Last week, we ended with a couple of basic points for naturally supporting your body’s ongoing process of tooth remineralization:
Get enough minerals, especially calcium and phosphorous, but trace minerals, too.
Get enough fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Now let’s dig a little deeper.
For one, these are hardly the only nutrients you need for a healthy mouth. Magnesium is another that’s especially important. This mineral keeps calcium dissolved in your body so it can get to where it’s needed – places such as your teeth. When there’s not enough, calcium gets deposited where it isn’t needed, such as your soft tissues.
The Weston A. Price Foundation offers a great summary of magnesium’s crucial role in maintaining strong tooth enamel:
Numerous studies…have established the fact that it is dietary magnesium, not calcium, (and certainly not fluoride) that creates glassy hard tooth enamel that resists decay, and strong and resilient bones. Regardless of the amount of calcium you consume, your teeth can only form hard enamel if magnesium is available in sufficient quantities.
According to J. I. Rodale, in Magnesium: the Nutrient that Could Change Your Life, “For years it was believed that high intakes of calcium and phosphorus inhibited decay by strengthening the enamel. Recent evidence, however, indicates that an increase in these two elements is useless unless we increase our magnesium intake at the same time.”
Most of the fat soluble vitamins we mentioned before also have an important role to play in calcium absorption and transport. (They have a lot of other roles to play in both oral and overall health, too.) For instance, vitamins A and D regulate the genes involved in those processes, and vitamin K2, like magnesium, helps calcium get to the bone and teeth.
Depending on your preferred source, you may get plenty of magnesium from your drinking water. If not, your potential food sources include leafy green vegetables, seeds, tree nuts and whole grains grown in GOOD SOIL.
Good soil is crucial. Research has shown that modern intensive farming methods have depleted soils of many vital nutrients. If the soil is nutrient-poor, the food grown in it will be too.
A landmark study…[analyzed] U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits, finding “reliable declines” in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past half century. [The researchers] chalk up this declining nutritional content to the preponderance of agricultural practices designed to improve traits (size, growth rate, pest resistance) other than nutrition.
There’s only so much you can do about soil depletion, but one thing you can do is choose organically grown food. Organic crops grow slower and have more time to absorb nutrients from the soil. Also, organic farmers pay more attention to their soil. A common saying among many such farmers is that they manage soil rather than plants. If they take good care of the soil, the plants will take care of themselves.
Selecting heirloom varieties of crops will also ensure that your food contains packs more of a nutritional punch. Most of these were developed before the modern obsessions with high yield and fast growth over flavor and food value.
But more isn’t necessarily better when it comes to phytic acid. This natural molecule is one way in which plants store phosphorous, and it’s released when seeds sprout. Present in seeds, grains, nuts, and legumes, it does have its benefits – antioxidant properties, for instance.
But when there’s too much of it, it interferes with the body’s ability to absorb iron, zinc, and – you guessed it – calcium.
For most folks eating a modern, diversified diet, phytic acid isn’t really an issue. Make sure that diet is nutrient-dense, and your teeth – not to mention the rest of you – will thank you.