Teeth. And Love.



Lupine is asleep as I write this post. She was oh-so-frisky at bedtime and didn't fall asleep until hours later than I would have liked. Hours. I was a we bit frustrated with her last night.

But now she's like a little cherub in there, fast asleep.

And these pictures are my undoing. Man, I love this kid. So much. Sometimes I think I could just burst for all the love I feel for my children. Do you know what I mean? Like there is so much love that I'm not sure what space could possibly hold it as it expands out into forever. 

And Lupine. She had a big weekend. You see…



She lost her first tooth!

Lupine. A tooth. This is huge for us.

Yes, all kids lose teeth. And I think it's always a big deal. The first tooth out represents a passage from little into the first phases of bigness. Of moving into adulthood one lost tiny tooth at a time. In the Waldorf tradition loosing your first baby teeth means you are ready to move towards learning to read, a huge passage into growing up.

But this is bigger than that, too. So much bigger.

As some of you know, Lupine had major tooth decay when she was small. Eight caps before her second birthday, and abundant worries of more to come. Her teeth have been the source of almost all of the fretting we have done over Lupine since she was 1 1/2 and they started to crumble.

And anyone who's dealt with early childhood tooth decay will attest that it's heavy.

Early childhood caries are nothing short of terrifying. Decay undermines your belief that you know what you're doing as a parent. It shakes your foundation and makes you feel raw and vulnerable and afraid. You start wondering if you can protect your child from what may come.

And to compound the sick feeling in your belly, as nursing (night nursing specifically) mothers it is implied that it is our fault and that we should parent differently to save our child's teeth. Double-whammy.

When Lupine's tooth fell out this weekend it was a complete surprise. It wasn't loose. At all. (Well, until she conked it with that fork.) And since Sage didn't loose his first until he was nearly eight, it didn't occur to me that it was time. (But it was.)

At first both Pete and I went to the internal panic dialogue of "Did it break? Is it rotten? What is wrong?!" But as we pieced together the normalcy of it all we calmed down. Her body was working. We were getting a second chance at her teeth now.

Adult teeth. Healthy teeth. A fresh start.

We've learned so much since her decay began four years ago. We've changed how we eat. How we brush. What we supplement with. We've overhauled our health in such a massive way that I'm not worried about her adult teeth. (Okay, I'm still a little worried but I have a habit of that.)

And soon Lupine will loose her eight caps and just be beautiful Lupine, instead of beautiful Lupine-with-the-silver-teeth. And we're all looking forward to that.

If you want more information about how we treated her ECCs I'd be happy to share. I started with this thread on Mothering.com which spoke to my soul. Do let me know if you want me to lay out the protocol we followed to heal our baby's teeth.



Edited to add: I have posted my healthy tooth protocol here.

60 thoughts on “Teeth. And Love.

  1. Lissa says:

    Very exciting times indeed! Plus I personally LOVE how young children look with missing teeth and new ones growing in!
    May I ask how you knew there was a problem with her teeth early on?

  2. Rachel Wolf says:

    At first we saw what we thought was discoloration around her teeth beside her top front teeth. A dentist also told us it was staining and nothing to be concerned about. But within two days of his dont worry a chunk of her tooth fell out while I was brushing her. She started losing little bits around the gum line.

  3. Anne D-S says:

    I would LOVE for you to lay out the protocol. We struggle with getting our 3 year old daughter to brush. Any fresh ideas would be most welcome. Your daughter is beautiful.

  4. Cassandra says:

    Yes, I am completely terrified of my daughter getting cavities because both of her parents have mouths filled with amalgam! Fortunately I didn’t get my first one until I was 10, but I’m still afraid. She gets a whole teaspoon of FCLO every day and I use Thorne brand vitamin K2 drops because she won’t take butter oil. But, that is temporary because it’s still a synthetic vitamin, no matter how high quality, so as soon as she gets older and is more willing to take things she doesn’t really like, she’ll get switched to butter oil. In the mean time she gets lots of grassfed butter, lard, pastured eggs, coconut oil, bentonite clay, cell salts and fermented foods. We are also 90% grain free, and fortunately what grains we do eat, she doesn’t like! I make a sandwich for us to share, she peels off the bread and eats the middle, it’s so cute. Her baby teeth are a bit crooked, but I’d take crooked over cavities any day! Only 20 months old so far, but I’m thankful for every single day her teeth don’t develop soft spots.

  5. Dark Blue Dragon says:

    We have a tooth hanging on by a thread here, Julien’s first to be out. I agree it is huge! So huge. We are a Waldorf homeschooling family and I was planning on holding off grade 1 for another year, but with this tooth so much is changing. It is very magical to watch it all unfold. It was wiggly a month ago and it was like somehow it just started a whole chain reaction. He is now so much bigger, so much more of himself. It is bittersweet.

    I would love to hear about your tooth care. Julien has week enamel and suffers from many cavities. He eats incredbly well, but still is plagued. I would like for it not to happen to Noah as well. I would love anything you would like to share!!

  6. Christene says:

    Yes, please share! My daughter is 11 months with almost 4 teeth. I’d love to get her on the right path for healthy teeth.
    Also, related to an earlier post, I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on peaceful parenting. I just started reading Unconditional Parenting and Raising Our Childten, Raising Ourselves at your suggestion.

  7. kiffyroo@yahoo.com says:

    Oh, this is so timely. I am taking my 15 month old to the dentist thurs. because she has already chipped/ broken her front teeth three times. They seem to be just crumbling away. She nurses at night, and I am hoping not to be grilled for that. I was considering ordering the dental essentials I saw in your sidebar, do you use those? I would be very interested in your regimen! Thank you!

  8. Sharilyn says:

    Our niece is 5- she recently lost her first tooth while drinking a milkshake at a family dinner- so at a huge table with all of her family gathered around – our first little one ( the oldest cousin) spit out her tooth in amazement! All the other younger kids looked on in curiosity and then the questions started rolling in! It really is like the first beautiful step out of babyhood into being a real big kid!

  9. Kelly says:

    I would like to hear about what you did to help her teeth too. I have two girls who are 4 and 6 and have already had a cavity each.

  10. Anjanette says:

    I’ll be as ecstatic as you with this day comes for my little beauty. Her decay started just before she turned a year and thankfully has halted completely (she’s 25 months), but now she has two missing teeth and two jagged teeth. I think we have every reason to hope for strong adult teeth.

  11. Teri says:

    Yes – Please lay out your protocol. We’ve been making changes slowly around here in regards to dental health, but need to be more conscientious.

    We are going to see the dentist tomorrow to get a cap on our 4 year old’s molar. It’s brown and crumbling – almost completely gone, really. I’ve been researching all morning to solidify in my brain why I do not want to proceed with a sealant on another molar, and filling 2 small cavities.

    I really like the image of “a fresh start.” It will happen soon enough, but in the meantime, we have work to do!

    P.S. I see that Dental Essentials is one of your sponsors. Do you use their product? And also, I’d love to hear more about the, um, TASTE of Green Pastures. Thanks!

  12. Gem says:

    Yes please! My girl is only ten months with two teeth, but I want to protect her from cavities if possible. The dentist was such a traumatic part of my childhood.

  13. Courtney M says:

    I would love to hear your protocol. This is perfect timing for me to read this. I’m taking my 3 to the dentist this week, and am quite scared about this visit. My 5 year old looks like he has potential cavities, my 3 year old is literally petrified of the dentist (his first time he left kicking and screaming, puked all over the dentist, and has literal panic attacks at the mention of the word “dentist”), and my baby looks like his two precious teeth have a crack through the middle of them. I’ve taken over all brushing duties as of now, but would love to hear some more tips! Thanks!

  14. Angie says:

    Oh so fun!! Way to go Lupine. Addelaide so badly wants to lose a tooth since so many of her friends are. Her time will come 🙂

  15. Lisa says:

    Exciting times! I would love to hear your protocol. So far our children’s teeth seem to be healthy, yet the last visit to the dentist mentioned a potential cavity if we didn’t floss, etc. I so want to do all I can to avoid invasive not to mention costly procedures if at all possible. Thanks!

  16. Mary says:

    Yes, please. Alejandro had 4 caries at his 4 1/2 year dentist cleaning. He doesn’t drink juice or eat sweets- other than ocasional ice cream or popsicle. I am religious about cleaning & flossing his teeth. I have never had a cavity & I felt quite ashamed when the dentist told us, in a you-are-bad-parents-tone that she would have to do fillings. What changes did you make to heal your daughter’s teeth?

  17. Nadia says:

    Yes, please – more about teeth and nutrition! What’s butter oil and where do you get it? How in the world do you get a kid to take cod liver oil? Our daughter is 6 and has had decalcification issues since she was a toddler. She has yet to lose a tooth, and I, like you, look forward to getting a fresh start with the big girl teeth.

  18. Kestrel Gates says:

    Please do share. I am curious about the supplements you have advertised on your site. Thank you so much.

  19. KC says:

    Your tooth paste post was how I first found you. I was looking for answers for my husbands tooth decay and for the yellowing of my 12 month old’s teeth. Please so share how you changed everything. It would be a lovely re-cap of the years!

  20. S says:

    I would love to hear the protocol you used. My daughter is 10 and has had many cavities. Also, what do you know about silver vs white fillings? I’ve opted for white, but I’m not sure if that was a good idea or not….

  21. Shonnie says:

    Thanks for your honest post. At 19 months we learned that our very healthy DD had carries in her top four front teeth. Our reaction was precisely what you described. We’re on the wait and see approach with our dentist so I’d definitely like more info about your success. I plan to buy Dental Essentials too.

  22. Willow says:

    it seems like ecc is a pretty common thing. my daughter’s decay seems to have halted but i still feel bad that there was any to begin with. after finding your blog a while back i’ve changed our toothpaste and a few other things, but like many of your other readers out there, i’d be interested in reading more about your journey with lupine.

  23. Heidi says:

    It was lovely to visit with you on Saturday at the Dane County Farmers Market! We had a nice visit back in Wisconsin, until Monday when we found out that our eldest Hope (6) has 2 more cavities, and decay starting on another tooth.She has already had 1 filling at age 4. I would love to hear about your protocol. I just started researching homeopathic cell salts for dental decay on mothering.com, have you used them?

  24. Shonnie says:

    Rachel we made the toothpaste which I like overall. However ours definitely has a soap aftertaste. Did I do something to cause that (I made as directed except for omitting the Stevia)? Any ideas on how not to get that as my daughter won’t use it as it is now (it’s mommy’s toothpaste now). 🙂

  25. wanee says:

    today at the dentist we just found out my almost 7 year old son, whose teeth are yet to fall out, have 8 cavities !! From none last year ! We haven’t seem to have changed anything, so are shocked ! Could you please let us know your protocol ? My mind is boggled at the moment, and I do trust your advice. Your blog is my absolutely favorite, and has been a steadfast gem in my world for quite some time. Thank you.

  26. Trish says:

    Another mama here with a three year old who has had to have general anesthetic to repair caries in nine of her wee teeth. Four caps, five fillings and about $3000 billed to our self-employed family! That and the PTSD of having to have surgery and recovery at such a young age. I am told that all our natural care of teeth is what caused us to have to experience this, as well as night nursing until 2.5. Ugh. The guilt, however unfounded the accusation.
    I patiently and eagerly await your protocol – thank you for sharing so openly. Not many people discuss this, though I see several children we know in the playground with the same “bling” teeth as my daughter.
    I have the same hopes as you that every baby tooth lost is one more step towards a healthy fresh start!

  27. Megan says:

    Hi Rachel,
    Would you mnd forwarding me ypur protocol too. Ive been worrying about my almost 4 yr olds teeth. Thanks sp much!

  28. Christine says:

    Please send us your protocol. I’m trying to keep my now 4 year old from loosing any more teeth to decay. By the time we noticed they were so bad they needed to be pulled. 3 days before her 3rd birthday. The four top front teeth and two top molars. For the longest time she only had her canines on the top. She now has molars coming in and I’d like her to keep them.

  29. Colleen says:

    Please send us your protocol also. I took my 17 month old to the dentist today. Her front teeth are crumbling and her molars seem to be affected also. However, our dentist doesn’t think she needs any treatment yet. I am concerned that the decay will progress too far and her teeth will need to be pulled. Thank you for being such a joyful inspiration and valuable resource.

  30. Alice says:

    Oh, my. This is totally my 7 and 3 year old girls! I completely understand your stress. I would LOVE to read your protocol as I have just recently started researching healing children’s cavities naturally. Thank you so much for this post!

  31. mary says:

    i am so fascinated by this issue. thankfully we haven’t had any issues with our boys teeth (ages 6 and almost 4)but i’m trying to move to more natural tooth care and would be interested to see what you guys are doing. thank you so much for honest sharing. i can’t imagine how stressful that would be.

  32. Jess says:

    Could you please email me your protocol as well? I just noticed white discoloration on my 14 month old’s front top tooth and freaked out. Then I remembered reading about your journey with ecc and rushed to look up your posts about it. Thank you, Rachel!

  33. Cassi says:

    I know this is an old thread, but searched your site for your teeth protocol after seeing the mention of bone soup on another post and how your diet helped your teeth. Three year old had 4 caps and it totally does shake you as a parent. Would like to do anything I can to change and give those adult teeth a chance. If you are still emailing out your protocol, I would be see so grateful. Thank you for your wonderful site!

  34. Chastity says:

    Hi, I’ve only been reading your blog for a few months now, but I am grateful for all that you share here. I am also looking for your tooth protocol. I have two kids, and my little girl just turned one. I want to keep my family healthy and whole, and I’m trying to give my sweet baby the best start that I can. Can you please post or email your teeth protocol? I and my family would be grateful to you.

  35. Amber says:

    If you’ve posted about what you did for your little one, please share the link! I have a 3.5 year old whose having dental decay issues and I really would prefer to handle it naturally as much as possible!

  36. christina says:

    hi Rachel,
    I too would love an email of your protocol. I’ve got a mouth full of amalgam that are beginning to fall out and a son who just lost a piece of tooth, I would love to try and change what I can now to give them a better chance to healthier teeth.

    Thanks so much

  37. Cara says:

    Could you please also send me the protocol? My daughter age 6 has just had a cleaning today and discovered 2 more cavities (this is 5 so far) and one of the two is infected. 🙁

  38. Valerie says:

    I just noticed decay near the top of one my 2.5 year olds front teeth. I look at these teeth of hers all the time as she fell as a baby and broke one and jammed another. As more came in they had noticable weakspots..the spot of decay is near a weakened area. AHHHHH. I am freaking out. Four other kids and no teeth issues and now this. I am heartbroken. I would love you protocol, please!

  39. anna wingfield says:

    I would be so grateful if you could send me your protocol. My son had his 4 top front teeth removed at age 2 and has just had his 3rd tooth pulled since due to decay. His mouth is filled with spacers and silver and space. He also has diabetes and I’m so concerned about him. Really want to focus on his 2nd set of teeth being healthy and strong and need to ‘get on it’. Thanks you so much for sharing your story and knowledge – community is the best healer.

  40. Rachel Wolf says:

    HI Anna,

    Here is an email I sent to several other families. I hope it helps yours!


    Thanks for your email. It is so destabilizing to see
    decay in our little ones, isnt it? Below I have copied and pasted an
    email that I wrote for another family. It is no magic bullet. It has
    dramatically slowed – but not completely stopped –
    our decay. Were still seeing a tiny amount (progressing over years
    versus days or weeks), but almost none compared with before.

    Lupine developed her ECCs at 18 months. They
    progressed so rapidly that by the time we realized that she had decay
    she was losing tiny bits of tooth. We immediately switched to a Weston A Price/Traditional Foods diet (Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon is a must read for you) and began to supplement daily with High Vitamin Cod Liver Oil and Butter Oil from Green
    Pastures. (1 Tsp/day of each). There is a fascinating thread here on
    Mothering that I felt so blessed to discover. http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=399989

    Plan on reading it over several days. I found it immensely helpful.

    the peak of our tooth crisis we ate bone broth daily, high mineral
    fish 2x per week, nursed on demand day and night, pushed the raw
    grass-fed dairy, cut the dried fruit and other sweets (mostly), and
    ditched the toothpaste. Her decay stopped progressing immediately.

    To me that was pretty compelling. And now? We still eat bone broth,
    but not daily. 3-4 times a week. We still use the homemade toothpaste,
    soak our grains religiously, supplement, and eat a pretty Traditional Foods diet. And I think its
    working. It is still scary and you worry over every tooth everyday, but
    I think were building healthy adult teeth, and thats the big point.

    I also recommend you pick up the book You Can Heal Tooth Decay. That has helped several friends immensely.

  41. Starrgazer1303@yahoo.com says:

    Hello I am interested in the email you sent the other families. My oldest daughter is 4 and we have been fighting with cavities as we’ll. any information would be great.

  42. Rachael says:

    I was wondering if you have a dentist that worked with you through your nutritional approach to healing the tooth decay. My son also has decay and we’ve been following the WAP diet, but I’m not satisfied with the results so far. I’ve been told to try cell salts, but my dentist doesn’t know much about them. Did you have follow a protocol from a doctor to use the cell salts? I live in SW Wisconsin so I’d love any referrals you have. Thank you!

  43. Kay says:

    Can I have your protocol? Just went through h
    4 hours of general anesthesia with 10 caps, 4 fillings, and she has
    Previously had one tooth pulled at age 4. Now she is 5. We’ve tried
    FCLO daily for a year, raw butter, grassfed beef gelatin, bone broth,
    she drinks lots of water and a healthy diet, BF until 1 year. It is truly
    Astonishing to watch your childs teeth crumble no matter what we do.

  44. Linda says:

    Hi Rachel, thank you so much for sharing your story. My younger one is fighting severe ECC as well. Can you please email my the protocol as well. Thank you so much!

  45. Ana says:

    Hi Rachel,
    My 2 year old daughter is having some scary crumbling teeth problems. I believe I discovered what is the cause for this, and I am wondering to which extent other children with similar symptoms have the same background. I am RH negative, and both she and my first son are positive. It turns out that there can be maternal blood transferred to the baby during late pregnancy and birth. Sadly, I took an anti-D immunisation after their births, but not during pregnancies, which means that, if this blood transfer did occur, my blood would have created serious problems for the baby. One of the most inoffensive consequences of the blood transfer is a defect in the enamel of the teeth that are formed during the time that the child’s immune system is dealing with the blood issue. There are tables with the time frames when each tooth is formed, and I can see that the crumbling coincides precisely with those that are formed during the first months. So, I wonder: Do you have any blood type incompatibility with Lupine? Thanks a lot!

  46. Jillian says:

    Hi Rachel. I remember so clearly when you wrote this post. I had a wee one similar in age. My first. My son. And life was simple. And then my daughter was born and we have been on the journey of a lifetime. Tooth decay is something, among many things, we are struggling. I would love to know more as I dig into this unknown territory.

  47. Julia says:

    I am finding this post as I was researching children with caps. My son has extensive decay and is heading to the dentist next week for at least 4 caps. It is heart wrenching and you nailed it by saying that you seriously question your parenting when you are going through this. Definitely dealing with a lot of guilt right now, and it’s nice to hear that I am not the only one that has gone through this.

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