Here is John's report from October 2008.

Firstly, let me say that I have a mild case of tooth erosion. So my teeth are even more vulnerable to cavities and such than "normal teeth".

Let's rewind a year and a half or so. I had been brushing quite well with fluoride toothpaste. However, when going to my yearly dental checkup I had no less than 6 cavities. The dentist also told me to brush very well on the chewing surfaces because there were beginning cavities she didn't want to drill yet.

I was disillusioned and thought about it for half a year or so. I thought: how could it be that I was brushing so well and still had so many cavities? Despite brushing with fluoride and not eating many sweet foods, I had so many cavities? I decided to try something else.

I started to use salt water both in a waterpik [oral irrigator] to make sure to truly get the salt water everywhere around my teeth, and on my toothbrush. No toothpaste was used. The brushing was done a maximum of two times a day (sometimes once) and the waterpik with salt water two times (after every major meal).

Occasionally, I used a cod liver oil supplement as well (don't know if this contributed, but vitamin D is good for strong teeth).

Shortly after starting this routine I noticed my teeth getting less sensitive and much stronger. However when going to the dentist again (+-6 months after starting the new routine) I still expected to have new cavities.

But much to my surprise, and this gave me a euphoric feeling, I had no new cavities and the dentist even complimented me on my teeth. She must have been surprised by the fact that no new full-blown cavities had developed, and that the beginning cavities had disappeared.

Now just recently, I have changed my routine somewhat, I now dry brush two times a day (no toothpaste, no salt water, just a little water beforehand to soften my brush) for 20 minutes or so, and I still use the salt water to rinse and in my waterpik. I did not go to the dentist again so I don't know the true effects of this change yet.

The dry brushing has visibly whitened my teeth, without making them look "unhealthily white".

I also want to stop using the waterpik and just rinse thoroughly with salt water, because I fear plastic leakage into the water, the waterpik is made from plastic, but I have not implemented that yet.

My teeth also used to be very sensitive in cold weather. With the new approach, that's almost completely gone as well.

So this is the complete story. Obviously, I can't say that this will prevent all cavities in the future, but it is very clear that the salt water helped preserve teeth and even heal beginning cavities.

Addenda by Healing Teeth Naturally (in response to an enquiry received)

John's email address is no longer valid so no further questions can be asked.

Re the salt concentration used by John it seems likely that he used a light brine only since in private conversation he expressed some discomfort at the idea of possibly absorbing too much salt.

Salt for toothbrushing should not harm the teeth since (salty) baking soda with or without salt is a time-honoured natural tooth powder used by generations of people with healthy teeth.

Those who feel uncomfortable using salt by itself will find many other "natural" suggestions under Toothpaste alternatives, some of which have also been found to heal beginning tooth decay such as xylitol.

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1 not his real name since he asked for privacy

2 For important background on fluoride, see eg Toothpaste: hazardous to dental and bodily health? and On water and toothpaste fluoridation: "Fluoride ruins teeth".

Case stories: natural tooth and/or gum healing