Last fall I began my three part series outlining how we managed ECCs (early childhood caries) in our home as well as normal, run-of-the mill tooth troubles and decay. It's been a big series to put together, but finally (finally!) I have finished step 3.
You can find the rest of the series here.
Part Three: Supplements
If you're just joining us now, I urge you go back and read parts one and two before digging in with supplements. While starting with supplements may be a tempting easy fix, supplements alone won't get to the heart of the issue and cause healing.
Holistic Tooth Care, Part Three: Supplements
As some of you know we're not supplement-crazy over here. I am not a fan of vitamin pills and prefer instead to nourish my family with healthy, whole foods that provide us the nutrients our bodies need.
That being said, there are a few supplements we keep on hand and rely on. And as we have worked our way through several healing crisis through the years, I find the same supplements often bring healing for a variety of conditions.
We have used the supplements below to heal everything from tooth decay to anxiety to eczema. (All of those things along with diet changes as well, of course.) I believe our modern diet – even as healthy as we can make it – is often lacking in the vital nutrients these supplements provide.
Here are the few that we do take, along with some options depending on your budget.
I have broken the supplements down into two groups below, "Vital Supplements" and "Good to Have". I suggest adding all that you can, but if you aren't up for the whole shebang then I suggest you begin by adding the supplements on the "Vital" list.
Vital Supplements for Tooth Health
Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Butter Oil (best option)
The addition of fermented cod liver oil and butter oil to the diet to heal tooth decay is based on the work of Weston Price. They are a very available source of vitamins A, D, and K2 and are ideal for healing or maintaining healthy teeth.
Fermented cod liver oil (1 tsp/day)
The single most important supplement we have provided for our family is Green Pastures Fermented Cold Liver Oil (FCLO). We began taking FCLO when Lupine was at the peak of her tooth decay and along with daily bone broth supplements I feel this was a key step in stopping her decay.
It. Is. Expensive. But then so is dental work, so for our family we made it work. Yes, there are times we can't afford to restock. But we save up until we can and then try to keep a bottle on hand at all times. Buying with other families reduces the cost as well since Green Pastures offers a case discount.
I understand that this supplement isn't in everyone's budget to take, but if it is within your means buy some and start taking it immediately.
Fermented Cod Liver Oil differs from other fish oils in how the fats are extracted. Rather than using heat (which destroys the natural vitamins D and A found in the liver) they are extracted slowly using a natural fermentation process.
Substituting other fish oils will not achieve the same goal for healing teeth or slowing decay.
Butter oil (1 tsp/day)
At the same time that we added FCLO to our daily routine we also added Green Pastures Butter Oil. Also extracted without heat, Butter Oil provides a dose of K2 to the body, a vital nutrient that was only discovered recently.
K2 appears to be a key in healthy teeth, especially when used in conjunction with FCLO.
Butter oil is also pricey. If you can not purchase this supplement be sure to include plenty of fresh, raw grassfed dairy in your diet.
OR Vitamin D and K2 supplements (second best choice)
If FCLO and Butter Oil are out of your budget or if you simply can't stomach them, a second option is to supplement with the appropriate amounts of vitamins D and K2.
We tried Dental Essentials for Sage who found it much easier to take than the two oils above. Since his teeth are solid I was fine with him using this supplement but never used them for Lupine since she loved the FCLO and butter oil.
When I spoke with someone at Dental Essentials about the source of the vitamins in their tooth health supplements they were straightforward and told me that if our family could take the Green Pastures products that was idea, but if our kids struggled to take them (which Sage does) then their product was a great option.
I agree. While it is not a naturally sourced supplement, these vitamins are vital to tooth health and even a less than ideal delivery is a very good option for many families. (Especially if the FCLO and butter oil are out of your budget.)
A vitamin D level test might be prudent to determine your child's baseline as well.
Good Additions for Healthy Teeth
More than 80% of Americans are magnesium deficient – thanks to depleted soils, lifestyle choices, diet, and our health. (More on the reasons here.)
And while we think calcium equals health teeth and bones, magnesium is key for the absorption of calcium. They go hand in hand. Without magnesium you can't absorb that calcium! And if 80% of us are deficient, what does that say about the health of our teeth?
Magnesium Calm is a good choice for an oral magnesium supplement, but topical is best when dealing with tooth decay since Calm is slightly acidic and quite sweet.
You can find my DIY Magnesium Oil recipe here.
In part two I outlined foods to add, including an abundance of live-fermented foods.
I list probiotics here as well because while we do not often supplement with one, for some families it is a more efficient way to ensure a child consumes enough gut-healthy flora.
When we take a probiotic in addition to eating live fermented foods, I prefer Bio-Kult and Three Lac.
Healthy teeth require more than just calcium and magnesium. Get a variety of trace minerals through a purchased supplement, or better yet by adding kelp to your diet and choosing unprocessed sea salt in place of table salt. (Himalayan pink salt or Celtic grey salt are both great choices.)
Calc Phos and Calc Fluor Cell Salts
Finally, we took the homeopathic cell salts calc phos and calc fluor. I honestly can not say if this worked, but it didn't hurt and was an easy supplement to add to our regiment.
Take three pellets each per day apart from food and dissolve under tongue.
And that, my friends, is what it takes! By setting in motion the steps outlined in all three posts in this series you can find tooth health again.
I know that we did.
If you are dealing with a tooth crisis in your home I suggest you do a little homework now by reading this thread on Mothering.com. It will take you several days to work your way thorough (take your time) but it's absolutely rich with information that can help get your family moving in a healthy direction.
Please note: I am neither a dentist nor an expert. The information above is based on our unique experiences as a family, and is not intended as medical advice. Work together with a holistic dentist and find a course of action that works best for your family.
If this post left you with questions or a hunger for more information I suggest the book Cure Tooth Decay and this thread on Mothering.com.
I also strongly recommend Nourishing Traditions. While we don't follow a strictly Weston Price style diet any more, during our crisis it was immensely helpful. During our time of acute decay this book was an indispensable resource that helped us re-learn how to eat.
Another wonderful book to pick up to help you find a new relationship with food is Practical Paleo. So much wonderful information there on how our food choices effect our health.
None of the links above are affiliate links. Just my own opinions! I was not compensated for this post in any way.
11 thoughts on “Supplements for healthy teeth: Holistic Tooth Care, Part Three”
i’m working on the book right now for myself, sometimes i struggle with feeling overwhelmed(one child has many food issues and we’ve done GAPS, SCD, etc etc). for my own case, i’d offer up emotional well being as another aspect to consider! EFT in particular keeps popping up in my research, and it makes sense. a combination of multiple pregnancies, extended bfing maybe, long term stress, and most recently poor diet, i believe brought me to my current tooth condition.
love your posts, apologies for not commenting more often!
I agree Stacy – it can be emotionally overwhelming. We’ve also been down the GAPS, SCD, and paleo paths and healing emotionally is a huge layer to tackle. I talk about it a bit in this post.
Thanks for commenting! And happy healing. (I mean that!)
Thanks Rachel! So far, my kiddo’s teeth seem to be good (according to the dentist anyway), but I myself just got a new crown this week after cracking what was left of one tooth which was already full of fillings. My teeth have always been bad thanks to a youth full of sugar-laden diets, thumb sucking, etc, etc. You name it, I’ve had it done to my teeth. Sigh…I think I need a new game plan!
My daughter was born with damaged enamel. I forget now what the technical term for it is, but basically her teeth came in yellow and were decaying fast. But when I found Rachel’s advice in the first part of this series I stopped using toothpaste and started using LuSa soap. Within three weeks the dark stains on her teeth were gone. I’ve tried to have her take GP’s cod liver oil but she just hates it. So we source lots of oily fish like sardines and she eats those along with lots of home fermented foods. She eats very few grains and lots of pastured meats and raw cheeses and pastured butter.
I have lots of hope that her adult teeth will come in healthier.
This was such an empowering series Rachel. Thank you! I know it’s given me so much hope and something to work with. Two different dentists told me there was nothing I could do but do fluoride treatments every three months. I just couldn’t take that for answer.
Thank you so much for posting this series. My son is battling a cavity in one of his front teeth, and I’ve been doing tons of research–thanks for sharing your insight and experience!
Thank you for this series! My little boy suffered with early child hood cavities which were severe, along with crumbling teeth. We didn’t find out till he was 6 years old, but he had severe lip and tongue ties. He had his lip tie lasered (see Mommypotamus website for in-depth information on lip and tongue ties in children). This may have been a contributor, but not the sole cause. He was still breast feed when the early decay began ( a little before 2 years old)…the dentists I spoke with insisted I stop night nursing, even a holistic dentist said I must stop night nursing. I researched and researched more…in the end I disagreed and kept night nursing. I’m glad I held my ground and did what my research and my mommy sense told me. We eventually discovered Weston A. Price diet recommendations and moved more and more towards that (yet we kept him dairy free), prior to that we ate organic and no sugar, no juice, etc. I did incorporate the FCLO, fermented skate oil, and butter oil into his diet as well. Diet is obviously really important/essential; however, I do think there are things that can help heal in addition to diet. I often hear people that try to heal a cavity and can not even thought they are eating Weston A. Price diets and taking the FCLO and butter oil. This may be due to damaged guts and malabsorption. I think the biggest healing factor for us was using spry (a xylitol product) and calcium bentonite clay….the clay being a huge factor in my opinion. When the cavities and crumbling began happening it literally happened so quickly, it was really scary! I had a friend that first recommended xylitol, and then a dentist recommended using it 5 times daily (that same dentist also referred us on to a dentist who could do surgery on our little guy). I would lightly put spry all over his teeth (just a couple little blobs on my finger spread onto all surfaces of his teeth. Then I would take the clay and put LOTS of it all over his teeth (kind of like mud mouth) and this is how he would go to bed. Even though he is much older now, this is still our routine. I did tons of research at the time, and had found an old blog post at the time that discussed a mom healing her child’s cavity with clay. The clay does help with re-mineralization, as well as the spry (xylitol); however, I think one of the biggest factors with clay helping heal decay is that it makes the mouth less acidic. When you pack their teeth and mouth with clay, this keeps their mouth less acidic through the night. Upon waking you can see some areas that are still clay packed. If you don’t see that, you are not packing with enough clay. My little guy would have had any dentist recommend dental surgery and lots of work done. He never had to have anything done, and fortunately never had pain. We now live in a different state and have found a really good holistic dentist, when he saw my son for the first time, he was amazed. He said all the decay was completely arrested. He just said to keep doing what I had been. For anyone struggling to heal decay I so encourage you to try the clay and spry combo. When he was little I would do the combo at least 5 times a day, now he brushes his teeth (with Earth Paste) and then at the night time brushing he or I will pack his mouth with the spry and clay. It is a travesty that all these dentists put these children through terrible surgeries–it just doesn’t always have to be that way.
Dentistry is such a scam field in many regards. When I was out of college and had just moved to a different city. My new dentist told me that I had a cavity and it needed filled immediately, I asked if I could see it on the x ray, they said not all cavities show up. It was so weird, I had not had any cavities in my permanent teeth. I felt they were being dishonest. They were, I ended up seeing my childhood dentist ( a great and really honest dentist) when I had traveled home a month or so later. He confirmed I did not have any cavities. So that dentist was a complete crook. How often is this happening to people? Almost two decades later, I still am fortunately cavity free.
About three years ago I bit down on a rock that was in a chimichanga. The good news was the restaurant was making their beans from scratch, they just didn’t check the beans for debris or rocks unfortunately The bad news was that eventually my tooth began to die after a month or so. even though I initially had passed a cold test when I first saw the dentist after my rock incident. Eventually with later visits I failed the cold test (couldn’t feel the pain of the cold). My tooth was almost completely dead. My dentist at the time said that it was most likely from an altered/reduced blood flow to the tooth caused by the trauma of biting the rock (it did really hurt for a long time…close to a year or more)…the tooth wasn’t receiving blood flow and was dying. He recommended having a root canal and sent me to a specialist. So once again I did tons of research. I ended up taking L- Arginine for several months, packed with clay each night and took more FCLO. I saved my tooth….when I had the eventual appointment with the endodontist my tooth was better and I could feel the cold test again…and had a good pain reaction, it really zinged again. Those cold testes really hurt when your nerves are working and you feel it. Since then we have discovered that I do have a small crack in the tooth, so it’s not perfect. I do have to be careful and not chew anything hard on that tooth, or it can start hurting. For the most part it is just fine…so no root canal for me. Someday I may have to lose the tooth, but maybe not?
There is hope, try clay in addition to diet, supplements, etc. I used living clay (this is a company who sells the calcium bentonite clay). There are other clays out there…I’ve thought of trying others but the don’t in the end. This clay did the job, I hate to risk if one didn’t?
I forgot to mention that the L-arginine increases blood flow throughout the body…thus it indeed increased blood flow to my tooth fortunately.
Rachel, thank you so very much for completing this series. I really appreciate you sharing your experience, insight and wisdom. Sending all the best to you and your family.
PS I LOVE your natural deodorant–it really does work!!!! Getting me through the hot summer 😉
Do you guys get the flavored cod oil and butter oil? Or just stick with non-flavored?
Thank you so much for sharing! I just learned that my 9 year-old is tongue tied (and he’s had 4 teeth pulled..total nightmare for him). I’ll have to read more on it. I had no idea it could be connected to the cavities. We also had a sham ped. dentist, so I still don’t know if he actually had….13 cavities.