A dentist who proved the vital importance of mineral-rich nutrition to prevent and heal cavities

Based on his decades of observation of both people with tooth decay and resistant to it, dentist Dr. George W. Heard has devoted an entire book called Man versus Toothache to the subject of the influence of minerals and trace elements (as found in one's daily food) on dental health (or the absence of it). Here are some pertinent quotes showing this decisive link.

It takes all the elements to build sound bodies. A lot of minerals besides phosphorus, calcium and magnesium go into the making of sound teeth. Only a dash of iodine, boron, fluorine or copper may be required, but unless that dash is supplied, the building process is impaired and the foundation laid for tooth decay.

... To be available to the human body ... those minerals must be organic and colloidal. They have to be supplied through plants which have taken them up from the soil and processed them-or through animals that have fed on those plants-that is, in the form of meat, milk, butter and eggs. Then, if the food is not supplied in its natural, unadulterated and unrefined state, a considerable portion of the essential mineral and vitamin content is lost.

For those reasons, I always advised my patients: It is better to consume your wheat ground up hulls and all, without the bran or shorts taken out. Better bake potatoes with the jackets on and eat them whole. Do not throw away the outer leaves of mustard, spinach or lettuce. For it is the husks, peeling and outside leaves that store up the most minerals and vitamins.

... All my research and all the authorities I have investigated together have about convinced me that cooked meats of all kinds are undesirable foods.

Altogether what I saw in the Carolina iodine belt confirmed my theory: whether in Hereford, Charleston, New Orleans, New York or Los Angeles, if the people only will eat Nature's food, produced in completely fertile soil, in ample variety, and will drink plenty of whole raw milk, produced from fertile pastures, they can avoid toothache and most other aches that commonly plague mankind.

I have concluded from these observations that any immunity to tooth decay which fluorine may provide is best had through organic fluorine which, as spectograph analysis shows, both our wheat and our milk contain.

... People moving here (into Deaf Smith County) with the usual number of cavities ... ceased to develop further cavities . . . and in teeth brought there five years previously ... the cavities had acquired hard-glazed surfaces. All decay did not glaze over because the foods grown here were not consistently used.

What forces had stopped those teeth from decaying further and started to repair the damage already done? The same, I say, that had mended Johnnie's broken bone and Freddie's heart lesions from Dr. Price's direction. Both decayed teeth and ailing tissue will heal when the cause of the trouble is removed. That cause is malnutrition ... the lack of properly balanced diet."

... a writer in the Journal of the American Dental Association recently asserted : 'I would not be challenged were I to say that tooth decay were the result of bacterial invasion.' Well, I challenge him. I say that 'bacterial invasion' is invariably and quickly overcome by the normal resistance of a healthy mouth. Those bugs, the Lactobacillus acidophilus, that the dental scientists charge with causing a tooth to decay, are found in everybody's mouths; but, when food is correct the tissues are immuned....

Why is it, then, that the rate of tooth decay varies from zero (as in certain Deaf Smith County families) to above 95 per cent? Not the bacteria count in the patient's mouth, but the food he has lived upon makes the difference. The mouth must be correct when the food is correct. When the mouth is correct, the bacteria do no damage."

When "perfect" nutrition doesn't prevent cavities...

Perhaps you yourself know someone who has been eating all (and only) the right things but still hasn't managed to impede the progress of their tooth decay ... A telling example illustrating two major likely reasons - both involving mineral- and trace-element-deficient diet - can be found in HOW AND WHEN TO BE YOUR OWN DOCTOR by Dr. Isabelle A. Moser (1997). As Dr. Moser recounts:

Recently, my younger (adult) daughter asked my advice choosing between a root canal or having a bridge made. This led to a discussion of her eating habits in general. Defending her currently less-than-optimum diet against my gentle criticism, she threw me a tough riposte.

'Why,' she asked, 'when I was raised so perfectly as a child, when I ate only Organic food until I was ten and old enough to make you send me to public school where I could eat those lousy school lunches' (her unfeeling, heartless mother home-schooled her), 'why even at that young age, (before she spent her adolescent rebellion eating junk food) why at that point did I still have a mouthful of cavities?' And she did. At age ten my daughter needed about ten fillings.

This beautiful daughter of a practicing naturopath had received what, at the time, I considered virtually perfect nutrition. She suckled hugely at her mother’s abundant breast until age two. During this time her mother ate a natural foods diet.

After weaning my daughter got only whole grains, a little fresh goat’s milk from my goat, fruits and lots of Organic vegetables. I started my spa when my daughter was about five years old and from that point she was, like it or not, a raw fooder. And all that raw food was Organic and much of it from Great Oaks School’s huge vegetable garden. ...

... my perfectly nourished daughter couldn’t have developed cavities! But she did. And if she cheated on her perfect diet, bad food could not have amounted to more than two percent of her total caloric intake from birth to age ten. I was a responsible mom and I made sure she ate right! Now my daughter was demanding to know why she had tooth decay....

Yes, I innocently fed her less than ideally nutritious food, but at that time I couldn’t buy ideal food even had I known what I wanted, nor did I have any scientific idea of how to produce ideal food, nor actually, could I have done so on the impoverished, leached-out clay soil at Great Oaks School even had I known how.

The Organic doctrine says that you can build a Garden of ’Eatin with large quantities of compost until any old clay pit or gravel heap produces highly nutritious food. This idea is not really true.

Sadly, what is true about organic matter in soil is that when it is increased very much above the natural level one finds in untilled soil in the climate you’re working with, the nutritional content of the food begins to drop markedly.

I know this assertion is shocking and perhaps threatening to those who believe in the Organic system; I am sorry."

The mother's (and mother's mother etc.) nutritional reserves decisively influence the offspring's health (and tooth) status

Dr. Moser continues:

But there is another reason my daughter’s teeth were not perfect, probably could not have been perfect no matter what we fed her, and why she will probably have at least some health problems [...] no matter how perfectly she may choose to eat from here on. My daughters had what Dr. G.T. Wrench called 'a poor start.' Not as poor as it could have been by any means, but certainly less than ideal.

You see, the father has very little to do with the health of the child, unless he happens to carry some particularly undesirable gene. It is the mother who has the job of constructing the fetus out of prepartum nourishment and her own body’s nutritional reserves.

The female body knows from trillenia of instinctual experience that adequate nutrition from the current food supply during pregnancy can not always be assured, so the female body stores up very large quantities of minerals and vitamins and enzymes against that very possibility.

When forming a fetus these reserves are drawn down and depleted. It is virtually impossible during the pregnancy itself for a mother to extract sufficient nutrition from current food to build a totally healthy fetus, no matter how nourishing the food she is eating may be.

Thus a mother-to-be needs to be spending her entire childhood and her adolescence (and have adequate time between babies), building and rebuilding her reserves.

A mother-to-be also started out at her own birth with a vitally important stock of nutritional reserves, reserves put there during her own fetal development. If that 'start' was less than ideal, the mother-to-be (as fetus) got 'pinched' and nutritionally shortchanged in certain, predictable ways.

Even minor mineral fetal deficiencies degrade the bone structure: the fetus knows it needs nutritional reserves more than it needs to have a full-sized jaw bone or a wide pelvic girdle, and when deprived of maximum fetal nourishment, these non-vital bones become somewhat smaller. Permanently.

If mineral deficiencies continue into infancy and childhood, these same bones continue to be shortchanged, and the child ends up with a very narrow face, a jaw bone far too small to hold all the teeth, and in women, a small oven that may have trouble baking babies.

More importantly, those nutrient reserves earmarked especially for making babies are also deficient. So a deficient mother not only shows certain structural evidence of physiological degeneration, but she makes deficient babies. A deficient female baby at birth is unlikely to completely overcome her bad start before she herself has children.

So with females, the quality of a whole lifetime’s nutrition, and the life-nutrition of her mother (and of her mother’s mother as well) has a great deal to do with the outcome of a pregnancy. The sins of the mother can really be visited unto the third and fourth generation."

An encouraging counterexample: excellent diet in pregnancy = child with good teeth

JR, a strong supporter of this site, was born to a mother who smoked, ate a lot of sugar etc. and who passed her sugar addiction to her daughter who unsurprisingly became a regular visitor at the dentist's.

JR has been taking kelp tablets for years (when not eating seaweed) and was taking them religiously during her own pregnancy in addition to a good diet inspired by Adelle Davis's book "Let's Have Healthy Children". She was rewarded with a beautiful healthy boy who compared to herself has strong teeth and who had comparatively little dental work growing up.

Plant-derived colloidal minerals
(60 to 80 different minerals)

Judging by anecdotal evidence (one case I know of so far) and not surprisingly, mineral supplements derived from plants can be powerful assistants in stopping the progression of tooth decay.[2]

Addenda by Healing Teeth Naturally

From my limited observation, it seems that in families with several children following closely upon one another, the best dental health is found in the first-born, which if generally applicable, would confirm Dr. Moser's above observations.

Similarly, various animal experiments (which Healing Teeth Naturally does not endorse on ethical grounds), particularly the well-known Pottenger's cats experiment conducted over several cat generations, have shown that on a deficient diet, the offspring will become increasingly unhealthy in all respects.[3]

All the foregoing notwithstanding, another convincing school of thought (one of the most outstanding representatives being dentist Dr. Nara, author of How To Become Dentally Self-Sufficient, who is quoted here) maintains that apart from generally good nutrition, meticulous daily cleaning is of paramount importance in preventing or halting tooth decay and the successes he reaped with his patients proved his point.

In other words, the maternal and nutritional influences and deficiencies that we have little to no control over may be less decisive than the above would suggest (or can be effectively offset) as long as excellent daily oral hygiene is maintained. Compare Dental care and oral hygiene.

Last but not least, the vitamin D status of the person may make all the difference in how strong and decay-resistant their teeth are.

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Footnotes by Healing Teeth Naturally

1 Compare The importance of minerals and trace elements for health and cancer prevention. Also, since in matters of human health, there is often a placebo effect involved, here is a very interesting article Do healthy diets just work thanks to a placebo effect? Mineral needs of plants and placebo effect which should help to defuse any notion of minerals falling into this category.

2 Also compare Products formulated for remineralizing teeth and enamel, reducing cavities and sensitivity.

3 Also compare the very important book extract Dr. Herbert Shelton on the true causes of tooth decay, incl. the importance of alkaline salts (minerals) for dental and overall health.

All Healing Teeth Naturally articles on nutrition and dental health