mention here in this post. The Healthy Home Economist has also chronicled her tooth decay-healing process with photographic proof.
I’ve discovered that, like most of the other “politically incorrect” nutrition wisdom I’ve learned, the dental industry is a victim of modern industrialism just like everything else. There’s money to be made with the mainstream bacteria/acid dentistry theory: toothpaste, fluoride, drilling and filling procedures, route canals and more. More often than not, these expensive treatments are completely unnecessary IF a diet meant for curing tooth decay was implemented- especially for children. However, our culture would rather keep eating junk and get the “quick fix pill” of dental treatments than dramatically change the way they eat and live. Dental treatments are sometimes necessary, but are rarely a permanent fix and patients usually have to come back for more treatments…especially when their diet and lifestyle are feeding the problem.
What We Are Doing To Cure Tooth Decay
Next I printed up our new dietary guidelines and put them up on our refrigerator. I printed out copies and gave them to my parents (since the kids go to their house a lot and they are as serious as we are about fixing this problem). I don’t want to give all the guidelines away…you’ll have to get the book. But here are the highlights of what we’re doing:
- Double doses of fermented cod liver oil/high vitamin butter oil every day (We’ve given the kids chocolate gel cream since they were 6 months old, so they like it.)
- We added daily doses of Fermented Skate Liver Oil.
- We’re continuing our regular pro-biotic and Juice Plus+ supplements (micronutrients from fruits and veggies without the sugar!)
- We’ve eliminated sugar as much as possible, including dried fruit and any fruit juice.
- When we do have fruit or sugar, we have it with fat (to balance blood sugar impact) and typically after lunch.
- We are emphasizing more homemade bone broth in our diet- trying to eat or drink it daily.
- We’ve eliminated all whole grains, nuts, seeds beans and legumes to avoid phytic acid (Think Paleo/Grain free with no nuts or beans!)
- When we do have grains, we eat limited amounts of sourdough bread, organic white rice or pasta made with unbleached, organic white flour. That’s right! We’d rather use white flour and white rice to help us eat other nutrient-dense foods than whole grains that are loaded with phytic acid because they still contain the bran and germ.
- We’re emphasizing organic and pasture raised eggs, raw dairy, meat and wild seafood in our daily diet. Some of the best choices are shellfish and organ meats!
To get the whole story on these guidelines and more, get Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel.
Because of my daughter’s decaying holes, we are going to have to do some treatments to fill them. Like I mentioned, I’m getting a second opinion from an “older” dentist (not a Children’s dentist) who might have a more old fashioned, less aggressive approach to treating baby teeth. I may go back to the children’s dentist we started with, but I need to discuss my concerns with her first and try to get her to do only what is necessary and let us work on fixing the smaller, soft cavities with diet and supplements. Whatever dentist we use has to be on board with me, though. If I’m talked down to and disrespected, I’m out of there! I’m convinced that we can remineralize our teeth and cavities if we stick to our dietary convictions, take our supplements consistently, and keep treats to a minimum. The bottom line is that the Cure Tooth Decay book gave me the education and confidence I need to make the right decisions for our family’s dental health.
I hope to share good news about our results soon!