Does anyone have more insight on the balance between cavities being caused by poor diet vs. bacteria? I'm feeling pretty frustrated right now; we've been working on healing my husband's teeth for over a year now. We eat an unbelievably low amount of sugar compared to the average American family. There is virtually NO white sugar used in our house. I try to keep our carb levels reasonably low (not a steady diet of potatoes and bread, although we do eat brown rice frequently, out of necessity), and we normally eat one dessert a week. That dessert will be made with Rapadura or raw honey (a dessert that KEEPS the honey raw). We drink raw milk and have raw cream. We eat a lot of eggs, although we rarely have access to pastured ones, so they're normally just the store-bought fake ones.
We eat butter, and occasionally have kefir. We do not drink juice. We brush our teeth regularly, although the brand of toothpaste changes from time to time (sometimes fairly natural ingredients, sometimes nasty Crest junk).
Even though we do not eat a "strict" Weston Price diet (such as soaking all of our grains first and eating tons of organ meats), I still feel like I am ALWAYS in the kitchen working on food. We have a tight budget, and I simply cannot afford to buy grass-fed beef and organ meats, etc. Our splurge is the raw milk and cream, which I was REALLY hoping would help our teeth.
And now, after over a year on this diet, which has gradually gotten better and better (more organic produce, less processed everything), my husband has a tooth that has a large cavity.
We've been on raw milk for about six months now, and while I realize that is not milk that is coming from the "rapidly growing grass" that Weston Price prescribes, shouldn't it be good for something? Also, my husband has been taking the high-vitamin-high-price butter oil most of the past year. He does not take it three times a day, ever. But he does take it, and lately, he has consistently been taking it twice a day, which is the most that's going to happen. (Has anybody tasted that stuff? It's NASTY!) I had a rough time accepting that he has a cavity at first, because of course, I was disappointed that what we're doing doesn't seem to be working. However, because the tooth is a wisdom tooth that doesn't have room, and is partially buried in the back of his head, he can't brush it all. So I at least comforted myself with the fact that perhaps it's more prone to decay because of the unique situation.
What's REALLY got me down, though, is that my child, who is about a year and a half old, suddenly has very... thin looking teeth, is the best way I can describe it. In the past, his teeth have looked GREAT, very white, very "solid" looking. And today I noticed what looks like it might be a little brown spot on one tooth, but he won't let me get a good look in his mouth. I weaned him less than a month ago, for a variety of reasons. I've been putting him to bed at night with a bottle of raw milk, (please do NOT scold... you have no clue how little sleep I survive on, and it was the only way), which of course I will no longer be doing.
But... really? ONE MONTH of a bottle at bedtime, and his teeth are falling apart? I'm mad!
I grew up with regular old toothpaste, no butter oil (or butter!) and pasteurized milk while I was little (raw goat's milk from the age of 6-13 or so). I have zero cavities. I NEVER had problems with my teeth while I was growing up, and it certainly wasn't because of my excellent diet. No, we didn't drink pop for the most part, but we certainly ingested our fair share of homemade white bread, margarine, Cool Whip
, and random desserts.
This is clearly not all about diet. We all know somebody who eats whatever they want, and have no cavities (or very few), and someone else who has a mouth that is just falling apart, even though they don't seem to eat any worse than anyone else.
Don't get me wrong: I believe diet plays a huge role. But my friends who are giving their children processed cereals (DAILY!), fruit snacks, juice boxes and white bread aren't having any problem with their children's teeth. And they didn't eat an ideal diet while pregnant, either, OR while breastfeeding (if they even chose to breastfeed). Does it make me a little confused that their formula-fed baby's teeth are fine, and my child's teeth are deteriorating? Yeah. This frustrating link
really started making me second-guess what we're doing. It was an interview with a guy who has written a book about curing tooth decay.
"I asked Rami what he thinks is the most important thing to do to prevent tooth decay. He said we must limit anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients such as phytic acid or oxalic acid are found in raw seeds, beans, nuts, grains and vegetables.
Soaking and sprouting nuts, seeds, legumes and grains will reduce phytic acid but not very much — only somewhere between 10-30%. So even if you are carefully germinating (sprouting) and soaking and using sourdough and other methods to ferment your grains and soaking your beans, they still do contain the anti-nutrients which block mineral absorption and chelate them from the body. It is therefore important to eat nutrient-dense foods but also to limit foods that contain anti-nutrients, even if they are properly prepared.
Rami stressed that it is extremely important to reduce anti-nutients in the diet. Even anti-nutrients in vegetables. Vegetables need to be cooked or properly fermented.
He said that just 25 mg of phytic acid will block 50% of your iron intake. Phytic acid also blocks zinc, copper and other minerals.
Rami said, the more grains, nuts and seeds you eat, the more careful you have to be. He also said that you need the enzyme, phytase, in order to take out phytate. Nuts, beans and seeds have little or no phytase. Oats, as well, have no phytase. This is why it is recommended to add a little freshly ground whole wheat flour to oats when soaking overnight. You must have phytase in order to break down phytates
The post goes on to state that oats are not fit to eat, seeds are the worst when it comes to phytic acid content, coconut flour (which we would have considered good, because it's low-carb) is a big source of phytic acid, and chocolate, coffee, and tea shouldn't be consumed if you're fighting tooth decay. He also says that Vitamin C blocks the effects of phytic acid. I'm wondering... if this is true, at what point do we decide that we're deficient in Vitamin C, instead of soaking, sprouting and eliminating EVERYTHING? And how close do you need to consume foods containing Vitamin C along with the phytic-acid laden foods? Or do you just need to have enough Vitamin C in your system?
So... no oats. No coffee. No tea. No nuts. No seeds. No coconut flour. No sugar. No grains (goodbye, rice). No beans. No raw veggies? Instead, according to him, we should be eating tons of grass-fed liver (currently, my only source of healthy livers is almost $7 a pound for beef, and almost $11 a pound for chicken; totally can't do this money-wise) and oh! another great superfood for your teeth is salmon caviar (as long as it's wild-caught and mercury-free). This will only cost me $28 for 6 ounces.
It starts seeming ridiculous. Like, maybe the problem isn't the food - maybe it's ME. The question is, how do I fix me
(or my family) so that we can eat food like normal people again?
Or is it not the food at all? Is it bacteria? Is it genetics? Is it a lack of good balance in the gut, so we can't absorb nutrients? I could even understand if it was just my husband; he has mercury fillings, grew up on a steady diet of sugar, and has only really changed his diet in the last couple of years.
But my child? After a year and half of life (during which they have had breastmilk and the healthiest food I can manage), their teeth are going bad?
If it is bacteria-based, then why don't I have a mouthful of cavities? I kiss my husband all the time.
Seems like I should have caught some of those cavity-germs by now.
SIGH. I'm rambling out loud here, because I can't figure out which direction to go on this one. I'm tempted to just throw in the towel and QUIT, but that doesn't fix anything. Even if I just go the conventional route and have my child's cavity filled, that doesn't mean this is over. It certainly doesn't guarantee that another one won't just pop up and we do this all over again.
So... now that I've written a book here, any ideas?
ETA: Hmmm... another thought: Removing Candida to Control Cavities?