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    Final Thoughts: How to Cure Tooth Decay

    June 16, 2011 by Brandy Vencel

    I already wrote a little about this book in my posts Tooth Decay and Germ Theory and Teeth Are Alive and Need Their Vitamins. I’m almost done re-reading passages in this book, and I’m getting ready to loan it out, so I thought I’d type up some parting thoughts before I forget them.

    Cure Tooth Decay: Heal and Prevent Cavities with Nutrition, Second EditionThis book taught me a lot about teeth and how to keep them healthy, yes. But it was tainted by Nagel’s constant negativity towards dentists. Yes, I agree that some dentists are in it for the money alone, and that those sorts of dentists do unnecessary and/or harmful work on their patients. Other dentists simply differ with Nagel. They aren’t evil and they aren’t preying on their patients. They just ascribe to a different philosophy, that’s all.

    I remember asking one of my doctors once why he doesn’t try more dietary intervention. I thought he’d respond in a closed-minded way, but he surprised me and seemed to understand the ability of proper diet to promote major healing. His problem was that his patients simply had no discipline or desire to change their habits. They’d rather take a pill.

    This is why the tone of the book bothered me, because I would love to know what my families, Fort Wayne Dentist thinks about the theories in the book, but I’d never suggest it to him because it’d be insulting. It reminds me a little of what I thought about Esolen’s Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child–I’d loan it to a teacher except that she’d be so offended that she wouldn’t be able to embrace the concepts.

    I’m not against critical thinking. If Nagel had kept it purely scientific, and stuck to pointing out, for instance, that brushing and flossing and using fluoride have gotten us nowhere in regard to tooth health, that’d be fine. That’s obvious, I think. But going after dentists and basically accusing them of being blinded by their greed…for me it crossed the line. We cannot see the hearts of men, and we shouldn’t pretend that we can. A dentist can in theory be both wrong and good at once, in the sense that he can do things that don’t promote tooth health out of ignorance, while simultaneously having genuine care for his patients in his heart.

    However, comma.

    This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t suggest the book…to you.

    You are not a dentist, are you?

    I didn’t think so.

    We are currently making the dietary changes in the book in hopes of controlling the problems our two oldest children have with their baby teeth. My main concern, really, is that they have healthy adult teeth. After reading all of the nutritional guidelines, I’m pretty sure I know why the two of them have weak teeth–it goes back to spending years on special diets {where they could drink no milk of any kind}. I didn’t really know how to nourish them on this diet, and at that time there weren’t all the resources there are now. When we took Daughter A. in to the doctor that finally helped us, she tested almost completely deficient in calcium.

    I suppose I ought to be grateful she has teeth at all!

    So now they have a new “special” diet, only this one is much easier on me, and tastier, too. We threw out the oatmeal, and they eat eggs about five mornings per week. A lot of those eggs are from our backyard flock, but some are also store-bought because…well, it takes a lot of eggs to serve six people each morning! They’re taking fermented cod liver oil and butter oil, drinking raw pastured milk, eating real yellow butter, and learning to eat organ meats {last week I discovered they adore liverwurst, a definite plus}. I’m also buying Indian ghee and planning to introduce more shellfish this summer.

    If you can’t tell from this list, the diet focuses on maximizing intake of calcium, phosphorous, and fat-soluble vitamins A {not pro-vitamin A…most children cannot make the conversion from beta carotene to Vitamin A}, D, and K2. Vitamin C is considered necessary for gum problems; as my children do not have these, I just let them eat fruit–especially unhulled strawberries {because most the Vitamin C is in the hull!} and call it a day. At the same time, Nagel suggests that we eat no grains, an exception being made for sourdough made from freshly ground flour with the bran sifted out. Thankfully, I took up making sourdough as a hobby, so this was not a stretch for me. There is a lot more to it, but these are the basics. This is considered therapeutic for children with poor teeth health. Though it is wise to make sure every child has intake of these vitamins and minerals, please don’t think I am turning into a food and nutrition Nazi!

    I really try to balance the idea that my children seem to need a therapeutic diet at this point {I do believe God gives us wisdom to know these things, and that Hippocrates, being a pagan, still had wisdom when he said, “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.”} with the fact that it is false teachers that are picky about food and cause division in the Church over eating laws and using special diets and the like:

    But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

    I Timothy 4:1-5

    Ahem.

    So we will see. It is really too soon to know if this will help them.

    Of course, it won’t hurt them. That is what’s nice about trying something like this: no side effects.

    We’re anticipating our first appointment with a biological dentist, because our daughter really might need intervention with a couple of her teeth, and this dentist is much gentler, not to mention metal-free. Nagel makes a strong case for not interfering with painless baby teeth, even if they are carious, and the pediatric dentist we saw wanted to do far more work than we were comfortable with. So we’re getting another opinion.

    I feel like this book gave us the direction we were looking for. We knew our children had cavities, and we wanted them to have healthy teeth. Because of their history of allergies, we were concerned about putting metal in their mouths and giving them drugs to which they might be allergic {such as Novocain shots or antihistamine sedatives to help them relax during the procedures}. Our hope is that we will be able to avoid this now, especially since we knew intuitively what the book explains scientifically–that drilling and filling a cavity does not cure the underlying cause of the decay.

    If you are looking for options in regard to tooth health, and you like trying to fix things yourself, this book is definitely a worthy read.

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    8 Comments

  • Reply lisa-v March 5, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Hey Brandy!!

    I was just about to write a comment about how much your words bless me – even when I’m not reading what you’re reading ( Desiring the Kingdom 🙂 ) when I noticed the little “ad” or whatever you call it for this post and got side-tracked.

    I’m pretty sure you made these diet changes before you implemented GAPS, right?

    I’m wondering if you think that the changes you made towards following Nagel’s theory were helpful or not – do your kids have less cavities and problems with their teeth?

    thanks,
    Lisa V in BC

    • Reply Brandy Vencel March 5, 2014 at 11:02 pm

      Hi Lisa!

      Yes, we did this before GAPS. I really do think that it has helped. The little ones haven’t had any cavities, and E-Age-Eleven and A-Age-Nine haven’t had any new cavities since I started it. I really think that it has helped a lot!

      In the book, I also learned about dental orthopedics, versus orthodontia, and that is what we’ve been using with all four children, who all have terribly small mouths. It costs a fraction of what braces would cost, and it works *with* nature rather than against it. Truly, that is the biggest reason I’m thankful for the book!

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts July 26, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    *Two* Beau and Jennifers?? That IS strange! 🙂

    As far as coops go…our first one was fairly inexpensive. We built it of PVC pipe and chicken wire. We spray painted the piping so that it’d last a bit longer in the sun. It made it almost two years, but by that time we had leftover 2x4s from our patio project, and we just used those along with chicken wire. The door each time has been lightweight plywood, painted, hung on cheap hinges, with a couple cheap clasping hooks to “lock” it in place. When we made this second, heavier cage, we also had to invest in some wheels because it is so cumbersome to move. We let our gals out to graze all day, so they only go in the cage at night, or during the day to grab extra grain rations. Generally, though, they spend their time eating grass, weeds, and bugs. The only other expenditure lately has been that we finally bought a hanging feeder. When we added the new birds, some of the weakers one weren’t being allowed to eat grain at all, and they got so skinnny and quite laying, so we finally bought a feeder, which seems to have helped.

    Keeping the birds has also been a fun education for the children, even during the times when they aren’t laying much.

  • Reply Rachel R. July 26, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Oh, silly me, wrong Jennifer. But whod’ve thought there were TWO Jennifer+Beau’s? Sorry!

  • Reply Rachel R. July 26, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    I’m glad you posted about this! This book has been on my wish list for a while, but I haven’t gotten around to buying it yet.

    I do wish real butter and eggs weren’t so expensive, though! (If you have any tips on raising backyard chickens inexpensively, I’d love to hear them! I would like to have a few chickens in our suburban backyard – they seem to be legal – but I can’t afford the up-front cost of a standard coop.)

    Jennifer, I didn’t know you read here!

    Speaking of libraries, do either of you have a LibraryThing account?

  • Reply Chiot's Run July 15, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Great thoughts, I too loved this book and though it was a great intro to the Nourishing way of eating. I’ve read Nutrition & Physical Degeneration and many of the other books, but I find this one to be the best for recommending to others.

    I agree with you on the dentist thing. Most of the people we know have dentists like the ones he talks about the book. I’m amazed at how often most people I know go to the dentist and have dental work done. Thankfully I grew up going to a dentist while he’s not fully on board with these things he does leave small cavities to remineralize if possible and will tell you to eat more healthfully to see if it will happen before drilling. He isn’t in it to make money and seems to be a great middle ground between holistic and conventional as far as dentistry goes.

    I love reading about parents that are discovering the principles on nourishing their children and making the effort – it’s very encouraging and refreshing. Most people I know will read books like this and write it off simply because they don’t want to take the time or effort to make the change. Sadly their children will suffer the rest of their lives from their decisions. Keep up the good work – you children will thank you some day!

  • Reply Silvia June 17, 2011 at 12:16 am

    Very interesting.
    My daughters, 6 and 4, do not have cavities. But they have never drank much milk. I’ve always thought that their good teeth so far are a consequence of not juice but water, and no sugar… but I understand as you tell that children with a determined diet can be lacking on nutrients that make them prone to cavities.
    And the view of drilling and metal makes sense. I’m so sorry, because I have a close friend, they are all vegetarian, and her youngest child of four has no front or bottom teeth, and the only molars he has are all bad. Finally she took her child to the dentist when they worked massively filling, drilling, and with Novocaine etc.
    And my friend Heather told me her dentist said it doesn’t matter if the baby teeth have cavities, when I heard that since new teeth absorb the previous ones, the health of baby teeth was very related to the fate of the grown up teeth. I may be carrying the same myth than when I thought women needed episotomies (sp?)since it’s what even good intentioned OB Gynns believe still today.

  • Reply Jennifer June 16, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Brandy, I love this post. You know how I love the WAP principles, and it is quite encouraging to see that nourishing food benefits every part of the body. Beau won’t let me be too strict with him and the children, but I am glad for every bit of butter, coconut oil, and the like that I am able to get in them. they have started asking good questions as well. Someday you should open a library so we can all have access to your treasure trove. 🙂 You probably know this, but TJ’s and Fresh and Easy both have good prices on Kerrygold. I love that stuff.

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