Done With Diligence

How We Prevent Cavities in Kids-Natural Approach, No Fluoride

dentist and little boy smiling

Another dental cavity!  In fact… one after another, after another, after another!  Going to the dentist had become a nightmare for my son.  Each time we went for his regular checkups, they would find 2-3 more cavities that needed to be filled.  The dentist would always ask the same questions.

  • Is he brushing well? Yes! I was brushing his teeth for him!  
  • Are you using enough fluoride? Yes! Before I learned better, we would use fluoride toothpaste, and we drank fluoridated water in the form of tap water.  In fact, my son had so much fluoride in his little body that he ended up with fluorosis (white spots on the teeth due to OVER-exposure to fluoride).  
  • Is he eating too many sugary foods and consuming too many sugary drinks?  No! I simply don’t buy sports drinks, sodas, fruit juices, cookies, gummies…many of the sugary foods other kids eat regularly.
  • Could it be just bad genetics? No, both his dad and I have excellent teeth with very minimal issues.
brushing teeth, floss, fluoride, fingers crossed- text: old plan

These regular dentist visits weren’t producing any changes.  The dental problems just kept coming despite following all of the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.  And after I looked into it, I realized we weren’t alone.  The average 6-8 year old child in American has 4.4 cavities (source).  By the end of childhood, 68% of Americans have tooth decay (source).  By age 40, the average American has already had to have one tooth pulled due to decay (not counting their wisdom teeth). By age 60, the average is 8 pulled teeth (source).

I did not like the trajectory my son was on.  With a grand total of 17 cavities by age 10, the forecast didn’t look promising for him.  The risk of cavities, crowns, root canals, and more seemed imminent. So what’s a diligent mama to do?  Try her best to figure out the problem AND the solution herself!

Could Antibiotic Exposure Be the Part of the Problem?

While I can’t say with certainty that antibiotics are part of the problem, that is my current hypothesis.  I found this study published in the medical journal JAMA, which found a connection between the use of the common antibiotic Amoxicillin in infancy and toddler years to later fluorosis of the teeth and poor enamel formation.  Before I began my natural health journey, we frequented the pediatrician’s office for ear infections and had multiples rounds of Amoxicillin. It all adds up.  With the tooth’s enamel weakened, cavity-causing bacteria would continue to have the upper hand.

Developing a Plan to Strengthen the Teeth

With the theory of poor tooth enamel in my hand, I set out to find solutions to strengthen it. While many would simply point to fluoride, I knew better.  Even though some studies have shown some temporary enamel strengthening, it comes at such a high cost to your OVERALL health.  Researchers are looking at connections between fluoride and brain tumors, lowered overall IQ, thyroid disorders, and much more.  I won’t go into those fluoride studies here, but if you are interested in taking a deep dive into fluoride, here are 3 resources that can point you in the right direction. (source 1source 2source 3).  It’s also worth pointing out that 97% of Western Europe has bans on fluoride, including countries like France, Germany, and Denmark (source), so perhaps an alternate viewpoint on the topic is worth considering.

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Homeopathy to Help Strengthen the Teeth

hand holding 3 bottles of homeopathic remedies

Many homeopaths recommend a combo of 3 homeopathic remedies: Cal Fluor 6, Cal Phos 6, and Silicea 6.  You may sometimes hear this combo of remedies called “The Toothy Trio”. 

Professional Homeopath Joette Calabrese explains that the Cal Fluor and Cal Phos protocol, when taken for several months can strengthen teeth, help with overall growth, and aid tooth and bone integrity.  And Homeopath Miranda Castro points out Cal Fluor’s ability to help weak teeth achieve a better tone.  She also mentions how Cal Phos can strengthen teeth that are prone to cavities, while Silicea offers benefits to both the teeth and gums.

Because I could see a connection between “The Toothy Trio” and overall dental health, I decided to give it a try for 6 months.  Homeopathy has a “remarkable” safety record according to the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists. Studies like this one from the Journal of Royal Society of Medicine and this one from Global Advances in Health and Medicine point out its excellent safety record.  With so much to gain and reassurances of its safety record, it seemed like a no-brainer.  We chose to take the Toothy Trio 2 times per day for the first 6 months, every day except Sundays (Cal Flour 6, Cal Phos 6, Silicea 6).

At the next 6 month appointment, guess what?!  ZERO cavities.  It was the first perfect report he’d ever received!  Six months after that (so one year after beginning the protocol), one minor cavity on one of his primary teeth (baby teeth) was found.  Because of its proximity to one of his permanent teeth, filling it was recommended.  This was still a SIGNIFICANT improvement from our previous track record, so we have continued the Toothy Trio once per day, except Sundays. NOTE: To stretch the remedies, I only give a single pellet of each remedy as a dose.

Nutrition to Help Strengthen Teeth

Leaving no stone unturned, I kept my ears opened for other ways I might be able to help my son’s teeth.  I kept hearing about a book called Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel.  I knew it focused on practical ways to implement some of the findings of Dr. Weston A. Price, the founder of the National Dental Association.  The book is jam-packed with good information on diet and oral health, but I simply couldn’t implement all of the changes it recommended.  So, I looked for what I could realistically put into practice.  I had 2 major take-aways that we added to our game-plan.

cure tooth decay book
  • Raw Milk– I began getting raw milk from a local farmer and having my son drink at least 1-2 glasses per day.  Raw milk is fill of Vitamins like A, D, and C, and is in a form that is very easy for our bodes to digest. There is way too much research on raw milk for me to begin to list it all here, so please see my article on Raw Milk for all of the research on safety and benefits. Nagel sums it up on page 46 of his book by simply saying, “There are not words to explain the supreme value of raw grass-fed milk…”
  • Cod Liver Oil- Because of the fat-soluble vitamins found in Cod Liver Oil, Dr. Price found that simply adding it to the diet of a control group, there was a 41.75% decrease in tooth cavities, even when no other changes to diet were made.  This study, which was published in the New Zealand Dental Journal is described in more detail on page 36 of Nagel’s book.  Nagel warns that not all Cod Liver Oil is created equal.  We choose to take Nordic Natural Artic brand or Carlson’s brand.  We aim for 2 doses per day.
raw milk and cod liver oil

One other tip related to nutrition…we try to limit sweet treats to the weekends. No doubt, sugar causes dental cavities, so limiting these foods to 2 days a week cuts his exposure drastically while not depriving him completely.  We also try to eat a healthy diet focusing on nutrient-dense foods, which is beneficial for the whole body, not just children’s teeth. 

Toothpaste to Strengthen Teeth

I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time reading about toothpaste!  We all know regular brushing is important, but conventional toothpaste is awful! It contains many chemicals and dyes that shouldn’t be anywhere near our mouths, especially when we call ourselves taking care of our bodies and practicing good oral hygiene.

cup holding toothbrush and toothpaste

Currently, we use a combination of 2 different toothpastes. Boka offers a nano-hydroxyapatite formula that helps strengthen the enamel in a manner similar to fluoride, but much more naturally.  It also doesn’t contain parabens, sulfates, or artificial flavors, which is a bonus.  However, there is some new research exploring whether nano-hydroxyapatite can cross the blood-brainer barrier and, if so, the potential safety of using it in toothpaste.  I’m keeping an eye on the research, and may pivot in the future.  But for now, I’m choosing to use it to help build healthy teeth. I have my son brush with Boka before bed so that the nano-hydroxyapatite can remain on his teeth while he sleeps.  Our biological dentist recommends Boka products, which is one more reason I’ve decided not to ditch it prematurely.

In the mornings we use fluoride-free, natural toothpaste. This limits our exposure to nano-hydroxyapatite to its most beneficial time of day while the jury is still out about its complete safety.  I think the best option on the market is Radius Organic, but with 4 kiddos brushing twice a day, sometimes it is out of the budget. I buy NOW for Kids as a slight compromise that’s much more affordable.

Oil Pulling for Overall Dental Care

coconut oil, timer, and plastic cup

One final piece of our plan to reduce the risk of tooth decay involves oil pulling every other day with coconut oil, which has antibacterial properties.  Research has shown that oil pulling can reduce the harmful bacteria in the mouth while not harming the oral biome (source 1 and source 2).  To oil pull, my son simply puts a tablespoon or so of coconut oil in his mouth and swishes for about 10 minutes.  At the end of the 10 minutes, be sure to spit out the oil into a trashcan.  It could potentially clog your drain, so don’t spit it in the sink!  You would also want to avoid swallowing it because it will contain some pretty funky bacteria after you’ve swished with it!  I allow my son to watch some TV while swishing to pass the time, so he doesn’t mind it one bit!

Final Thoughts on Natural Remedies to Prevent Cavities

I get it.  This seems like a lot of work.  But you know what is even MORE work?  Taking your kids back to the dentist for more and more fillings (and it’s expensive!).  Not to mention good oral health is important for overall health.  I’m willing to put in the effort for these natural treatment options and home remedies when I consider the alternative.  I’ve ridden that roller coaster, and I. WANT. OFF! 

And I’m so happy to report that we’ve had drastically improved regular dental checkups since we’ve implemented this plan. My child’s mouth seems to be overall much more healthy and dental decay seems to be finally under control. He’s had zero cavities in his adult teeth, and I’m hoping with some diligence to these healthy habits, we can keep it that way.

Want more ideas on how you can find natural solutions to your family’s needs?  Visit my Remedy with Diligence page.

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