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I've been reading Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel recently and am trying to work out whether his theories are just completely crackpot or whether there is in fact any evidence to back him up.

Basically, he seems to be maintaining that (a) sugars don't rot our teeth because they rot our teeth, but because they mess with blood sugar level and stop you absorbing calcium and (b) the modern diet doesn't give us the nutrients necessary to maintain our teeth, and that if you eat a diet rich in certain fairly specialised food and completely lacking in refined foods,  you can not only stop your teeth decaying but go some way towards restoring them.

Before I write the guy off as a total quack and dispose of the book, though, I'd like your opinions.  How accurate is his science?  Is there any basis in it or is it total snake oil?


( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 16th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
I don't know whether his theories on why it works are correct, but my dentist does say that you can cure tooth decay and even cavities. She says that if you take especially good care of your teeth, that your tooth enamel can actually heal. I'm not sure how likely the average person is to take exceptionally good care of their teeth, though.
Aug. 16th, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
Hee! That's a very appropriate icon.

Interesting that your dentist agrees. I'd be interested to know how she defines exceptionally good care though.

To be honest it's never seemed logical to me that most of the body can maintain itself but not the teeth. That said, I was more inclined to take Nagel's suggestions seriously before I got onto some of his stranger suggestions, like avoiding vaccines at all costs.
Aug. 16th, 2008 10:21 pm (UTC)
I've been told by multiple dentists that it is possible for your teeth to recover from small amounts of decay without needing fillings. I've experienced it, too. I don't think it is possible to recover from a true cavity, though, because that is an actual hole in your tooth and I doubt that your body could fix it quickly enough before it became a big problem for you.

My dentist gave me a lot of great advice for giving my teeth the best possible care, which included things like obvious brushing (with fluoride toothpaste, but don't brush TOO hard!) and flossing, being conscious that snacking can be a bad idea if you don't clean your teeth afterwards, understanding what kinds of foods cause decay (anything containing fructose, sucrose or glucose, it isn't just candy and soda that does it), to avoid eating when you are not producing enough saliva (usually when you aren't actually hungry, just mindless eating), and chewing xylitol gum! The xylitol kills bad bacteria in your mouth, enhances the effects of fluoride and when you chew gum it increases your saliva production, which is great because your saliva contains all kinds of helpful-to-teeth stuff.

Caring for your teeth is an all-day, every day kind of thing.
Aug. 16th, 2008 10:31 pm (UTC)
where do you buy your xylitol gum?
Aug. 16th, 2008 10:41 pm (UTC)
I ordered it on amazon, the brand is Spry. I think the seller is called the Xylitol Depot or something? We got free samples of Xyloburst gum with our order and I think we will buy that next time! It keeps its flavor/texture longer than Spry. We just have to get through 600 pieces first, haha.
Aug. 16th, 2008 11:36 pm (UTC)
Almost any health food store or natural co-op will have it. It's getting pretty popular.
Aug. 17th, 2008 07:30 am (UTC)
xylitol is in all gum now. i mean i'm sure it isn't a lot or anything.
Aug. 16th, 2008 10:42 pm (UTC)
She defines good care as brushing after EVERY meal/snack/etc. and flossing twice a day. I don't think anybody really brushes after each time they eat.
I personally believe that brushing might be the cause of many of the problems that we have with our teeth. My dog, for example, has never had a tooth brushing and has perfectly healthy teeth and never a cavity. I suspect that plaque could have protective properties to some degree. Like most children, I hated brushing when I was little. I probably brushed my teeth once a month. I never did have a cavity until I started brushing twice a day when I was a teenager.

Also, humans would normally use their teeth for work. Teeth were used in place of many of the tools we have today for cutting, pulling, twisting, chewing, softening, etc. This probably strengthened them. In addition to that, it would clean the mouth by letting in more air which will kill bacteria and also by inducing salivation which is one of the best tooth cleaners. That's why chewing gum is so good for your teeth.

In essence, I think teeth have to be "used" in order to be healthy. It's like your whole body. You can wash and bathe all you want, but you just won't be healthy unless you exercise.
Aug. 16th, 2008 10:50 pm (UTC)
Woah, yeah, your dentist's view does seem a bit more than most people do.

I think your theory is interesting, if unorthodox, given that unlike the rest of the body the teeth themselves aren't held together by muscles. That said, nor is the brain, and that too is definitely improved by exercise.
Aug. 16th, 2008 10:06 pm (UTC)
I just learned yesterday that saliva contains minerals that help to remineralize our teeth. Cool!

I am pretty sure that you don't need to eat bone soup (gross!) to have healthy teeth. You just need to educate yourself on what types of foods cause decay, when to avoid eating them, what foods to eat after sugars to help reduce the damaging effects, etc. All the information is out there, a simple google search away, there are lots of dental associations who have websites with TONS of great info. It's not just about brushing and flossing, it really helps to know WHAT and WHY. I think everyone should learn this stuff, it's so interesting and it's not like anyone wants to go have fillings, haha.

I was getting fillings on a regular basis and it was really frustrating, so I asked my dentist for advice, and he told me lots of things that I could do, but none of them involved eating more mineral-rich foods and bones. I trust a dentist to know what the right way is to prevent decay and heal your teeth.

Aug. 16th, 2008 10:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the info, that's really helpful. I'm particularly relieved to hear about the bone soup! And, hopefully, the liver-with-everthing thing he has going.

I haven't been able to find any info about what foods to eat after sugars on the web. Can you point me at a link?
Aug. 16th, 2008 10:28 pm (UTC)

There's lots of really helpful stuff on that page. It recommends eating alkaline foods after sugars.
Aug. 16th, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC)
Interesting, thank you.

Though why they think cheese is alkaline with a pH of 5.9 I don't know...
Aug. 16th, 2008 10:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's funny that they list cheese on the high PH list and the alkaline list. I think most everything else on the page is accurate, though. :)
Aug. 16th, 2008 10:19 pm (UTC)
One of the better herbs that are very helpful in reversing tooth decay and also assisting with gum disease is white oak bark. I had a client with very bady resceding gums and a very real possibility of losing all of her lower front teeth. We did a tincture formula of 2 parts white oak bark tincture, one half part echinacea tincture, one half part goldenseal tincture and one half part myrrh tincture. The receding gums were reversed and some of the decay of other teeth were also helped as well.

Also, using toothpastes with neem and peelu are excellent. These two herbs have been used even in antiquity to fight tooth decay and keep strong, healthy teeth.
Aug. 16th, 2008 10:23 pm (UTC)
Interesting! I don't have any gum issues, but my husband worries about his a bit. They aren't bad and don't seem to be getting worse, but it's cool to know that there are some herbs that can help! Thanks for sharing. :)
Aug. 16th, 2008 11:25 pm (UTC)
Questions about the tincture.
Thank you for this info. I'd like to try the tincture. How do you use it, though? Is it applied to the gums? Swished around the mouth? Added to water and imbibed?
Aug. 16th, 2008 11:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Questions about the tincture.
There are a few ways that I have used it. First you soak a cotton ball in it and put it against the affected gum area. Or, you just apply it directly to the area and hold it in your mouth for as long as you can stand. I can tell you right now, it tastes bitter as hell. Goldenseal tastes like dirt, and well....Myrrh is the Arabic word for bitter, and is one of the most bitter herbs on the planet. The white oak bark tastes rather pleasant. You can swish it and swallow it. I see no need to spit it out, personally. Use as often as you like. Three more times a day is recommended, but a few more than that isn't bad either for very extreme cases. I have never had a reason to dilute it.

The tinctures that I make are my own, with the exception of the myrrh which is far more difficult, and so I just get it from Herbalist & Alchemist, which is David Winston's company. They can be a bit pricey even if you have a practice or business, but their quality is absolutely the best in the business.
Aug. 17th, 2008 12:03 am (UTC)
Re: Questions about the tincture.
It's still cheaper than root canal or extraction, I reckon. Thank you for this!
Aug. 16th, 2008 11:41 pm (UTC)
Wow, I'm afraid that I'm going to be in the same position your client was in. My front gums are receding like crazy. I may have to try this as well.
Aug. 16th, 2008 10:39 pm (UTC)
I don't buy the "specialized" food part, but getting away from sugar, refined foods and carbs and going back to real, whole foods DOES improve teeth and gum health... I have medical and dental proof.

I've never been a sugar eater at all, but when I completely changed my diet to cure my diabetes (which I did, wanna have a talk with my doc?) my teeth got better. I didn't ever have any serious dental issues before, but there was some decay going on that the dentist thought was pretty good for my age, but still there. After a year on the new plan, (not a "diet" as some would call it, just a change in thinking about what really is food, and what is not) the teeth were better and had reversed the decay. Of course, the same was true for my eyes as well, I improved my eyesight by a few points.

So, yeah, the basic of his information is sound, but going overboard into specific eating is unnecessary, but probably added in to make a bit more money for himself. I'd just tell you to stop eating anything in a box. I personally cut out ALL refined carbs. Too bad people REALLY want their junk food, or we'd have a medical revolution on our hands! :-)

Aug. 16th, 2008 11:01 pm (UTC)
No argument with the quitting refined foods part! And I bet it's gotta make a difference.

The trouble is, I'm still trying to work out how exactly to break off my love affair with very dark chocolate. Apart from that, I'm mostly good.
Aug. 16th, 2008 11:35 pm (UTC)
Why do it?

If you are really a fan of "very dark chocolate" then you know that "very dark chocolate" has little or no sugar in it. If you might be referring the Hershey's versions or another popular brand, then you may not be getting "very dark" anyway, and that might cause a sugar problem.

I eat "very dark" chocolate and chocolate with less than 2g of sugar per serving. It's not easy to find, but that makes it so much more enjoyable when I do. I've been doing this for eseven years now, and I'm actually hurt now when I run into choclate that ends up being sweet. The sugar really doesn't do anything good for a natural dark chocolate taste. It needs just enough to get over the hump of bitter that makes it edible. In truth, with the true dark stuff, it's easy to stop after just a scrape because of the intensity.

Definitely don't let it stand in your way. You can do the rest of the plan for sure. No reason to east other processed stuff just because of one vice. :-)
Aug. 16th, 2008 11:40 pm (UTC)
My idea of very dark is 85% cocoa, so it's probably not too bad. Right now I'm rationing myself to 25g a day, which is probably around 3g or so, so I suppose that's not so bad.

Everything else will be easy to quit in comparison but I love me some really strong chocolate.

(Hersheys, ICK!)
Aug. 17th, 2008 12:04 am (UTC)
(Hersheys, ICK!)

Aug. 17th, 2008 12:20 am (UTC)
I'm ever the sceptic...remember that until recently the human race didn't live much past about 35...then we developed "civilization".
Aug. 17th, 2008 03:08 am (UTC)
From what I've been told/the impression I get, sugar isn't the problem, it's anything sitting on the teeth providing a food source for bacteria to grow - these bacteria secrete acid which dissolves enamel and creates cavities, and as the bacteria multiply they create hardened mats of tartar. So frequent brushing to get rid of these food sources for bacteria - as well as polishing the teeth (bacteria can't grip a shiny surface as easily as a rough, pocked surface) - will help prevent plaque/cavities/tartar.

From what I know of microbiology, this makes sense to me.
Aug. 17th, 2008 07:00 am (UTC)
That's exactly it. Certain kinds of bacteria create slimy capsules to protect themselves and stick to your teeth. Just like anything acidic (sodas, coffee, stomach acid), their waste products are what eat away at your enamel.
Aug. 17th, 2008 12:46 pm (UTC)
This is also why chewing gum is good for your teeth, as is just staying hydrated. The more moistened your mouth is, the worse of an environment it is for all the bad things for your teeth.
Aug. 17th, 2008 05:31 am (UTC)
Weston Price. :lol:
Aug. 17th, 2008 11:27 pm (UTC)
since I stopped eating sugar, my IRON levels have evened out a lot more so I get less anemic less often. So the calcium-absorption idea makes sense (as calcium helps iron be absorbed--if the calcium is not being absorbed properly then neither is the iron).

Also, reducing or eliminating "refined" foods is just generally a good idea. It will help improve overall health, and therefore oral health. Also, the fact that with more naturally-occurring foods you're using your teeth to chew rather than just sort of squishing things a couple times and swallowing means that your gums are being massaged, the roots actually do get stronger and stronger roots means stronger teeth all the way around (because they're more solidly gripped in your gums and so they transport good things to help upkeep of your teeth much more efficiently).

I'd be wary of it, but the things you mentioned make sense. Just maybe not as directly in the reasons as implied.
Aug. 18th, 2008 09:43 am (UTC)
This sounds interesting and a reminds me of this site I visited recently http://www.paradisenow.net/healing.html
Oct. 5th, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC)
the bit about bone soup and milk
Hi i actually did a consultation with Rami...like him a lot and have been meaning to get the book...do you like the book and what are the protocols like?
I've ordered the high quality oils he reccomends and find them great. But i know i'm not gonna be able to get myself to stomach all that milk on the daily! I'm also wondering about the bone soup...seems like it would help but its a little meat intensive for me but anything to keep these teeth! so i'm torn too but i like Rami's work and think we're both on the right track.

However i'll post this on the thread - Don't use ANY toothpaste with Glycerin!! its coats the teeth and stops them from absorbing nutrients in the your saliva. so Sorry Tom's of Maine is out check out: uncleharrys.com for some great dental care products!

besos, Chicava
( 33 comments — Leave a comment )

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