I’m about to say something that might surprise you.
Your toothpaste isn’t that important.
In fact, compared to proper dental nutrition, even brushing and flossing aren’t as important.
Gasp! I know, pure blasphemy coming from a dentist!
But I’m not sure how else to tell you the extreme importance of proper nutrition in dental health without stacking it up against brushing and flossing.
Maybe you or someone you know isn’t great at taking care of their teeth (this can be especially true in children and teenagers) and yet when they go to the dentist, they never have a cavity.
And how can that be, you ask? How is it that someone with poor oral hygiene can somehow escape the dentist’s drill?
Then there’s people who brush and floss religiously who are confused as to how they keep getting cavities no matter how many toothpaste brands and techniques they try.
The reason behind all of this is actually quite simple.
Teeth are living organs and require proper nutrition to regenerate and maintain healthy levels of enamel and dentin. And without proper nutrition, your teeth will struggle to stay intact.
Periodontal disease by definition is the inflammation and breakdown of the teeth and gums caused by improper nutrition and bacteria buildup.
Both good nutrition and a healthy oral microbiome are needed to maintain healthy teeth and gums. So even if you brush and floss twice a day and your diet isn’t nutritious, you need to address the real cause of tooth decay with nourishing foods.
The Root Cause of Tooth Decay
In a healthy person, the teeth are constantly regenerating. Vitamins, minerals, and enzymes find their way to the outer layers of your teeth from the inner pulp through the dentin in tiny routes called, dentinal tubules.
When you have sufficient vitamins and minerals, your teeth with naturally regenerate and remain strong and healthy.
But when you aren’t getting the right nutrients, the bacteria and acid in your mouth begin to overcome the healing process and breakdown down your teeth faster than they can regenerate.
It’s not just sugar alone that causes cavities, it’s the lack of nutrients that strengthen teeth. Malnutrition has become prevalent with the modern Western diet.
And your teeth aren’t as quick to heal naturally as soft organs are, like your skin and liver. This slow healing process means that once you start down the path to tooth enamel loss, it’s a lot harder to stop and reverse.
Now that you understand the real cause of tooth decay, let’s take a closer look that most important nutrients your teeth need to heal your mouth and keep bad bacteria at bay.
4 Fat-Soluble Vitamins that Protect your Teeth
These vitamins are all missing from most modern diets in epidemic proportions. To improve your dental health (and your overall health) focus on getting more of these vitamins first and foremost.
Vitamin A is necessary for saliva production, which ensures harmful bacteria is washed away. When you aren’t getting enough vitamin A, your saliva glands can’t do their job and it can contribute to pits on the surface of your enamel.
Sufficient vitamin A is also needed in proper development of the jaw and face and bone turnover through the activation of osteoclasts. Osteoclasts are parts of the cell that nibble away at bone so new bone can be laid, without them, we can’t grow strong bones.
Good sources of preformed vitamin A are found in beef liver, fish, milk, and eggs.
Perhaps one of the most important vitamins for your teeth, vitamin D, keeps bones throughout your body strong, and your teeth are no exception. The link between vitamin D and tooth decay is one of the most under-discussed topics in dental care today.
In a review of 24 clinical trials, examining the connection between vitamin D and tooth decay found that vitamin D reduces dental caries. Many of these studies had patients use take at least 800 IU of vitamin D per day, which is more than the daily recommended allowance (RDA) but less than many physicians, including myself, recommend.
I recommend at least 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day or about the equivalent of 20 minutes in the sun without sunscreen (without burning of course).
Also, there’s actually a little immune system within your teeth, called your odontoblasts, which needs vitamin D to be activated. Your odontoblasts are the cells of your teeth that produce dentin and are vital to tooth regeneration.
The best way for you to get vitamin D is without a doubt sunshine, after that you can add fatty fish, mushrooms, and grass-fed dairy products.
Most of you know calcium is necessary to have strong and healthy teeth, but without vitamin K2, calcium can end up in all the wrong places.
Vitamin K2 is like the traffic cop for your calcium, telling it where and when to go. And if you have vitamin K2 deficiency, your calcium ends up on your arteries and kidneys instead of helping to rebuild your teeth. It’s a key vitamin in the dental-heart connection.
Good sources of vitamin K2 are hard and soft cheeses, eggs, butter, liver, and salami.
The dental-heart connection shows us how crucial vitamin K2 is for your teeth and heart alike.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant and helps the immune system keep your mouth microbiome healthy by keeping bacteria and viruses in check.
Good sources of vitamin E are spinach, broccoli, and nuts.
The Dental Diet – Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body
The Dental Diet is a 40-day food program I’ve developed to ensure you get the right nutrients for healthy teeth, which results in a healthy body.
Many mistakenly believe that they can prevent cavities and periodontal disease simply with good brushing habits and the right toothpaste – but this isn’t the most important factor.
I can’t emphasize this enough, you must get the right nutrients, vitamins, and minerals so your teeth can continue to regenerate throughout your life.
If you’re not sure whether you’re taking care of your dental health the right way, I encourage you to take my Mouth- Body Quiz. It will identify your core risk factors for dental disease.
Feel free to share this article with your friends and family so they can learn more the real cause of tooth decay and begin their journey to a better smile.
Now we want to hear from you. 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.
Click below to order your copy now: