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Nutrition against tooth decay

Coconut oil could combat tooth decay, says a recent study. Digested coconut oil is able to attack the bacteria that cause tooth decay. It is a natural antibiotic that could be incorporated into commercial dental care products, said scientists presenting their work in the fall of 2012 at the Society for General Microbiology's Autumn Conference at the University of Warwick, according to the September 2, 2012 news release, "Coconut oil could combat tooth decay." That's why you may have so many societies in areas where coconuts grow rinsing their mouth with coconut oil.

Nutrition against tooth decay.
Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

The team from the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland tested the antibacterial action of coconut oil in its natural state and coconut oil that had been treated with enzymes, in a process similar to digestion. The oils were tested against strains of Streptococcus bacteria which are common inhabitants of the mouth. They found that enzyme-modified coconut oil strongly inhibited the growth of most strains of Streptococcus bacteria including Streptococcus mutans – an acid-producing bacterium that is a major cause of tooth decay.

Many previous studies have shown that partially digested foodstuffs are active against micro-organisms

Earlier work on enzyme-modified milk showed that it was able to reduce the binding of S. mutans to tooth enamel, which prompted the group to investigate the effect of other enzyme-modified foods on bacteria. Further work will examine how coconut oil interacts with Streptococcus bacteria at the molecular level and which other strains of harmful bacteria and yeasts it is active against. Additional testing by the group at the Athlone Institute of Technology found that enzyme-modified coconut oil was also harmful to the yeast Candida albicans that can cause thrush.

The researchers suggest that enzyme-modified coconut oil has potential as a marketable antimicrobial which could be of particular interest to the oral healthcare industry. Dr Damien Brady who is leading the research said, "Dental caries is a commonly overlooked health problem affecting 60-90% of children and the majority of adults in industrialized countries. Incorporating enzyme-modified coconut oil into dental hygiene products would be an attractive alternative to chemical additives, particularly as it works at relatively low concentrations. Also, with increasing antibiotic resistance, it is important that we turn our attention to new ways to combat microbial infection."

The work also contributes to our understanding of antibacterial activity in the human gut. "Our data suggests that products of human digestion show antimicrobial activity. This could have implications for how bacteria colonize the cells lining the digestive tract and for overall gut health," explained Dr Brady, according to the news release. "Our research has shown that digested milk protein not only reduced the adherence of harmful bacteria to human intestinal cells but also prevented some of them from gaining entrance into the cell. We are currently researching coconut oil and other enzyme-modified foodstuffs to identify how they interfere with the way bacteria cause illness and disease," he said in the news release.

Vitamin D and lower rates of tooth decay

In another study with different researchers, a new review associates vitamin D with lower rates of tooth decay, says a November 27, 2012 news release, " New review associates vitamin D with lower rates of tooth decay." Studies of children in several countries linked vitamin D to a 50 percent reduction in the incidence of dental caries. A new review of existing studies points toward a potential role for vitamin D in helping to prevent dental caries, or tooth decay. Also you may wish to see the site, "Vitamin D and dental caries in controlled clinical trials: systematic review and meta-analysis."

The review, published in the December 2012 issue of Nutrition Reviews, encompassed 24 controlled clinical trials, spanning the 1920s to the 1980s, on approximately 3,000 children in several countries. These trials showed that vitamin D was associated with an approximately 50 percent reduction in the incidence of tooth decay. "My main goal was to summarize the clinical trial database so that we could take a fresh look at this vitamin D question," said Dr. Philippe Hujoel of the University of Washington, according to the news release. Dr. Hujoel conducted the review.

Taking a fresh look at vitamin D

While vitamin D's role in supporting bone health has not been disputed, significant disagreement has historically existed over its role in preventing caries, Hujoel noted, according to the news release. The American Medical Association and the U.S. National Research Council concluded around 1950 that vitamin D was beneficial in managing dental caries. The American Dental Association said otherwise – based on the same evidence. In 1989, the National Research Council, despite new evidence supporting vitamin D's caries-fighting benefits, called the issue "unresolved."

Current reviews by the Institute of Medicine, the U.S. Department of Human Health and Service and the American Dental Association draw no conclusions on the vitamin D evidence as it relates to dental caries. "Such inconsistent conclusions by different organizations do not make much sense from an evidence-based perspective," Hujoel said in the news release. The trials he reviewed increased vitamin D levels in children through the use of supplemental UV radiation or by supplementing the children's diet with cod-liver oil or other products containing the vitamin.

The clinical trials he reviewed were conducted in the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Austria, New Zealand and Sweden. Trials were conducted in institutional settings, schools, medical and dental practices, or hospitals. The subjects were children or young adults between the ages of 2 and 16 years, with a weighted mean age of 10 years.

Hujoel's findings come as no surprise to researchers familiar with past vitamin D studies. According to Dr. Michael Hollick, professor of medicine at the Boston University Medical Center, "the findings from the University of Washington reaffirm the importance of vitamin D for dental health." He said, according to the news release, that "children who are vitamin D deficient have poor and delayed teeth eruption and are prone to dental caries."

The vitamin D question takes on greater importance in the light of current public health trends

Vitamin D levels in many populations are decreasing while dental caries levels in young children are increasing. "Whether this is more than just a coincidence is open to debate," Hujoel said in the news release. "In the meantime, pregnant women or young mothers can do little harm by realizing that vitamin D is essential to their offspring's health. Vitamin D does lead to teeth and bones that are better mineralized."

Hujoel added a note of caution to his findings: "One has to be careful with the interpretation of this systematic review. The trials had weaknesses which could have biased the result, and most of the trial participants lived in an era that differs profoundly from today's environment. "

Hujoel has joint appointments as a professor in the University of Washington School of Dentistry's Department of Oral Health Sciences and as an adjunct professor of epidemiology in the UW School of Public Health. His research has concentrated on nutrition with a focus on low-carbohydrate diets, harmful effects of diagnostic radiation, and evidence-based methodology and applications.

His research has also covered sugar substitutes, the use of antibiotics in the treatment of periodontal disease, and cleft lip and cleft palate. He has also studied the link between dental disease and systemic disease, as well as trends in disease prevalence.

Can vitamin D lower the rate of tooth decay?

Yes, says a new study from the University of Washington. Vitamin D levels in many populations are decreasing while dental caries levels in young children are increasing. Vitamin D has been used to prevent and treat dental caries. The objective of a new study focused on conducting a systematic review of controlled clinical trials (CCTs) assessing the impact of vitamin D on dental caries (tooth decay) prevention.

The analysis identified vitamin D as a promising caries-preventive agent, leading to a low-certainty conclusion that vitamin D may reduce the incidence of caries. Interestingly no difference on teeth was observed in the new study between vitamin D3 and vitamin D2. But some nutritionists suggest that vitamin D3 is healthier for the body in general. See the site, "Vitamin D2 Is Much Less Effective than Vitamin D3 in Humans."

A new review of existing studies points toward a potential role for vitamin D in helping to prevent dental caries, or tooth decay. The review, published in the journal Nutrition Reviews, encompassed 24 controlled clinical trials, spanning the 1920s to the 1980s, on approximately 3,000 children in several countries. These trials showed that vitamin D was associated with an approximately 50 percent reduction in the incidence of tooth decay. See the February 2013 abstract of the study, "Vitamin D and dental caries in controlled clinical trials: systematic review and meta-analysis."

What's the impact of vitamin D on preventing tooth decay?

The objective of this new study was to conduct a systematic review of controlled clinical trials known as (CCTs) assessing the impact of vitamin D on dental caries prevention. "My main goal was to summarize the clinical trial database so that we could take a fresh look at this vitamin D question," explained Dr. Philippe Hujoel of the University of Washington, who conducted the review, according to the news release, "New review associates vitamin D with lower rates of tooth decay."

Also check out another study's abstract, " Do energy drinks contain active components other than caffeine? (pages 730–744)." And besides the effects of vitamin D on teeth, you may also want to check out the study, "Using components of the vitamin D pathway to prevent and treat colon cancer."

While vitamin D's role in supporting bone health has not been disputed, significant disagreement has historically existed over its role in preventing caries, Hujoel noted. The American Medical Association and the U.S. National Research Council concluded around 1950 that vitamin D was beneficial in managing dental caries. The American Dental Association said otherwise – based on the same evidence. In 1989, the National Research Council, despite new evidence supporting vitamin D's caries-fighting benefits, called the issue "unresolved."

Current reviews by the Institute of Medicine, the U.S. Department of Human Health and Service and the American Dental Association draw no conclusions on the vitamin D evidence as it relates to dental caries.

"Such inconsistent conclusions by different organizations do not make much sense from an evidence-based perspective," Hujoel said in the news release. The trials he reviewed increased vitamin D levels in children through the use of supplemental UV radiation or by supplementing the children's diet with cod-liver oil or other products containing the vitamin.

The clinical trials he reviewed were conducted in the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Austria, New Zealand and Sweden. Trials were conducted in institutional settings, schools, medical and dental practices, or hospitals. The subjects were children or young adults between the ages of 2 and 16 years, with a weighted mean age of 10 years.

Importance of vitamin D for dental health studied

Hujoel's findings come as no surprise to researchers familiar with past vitamin D studies. According to Dr. Michael Hollick, professor of medicine at the Boston University Medical Center, "the findings from the University of Washington reaffirm the importance of vitamin D for dental health." He said that "children who are vitamin D deficient have poor and delayed teeth eruption and are prone to dental caries." What researchers need to look at is why Vitamin D levels in many populations are decreasing while dental caries levels in young children are increasing. Is it due to the heavy use of sugary sodas, candy, fast foods and processed cereals with added sugar or the increasing use of bleached, white flour and increased eating of sugary cookies and other baked goods?

"Whether this is more than just a coincidence is open to debate," Hujoel said in the news release. "In the meantime, pregnant women or young mothers can do little harm by realizing that vitamin D is essential to their offspring's health. Vitamin D does lead to teeth and bones that are better mineralized."

It's important to look at what pregnant mothers are eating and how what they eat will affect their infant's teeth later

Hujoel added a note of caution to his findings: "One has to be careful with the interpretation of this systematic review. The trials had weaknesses which could have biased the result, and most of the trial participants lived in an era that differs profoundly from today's environment." Parents are wondering whether grains rot their children's teeth, whether low-carb diets help the teeth of children or whether kids do better on plant-based alkaline foods such as green leafy vegetable juices regarding bones and teeth as well as what the effects of protein powders are on children's teeth. Parents also worry about the effects of diagnostic radiation on the teeth and health in general. That's also a subject of research.

Moms also worry about what they should be eating before the birth of their children, whether they need more or less calcium and magnesium, for example to help their offspring's bones and teeth later. Nutrition with a focus on low-carb diets is being studied by dentists at the same time vegan diets focused on green vegetable juices and alkaline diets are being studied by physicians working with type 2 diabetics and those with metabolic syndrome.

The debate continues in many research circles about whether what's better for health, low-carb diets or vegan diets that don't emphasize sugary foods, but rather focus on alkaline plant foods

There's always the balanced diet and the diet tailored to an individual's metabolic and genetic requirements from foods. Hujoel has joint appointments as a professor in the University of Washington School of Dentistry's Department of Oral Health Sciences and as an adjunct professor of epidemiology in the UW School of Public Health.

His research has concentrated on nutrition with a focus on low-carbohydrate diets, harmful effects of diagnostic radiation, and evidence-based methodology and applications. His research has also covered sugar substitutes, the use of antibiotics in the treatment of periodontal disease, and cleft lip and cleft palate. He has also studied the link between dental disease and systemic disease, as well as trends in disease prevalence.

Ancient teeth and oral bacteria show disease evolution

What you eat that actually is absorbed can show up thousands of years later on how that diet affected your health, reveals a new study from the University of Adelaide. It appears that the DNA preserved in calcified bacteria on the teeth of ancient human skeletons can shed light on the health consequences of the evolving diet and behavior from the Stone Age to the modern day. DNA preserved in calcified bacteria on the teeth of ancient human skeletons has shed light on the health consequences of the evolving diet and behavior from the Stone Age to the modern day.

The ancient genetic record reveals the negative changes in oral bacteria brought about by the dietary shifts as humans became farmers, and later with the introduction of food manufacturing in the Industrial Revolution. An international team, led by the University of Adelaide's Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD) where the research was performed, has published the results in the journal Nature Genetics on February 17, 2013. Other team members include the Department of Archaeology at the University of Aberdeen and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge (UK).

"This is the first record of how our evolution over the last 7500 years has impacted the bacteria we carry with us, and the important health consequences," explains study leader Professor Alan Cooper, ACAD Director in the February 17, 2013 news release, Ancient teeth bacteria record disease evolution. "Oral bacteria in modern man are markedly less diverse than historic populations and this is thought to contribute to chronic oral and other disease in post-industrial lifestyles."

Food was more diverse, and so were oral bacteria before farming -- when people ate what grew wild in plants as well as fish and meat

The researchers extracted DNA from tartar (calcified dental plaque) from 34 prehistoric northern European human skeletons, and traced changes in the nature of oral bacteria from the last hunter-gatherers, through the first farmers to the Bronze Age and Medieval times.

"Dental plaque represents the only easily accessible source of preserved human bacteria," says lead author Dr Christina Adler, according to the news release. Dr. Adler conducted the research while a PhD student at the University of Adelaide, now at the University of Sydney. "Genetic analysis of plaque can create a powerful new record of dietary impacts, health changes and oral pathogen genomic evolution, deep into the past."

Professor Cooper says in the news release, "The composition of oral bacteria changed markedly with the introduction of farming, and again around 150 years ago. With the introduction of processed sugar and flour in the Industrial Revolution, we can see a dramatically decreased diversity in our oral bacteria, allowing domination by caries-causing strains. The modern mouth basically exists in a permanent disease state."

Flour and sugar resulted in a dramatic decrease in oral bacteria's diversity since the time of the Industrial Revolution

Professor Cooper has been working on the project with archaeologist and co-Leader Professor Keith Dobney, now at the University of Aberdeen, for the past 17 years. Professor Dobney says: "I had shown tartar deposits commonly found on ancient teeth were dense masses of solid calcified bacteria and food, but couldn't identify the species of bacteria. Ancient DNA was the obvious answer."

However, the team was not able to sufficiently control background levels of bacterial contamination until 2007 when ACAD's ultra-clean laboratories and strict decontamination and authentication protocols became available. The research team is now expanding its studies through time, and around the world, including other species such as Neanderthals.

Foods in modern times that lessen the risk of tooth decay

Foods that lessen the risk of tooth decay are foods that help balance the calcium to phosphorous ratio in your blood stream. When it comes to your balanced calcium-phosphorous ratio, it's about 8.75 mg of calcium per 100 cc of blood to 3.5 mg of phosphorous per 100 cc of blood, with normal sugar levels that is more likely to create immunity to tooth decay in most people, according to the book, Your Body Is Your Best Doctor by Melvin Page D.D.S., H. Leon Abrams Jr., page 196.

In the 1930s, Dr. Westin A. Price, DDS wrote the book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, that helped to inspire Dr. Melvin Page. Dr. Price believed that an unbalanced ratio of calcium to phosphorous in your body led to a variety of degenerative diseases including some of the chronic diseases and also tooth decay, tooth infection, and inflammation. Basically, Dr. Page found that the ideal ratio of calcium to phosphorus in your body for ideal health should be around 2 1/2/:1. This ratio was then used by Dr. Page to determine the correct nutritional diet and/or supplements dosages in order to balance the chemistry of your body. That's how nutrition and endocrinology becomes linked, by using nutrition to help balance the chemistry of your body.

Often foods that help protect against cancer also work on the thyroid in various ways. In light of this research on chemopreventive foods at UC Davis and other universities, the American Cancer Society recommends consuming broccoli as part of a balanced diet that includes foods from a variety of plant sources. What's being studied locally about nutrition in the Sacramento and Davis areas? The University of California is studying dairy products and health. See the article, Dairy ingredients embody functionality: a question and answer exchange on concentrated and dried dairy ingredients.

Explaining dental-self sufficiency research by consumers

Some urban neighborhoods of Sacramento County such as Arden Arcade or Citrus Heights have dentists located every few blocks. But dental self sufficiency is a nutrition-based issue that begins in your home.

You don't want calcium from your teeth stuffing up your arteries or calcifying your glands. Worse yet, when minerals are pulled from your teeth, you get tooth decay and gum disease. The root cause of tooth decay and gum disease are the high blood sugar spikes.

Those in turn lead to the loss of calcium from your teeth, loss of enamel, and gum infections/gum disease. You can check out the studies on this. See the book, Your Body is Your Best Doctor, by M. Page and L. Abrams. New Canaan: Keats Publishing, Inc. 1972:188. Dr. Melvin Page, D.D.S. developed a system of body measurements to determine one's inherited glandular pattern.

Eating a quarter pound of candy (chocolates made with sugar) can make your phosphorous levels shoot up and out of balance with calcium

Simply eating a quarter pound of candy (chocolates made with sugar) may make your phosphorous levels shoot up after less than two hours and out of balance with your calcium levels, possibly putting you in harm's way of tooth decay. You see, tooth decay probably isn't going to happen when your diet keeps your phosphorous to calcium ratio in balance. But first you have to be aware of what that ratio is.

It has been found that a constant ratio of calcium and phosphorous (10-4) in your blood plasma is the optimum requirement for adults. There's a higher and varying level of phosphorous requirement for growing children. And there's a lower (but still proportional levels) of calcium to phosphorous being required when you're in your older years. Whether you get tooth decay or not depends upon a certain proportion of calcium and phosphorous in your blood.

Scientists still don't know what the ratio might be for manufacturing bone, but as far as tooth decay prevention, if you have a certain ratio of calcium to phosphorous in your blood, you may become immune to tooth decay, probably, according to Dr. Page's book, which was inspired by the books written by Weston A. Price, DDS, in the 1930s.

Also decalcification of your teeth happens when there's a mineral imbalance in your saliva. And repeated tests have long proven that a mineral imbalance in your saliva is a reflection of your calcium-to-phosphorous ratio. When the calcium-phosphorous ratio is imbalanced in your blood, your salivary secretions are no longer acid, and erosion of your teeth stops happening.

The goal is to correct body chemistry through nutrition. For further information, see the book Your Body is Your Best Doctor, by Melvin E. Page, DDS and H. Leon Abrams, Jr. (Pages 194-200 are especially important as far as explaining how nutrition helps to prevent tooth decay.) Dr. Page made these discoveries more than 40 years ago.

Nutrition is linked to endocrinology

Why hasn't your dentist handed you a diet sheet about nutrition and endocrinology today? Could it be because of lack of training as a holistic dentist schooled in nutritional endocrinology? Or if no one has cavities anymore, would the only business that might arrive are people with teeth in which the nerve has died, those with gum disease, and cosmetic work?

Concepts such as inflammation in a tooth joint, known as pyorrhea is related to inflammation in a joint known as arthritis. It is about these parallels that holistic dentistry researches. Yet with the type of diet most people eat by habit, introduced in early childhood (such as sugary cereals) cavities and plaque may grow from the inside out.

Some holistic dentists follow the teachings of Dr. Melvin E. Page, who is co-author of the book, Your Body is Your Best Doctor. If your holistic dentist is using the teachings found by numerous holistic dentists in the field of nutritional endocrinology, then your holistic dentist will probably tell you that it's the ratio of calcium to phosphorous in your body that probably determines whether or not you'll get tooth decay.

Also body measurement was used. For example the length and circumference of your lower leg and lower arm. The lower limbs were measured to determine inherited glandular patterns in your body. This happened many years before the concept of tailoring your diet to your genes became popular. In those days the balancing focused on your body chemistry and endocrinology.

The idea was that slight glandular imbalances may lead to degenerative diseases. And nutrition can help to bring back balance in the chemistry in your body. For example, too much calcium in your blood may lead to too much tartar or plaque accumulating on your teeth.

Too much acid in your mouth, and you have tooth decay

Too much alkaline in your mouth, and you have gum disease. To rebalance your body chemistry in various parts of your body from your calcified pineal gland to your constant tooth decay required changing your diet. Sometimes the culprit was drinking too much milk. Or perhaps your teeth have been ruined by too much sugar.

Did you ever take your family to a local holistic dentist who is trained in nutritional endocrinology? If so, you'll probably get a diet to follow after your calcium-to-phosphorus ratio has been measured with a blood test. Check out the various directories online of holistic dentists.

Pick your home town and state and look up lists of holistic dentists in your area of the nation. But generally, dentists don't give people blood tests to see whether they have an imbalance in their body chemistry as far as the calcium to phosphorous ratio, which is important in whether your teeth are relatively immune to tooth decay or not.