Monday, January 20, 2014

First attempts at curing our tooth decay

So, I've been wanting to share a post on our attempts to heal our kid's teeth with diet and high vitamin butter and fermented cod liver oil for a while now. There are so many angles I have a hard time knowing where to start, but I'm just going to jump in and maybe you'll stick with me.

Last spring I took Avery and Noah to the dentist. It was Avery's first time as she was four. Noah was six at the time and had been a couple years before. We were mostly excited about the outing and didn't think we had anything to worry about. Looking back this was pretty naive. I was thinking, "My kids don't eat candy, don't drink juice. Their main sugar comes from eating fresh fruit or eating my homemade low honey jams. They eat their vegetables etc." To be honest, I was not diligent about flossing their teeth nor always brushing them myself, and sometimes that morning brushing just get's passed by. The dentist wasn't too concerned about Noah's teeth. He had several cavities but they were mostly on baby teeth that she said would come out soon. She said he would need to come in for one or two visits. Avery on the other hand had several serious cavities. The dentist said it would take at least four visits, and she recommended that instead we take her to the hospital where they could put her under anesthesia and work on her teeth for about four hours straight. Her biggest cavity was between her front top two teeth. There was enough decay forming and wearing down between her front two teeth that we could put a toothpick between her teeth. The dentist said she would need two stainless steel crowns on those front teeth. I was horrified and felt absolutely awful.

I started doing some research online and came across some other stories of parents who had healed their children's teeth by feeding them high vitamin butter mixed with fermented cod liver oil, in addition to going back to a traditional diet consisting of meat stews, bone broth, animal liver and other organs, raw milk and milk products from cows eating fast growing pasture, eggs from grass fed chickens, and vegetables. I began reading Weston Price's chapter on primitive dental care. I was able to just google it and find it free online. I also started searching through and reading about the products on the Greener Pastures website. For those of you who haven't heard of him Weston Price was a doctort who traveled around the world in the early nineteen hundreds studying indigenous cultures. He studied cultures that ate lots of sea food or dairy from animals eating fast growing grass, and noticed that these cultures had the healthiest strongest teeth.  In these foods is a fat soluble nutrient that is a catalyst for mineral absorption. He called it Activator X. It is something that is missing or very low in most modern diets. Price proved through various studies and research that a return to a traditional diet and including fermented cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil in your diet could remineralize teeth.

We decided that before taking the kids back to have their cavities drilled and filled, that we would attempt to heal their teeth ourselves. We started brushing and flossing their teeth ourselves every night, with the kids brushing their own teeth in the morning. We also started giving them High vitamin butter oil mixed with Fermented Cod Liver oil twice a day. We took this very seriously and did not miss a serving for months. I also increased the amount of raw milk they were drinking (even though our goats are not on fast growing grass), and we switched over to pasture butter exclusively. We eliminated the last of the white flour products that were in our diet, and I begin making our own soaked flour tortillas and soaking all of our oatmeal (more on this later as this is not the correct thing to do to heal tooth decay but I didn't know that at the time).

We kept this up through the summer making careful observations of changes in the kids teeth as we went. The coolest most obvious change was that the gap between Avery's front two teeth began to fill in. The growth on the edges of the decay became firm and white and we could no longer fit a toothpick between her front two teeth. Most of the kids cavities were between their teeth, so we could not observe the changes as easily as Avery's front two teeth. After about five months, Noah began complaining of some tooth sensitivity and we decided that it was time to take them back in. We were beginning to suspect that while Avery's teeth were getting better, Noah's were getting worse. We realized that both kids were getting the same size twice daily dose, although Noah was fifty pounds and Avery was thirty. Other reasons could be that Noah's tooth decay was farther along. Recent information that I've read points to some other diet differences in the two, mainly that he eats more bread and nut products, which contain phytic acid and plant toxins (more on this later).

We decided to take the kids to a new dentist, have new x-rays taken and then have the old x-rays sent over and ask the doctor to compare them. Our children are covered by the State's Denali Kid Care program, so unfortunately our choice of dentists that we could use was limited. We had the x-rays taken and it showed that they both still had several cavities. We tried to explain what we had been trying to do. We asked the dentist if he would look at the older x-rays and tell us if he say improvement or if their teeth had gotten worse. The dentist insisted that there was no way to heal or remineralize teeth. I pointed out that the gap in between her front teeth had gotten smaller and that their was healthy white teeth on the outsides of the decayed looking part. He explained the lessening of the gap by saying her teeth could have shifted as bones shift.  By the end of our appointment Avery was crying because of the way he was talking to me and because he had tried to use scare tactics to make us feel bad about holding out on fixing their teeth. It was a traumatic experience for us all. The following day I got a call from his secretary saying he would not compare the old x-rays to the new ones. I found a new dentist to go to and had both the older and newer x-rays sent over before we went and asked that the dentist look at them before we came for our first visit. This visit went better, not because of the dentist, but because D and I had learned what not to say and share. We could not get this dentist to look at the old x-rays either. He seemed to think that it would be a waste of time, because as he saw it, of course their teeth would have gotten worse over six months. The only proof we had was what we could see with our own eyes looking at Avery's front teeth. AND, he considered the cavity between her front teeth to be minor and it was to be the last cavity filled, as opposed to six months earlier, when the dentist wanted to put side by side stainless steel crowns on both teeth. By the end of their dental work, I was able to persuade the dentist to leave her front two teeth alone, as he said the cavity was very minor and the teeth would probably be falling out soon anyways. Another thing that was interesting was that the dentist thought that Noah needed one or more root canals, and when he got into the tooth he didn't even need a pulpotomy, so the damage to his teeth was not as bad as he thought it was. Noah ended up with five stainless steel crowns and Avery has three. Thankfully they are all on baby teeth and although Noah has had four adult molars in his mouth for over a year, he has no cavities on any of them.

I have not had many cavities in my life and the last time I went in (after not going to the dentist for a few years) I did not have any cavities. So, this past year we had the kids taking these supplements but we said that we couldn't take them as well because we couldn't afford to all be taking them. Around New Years I was looking in a well lit mirror I noticed a small cavity, and then another, and then a large cavity and another large cavity. Basically, I have a mouth full of cavities. I immediately bought Curing Dental Decay: Remineralize and Repair dental cavities naturally by Ramiel Nagel, something I should have done last spring. Over the past couple weeks I've read the majority of his book. He builds on Weston Prices' research as well as that of a couple other Dentists. Like Weston Price he also points out that cavities are caused not by bacteria on teeth, but by vitamin and mineral defficiency, primarily by a lack of fat soluble vitamin A and D, as well as an imbalance of Calcium and Phosphorous. Reading this book I've realized some of the mistakes we made with the kids diet, primarily that we fed them large amounts of sprouted grain bread products, lots of oatmeal, and even thought their sugar was in the form of fruit and honey - we were not intended to eat fruit and honey multiple times a day - so, still too much sweets. I think our diet high in grains, nuts and legumes was the biggest problem. In Nagel's book he writes that even when we soak, ferment and then cook grains, nuts and legumes, we rid them of only half the phytic acids - which is still too much, and cause the imbalance of calcium and phosphorous. He also writes that because rolled oats are steam treated, he does not believe that the phytic acids can be removed from the rolled oats, so oatmeal is very high in phytic acids and plant toxins.

So, once again we are looking at our diet and making serious changes. It is easier to list what I am eating than what I am not. I am eating eggs, raw milk, pasture butter, raw cheese, meat, more organs and liver and vegetables. Small amounts of white rice and white sourdough. I am trying not to eat any whole grain, sprouted grain or any bread products, no nuts, seeds, beans, no fruit or any sweets including no honey, no chocolate, no wine. I have to say I cheated quite a bit the last few days. I drank wine this weekend and ate chocolate both nights. But I am back on track today. I was trying to do no alcohal for a few weeks to help reboot my immune system but I think that I need to give myself more things to look forward to. So I'm thinking of trying to keep the chocolate and wine out of my weekdays, but allow them on the weekends - that of course is the most difficult part of the diet for me. I am taking high vitamin butter with fermented cod liver oil three times a day and skate liver oil twice a day.

 I feel like my world has been flipped upside down, with how much I enjoy whole grains and how often I feed them to the kids. Today Noah had a breakdown at lunch complaining about how much he misses how we use to eat. I realized maybe we've been too drastic. So I've promised not to feed him soup for a couple days. We are having fish tacos (a kid favorite in this house) for dinner tonight- which I'm late in preparing. And the kids are getting so rowdy I can longer focus, so that's all for now.


Anjanette said...

Hello! I was visiting to let you know about a new blogger networking opportunity, but saw this post and have to comment briefly on it before sharing.

*hug* You've got this, mama.

There is SO much conflicting info out there. I totally get it. You can read our story here:

Our little has been decay-free for almost 3 years! My own dental health has been manageable and I've been able to stay away from any conventional work even though I know there is still some decay. I'm hoping that I'll see improvement in the next couple of years as I wean my youngest since I think breastfeeding is taking a lot out of me.

Ok... on to what I came for. :)

I just created a closed Facebook group for Alaskan bloggers and I would love for you to join us there! It serves two purposes: it's a place to support each other and "talk shop" about blogging, and it will make it easy to coordinate for special local blogging projects and events.

I am currently assessing interest in a Blogging Concentrated conference in Anchorage in 2014 or 2015. Even if that doesn't interest you, I'd love to "meet" you online and have you add your Alaskan blogger friends.

You can find the group by searching "Alaska Bloggers" or clicking here:

off grid mama said...

We eat a lot of potatoes and sweet potatoes rather than grains. Our oatmeal is soaked overnight in yogurt and ate without cooking and if i have bananas then we add some in the morning. Yogurt and raw milk is drank in large quantities. Eggs are from our free range hens.. we produce all our meat and eat large amounts of organ meats. Sugar is used little to nonexistant but kept on hand for kombucha. We trade cheese for honey with my cheese loving brother otherwise i tap black walnuts. and make syrup. Maple syrup. horrible expensive. LOL my tirade.. Weston A Price is awesome! While we're far from perfect we choose what and how we eat from the principles we learned fromPrice's research. I'm sorry to hear about your dental debaucle... it's not an unusual story. Glad to hear all the improvements!! Try to get hard white wheat flour if you're having trouble on the white flour change. It's an easier transition. And we just use baking soda for brushing our teeth... never as often as we should...

Anonymous said...

Interesting blog post.

You mentioned a lack of fat soluble vitamin A and D, as well as an imbalance of Calcium and Phosphorous.

That's a good start, imho.

Do you know about the role vitamin K2 and magnesium play in all that?

Especially, magnesium:

What You Need To Know About Vitamin K2, D, and Calcium

F.Y.I. 'They' say that magnesium orotate has the, ah-hem, least side effects.
Kale is good sauteed too.

...Now let's see if I can prove I'm not a robot.

- Panarchistamericanhelot

Anonymous said...

Whoops. As I think about it, that comment about the kale might not come across as I intended.
You know about Weston Price so you probably know how soils are often barren of nutrients such as magnesium. So if the kale is grown in such soils it wouldn't do a whole lot of good to eat them.

I may not be clear on that, it's late and I'm tired, I just didn't want to offend you. I hope you understand what I'm trying to convey.

- PanarchistamericanHelot

Ngo Family Farm said...

This is all such great information - thank you so much for sharing your ongoing story about all this. How trying to go through all those negative experiences with denttists who refuse to listen or be open to working with you! Ugh! I wondered if you might share any thoughts you have about fluoride use?
Thanks and take care,

Plain and Joyful Living said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I have been working on various methods to stop my rapid tooth decay (except having more children... which I suspect is causing this in the first place)
I drink raw milk, keep sugar way down except maple syrup and a bit of honey and a rare treat ... I have had that book on my wish list for some time and should probably order it.

Rose said...

Your diet sounds a lot like the paleo "Whole 30" diet.

The calcium : phosphorus information makes sense to me since I see how important the calcium:phosphorus balance in goats can be. I know for goats that cereal grains have lots of phosphorus and should be balanced with calcium rich foods but I never thought of it for people. Interesting!

Emily said...

Just wanted to thankyou all for the encouragement and the wealth of information. I'm going to check out your stories as well as look into some of the information offered as well. I have read about vitamin K. I can't remember how it affects magnesium off the top of my head but I'll look into it. I'll check out Alaskan bloggers as well, but I barely make time for writing posts as it is let alone spending any more time on the computer. Thanks for all the comments and keep em coming. Emily

Maricela Gauthier said...

I have three little ones myself and I can agree with you that it is sometimes hard to stay on top of getting them to brush their teeth. We eat a low sugar diet and don't have many teeth problems but this new information about high vitamin butter and fermented cod liver oil is just amazing. I will be sure to keep it close by in case I need it in the future.

Maricela Gauthier @ Dentist Newport Beach