Originally published on The Health Home Economist web site, May 12, 2011; Used with permission.
If you ask most people whether or not a cavity can heal, the answer you would get 99% of the time is that it is impossible.
Even conventional dentists would agree with this assessment. Ask a typical dentist at a routine cleaning whether you can heal a cavity on your own and he/she is likely to look at you like you're crazy (I know this from experience).
In stark contrast to this current conventional "wisdom," Dr. Weston A. Price DDS wrote of numerous situations in his dental practice back in the 1920s and 1930s where cavities healed with no need for drilling and filling. Dr. Price discovered through research that cavities are caused by nutritional deficiency and when this nutritional deficiency is corrected, the cavity heals.
If you think about this in an open-minded manner leaving all preconceived ideas about cavities behind, doesn't this make sense? Shouldn't the body be able to heal a cavity just like it heals a broken bone or a cut on your arm? Why would teeth be any different from a broken wrist after all?
Having read Dr. Price's epic work Nutrition and Physical Degeneration some years ago, I've been of the school of thought that cavities can indeed be healed with proper nutrition for some time. But believing something intellectually and knowing it works from experience are two very different things, are they not?
For this reason, I am very excited to relay to you a recent story regarding one of my children. You see, my oldest child recently developed a cavity in his top right lateral incisor. It was behind the tooth right on the gumline. My husband noticed it one night as he was checking his teeth to see if he was doing a good job brushing and flossing (he's way too old for nightly brushing by Mom or Dad).
There was a definite hole in the tooth and not a small one either. My husband called me over to take a look and I was alarmed to see the hole and I used a rubber tipped tooth probe that we have on hand to check how deep it was. The tip of the probe went way into the hole. There was no doubt that this was a cavity, and we both agreed that we needed to get it filled pronto. Our reasoning was that the incisors are very prominent teeth and taking a chance that the nutritional approach would not work quickly enough to save the tooth was a big concern for us especially given that our soon to be teenager's diet could likely not be controlled closely enough to ensure rapid success.
I called the dentist right away and made an appointment. In the meantime, I began insisting that my son take 3 butter oil capsules every morning along with his normal, daily teaspoon of fermented cod liver oil. I've always been pretty strict about the daily cod liver oil dose before school, but a bit slack about the butter oil along with it to be perfectly honest.
Not anymore. With this big hole in the back of his incisor, I knew that he needed to take both together. Dr. Price discovered that cavities healed faster when these two therapeutic and nourishing oils were taken together.
The dentist appointment was a few weeks out, so I continued with the butter oil capsules every single day. I also told my son that he really needed to go back to his breakfast of two slices of toast each morning with raw butter and honey instead of tahini and honey which is what he had been having in recent months.
He was fine with that as he loves raw butter and had just gotten out of the routine of having it every morning like he usually did. Did this simple change of breakfast have an impact on the development of his cavity?
I didn't change anything else. He didn't go off grains and he still ate the occasional sugar junk that he gets at school (it was Easter time so this type of stuff was rampant). He is almost a teenager, after all. Try to take all grains and sugars out of their diet and you are going to get a rebellion. Kids need to learn some things on their own.
I've found you can't protect your kids from this stuff and raise them in a bubble – you can only teach them to be wise and they will learn moderation on their own over time.
On a side note, I was pleased to see that at a party following his class's Poetry Day recently that he bypassed the big bottles of soda and Hershey bars that were being handed out afterward (no, I'm not kidding).
I was very very proud of him. He knew that eating that stuff would give him a couple of zits for sure and make him feel lousy all afternoon and probably the next day too. We Moms have to celebrate little victories along the way, don't we?!
Anyway, back to the cavity story.
As it turned out, the day before his dental appointment, the receptionist calls to say that the appointment needed to be rescheduled as the dentist had to unexpectedly go out of town for family reasons. This pushed out the appointment for another couple of weeks, but all the while, we continued with the 3 capsules of butter oil with a teaspoon of fermented cod liver oil after a breakfast of 2 slices of raw butter and honey toast.
Last weekend, I decided to take a peek at the cavity to see if it was getting any worse. It had been about a month since my husband discovered it and I was a bit concerned given that it was one of his top front teeth. I took a flashlight and he tipped his head back and I looked, and looked, and LOOKED!
That's right. There was no hole at all. It had completely filled in and was as smooth as the tooth next to it. I told my husband and he took a look too. He was delighted to see that the hole was gone.
I took the probe and pressed around just to be sure and confirmed what my eyes were telling me – the cavity had indeed healed over.
I will still be taking him to the dentist to have a check-up but there is no doubt that there is nothing wrong with that tooth any longer.
The best news of all is that I changed very little to get this tooth to heal. He continued on his normal, nourishing diet at home with the lapses that typically occur at school and playdate events. We just added the butter oil with his daily fermented cod liver oil and he substituted raw butter for tahini on his toast every morning.
I hope you find this story encouraging! Dr. Price's research really does work in practice!
Dentist's Conclusion After Examining My Son's Tooth
Update: I did indeed take my son to the dentist to have a full examination and there was no cavity to be found anywhere in my son's mouth. Hole was there, hole is gone. Nutrition can indeed heal cavities!