Tooth decay has become an accepted norm in our culture. Sure, we fluoridate our water, scrub our teeth with plastic bristles and dutifully have our teeth scraped with metal objects a couple times every year. But for all our effort, tooth decay remains an ever present part of our lives. While modern dentistry preaches prevention, the underlying policy is to drill and fill the imperfections in our teeth. Above all, the word "cure" is never used in conjunction with subjects like cavities, gingivitis and other dental woes.
Until now. Ramiel Nagel takes the daring leap from drilling to curing in his book Cure Tooth Decay. To be perfectly honest, before hearing about this book I never even considered the idea that tooth decay could be reversed. I was so swamped by cultural bias that I assumed cavities could only be prevented by brushing, flossing, and staying away from sweets. And if that didn't work (as it often doesn't) then it was time to drill those poor teeth to oblivion. But according to Rami, this system of dental care fails at every level:
"Modern dentistry is a profound failure. The enormity of suffering and disease caused by dentistry is so massive that it is beyond comprehension."
"High speed drilling creates high friction and raises the temperature of the tooth nerve, causing irreversible nerve damage in 60% of cases."
Nagel goes into depth about why and how modern dentistry has failed us. For not only are their treatments ineffective (some might even call them cruel), but the focus is never on the right thing: preventing and healing tooth decay. He also addresses several of the common myths about tooth decay (such as food on teeth causing cavities).
A Comprehensive Guide to Tooth Decay
I was floored by the amount of information contained in Cure Tooth Decay. I honestly did not expect to learn so much about what makes teeth healthy and why tooth decay happens. I was also surprised how little I really knew about dental health. Reading about the process of how teeth remineralize was absolutely fascinating.
For years, dentists have been treating teeth as if they are separate from the rest of the body. And perhaps this is the greatest mistake concerning the health of our teeth and gums.
Nutrient Density and Tooth Decay
As we know from the work of Weston A. Price (detailed in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration), tooth decay was far less rampant in traditional cultures who consumed their ancestral diet than it was in modern society. Price took the information he gathered from traveling the world and applied it to his patients when he got home.
It's interesting to note that Price did not put his patients on traditional diet. Instead, he applied the principles of traditional diets by adding a few key nutrient dense foods to their diets. This had a marvelous effect on their general health as well as the health of their teeth.
In Cure Tooth Decay, Nagel outlines these same principles and gives specific tips for supplying the body with the nutrients it needs to remineralize teeth. Some of these key nutrients include vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K2 (what Price refers to as Activator X), and important minerals like calcium, phosphorous, and trace minerals as well.
Nagel suggests specific foods that can help supply these nutrients (grass-fed dairy, pastured eggs, bone broth, liver and seafood top the list, of course) and also outlines which foods may be causing problems with nutrient absorption. Following in Price's footsteps, he emphasizes the benefits of supplementing with high quality cod liver oil and butter oil.
"If you have tooth decay, you are presumably deficient in vitamins A and D."
Metabolic Function and Tooth Decay
"A malfunctioning thyroid gland also plays a role in producing tooth decay and gum disease because the thyroid plays a role in maintaining blood calcium levels."
I was impressed when Nagel brought metabolic function into the picture. He touched on how overall metabolic health (such as thyroid and pituitary function) can affect how the body regulates where minerals are deposited. A poor metabolism may very well lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Obey Nature, Heal Tooth Decay
"All you need to do to heal cavities is understand Nature's rules for health, and then follow them. When you follow these rules, the built-in ability for your teeth to heal will take over."
Nagel goes into great detail in Cure Tooth Decay about all of the ways our diet can affect the health of our teeth and gums. He offers plenty of practical and specific directions for healing tooth decay.
But he does manage to avoid sounding preachy and rigid in his suggestions. While he admits that those with extensive tooth damage will probably need to follow the stricter approach, he fully embraces the idea that you should do what works and what feels right for you as an individual. He also offers meal ideas and suggestions for eating out. He even provides details for a "One-Amazing-Meal-A-Day" protocol that can be really helpful for those need a stepping stone into the world of nourishing food.
Final Thoughts on Cure Tooth Decay
There is honestly so much good information packed in this book that it's impossible for me to even come close to summarizing it in a blog post. I'm pretty sure that tomorrow I'm going to think of a hundred things I forgot to mention. Here's some more topics Nagel covers in Cure Tooth Decay:
- Weston A. Price's original tooth decay curing protocol
- How teeth remineralize
- Blood sugar regulation and tooth decay
- Why healthy gums matter (and how to heal your gums)
- What causes plaque and calculus deposits
- Toxicity of mercury fillings and fluoride treatments
- Safe filling materials
- How to find a good dentist
- How your dental palate affects your health
- Alternatives to braces
- Safe tooth whitening
- Healing your children's teeth (from infants to older children)
Read more reviews of Cure Tooth Decay here. Or you can check out the official Cure Tooth Decay web site at www.curetoothdecay.com. If you're looking for sources for the nutrient dense foods and supplements that can help cure tooth decay, check out my resources page.
Want more book reviews? Check out my other reviews below:
- Fat Politics by J. Eric Oliver
- Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride
- The Coconut Miracle by Bruce Fife
- The Magnesium Miracle by Carolyn Dean
- The Detox Book by Bruce Fife
- The Gabriel Method by Jon Gabriel
- Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
- Adrenal Fatigue by James Wilson
- The Schwarzbein Principle (the entire series) by Diana Schwarzbein
- The Mood Cure by Julia Ross
- Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon
This post is part of Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday.