Part 2B: Can Vitamin K2 heal and remineralize cavities naturally?
Early in my dental career, I noticed a health paradox in my dental patients.
During dental training, I was taught that brushing and flossing were the ways to prevent decay. I was never taught about Vitamin K2.
Patients in my dental office presented with different risks of tooth decay. But no matter how much I told them to brush or floss, it didn’t always seem to prevent decay.
In this part of the Vitamin K2 series, we’re going find out why the standard decay prevention regime of brushing and flossing doesn’t always work.
First, let’s look at the outside layers of your teeth. These are:
Tooth enamel (outside shell of your teeth)
Dentin (inner nerve layer of the tooth).
Image Source: Mouthhealthy.org
Here you have an inbuilt system, called the osteo-immune system. It originates from cells of the bone marrow that creates your teeth, bones and immune system.
Vitamin K2 plays a key role in healthy tooth enamel and dentin immune response
When it comes to your dental health, prevention is always the goal.
Preserving your tooth enamel should be one of your highest priorities for your dental health. Tooth enamel doesn’t contain living cells. It’s a mineralized structure that is managed by your oral microbiome.
Tooth enamel is a prism-like structure made of hollow tubes called enamel tubules. These tubules extend to the dentin, where they’re called dentin tubules. However, unlike enamel, the dentin has live cells that monitor what’s happening in the mouth.
The dentin has cells called odontoblasts that act like a swat team. Odontoblasts are osteoimmune cells that originate from bone marrow. They create dentin, but also work throughout your life to manage your dentin and keep it healthy.
They sit in the dental pulp and project into the dentin tubules to monitor and respond to bacterial presence in the dental enamel.
Image: Odontoblasts produce an immune response that prevent and tooth and remineralize teeth
Your odontoblasts release proteins hungry for Vitamin K2. And this is where the dental paradox begins.
1. Preventing tooth decay through immune response
Odontoblasts are well known to be the first line of defense against tooth-decay-causing bacteria entering dentin after enamel disruption. They are capable of the two different types of immune response – innate or adaptive (immune regulated). Odontoblasts are actively participating in the recruitment of immune cells in response to caries–derived bacterial.
- Antimicrobial proteins (β-defensins) to fight infection directly
- Protein messengers (chemokines) to recruit white blood cells
- Inflammatory proteins (IL-1β, IL-1α, and TNF-α) that initiate inflammatory response
- Regulatory proteins (TOLLIP, TGF-β, and IL-10) that down-regulate inflammation to protect pulp
Odontoblasts are in charge of preventing bacterial infections from destroying the dentin and dental pulp.
2. Heal and remineralize dentin
Dentin can block up or calcify itself to prevent further invasion of bacteria into the dental pulp.
High resolution microscopy studies have showed how adaptive odontoblasts are. In response to tooth decay reaching the dentin, odontoblasts build an organic matrix into the dentin tubules as a defense mechanism.
Teeth can relay information to the brain. A tooth’s natural healing response with an organic matrix requires communication between odontoblasts. Each odontoblast has support cells called glial cells. They are similar to support cells in the brain and show that the brain may be monitoring the invasion status of your dentin.
Immune defense against bacterial invasion in dentin. Image source.
3. Release Vitamin K2 dependent proteins
Osteocalcin (OCN) is a glycoprotein present in dentin matrix. It’s released by odontoblasts and its primary function is to carry calcium into bone and teeth.
The presence of osteocalcin in the dental pulp indicates a tooth that is healing naturally, rather than one that cannot be healed. It seems to assist in the defense and healing of dental caries.
Here’s one of the first links to Vitamin K2. Osteocalcin is activated (or caboxylated) by Vitamin K2, so it can’t do its repair job without Vitamin K2.
The second of the Vitamin K2 dependent proteins is the Matrix-GLA protein released in dentin, which also acts to bind calcium in the body.
But matrix-GLA protein and osteocalcin collect calcium for different purposes. Matrix-GLA protein collects calcium from vessels (like the heart, kidneys and prostate) and makes sure it goes to the teeth and bones.
In teeth, matrix-GLA protein is known to be involved in the process of mineralization of teeth. However, it is also involved in the inflammation and immune process in arteries.
4. Odontoblasts can even regenerate themselves to heal and protect teeth against tooth decay.
Even if tooth decay progresses deeper into the tooth, healing can occur.
Odontoblasts both defend against and repair bacteria-driven tooth decay processes. In larger, deeper cavities, where dentin is under attack, odontoblasts can be killed if bacteria infiltrate too far.
But all is not lost. The body can recruit new odontoblasts if it has enough resources to do so. It seems likely that this is a Vitamin D- dependent process. Newly formed cells can be recruited from the pulp core that can help to start a secondary defense layer of dentin.
Odontoblasts depend on fat-soluble vitamins
Your tooth’s immune system is part of the osteoimmunity system. Defects in bone marrow dentin formation have been shown to correlate to defects in bone mineralization.
Like bone and other immune cells, odontoblasts require the fat soluble Vitamins A and D in order to release osteocalcin and MGP-protein.
Osteocalcin and matrix-GLA protein depend on Vitamin K2 to both prevent and heal tooth decay naturally.
Without Vitamin K2 teeth may not place minerals properly. The Vitamin K2 proteins cannot manage the tooth mineralization process. They’re asleep at the wheel. Vitamin K deficiency or a Vitamin K resistance, could be result in altered dentin mineralization.
Vitamin K2 is crucial to preventing tooth decay
The fat-soluble vitamins are key factors for strong, naturally healthy teeth.
Without enough Vitamin K2, our teeth are susceptible to tooth decay. They lose the ability to both defend against bacteria and heal and remineralize teeth from the inside.
In Part 2C of this series, we’re going to look outside the teeth to the gums and periodontium.
Now I’d like to hear from you. Have you had a tooth ache or would like to see if Vitamin K2 can heal your teeth? Please leave your questions in the comments below.
Want to know more? Dr Steven Lin’s book, The Dental Diet, is available to order today. An exploration of ancestral medicine, the human microbiome and epigenetics it’s a complete guide to the mouth-body connection. Take the journey and the 40-day delicious food program for life-changing oral and whole health.
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For more information on Dr. Lin’s clinical protocol that highlights the steps parents can take to prevent dental problems in their children: Click here.
Ahsan Tariq says
Hi, one of my pre-molars decayed to the point where the inner side of the teeth is gone from the gum up and the outer side remains. The pulp is exposed. This has been the case for 3 years now. Chewing food does not cause any pain, and sometimes there is bleeding when brushing a little vigorously in that area.
My question is, keeping the above scenario in mind, can the teeth ‘heal’ back ? I have started taking the following supplement: http://wilsonshealthcare.com.pk/seacal and also regularly drink raw cow milk, eat eggs. I mostly consume food cooked in homemade ghee (from raw milk butter).
Is there more that I should be doing in hopes of getting some form of healing for my teeth ? Can you please guide me.
Mubashir Qadri says
Hi there, thanks or the info. I knew that vitamin K2 was helpful for our teeth and gums but i have also heard that you need Vitamin A and D alongside it to get the most benefits. Why is this? is there a connection between the calcium and phosphorous uptake between Vitamin A and D that helps to maximise K2’s full effects? I only say this because this website: https://bestoralbelectrictoothbrush.com/vitamin-a-for-teeth-and-gums/ talks about taking cod liver oil for helping to reverse cavities.
By the way, can you naturally straighten teeth? I am 25 years old and my bottom pre molars are out of place. Can it be done without braces?
I’ve been taking calcium + Vitamin D3 + Vitamin K2 everyday for about 3 months – my teeth used to scream in pain all the time, which has stopped for the most part, but appearance wise, they still look like I’m auditioning for the role of live action Shrek. Any advice? I remember reading that it takes at least 6 months, but I would think at least some progress should have been made.
Jason Sheets says
Make sure you are taking magnesium as well, magnesium is actually responsible for hardening of teeth and bones. Don’t take more than 600 MG of calcium or magnesium at the same time (the enzymes responsible for absorption are shared and can get overwhelmed). Take a high bio availability form of magnesium such as magnesium glycinate, oxide is worthless and citrate is only marginally better. We take 400 mg glycinate per day.
I am taking Vitamin K2 500mcg , Vitamin A 20.000 UI , high doses of Vitamin D3 50.000 UI with high doses of magnesium as magnesium ascorbate (1000mg Mg) from magnesium oxide and Vitamin C.
Earlier before I started to take this set I had light tooth decay in two teeth. It took some time (almost one year), but with all certainty this set did wonders because the decay was gone.
Anje Yoo says
But what happens to existing fillings? Im so confused. Do they fall out or get trapped in the tooth causing stress to the teeth?
Ive had 13 kidney stones, starting when I turned 22, and hadnt had a single cavity til I turned 22- then allll my teeth started decaying and I had to get 4 root canals, now I am needing all my bottom teeth pulled and implants 🙁 I wish I knew about this sooner, it was definitely a severe vitamin K deficiency, and years and years of testing never figured this out. Thank you for your article, I just got a vitamin K2 supplement this week.