Healing cavities with minerals

A diet rich in minerals, vitamins and supplements can provide all the nutrients required to heal teeth.

While the human body consists of roughly six percent minerals and trace elements, your tooth enamel consists of 96% minerals. Teeth are constantly demineralised (which can lead to cavities) but also remineralised depending particularly on your diet and stress levels.[1]

Increasing tooth-friendly mineral intake by diet or mineral supplementation allows to build up the mineral levels in the body and strengthen your teeth.

Minerals come in two basic forms, naturally bioavailable[2] (easily absorbable by the body and usually supplied by food) and as man-made supplements.

Minerals from food - Particularly rich sources of healthy minerals for healing cavities include seaweed and blackstrap molasses. Other mineral-rich foods include organically grown[3] dark leafy greens, nuts, beans, seeds and whole grains[4], fish, mushrooms, beef, lamb, and avocados.

Mineral supplements - Supplements come in two basic types, regular over-the-counter supplements (man-made isolates) and in more bioavailable forms. To heal and repair your cavities, make sure to only use them in a bioavailable form. If you take minerals as manmade isolates, the body is likely not to absorb them properly making them less effective.

Calcium

While calcium does make up much of the tooth enamel[5], increasing your calcium intake from "any old source" may not help heal your teeth.

Calcium from foods - Recommended easily absorbable calcium sources to heal cavities include raw organic milk and vegan sources of calcium such as sesame seed, almonds, and raw greens. There are several inexpensive foods rich in minerals and trace elements such as seaweed and organic blackstrap molasses. Also see this surprising but possibly highly effective "calcium supplement".

Calcium from supplements - not recommended: a variety of calcium supplements are available but typically not bioavailable and therefore not readily usable by the body.

Our recommendation: Unlike full-spectrum minerals (see below), it is best to only rely on food sources of calcium.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a crucial constituent of teeth and bones and essential for the proper utilisation of calcium. It is frequently lacking in our body due to soil depletion and poor diet as well as stress depleting magnesium from the cells.

Magnesium from food - Rich sources of magnesium include vegetables, cashew and peanuts, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, whole-grain cereals including barley and oats[4], buckwheat, green leafy vegetables incl. spinach, liver, poultry, fish, potatoes, berries, oranges, bananas, dairy as well as blackstrap molasses and seaweed.

Magnesium from supplements - Widely sold over the counter, the most bioavailable supplements are magnesium aspartate, chloride, lactate, citrate and glycinate. You can also increase magnesium levels by bathing with epsom salts (magnesium sulfate).

Our recommendation: Magnesium intake is best enhanced via diet plus supplementation. Even brushing your teeth with magnesium chloride will help.

Learn more details about the role of magnesium in healing teeth and how to most easily increase your magnesium intake under non-toxic toothpaste alternatives: Magnesium chloride.

Full-spectrum minerals

Full-spectrum minerals are a combination of all known minerals and trace elements in a single source such as in seawater. The human body needs certain minerals only in trace amounts but if they are missing, health will suffer.

Full-spectrum minerals from food - the only reliable source is edible seaweed.

Full-spectrum minerals from supplements - available as natural mineral products derived from plants or sea water.

Our recommendation: In addition to eating a healthy diet (preferably organically grown), take a plant- or seawater-based mineral supplement to make up for mineral deficiencies. Due to soil depletion and rising CO2 levels even organically grown foods can be deficient in some necessary minerals and trace elements.[6] Under Products: "Remineralizers" for Teeth you'll find a list of full-spectrum mineral products which can help against the progression of cavities.

For more on the importance of minerals, see Minerals and trace elements: Vital tooth and body builders.

Healing cavities with vitamins

Vitamin D

By regulating the concentration of calcium and phosphate (the major constituents of tooth enamel[5]), vitamin D is essential for the body including for tooth repair and healthy bones. One of its functions is to promote calcium absorption in your gut. Vitamin D, in addition to significantly reducing the incidence of cavities[7], also induces the formation of cavity-fighting antimicrobial agents such as cathelicidin and defensin[8].

Vitamin D from food - Food sources of vitamin D are relatively scarce. You find it in cod liver and other fish liver oils, fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines[9] as well as egg yolk, beef liver, and some mushrooms. Alternatively vitamin D can be obtained from adequate sun exposure without sunscreen (your skin produces vitamin D when irradiated with the UVB fraction of sunlight which is blocked by sunscreen).

Vitamin D from supplements - The easiest and most reliable source of vitamin D is supplements, particularly during the times of the year with little sunshine.

Our recommendation: Shop for vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) rather than vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) since the latter appears to be less effective in raising vitamin D blood levels.[10] Aim for a minimum dosage of 2.000 IU per day. You can learn more details about dosages, testing etc. from the Vitamin D Council.

Vitamin K2

A new "kid on the block" in terms of scientific research, it is easy for the body to be deficient in vitamin K2 but it is an essential nutrient for building strong teeth and bones.

Vitamin K2 from food - The richest natural sources are products from grass-fed animals such as butter and fermented foods (cheeses, yoghurt, and cultured vegetables such as the well-known sauerkraut).

Vitamin K2 from supplements - There are two types of vitamin K2 supplements, one synthetic (MK-4) and the other (MK-7) derived from Natto, a fermented soy dish popular in Japan.

Our recommendation: The most reliable source of vitamin K2 are supplements, with the synthetic form considered equally effective as the natural form.

For more details on this essential nutrient for your teeth and body, how it functions and where to best find it see Importance of vitamin K2 for calcium metabolism and healthy teeth.

Vitamin A

Like vitamin D and K, vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin which contributes to healing and preventing cavities. Higher vitamin A levels have been found to be significantly associated with fewer cavities in children.[11]

Vitamin A from food - Rich sources of vitamin A, or its precursor beta-carotene, include cod liver oil, liver, eggs, carrots, kale, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, yellow and orange fruits such as mangoes, apricots, papayas, cantaloupe and pumpkin, and collard and dandelion greens.[12]

Vitamin A from supplements - Look for vitamin A supplements that are made from natural food sources (many vitamin A supplements aren't) or go for beta-carotene supplements derived from natural sources which are more commonly available.

Our recommendation: When your eyes are slow to adjust to darkness, if you spend much of your day looking at computer screens, or you develop dry skin that tends to form calluses (particularly on the heels), you are likely to be depleted in vitamin A. Supplement and update your diet to contain more vitamin A or beta-carotene!

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

This jack of all health trades is also essential for healing teeth and preventing tooth decay. Research done on children[13] as well as on animals[14] has found a link between vitamin C levels and cavities - an extreme deficiency in vitamin C can actually destroy teeth.

Vitamin C from food - The richest natural sources of vitamin C are fruits and vegetables as well as many wild plants.

Vitamin C from supplements - There are many vitamin C supplements, the least expensive being ascorbic acid powder. Taking supplemental vitamin C may be particularly important for those under continuous stress since the adrenals use up vitamin C in the production of stress hormones.

Our recommendation: Get vitamin C from both food and supplements. Be aware that vitamin C is water-soluble and can easily be depleted when it is heated or soaked in water. Vitamin C is best taken in capsule form because it is very acidic. Alternatively you can turn it into non-acidic sodium ascorbate by adding baking soda.[15]

You can learn more about vitamin C from The Vitamin C Foundation. To learn about vitamin C's importance in healing and preventing gum disease, read Healing periodontitis/gingivitis with ascorbic acid.

You can find more information on tooth-friendly diets that help heal cavities naturally under the Nutrition section and on the page Dr. Shelton on the true causes of tooth decay.

Healing cavities via good oral hygiene

The main cause of cavities is generally considered to be cariogenic bacteria colonising your mouth and their acidic metabolic products attacking and gradually dissolving tooth enamel. There is much that can be done to stop these freeloaders from living the good life inside your mouth at your teeth's expense.

Clean your teeth using natural products

To help heal your cavities naturally, make sure to use nontoxic oral hygiene products only.

Some studies have raised concerns regarding certain ingredients in conventional products which may damage your teeth and promote cavities and gum disease.

These ingredients include chemicals such as Triclosan, polyethylene glycols (PEG), fluoride, surfactants (sodium lauryl sulfate), and others.[16]

Alternative solutions to conventional products can be very effective, see the example of how using natural products stopped the beginning stages of cavities under Salt water brushing has healed incipient cavities (note particularly that assiduously using fluoridated toothpaste had the opposite effect).

Baking soda

is one of the best, healthiest and cheapest tooth cleaners available and actively helps in combatting cavities and gum disease, see Baking soda in dental & other applications (and no, contrary to a popular myth, baking soda is not abrasive at all).

Xylitol

Healing cavities naturally has become much easier in recent decades thanks to the discoveries surrounding the sugar substitutes xylitol and erythritol. See A dental miracle sugar? and Rinsing mouth and brushing teeth with xylitol can halt cavities and cure periodontitis.

You can take advantage of these alternative sugars to help heal cavities. Simply place some xylitol or erythritol sugar in your mouth and allow it to dissolve (don't rinse your mouth afterwards). You can also use these sugars instead of toothpaste for excellent results.

Keep your mouth hydrated

Simple but crucial for healing cavities: keep your mouth well hydrated with water or herbal tea. Drinking water not only flushes food debris and bacterial acids from your mouth but also helps you produce sufficient saliva. When saliva is diminished, cavity-causing bacteria have a heyday.

For details on the importance of a well-hydrated mouth see Tooth remineralisation & demineralisation, saliva & pH: Dental health prerequisite number 5: proper salivary flow.

Chew well

Thorough mastication is foundational for tooth and gum health and reversing cavities. Eating food that requires proper chewing such as raw vegetables stimulates saliva and cleanses the teeth (that's why some even suggest to chew a carrot or apple as a makeshift solution for cleaning your teeth). As an added benefit, nutrients from well-chewed food are better absorbed.

For details on the benefits of thorough chewing see "Dental health prerequisite number 6" under Tooth remineralisation & demineralisation, saliva & pH.

Keep your saliva's pH close to neutral (pH 7)

For repairing cavities, it is optimum if the mouth has a low level of acidity. Anything below pH 7 is acidic and if the acidity levels fall below 5.5, the minerals composing the tooth enamel become soluble. This results in minerals being leached from your enamel, which is the first stage of the formation of cavities.

High acidity levels can arise from the byproducts of bacteria metabolising food rests, stress, reduced salivary flow or directly caused by ingesting acidic foodstuffs such as grapefruit, lemons, vinegar, or colas (which can have a pH as low as 2.5).

The easiest measure to raise your saliva's pH is rinsing your mouth with tap water which normally has a pH of approximately 7. If you add baking soda (pH 9.5) you will further increase your mouth's pH.

To learn more, including how to prevent your saliva from getting too acidic, see "Dental health prerequisite number 1 and 4" under Tooth remineralisation & demineralisation, saliva & pH.

Oil pulling

Oil pulling is a simple but powerful home remedy that is demonstrably effective against harmful germs that cause cavities and gum disease. Oil pulling involves swishing coconut, sunflower, olive or other oils in your mouth for up to 20 minutes. Studies have shown oil pulling to actively support healthier teeth and gums.

Learn more on the Oil pulling for (dental) health page.

Remineralizing toothpaste and mouthwashes

Treat your teeth with remineralizing toothpaste and use mouthwashes formulated for healing cavities.

While this will typically only help to repair minor enamel defects, special toothpastes formulated to rebuild enamel can indeed be helpful in fighting cavities. For instance, products containing a milk-derived remineralizing substance called "casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP)", currently sold by two companies, have been scientifically studied.[17] See Products for strengthening enamel.

You can even make your own mineral-rich toothpaste or powder, see Recipes for making your own natural non-toxic tooth powder and paste.

Use healing plants and herbs

Many antibacterial herbs and their essential oils help kill cavity-causing bacteria and/or fortify teeth against tooth decay. It is a good idea to make them part of your daily routine to help heal cavities. Apart from ready-made herb-based commercial products, herbs and essential oils can easily be integrated into self-made toothpaste or powder or homemade mouthwashes and packs (comfrey and turmeric for instance are helpful herbs to apply as a pack).

Particularly helpful plants and herbs for healing cavities and fighting cavity-causing bacteria include clove, thyme, turmeric, horsetail, green and oolong tea, aloe, and others. Learn more under Strengthening teeth and gums and Some of nature's most effective antiseptics: Essential oils.

"Sterilise" your mouth

While essential oils (including the product Sylvitis) are strong natural antibacterials, there is an even stronger "broad-spectrum" chemical antiseptic called chlorhexidine which can occasionally be used to try and accelerate the process of healing cavities. Similarly, you can use a weak hydrogen peroxide solution (see warning) to help kill the bacterial infection which underlies tooth cavities. Don't overdo it - you'll also be killing beneficial bacteria that help protect against bad bacteria (see next point).

Take oral probiotics

Your mouth is a battlefield of good and bad bacteria. Certain probiotics which colonize the mouth are very beneficial since they actively fight the "bad guys" such as Streptococcus mutans. You can support the good guys by taking them in large amounts in the form of lozenges, chewing gum, yoghurt etc. See Oral probiotics: natural helpers against cavities and gum disease.

Get natural light

Unknown to many people, natural (full-spectrum) light is an essential "trace" nutrient which has also healed and prevented cavities (as well as other illnesses).

For more on naturally improving your oral health, see Dental Care & Oral Hygiene: Keeping teeth and mouth clean in natural, non-toxic ways.

Healing cavities through relaxation and meditation

Be aware that cavities can be caused, promoted and even reversed by your state of mind. An excellent example can be found in the testimonial Cavity reversed and tooth structure repaired: a regeneration "miracle" that resulted from using Dr. Hamer’s "German New Medicine".

For details regarding the link between your emotions and the health of your teeth, see the entire section Holistic: Dental health and the whole you.

Further reading

See Miscellaneous tips for healthy teeth and gums and 8 tips for hardening a decayed tooth (or temporarily stopping it up): Advice on what to do when you can't or don't want to see a dentist.

Footnotes

1 For details see Tooth remineralisation & demineralisation, saliva & pH.

2 See Bioavailability of minerals and Reviewing Nutritional Supplements: Dietary Supplementation: All the Same?.

3 Organic foods are grown with natural fertilizers only and without pesticides, fungicides and other toxins.

4 To make sure your body can actually extract the minerals from grains and legumes, learn about the absorption of tooth-friendly phosphorus and other minerals from seeds, nuts, beans and grains.

5 See Glossary: The Tooth.

6 See Rising atmospheric CO2 decreases micronutrients in plants world-wide.

7 See the 2013 review Vitamin D and dental caries in controlled clinical trials: systematic review and meta-analysis on the effect of vitamin D supplementation.

8 A review of the role of solar ultraviolet-B irradiance and vitamin D in reducing risk of dental caries.

9 Be aware that some fish such as tuna may contain high levels of various pollutants and toxins such as mercury.

10 Comparison of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 supplementation in raising serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

11 See the study Relationship between dietary intake and dental caries in preschool children. A similar link between vitamin A deficiency and tooth cavities has been shown in animal studies, see The effect of chronic vitamin A deficiency on dental caries in the Syrian hamster and Vitamin A deficiency and caries susceptibility of rat molars.

12 Dandelion is one of those gifts of nature which are astounding in their range of healing applications, see Taraxacum (dandelion) medicinal effects.

13 Salivary 1,5-Anhydroglucitol and Vitamin Levels in Relation to Caries Risk in Children

14 See the research by Dr Howe cited in Dr. Herbert Shelton on the true causes of tooth decay.

15 See instructions under Dr. Gerard F. Judd's dental research and recommendations.

16 Many more details under Toothpaste: hazardous to dental and bodily health? Chemical ingredients which could harm your teeth, gums or body.

17 Indeed, a large body of literature shows that these products have beneficial effects against dental cavities, see Clinical efficacy of casein derivatives: a systematic review of the literature. A meta-analysis published in the very highly respected Acta Odontologica Scandinavica Caries preventive effect of casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP) observed "a short-term remineralization effect of CPP-ACP ... promising in vivo randomized clinical trial results suggest a caries-preventing effect for long-term clinical CPP-ACP use." Here we are talking about healing cavities medically, not naturally, of course.

Dental self-healing