The Keys to Healthy Teeth:
Research-Backed Natural Remedies For Repairing, Strengthening and Whitening Your Teeth

BY NADINE ARTEMIS

The Keys to Healthy Teeth: The Ultimate Guide to Oral Healthphoto: autumn goodman

The Bone-Beauty Connection: Teeth and the Keys to Oral Health

We have been taught to brush twice daily, floss, and visit the dentist to maintain healthy teeth and gums and prevent tooth decay, yet the staggering number of cavities, crowns, root canals, and extracted teeth confirms that something is amiss. Although there are a plethora of periodontal promises ranging from fluoride floss to minty mouthwash, there is more dental decay now than in any previous century.

Wearily, we roam the drugstore dental aisles. Searching for solutions, we attain countless tubes of paste, we maintain the ingrained hygienist and dentist appointments, and we brush with daily diligence for decades. Even so, healthy mouths evades us, and the possibility of periodontal disease percolates. Receding, bleeding gums are the norm. Unexpected cavities form, and millions of root canals are performed. The definition of insanity, doing the same thing and expecting different results, applies to our current state of dental care.

Our mouths are a microcosm mirroring the macrocosm of imbalances on our planet. Our dental dysbiosis reflects our lack of symbiosis in our relationships to our bodies, global food production, medicine, and the environment. On a microscopic level, everything that is going on in our mouth is going on in the world: enamel and topsoil erosion, systemic corrosion, crumbling bones, mold in our homes, triclosan in toothpaste, toxins dumped in haste, factory farms festering with fungi, pollutants in the sky, adverse effects of petroleum oil, glyphosates affecting our gums, guts, and soil; deforestation, fluoridation, pesticides, and antibiotics that mutate microbes, gum pockets that erode, chronic disease, mercury in our mouths and seas, environmental allergens, chaotic carcinogens, and invading pathogens. These things threaten the borders of our body and the boundaries of our planet.

Mastering the Mouth through Bacterial Balance

The mouth is the principal portal into our bodies. It interfaces, absorbs, and assimilates our world. The endocrine, immune, and digestive systems are intimately bound to the microbiome of our mouths. By understanding the human microbiome, we understand that our oral health depends on a thriving microbiome; and as human hosts to this bacterial banquet, the key to vitality in our bodies and mouths is bacterial balance.

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What we now know is that many of the periodontal procedures and medicants of modern dentistry disrupt the beneficial bacteria of our gums and mutate our mouth’s microbes. Many of our oral-care practices suppress immunity. Instead, we need to reconcile with our bacterial community for healthier gums and teeth. We need to fluff our oral flora, and befriend our body’s bacteria. We need to abandon the products, practices, and antibiotics that are making our microbes mutate, mottling our teeth, and deforesting the flora of our oral ecology.

Not All Dentists Are Created Equal

On top of this microbe mutation, the profession put in charge of our oral health and tooth care is shrouded in subjective science. Dental diagnosis can vary vastly from dentist to dentist. To demonstrate this, a researcher for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, armed with a hidden camera and a dental assessment from the University of Toronto, visited twenty dentists. Her otherwise healthy mouth only needed a cleaning and a crown replacement, but if she had followed the combined recommendations of the twenty dentists, then nearly every tooth in her mouth would have been treated, including multiple unnecessary root canals, veneers, fillings, and crowns.[1]

Another journalist, with a trusted dentist’s confirmation that he only needed one crown on a molar, traveled across the United States for fifty dental examinations. All fifty dentists examined the same mouth and the same X-rays. Their estimates ranged from $700 to $19,000, and the treatment plans ranged from crowning one tooth to having all twenty-eight crowned, from gum surgery to veneers! The actual molar that needed a crown was missed by fifteen of the fifty dentists. When asked about the journalists’ findings, the American Dental Association was not surprised by the inconsistencies, as they claim, “Dentistry is an art based on scientific knowledge.”[2]

This journalistic research illustrates that there is money to be minted from the health of our mouths, which may be fiscally influencing some dentists. Although dentistry conjures images of the exactness of an X-ray, sterile environments, white lab coats, and advanced scientific equipment, it is not an exclusively objective vocation.

Clearly, there are fifty shades of gray affecting our pearly whites. Fifty interpretations from one X-ray! While we let that information sink in, it is easy to feel exasperated and to roll our eyes at such inconsistency; or we can see this as a crack for the light to shine in.

When it comes to caring for our teeth and our oral health, we can master the map of our mouths. With leading-edge information from compassionate, pioneering dentists, we can now understand how our bodies are designed with a dentinal fluid that acts like an invisible toothbrush, repelling cavities and synthesizing new dentin from odontoblasts. We can see that our mouths can be incubators of infection and that we need to create a microbe-topia for the multitudes of microbes in our mouths.

This is the triple threat to having a healthy mouth: the harmful procedures, the lack of understanding about the tooth-nurturing dentinal fluid, and the periodontal scorched-earth policy on bacteria. This trifecta is the perfect periodontal storm that fosters endodontic entropy, dental problems and decay, and a system that settles for Band-Aid solutions of bleaching, gum grafts, veneers, and fillings.

Common Dental Procedures: What You Need to Know

Now let’s look at some common dental procedures and weigh the pros and cons.

Silver Fillings

Silver-colored dental amalgams have been used to fill cavities for more than 150 years. They are made from a combination of silver, copper, tin, and mercury.

These fillings are more economical and durable than other filling materials. The American Dental Association recommends silver fillings for children who squirm in the dentist’s chair because they are easier to place than composite fillings.

Silver Fillings: Cons

+ Dentists must drill away healthy tooth bone to prepare the tooth for silver fillings.

+ These eighteenth-century dental solutions are 50% mercury, one of the most toxic substances on the planet; yet even though this toxicity is scientific fact, mercury is implanted in multitudes of mouths in the form of fillings. Mercury is also a cumulative toxin that passes through the blood-brain and placental barriers. It tenaciously binds to tissue, altering DNA, nerves, cell membranes, and mitochondrial function. Mercury toxicity is linked to dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and other degenerative disorders.[3] Mercury is also linked to periodontal disease, receding unhealthy gums, and skin hyperpigmentation.[4] The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claims that the highest body burden of chronic mercury toxicity comes from silver fillings. In addition, when mercury fillings are removed, even though there is not a metallurgic change to the mercury, the EPA considers it toxic waste, and fillings must be handled with a strict no-touch protocol to protect dentists and the environment from mercury poisoning.[5] The FDA states, “A person with four fillings has enough mercury to make a 20-acre lake unfit for fishing.”[6] Yet, somehow, it is still okay for our mouths and tongues to touch it daily, and it is still common in tooth care and not universally banned in dentistry.

+ Both old and new mercury fillings release vapors twenty-four hours a day, with a 500% increase when chewing, teeth grinding, and drinking hot fluids. According to the Journal of Dental Research, gum chewing increases mercury-vapor release considerably![7]

Other Filling Options

Costly porcelain fillings are not 100% pure porcelain; they contain carcinogenic nickel and aluminum too. Most white composite fillings contain bisphenol A (BPA), formaldehyde, and aluminum. The best current filling choices for healthy teeth are zirconium-oxide fillings, ceramic resins, and non-drilling techniques.

Because all filling materials are foreign to the immune system, it is a best practice for dentists to do a biocompatibility blood-serum test. Ideally, preventing cavities and learning how to keep teeth healthy naturally is optimal! (We’ll go into that soon.)

Wisdom Teeth

This third set of molars generally develops in the late teens and early twenties. These teeth are considered best to be removed as prophylactic prevention to avoid impacted teeth, and partially erupted wisdom teeth may be hard to clean or may affect neighboring teeth.

Wisdom-Teeth Removal: Cons

+ A report published in the American Journal of Public Health deemed that 6.7 million out of 10 million preventive wisdom-tooth extractions are unnecessary.[8]

+ The British National Health Service has stated that the practice of prophylactic removal of pathology-free impacted wisdom teeth should be discontinued. There is insufficient evidence that impacted wisdom teeth cause dental problems, and the expense and risks of the surgery are not justified.[9]

+ We may need the wisdom of these teeth later in life for chewing surfaces; additionally, extraction alters the structure of the neck, jaw, and mouth.

+ But that’s not all. Multiple pathological bacteria are often found in the jaw on wisdom-tooth extraction sites. This is because it is standard protocol to leave the periodontal ligament in after extraction. Simply put, this causes a sluggish area in the bone marrow where virulent bacteria gather and eat away at the jawbone.[10]

+ These jaw cavitations are a hidden consequence of wisdom-teeth extractions, as most of the time there are no visible symptoms. When a jaw cavitation shows up on an X-ray, the bone has already eroded by 50%.[11] These areas in the jaw are medically referred to as osteonecrotic lesions. Dr. Hal Huggins’s research institute revealed that these jaw-cavitation sites are sanctuaries for serious pathogens that can lead to an array of autoimmune diseases.

Biological dentists, who learn how to keep teeth healthy naturally, can check for cavitations by making a small incision in the gum of the extraction site and examining for mushy pockets in the jawbone. If there is decay, a simple procedure can clear it up: the site is opened, the decay is scraped off the bone, bacteria are thoroughly removed, blood flow to the area is reestablished, and the site is treated with ozone. If you do need a tooth extracted, including a wisdom tooth, be sure to work with a dentist who will also be sure to remove the periodontal ligament as part of the protocol.

Through the dedicated research of dentists Weston Price and Ralph R. Steinman, we now know that proper nutrition is the key to keeping wisdom teeth. When enough nutrients are supplied to the jawbone during pregnancy and childhood, all thirty-two teeth have enough space in the mouth without crowding.

Root Canals

A root canal is a procedure for infected teeth that kills the unhealthy tooth by removing its internal structure, including the nerves, pulp tissue, and blood vessels. The hollowed-out tooth is rinsed, filled with latex and cement, and then topped with a crown. The purpose of a root canal is to hermetically seal the tooth and save the chewing surface.

Root Canal: Cons

+ Theoretically, a root canal seems like a good idea, but, clinically, it is a bacterial horror story. A dead tooth remains in the mouth as an incubator of infection, a bacterial breeding ground, and a necrotic nest for pathogens to grow and spread. This oxygen-starved stagnant tooth becomes a haven for harmful microbes, which lead to dental problems. The whole goal of a root canal is to have a non-infected, sterile tooth; but the exact opposite is created. Each tooth contains three miles of microscopic dentin tubules that are impossible to sterilize! With the blood vessels removed, neither antibiotics nor white blood cells can reach the location to fight infection. Every time a root-canaled tooth is used to chew, bacterial toxins are squirted into the bloodstream. These toxins that flow from the anaerobic infection silently spread to the gums, ligaments, and jawbone. Because the nerve tissue is removed in the procedure, there will be no pain indicating infection. In an interesting correlation, physician Josef Issels in forty years of treating cancer found that 98% of his patients had root canals.[12] He insists that his patients remove root-canaled teeth before starting treatment.

Dr. Stuart Nunnally, a highly respected and pioneering biological dentist, conducted independent tests on root-canaled teeth.[13] To qualify, the teeth had to be symptom-free and show zero signs of pathology on an X-ray. One hundred percent of these root-canaled teeth, upon surface inspection and in X-rays, were textbook-perfect root canals yet lab tests revealed that the teeth harbored severe toxic pathogens. While this type of information has not permeated into every dental practice, and with the knowledge comes some ethical decisions for dentists about how to approach diseased teeth, thankfully there is vibrant discussion in endodontics journals about the impossibility of sterility in root-canal-treated teeth.

If you have a root canal and this information is unnerving to your seemingly healthy mouth, it is important to know that although root canals become focal infections that feed anaerobic bacteria 100% of the time, not all root canals are causing systemic health issues, because of an individual’s epigenetics and because each person handles toxicity differently. If you are experiencing a decline in health (especially in the months preceding the procedure), or if you have an autoimmune issue, you may want to explore having root-canaled teeth extracted and the periodontal ligament removed. This is an easier decision if it is a back molar, as the space can be left as is, yet a difficult decision with a front tooth, as you may then need to explore a bridge or a zirconium post implant tooth.

It takes a special quality of mind to be schooled in certain methods yet hold the capacity to question these methods and to forge ahead to find new terrains of thought and scientific solutions. Fortunately, some dentists do, and there are new frontiers in dentistry that can help us all rectify the damage of previous decades of dental procedures. When it comes to more natural oral health and teeth care, some biological dentists are pioneering the way with the use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy that stimulates growth factors, and ozone injections and gels to clean infections and infuse surgical sites with a “breath of fresh air.” These dentists are also leading the way with more biocompatible material choices.[14] Dentists that are leading the field with these innovations will be among the first to integrate successful stem-cell therapy for tooth regeneration, which will be a reality in the very near future.

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Fluoride’s Effect on Bones and Skin: What You Need to Know

If you suffer from cavities, then fluoride toothpaste and treatments might be right for you. Possible side effects may include bleeding gums, skeletal fluorosis,[15] sclerosis, dementia diagnosis,[16] pitted and crumbled teeth,[17] impaired myelin sheath, acne,[18] arthritis, gingivitis, bone-crippling disease, joint pain in your knees,[19] thyroid disease,[20] hip fractures, hyperactivity, damaged sperm motility,[21] increased infertility,[22] disrupted collagen synthesis,[23] gastritis, suppressed immune system, impaired glucose metabolism, skin rashes, damaged bone formation,[24] cell mutation, nausea, tooth discoloration, frequent urination, poisoning, DNA alteration, and reduced IQ.[25] Go ahead and ask your dentist if fluoride is right for you.

Although we have been told and sold on fluoride in tap water and in dental and tooth care products to strengthen bones, it actually makes bones brittle and stiffens skin by impeding collagen production. “Contrary to marketing madness, tooth decay is not caused by fluoride deficiency! The United States’ EPA has fluoride on its ‘substantial evidence of neurotoxicity’ list. Fluoride appears to interfere with critical bodily chemistry, damaging gums, disrupting collagen production, and reducing enzyme activity. Fluoride accumulates in the body, especially in the pineal gland, lowers IQ, forms deposits in the brain related to Alzheimer’s, promotes early-onset puberty, and the list goes on and on.” [26]

With all of these documented side effects, maybe fluoride isn’t the answer to how to keep teeth healthy naturally. To truly grasp how cavities form, we need to understand how teeth are nourished and cleansed from the inside by a dentinal-lymph fluid.

Mottled, fragile, disintegrating, tainted teeth are the dental devastation from not understanding that our teeth are alive and intimately connected to the body, bloodstream, and lymph. It is through this systemic connection that some medications and chemicals, such as antibiotics and fluoride, contribute to brittle, discolored, and even crumbling teeth, by suppressing the dentinal-lymph system, which is active in healthy teeth. This affects bone and teeth mineralization, nerve health, microbial diversity, saliva pH, and endocrine function.

The Invisible Toothbrush: Optimizing Your Oral Health

Teeth are fed from their roots by the dentinal-lymph system, like tree roots drawing up nutrients via the sap. The dentinal-lymph flow is a toroidal system: Lymph-liquid spins inward and upward into the tooth’s core, the pulp chamber. It flows through the tooth and out onto the enamel. Like microscopic sweat, these tiny droplets coalesce on the surface of the enamel, forming a fluid layer that prevents biofilm formation and commingles with saliva to lubricate and communicate with the mouth’s microbiome.

Operating much like the lymph system, there is a microscopic flow of fluid involved in healthy teeth care that originates near the intestinal area and flows upward and outward through the teeth, flushing out toxins, providing nutrients for the teeth’s mineral matrix, and repelling microbial biofilm on the tooth surfaces, preventing tooth decay and gum disease, and maintaining a healthy mouth. When this dentinal-lymph secretion is properly metabolized and functional, it acts like an invisible toothbrush, preventing systemic decay, inhibiting the penetration of pathogens, and neutralizing acids on the tooth’s surface. However, this dentinal-lymph flow can stagnate and even fully reverse. Diet and hormones are the principal activators of this self-cleansing system. Certain chemicals and medication, as well as a diet of processed food, sugar, and carbohydrates that spikes insulin levels and disharmonizes hormones, cause the dentinal-lymph system to reverse. When this happens, the capillaries in the tooth suck in bacteria, like a straw, and other microbes from the mouth into the tooth, causing infection and biofilm formation within the pulp chamber and dentin tubules. This self-contaminating system causes a “leaky tooth,” and it is the genesis of cavity creation.

A cavity is an infection in the tooth. Like all wounds, it has the ability to heal. Teeth are alive! The current condition of your teeth and mouth can evolve with better tooth care. Dr. Ralph R. Steinman, the same dentist who scientifically proved the existence of the dentinal-lymph system,[27] showed that including dietary magnesium and phosphorus reduced the decay rate by 86%.[28] Dr. Melvin Page confirmed this by finding that when phosphorus blood levels drop below 3.5, cavities begin to form.[29] Additionally, the former president of the ADA, Dr. Weston Price, concluded that fat-soluble vitamins K2 and D3 reversed and inhibited decay. Fillings are Band-Aid solutions and are susceptible to recurrent decay. Yet, when the underlying causes of cavities are addressed and the dentinal-lymph flow is restored, teeth will remineralize and be more resilient to cavities in the future.

The Mouth’s Microbial Menagerie: How to Optimize It For Greater Health

There are more bacteria in a kiss than there are people on the planet. Our mouths are a microbial menagerie. As holobiont human hosts to these microbes, we have forged an elaborate evolutionary and ancient alliance. A good host provides a stable, loving home and nourishing food for their flora friends. In return, these microbes micromanage our bodies by digesting food and secreting beneficial biochemicals. They are also sentient sentinels that strengthen our immunity while preventing pathogenic periodontal party-crashers from proliferating and from excreting endotoxins and colonizing the community.

The key to oral health is maintaining an ecologically balanced and diverse microbiome. Contrary to this, we have been caught in the dross of carpet-bombing the biome—practicing a scorched-earth policy of periodontal and tooth care. Chemicals in teeth bleaching, fillings, rinses, and fluoride; the sudsy surfactants of toothpastes; the antibiotic atomic bombs on bacteria; masticating meals of glyphosates and pesticides; root canals festering focal infections; the metallic mass of mercury, titanium, and nickel—these have all scorched the hive intelligence of our oral habitat. This defoliation of our oral flora has made extinct and mutated microbes, resulting in complex ecological shifts of resident microbiota, giving rise to gingivitis, halitosis, cavities, oral thrush, cankers, and bleeding and receding gums. Our mouth, once a moist microhabitat of homeostasis, becomes an oxygen-starved oasis of anaerobic activity, eating away at our immunity and sending systemic disease throughout the body.

Just as toxic food and chemical irritants induce leaky guts by microscopically perforating the intestines, the scrubbing and rubbing of our gums with mutating medicants and caustic chemicals cause leaky gums. Bacteria from our mouth does not normally enter our bloodstream, but dental procedures and products can perforate the epithelium, the skin in our mouths, which is only one cell thick, providing a port of entry into the bloodstream. When the bacteria and plaque that cause tooth decay and gum disease enter our circulatory system, they cause a cascade of inflammation, releasing cytokines and C-reactive proteins.

A healthy mouth is a healthy gut and vice versa. We have gone from a seemingly Golden Age of Antibiotics to a very real Anarchy of Antibiotic Resistance. On average, a baby receives three courses of antibiotics in the first two years of life. By age ten, another eight courses. By age twenty, seventeen courses, and by age forty, thirty courses in total![30]

Antibiotic exposure is everywhere, in drinking water and in non-organic supermarket food. All antibiotics have their allowable limits in the food and water supply. Antibiotics are indiscriminate assassins. Any surviving resistant bacteria mutate fast and bask in the empty niches the antibiotics made. Soon pathogenic biofilms bloom, and we no longer have protection from infection. It is important to save antibiotic use for life-threatening crises rather than ingesting them in daily doses that erode our immunity. 

Our bodies will always contain a population of pathogens; the beautiful balance is to have the good bacteria far outnumber the bad. For example, even healthy mouths are homes to the cavity-causing Streptococcus mutans. Some research is positing that what might make S. mutans virulent is that it’s missing its ancestral bacterial buddies. This particular pathogen only causes a problem when it forms a biofilm and adheres to the tooth’s surface. Normally, pathogens exist in a free-floating planktonic state in our body’s ecosystem. But when they grow in numbers, they are able to gain traction by communicating through quorum sensing, enabling them to colonize into a biofilm. Quorum sensing is the way in which pathogens communicate to coordinate group behavior and regulate gene expression. A biofilm is a densely packed colony of microbes that adhere to surfaces and surround themselves with sticky secretions. A mucopolysaccharide plaque layer is produced around the biofilm colony, which forms a barrier that is not permeable to antibiotics, yet antibiotics are often prescribed for oral disease.

Dental plaque is a biofilm that can either entrap existing oral pathogens from flourishing or provide a refuge for pathogens to hide from alkalinizing salivary flow. Under healthy teeth and mouth conditions, an oral-ecological balance of bacteria keeps biofilms healthy and stable. But plaque is an ideal nest for germs. This blocks the teeth from respiration and prevents the saliva and dentinal-lymph fluid from doing its job of cleansing the teeth with a protective coating.

To restore balance to the mouth’s microbiome, we need strategies to inhibit the quorum sensing that forms biofilms. We need to clear colonized citadels of their powerful cohesion on our mouth’s surfaces and crevices. There is extensive research on strategies that inhibit quorum sensing. In various studies, essential oils such as cinnamon, peppermint, tea tree, frankincense, and clove showed promising results in reducing quorum-sensing activity. In one study, clove oil reduced quorum sensing by up to 70%![31] These essential oils indicate anti-infective activity that can coexist with our flora while cleaning up periodontal pathogens and remineralizing teeth. Now we have scientific studies confirming the ancient wisdom of using botanical-biotics to maintain natural oral health and ecology.

Elevate Oral Ecology: The 3 Keys to Healthy Teeth For The Rest of Your Life

1. Stop

Start by ceasing many of the daily and dietary habits that are compromising to healthy teeth and oral ecology. Whatever improvements you make to your mouth will benefit your body’s well-being as well.

Stop dentinal-lymph suppressors of processed food, sugar, and chemicals that inhibit endocrine function.

Stop spikes in blood sugar that create insulin resistance. Ideally, maintain blood sugar around 80.

Stop mouth breathing by assessing medications, food allergies and sensitivities, sinuses, and cranial balance. Chronic mouth breathing in children deeply affects the way in which the shape of their face grows. Myofunctional orofacial therapy is a revolutionary way to reeducate the habitual patterns of the oral and facial muscles and can help with teeth grinding, sleep apnea, headaches, and other health issues.[32]

Heal and seal leaky guts by eliminating gluten, corn, and glyphosate irritants.

Stop phytic acid consumption. Phytic acid is an antinutrient that plunders phosphorus stores in the body. Soak and ferment gluten-free grains, legumes, and nuts to reduce this antinutrient.

Remove mercury fillings. These silver fillings irritate gums and guts, cause gum recession, feed virulent pathogens, and more. Be sure to see a qualified biological dentist who follows the removal procedures of the Hal Huggins Institute for your safety and the dentist’s.

Stop the microbe mutators of excessive antibiotics, glyphosates, surfactants, and fluoride toothpastes.

Stop using synthetic dental- and tooth-care products from the “May Be Harmful if Swallowed” category.[33] Our gums and teeth are living tissue, and we want to approach cleaning them a little differently than we would scrub a countertop. If toothpaste is the magic cleaner for our teeth, then why are cavities at an all-time high, and why does toothpaste come with a big warning label: “May Be Harmful if Swallowed”?

Most toothpastes and rinses, including many of the brands sold in health food stores, use chemical and synthetic ingredients that are more appropriate for industrial purposes than for cleaning the delicate tissue of the body or cultivating oral health. Brushing with these chemicals may be harmful to our health. Absorbing through the mouth’s mucous membrane into the bloodstream, these synthetic substances may lead to decomposing collagen, hinder hormones, damage the delicate epithelium, activate acne, disturb microflora in the digestive tract, and, in the end, encourage poor health.

Some toothpastes, rinses, and mouthwashes are better than others.[34] To help you make a wise decision about what you brush into your mouth (and apply to your body), there are oral-care formulas in my book Renegade Beauty.

Commercial toothpaste gives an illusion of a fresh and clean mouth, yet it is the art of oral care, diet, and diligent brushing that actually removes the plaque. It is best to be a purist about oral health and diligently care for teeth with a toothbrush and a dab of salt or baking soda and a pure botanical serum. These simple, time-tested ingredients help maintain healthy teeth and prevent dental caries due to their buffering capacity, bacteriostatic nature, and alkalinity promoters that inhibit plaque formation and balance the mouth’s microbiome. They also remineralize teeth by increasing calcium uptake to the enamel, neutralize the pH in the mouth, reduce the effect of harmful metabolic acids, and they are quite safe to swallow!

Hopefully, no one is gulping gobs of toothpaste! However, the rate of absorption is very high inside the mouth, where the moist tissue of the skin wall, the epithelium, is only one cell thick. This is very important if one has bleeding gums (and some of the surfactants in commercial toothpaste can cause gums to bleed, break down the phospholipids of our tongue and gums, and aggravate cankers) where anything in the mouth will have direct access to the bloodstream. We would not want to put anything in, on, or around the body that could not be swallowed. We can also maintain healthy teeth and molars with the molecular matter of phytonutrients; brushing with botanicals such as neem, cardamom, clove, peppermint, and mastic provides antibacterial and anti-fungal support while benefiting digestion and the rest of the body.

2. Seal and Heal

Bleeding, inflamed, and receding gums are signifiers of bacterial imbalance and that bacteria may be entering the bloodstream. Restore integrity to the oral epithelium by healing and sealing leaky gums and enabling the saliva’s ability to protect enamel.

Gum sealers are soothing serums with vulnerary botanical-biotics—seabuckthorn, rose otto, frankincense, and myrrh—diluted in a lipid such as coconut or MCT oil, as well as using ozonated oral gels. These botanical-biotics are rich in phytonutrients known for their ability to heal tissue, restore skin cells, foster phospholipids, and nurture the epithelium. When these soothing serums are applied to bring back healthy gums, people often find a reduction in gum bleeding overnight.

Oral alkalinizers of baking soda, sea salt, and magnesium are soothing in mouth rinses and effective as toothpastes due to their alkalinizing-exfoliating action that removes plaque and contributes to oral health. Their nutrients also switch on saliva’s smoothing and soothing abilities. Saliva contains chemicals and enzymes that exist solely to take care of the teeth. Healthy teeth exist in a sea of saliva, a sea of saline alkalinity. If saliva is too acidic, it dissolves the enamel on your teeth and creates an environment that supports bacteria. With decay, saliva jumps into action to coat the tooth with its beautiful healing fluid. The quality and quantity of saliva also hinge on hydration, so drink up!

Mouth swishers of coconut or MCT oil imbued with essential oils work well for pulling and then spitting out. Or swish the oral environment with probiotics; simply pop a capsule in water with an oral alkalinizer and swish a freshly cleaned mouth and then swallow.

Whiteness comes from within! Tooth enamel is actually transparent, and gray, glassy teeth denote a deficiency in the body of vitamins D3 and K2. These fat-soluble vitamins for teeth nourish the dentin, creating shiny, white teeth. Polish off plaque that can get stained by food pigments with one-half teaspoon of 3% food-grade hydrogen peroxide mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda on a dry electric toothbrush or use activated charcoal while brushing.

Quorum-sensing inhibitors are your beneficial bacteria’s best friends. Erudite essential oils of rose otto, thyme, peppermint, cardamom, frankincense, tea tree, clove, and cinnamon can be used in diluted forms to brush teeth, as a rinse with oil or water, and in tooth care serums to massage into the gums. Get really clean in between each tooth by sliding these serums across dental floss and upgrade your flossing routine.

Botanical-biotics The aromatic compounds of essential oils act as bacteriostatic microbiome regenerators, and biofilm disruptors. Neem, cardamom, tea tree, frankincense, rose otto, myrrh, and clove are just a few of the intelligent essences that tidy up bacterial activity rather than indiscriminately bombing all bacteria. They effectively reduce biofilm formation in an unhealthy mouth, specifically biofilms formed by S. mutans. Cinnamon has shown the ability to penetrate pathogenic biofilms.[35]

Healing and sealing the guts with diet, herbs, and probiotics are also essential to optimal oral health and teeth care. There is a relationship between the mouth and the metabolism of the rest of the body. Our teeth are connected to every organ and gland via the bloodstream. Any infection that the mouth harbors, any metals, and any toxins in our mouths affect our overall health.

3. Feed with Seeds

With so many agents in our society making our microbes extinct, from antibiotics to pesticide-laden processed foods, we need to build our oral bacterial bank account and fund it with investments of diverse flora and food for healthy teeth.

Prebiotics and Probiotics

Maintain a healthy oral microbiome of bustling bacteria with prebiotics and probiotics, as they are microbe multipliers. Prebiotics feed and enhance the growth of probiotics. Chicory root, available as an easy-to-use powder, is a prebiotic rich in oligosaccharides. Probiotics are food supplements with living microbes that are beneficial when used in adequate numbers. Lactobacilli (specifically L. fermentum, L. plantarum, L. casei, L. reuteri, and L. rhamnosus) and Bifidobacterium all showed the ability to adhere to saliva, inhibit the proliferation of periodontal pathogens, and reduce cavity-causing bacteria and plaque.[36]

As one of the best foods for healthy teeth, a probiotic-dairy combination was found to reduce the cavity- and periodontal-disease-causing bacteria in the mouth. Providing Lactobacillus reuteri to children from the last trimester through the first birthday has been found to reduce cavities at nine years old. It can also help heal damaged gums and gingivitis.[37]

Researchers are looking for modes of delivery that increase retention and exposure times of probiotics to the mouth using lozenges. Yet we don’t have to wait. Daily use in the diet along with swishing, seeding, and applying increase probiotic presence in saliva, dentinal lymph, and the entire GI tract. Successful experiments at some dental practices have applied a mixture of probiotics after scaling and root planing called guided pocket recolonization.[38] This can be safely and simply carried out at home with a blunt-tipped syringe, filled with a mix of probiotics and a carrier oil, like MCT.

Seeding a Dental Diet

Switch on saliva and dentinal-lymph flow with wholesome sustenance, fermented foods, and balanced blood sugar to maintain healthy gums and natural, effective tooth care. Healthy fats are where it’s at, as a deficiency in the vital fat-soluble vitamins K2 and D3 can alter gut bacteria. K2 is a carboxylating osteocalcin, meaning it ushers key minerals like calcium and magnesium into the bones from the blood, preventing calcification of the soft tissues and inhibiting mouth plaque from turning into tartar. Certain enzymes, serratia proteolytic enzymes for example, can clean up plaque like Pac-Man and break down biofilm barriers.

Further boost the health of the oral environment with the supportive minerals and vitamins for teeth, including CoQ10, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), magnesium, phosphorus, amino acids, and vitamin C. Find superfoods, herbs, and supplements that have these nutrients, and flourish with food fares of smoothies, soups, and brews.

Our bodies are brilliantly designed. When we repopulate our mouth’s microbiome and activate our invisible toothbrush by eliminating what hinders the innate functioning of our bodies, the external maintenance of brushing and flossing is so easy, because our teeth are alive and will respond to our oral health efforts! The current condition of our mouth can evolve, as enamel can be restored, dentine can be reactivated, saliva can remineralize teeth, and gums can be rejuvenated.

A mouthful of bustling bacteria just might keep the dentist away.

This article is excerpted with permission from Renegade Beauty by Nadine Artemis. Published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2017 by Nadine Artemis. Reprinted by permission of publisher.

References

[1] “Dentists Vary Widely on Diagnosis and Cost,” CBC News Canada, October 18, 2012, www.cbc.ca/news/canada/dentists-vary-widely-on-diagnosis-and-cost-cbc-marketplace-finds-1.1279371.

[2] William Ecenbarger,“How Dentists Rip Us Off,” Reader’s Digest, www.dentistat.com/ReaderDigestArticle.pdf.

[3] James Wynbrandt, The Excruciating History of Dentistry:Toothsome Tales & Oral Oddities from Babylon to Braces, 1st ed. (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2000), 181.

[4] “Amalgam/Mercury—Dental Filling Toxicity,” Huggins Applied Healing, www.hugginsappliedhealing.com/amalgam-mercury-dental-filling-toxicity/.

[5] U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Mercury Releases and Spills,” www.epa.gov/mercury/spills/.

[6] Parin Shah, January 22, 2004, www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dockets /06n0352/06N-0352-EC22-Attach-6.pdf.

[7] G. Sällsten, J. Thorén, L. Barregård, A. Schütz, and G. Skarping, “Long-Term Use of Nicotine Chewing Gum and Mercury Exposure from Dental Amalgam Fillings,” Journal of Dental Research 75, no. 1 (January 1996): 594–98.

[8] Jay W. Friedman, “The Prophylactic Extraction of Third Molars: A Public Health Hazard,” American Journal of Public Health 97, no. 9 (September 2007): 1554–59.

[9] Ibid. 10 Corinne Vizcarra, “Incidence Levels and Chronic Health Effects Related to Cavitations,” www.biodentistrydrvizcarra.com/?s=8&sub=8.

[11] The Tooth Truth: Cavity-Free Conversations with Dentists, Doctors and Health Heroes (White Lake, ON: The Raw Divas, Inc., December 1, 2012), www.wishsummit.com/book.

[12] Erwin P. Vernon, DDS, “Ozone and Root Canals,” The Holistic Dentist, April 20, 2012, http://theholisticdentist.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/ozone-root-canals/.

[13] Stuart M. Nunnally, “In Vitro Enzymatic Inhibition Associated with Asymptomatic Root Canal Treated Teeth: Results from a Sample of 25 Extracted Root Fragments,” Journal of Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society 27, no. 3 (2012): 112–16, https://iaomt.org/wp-content/uploads/Nunnally-RC-Enzyme-Inhibition.pdf.

[14] See Nadine Artemis, Holistic Dental Care: The Complete Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2013) for questions to ask your dentists before making an appointment.

[15] R. F. Gerlach, A. P. de Souza, J. A. Cury, and S. R. Line, “Fluoride Effect on the Activity of Enamel Matrix Proteinases in Vitro,” European Journal of Oral Sciences 108, no. 1 (2000): 48–53.

[16] Marilyn Chase, “Rat Studies Link Brain Cell Damage with Aluminum and Fluoride in Water,” Wall Street Journal, October 28, 1992.

[17] Michael Connett, “Mechanisms by Which Fluoride May Reduce Bone Strength,” April 2012, http://fluoridealert.org/studies/bone06/.

[18] Milton A. Saunders Jr., “Fluoride Toothpaste: A Cause of Acne-like Eruptions,” Archives of Dermatology 111 (1975): 793.

[19] H. A. Cook, “Fluoride Studies in a Patient with Arthritis,” The Lancet, October 9, 1971.

[20] National Research Council, “Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards,” NRC (2006): Fluoride’s Impact on the Thyroid Gland, 2006, 224–236, http://fluoridealert.org/studies/nrc_thyroid/.

[21] Michael Connett, “Fluoride’s Effect on the Male Reproductive System,” April 2012, http://fluoridealert.org/studies/fertility01/.

[22] Ahmad Al-Hiyasat, “Reproductive Toxic Effects of Ingestion of Sodium Fluoride in Female Rats,” Fluoride 33, no. 2 (2000): 79–84, http://fluoridealert.org/wp-content/uploads/al-hiyasat-200011.pdf.

[23] M. Bely, “Changes in Collagen Structure of Bone Tissue in Experimental Fluorosis,” http://fluoridealert.org/wp-content/uploads/bely-1988.pdf.

[24] Joel Griffiths, “Fluoride Linked to Bone Cancer in Fed Study,”December 28, 1989, http://fluoridealert.org/articles/ntp01/.

[25] “Impact of Fluoride on Neurological Development of Children,” Harvard School of Public Health, July 25, 2012, www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/fluoride-childrens-health-grandjean-choi/.

[26] S. J. Padillaetal., “Building a Database of Developmental Neurotoxitants: Evidence from Human and Animal Studies,” Neurotoxicology Division, Environmental Protection Agency, 2009, https://cfpub.epa.gov/si/si_public_record_report.cfm?dirEntryId=200234; Artemis, Holistic Dental Care, 20

[27] For further scientific research, explore the book about Dr. Ralph R. Steinman’s pioneering work: Clyde Roggenkamp, Dentinal Fluid Transport (Loma Linda, CA: Loma Linda University Press, 2005).

[28] Ralph R. Steinman and John Leonora, “Effect of Selected Dietary Additives on the Incidence of Dental Caries in the Rat,” Journal of Dental Research 54 (May 1975): 570–77.

[29] Melvin Page,Your Body Is Your Best Doctor, rev. ed. (New Canaan, CT: Keats, 1991).

[30] Blaser, Missing Microbes.

[31] Shodhganga,“Summary,”
http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/63580/18/18_summary.pdf.

[32] Joy L.Moelle, “Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy: The Critical Missing Element to Complete Patient Care,” DentalTown.com, August 2010.

[33] Dig deeper into oral ecology, self-dentistry, and botanical oils for the mouth in my book Holistic Dental Care: The Complete Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums.

[34] For a list of harmful ingredients in oral-care products, read “May Be Harmful if Swallowed” at www.livinglibations.com/default/may_be_harmful_if_swallowed.

[35] Titik Nuryastuti et al.,“Effect of Cinnamon Oil on icaA Expression and Biofilm Formation by Staphylococcus epidermidis,” Applied Environmental Microbiology 75, no. 21 (November 2009): 6850–55.

[36] R. M. Karuppaiah, S. Shankar, S. K. Raj, K. Ramesh, R. Prakash, and M. Kruthika, “Evaluation of the Efficacy of Probiotics in Plaque Reduction and Gingival Health Maintenance among School Children—A Randomized Control Trial,” Journal of International Oral Health 5, no. 5 (2013): 33–37.

[37] Matthews, The Symbiont Factor, 205.

[38] W. Teughelsetal., “Guiding Periodontal Pocket Recolonization: A Proof of Concept,” Journal of Dental Research 86, no. 11 (November 2007): 1078–82.

About The Author

Nadine Artemis is the author of Holistic Dental Care and Renegade Beauty. She is a frequent commentator on health and beauty for various media outlets, and Alanis Morissette calls her “a true-sense visionary.” Nadine is the creator of Living Libations, a line of botanical health, oral care, and beauty creations. As an innovative aromacologist, Nadine has formulated an elegant collection of rare and exceptional botanical compounds. Her potent dental serums provide optimal mouth and tooth care and are used worldwide. Visit her website: livinglibations.com

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