"My son’s teeth are in a lot of pain! What can I do? They want to extract teeth… I’m not sure... and the cost of X dental treatment is so high, I can barely afford it right now... what can I do?”
If you have ever worried about teeth related issues yourself, you are not alone. From friends, family and members in the community, I know that many wonder what to do about their own or their children’s teeth decaying.
While the common answer usually includes “stop eating sugar”, it’s not the only thing that needs to change. Besides, not all sugar is bad.
The cost of dental treatment can be crippling, especially when you don’t have good insurance (and not all cover dental).
Further, I don’t think it’s fair or healthy to put very young children through dental surgery if it can be avoided. It can be very traumatic even for adults. If there was anything else I could do to avoid it, I would try it first. The same applies for my own teeth, and yours.
So, to help, here are some steps to take that you can consider implementing fairly quickly if you’re interested in taking care of your teeth in the long term:
1. Firstly, stop, breathe and wait a moment.
If this is the first time you’ve found out you or your child have tooth decay, don’t panic. Decay comes on over time, and it can also arrest over time too.
Unless you or your child are in excruciating pain, it is prudent to wait before you take drastic, expensive action to drill into or extract parts or even whole teeth at a time, especially when several teeth are involved or affected.
Breathe, pause, and start to make a plan. Research your options critically, with an open mind and heart.
Ask your dentist how much time they believe the decay can wait before needing to drill- mine have usually responded with 3-6 months. This is usually more than enough time to make some serious changes to the strength of your teeth through nutrition, diet and daily hygiene.
2. Reflect on your diet habits honestly: identify what has been missing, and what’s in excess
For anyone facing tooth decay, the first course of action should be to identify what’s missing in the diet.
Is there a healthy balance, are there nutritious meals being eaten regularly, or are there excessive amounts of any one type of food being eaten too much?
These are all good starter questions.
3. Start to use a truly strengthening toothpaste
In particular, one with nanohydroxyperoxide. This particular ingredient is great for helping to restore the enamel of the teeth.
After using it for at least a couple of years, it’s been truly amazing to see - and to feel - the restoration of my enamel over time. My teeth have no sensitivity when being checked or cleaned, whereas cleaning previously used to be an unbearable experience.
4. Supplement and nourish yourself or your child daily
The most important supplement for healing my own cavities was certainly fermented cod liver oil/fermented skate liver oil. The nutritious value of such supplements cannot be underestimated when it comes to strengthening bones, particularly the teeth.
Fermented skate liver oil/cod liver oil have been the same as fast acting pain killers for me when my teeth have ached, and making these a part of my diet was crucial to arresting the cavities that were forming.
While I understand this is not a vegan option, and it is not even an ‘easy’ option for most since liver oil is not a pleasant taste, I can’t yet speak about alternatives as I have not come across or tried good ones yet. If you can’t take these supplements, the other steps in this article will still be relevant.
5. Give your body and your teeth time
As said earlier: decay comes on over time, much like poor eyesight, and it takes time to arrest and rebalance too. I was terribly impatient for all my efforts to rebalance my nutrition to show results, but it really did take months.
Be prepared to be patient, disciplined, and gentle with your body and its progress. Good things take time.
On the quest to arrest my own cavities, one of the most pivotal books I came across was written by Dr Ramiel Nagel - Cure Tooth Decay.
While the read is fascinating if you are interested in health, for me, the most lasting, practical tips from the book boil down to the ones I’ve highlighted in this article.
These are the very basics of what I currently do on a daily basis to prevent cavities from returning and to promote good teeth health. And, so far so good: at least I've escaped drilling four of my teeth. Phew.