Can Teeth Regrow, Rebuild and Remineralize?
Is there hope for healing cavities and rebuilding a healthy mouth?
The answer may be surprising.
For years and years most people have adopted the idea that teeth are rather like stones in your mouth, once they begin to erode or decay (cavities and enamel loss) they are only salvageable by crowns and repairs, or implants and false teeth. Perhaps because teeth are hard, and so do not appear to have life, or perhaps because of lack of education, we have come to believe that the only answer lies in dental restorations, repairs or replacements.
Of course no one is suggesting that dental work should be skipped or avoided (as much as we might like to hear that!) as often teeth are so damaged and far gone that there is no other realistic option.
But the truth is that diet and supplementation can do more than reduce cavity formation, they can actually assist the regrowth and healing of your teeth to a healthier state.
Think about it, you started life without teeth and they grew in. They did not just suddenly appear from nowhere. Then, once they grew in, your baby teeth fell out and new adult teeth GREW. The simple fact is that your teeth have life and the cells do grow. They may be “slow growers” and maybe pretty dang hard, but they do have life.
Unhealthy teeth are not necessarily a lost cause
To a marked degree they can heal and remineralize themselves but they do need help. The answer lies primarily in diet and in supplementation. Just as a poor diet and a lack (or non-absorption) of minerals can ruin your teeth, the reverse is true–a proper diet and the adequate absorption of minerals can assist new dentin and enamel to form.
(Dentin is the bone-like substance that makes up most of the tooth. It is found just under the enamel, which is the cover of the tooth. Dentin is organic and can grow, enamel is inorganic but it can remineralize.)
Amazingly this information is not new news. It was researched and discovered close to a century ago by the brilliant husband-and-wife team, the Mellanbys, in England. They did a tremendous amount of work in the field of nutrition (most famously for solving the condition known as rickets) and one of their studies clearly showed the relationship between diet and cavity formation, as well as cavity HEALING.
“… When the enamel and dentin are injured by attrition or caries, teeth do not remain passive but respond to the injury by producing a reaction of the odontoblasts (note: odontoblasts are cells in the dental pulp that make dentin) in the dental pulp in an area generally corresponding to the damaged tissue and resulting in a laying down of what is known as secondary dentine.
In 1922 Dr. May Mellanby proceeded to investigate this phenomenon under varying nutritional conditions and found that she could control the secondary dentine laid down in the teeth of animals as a reaction to attrition both in quality and quantity, independently of the original structure of the tooth.”
Dr. May Mellanby went on to establish that a diet high in calcifying qualities (for example, rich in vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus) could not only reverse dental attrition and decay but it also produced NEW dentin. This new dentin was abundantly produced and even regardless of the original structure the new dentin was well formed.
More famously she went on to do a set of trials on groups of children. These were children that lived in institutional facilities thus giving her complete dietary control. A six-month trial was done with full dental examinations at the start and at the conclusion.
The children were divided into three groups:
Group One: Ate a normal diet plus oatmeal. (Oatmeal, like many grains and cereals is rich in phytic acid, which actively inhibits mineral absorption.)
Group Two: Ate a normal diet plus vitamin D.
Group Three: Ate a grain and cereal free diet (thus reducing the blocking of mineral absorption) and also took vitamin D.
(Note: This was a “normal diet” circa the 1920’s that one might find in England. It included carbohydrates and even milk, sugar and jam.)
The results were quite interesting.
- Group One did not fair too well and saw no improvement in the teeth plus continued with the formation of new cavities.
- Group Two saw significant healing in the teeth and fewer cavities were formed (simply by adding vitamin D to their diets).
- Group Three saw dramatic results with a healing of most all of the cavities and very few new ones formed.
These findings were validated in later studies by other researchers and while there is much that could be said about them the point to be made here is:
The study demonstrated that teeth can heal themselves, when given the right nutrients and minerals, and when those minerals were not blocked from absorption.
As Dr. Edward Mellanby said:
“The hardening of carious areas that takes place in the teeth of children fed on diets of high calcifying value indicates the arrest of the active process and may result in “healing” of the infected area. As might be surmised, this phenomenon is accompanied by a laying down of a thick barrier of well-formed secondary denture… “
The key elements to healing were found to be:
- A diet high in minerals, especially calcium
- A diet that is loaded with fat-soluble vitamins, such a vitamin D, and fats such as cod liver oil or grass fed butter
- A diet low in phytic acid (mostly found in grains and nuts)
Interesting side note: Prior to the 20th Century bread was not only whole grain but it underwent a process of rising and fermentation that a. was much longer and b. involved the use of naturally occurring yeasts. This process naturally broke down the phytic acid, so these early breads did not have the same mineral blocking capacity that today’s modern grain based foods possess.
GREAT ORAL HEALTH Oral Probiotics and the Healing of Teeth
In developing our advanced blend of probiotics it was quite important that we also addressed the problem of healing your teeth as well. And, while advanced cavities and serious dental issues will require address by a dentist there is much that can be done to strengthen your teeth, support the healing process and fight off beginning stages of cavity formation.
The three-prong attack can be summed up in:
- Introducing powerful and beneficial probiotic strains that crowd out and kill off harmful bacteria overgrowth
- Using bacterial strains that work to rebalance your mouth’s pH to healthy, non-acidic levels
- Utilizing mineral supplementation that provides a form of calcium that is highly effective for remineralizing your enamel–making the surface dense,strong, and and resistant to breakdown
Ongoing use of our oral probiotics can buffer the acids in your mouth, creating a more healthy alkaline environment, lower the levels of acid-producing “bad bacteria” and then boost the protective hardness of your enamel on a microscopic level… quite a one-two-three knock out punch to the chances of further dental decay.
Work to limit cereals, grains and sugars in your diet, cut back on nuts and add our oral probiotic blend to your daily oral regimen and you can super boost the health and strength of your teeth!