Cavity Reversal and Improper Jaw Development
If you follow along on Instagram, you know we worked to remineralize Sawyer’s two cavities and successfully avoided having them filled. Cavities come in all sizes and levels of decay but unfortunately, most dentists are quick to recommend immediate fillings for nearly all of them.
In my research, I found many dental procedures, including fillings, were causing more harm than good. Many materials used in dentistry have been linked to autoimmune disease, neurological disease, heightened bacteria, heart attacks and even cavities! I’ve been wanting to remove my root canal for ages, and these are just a few reasons why!
I searched high and low for a true holistic dentist in Silicon Valley. The first dentist we visited was very sweet to Sawyer, but insisted her cavities were beyond repair and wanted to fill them. When I pushed for alternatives, she said she might be a “candidate” for Ozone treatment from a specialist 90 minutes away in Marin County.
When I looked into the dentist, I discovered a huge graphic on his website stating he believed mercury fillings and fluoride to be safe. So I exited that website right quick.
Luckily, I have THE BEST readers and one of you gave me a referral to a true Holistic Dentist, Dr. Brian Smith, who happened to be in Marin County as well! He examined Sawyer’s cavities and wasn’t too concerned.
Dr. Smith seemed pretty confident her cavities could be remineralized, and in fact, was more concerned with her tight frenulum under the tongue (frenulum linguae) and inside the upper lip above the two front teeth (frenulum labii superioris). He correctly deduced she had a type of MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) mutation from the tightness.
MTHFR and the Midline Defect
For those who don’t know, MTHFR is the enzyme responsible for many important processes such as amino acid balance, DNA synthesis and repair, regulating gene expression, converting inactive folate (or the synthetic folic acid) into the active form your body uses. A mutated MTHFR gene causes an inability to perform these functions at their optimal rate.
As a seasoned MTHFR recipient, I was stunned I hadn’t heard the frenulum connection before. Once I realized folate is essential for proper midline development, a midline defect such as tight frenulum made sense since those with MTHFR can’t activate folate properly. Sawyer takes a methylated (active) B vitamin, which Dr. Smith encouraged her to stay on. (Recommended to start after the third birthday).
Dr. Smith went on to educate me how frenulum tightness actually impedes jaw development and can go on to cause a laundry list of issues including chronic mouth breathing, sleep apnea, teeth grinding and clenching, nasal congestion and more.
This is why we now see an Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist to help stretch these out before her jaw fully develops in an improper fashion.
In fact, as of our last appointment, Sawyer’s therapist believes her tongue frenulum is stretching out nicely and may not need to have it lasered!
Her upper frenulum, however, will need to be addressed. Her lower jaw is starting to recede, which you can see by how her chin has begun to jut back a bit in her profile. She clenches and grinds her teeth at night because it helps open up her airway to breathe through her nose.
The thought is when the upper frenulum is released, the mouth will be far less restricted and will allow for proper jaw development and open airways.
Ozone and Dentistry
For her cavities, Dr. Smith gave Sawyer an Ozone treatment along with her cleaning. Ozone, while commonly used in dentistry, has been used for years by many physicians for patients with allergies, Lyme disease, acne, hepatitis and more.
Ozone is simply a tri-atomic oxygen particle, O3, created by passing medical-grade pure oxygen through a corona discharge generator.
Ozone is negatively charged and by nature looks to neutralize anything with a positive charge. “Bad” cells – bacteria, viruses, cancer cells or free radicals, etc. – in our body typically carry positive charges on their cell membranes. “Good” cells will typically have anti-oxidants on their cell membranes and will deter surface oxygenation. Negatively charged cells will attract the ozone particle looking to neutralize its charge and the ozone will perforate the cell membrane and destroy it, thus destroying the “bad” cell.
Ozone treatment can be used in dentistry for:
- Periodontal disease: Ozone can be used to help treat periodontal disease by using ozonated water flushed below the gum line and/or ozone gas infiltrated into the gum tissue and supporting tissues.
- Root canals: Ozone is used in all forms during root canal treatment to kill bacteria, sterilize the canal system and to stimulate faster healing. As a gas, ozone can get to places traditional liquids can’t because the gas can permeate the tiny tubules that cannot otherwise be accessed, thereby getting a truly sterile, bacteria-free root canal system before sealing the canals.
- Decay: Ozone can be used to kill decay-causing bacteria. Since ozone is a gas, it can permeate into areas below the gum line, into the grooves of teeth and over the smooth surfaces of the teeth and will kill bacteria on contact. If the decayed area, or cavity, is not too deep, then no restoration may be needed at all. If the area of decay is deeply cavitated and the bacteria is killed, then a filling can be placed often times with no need for numbing. Because ozone acts to recalcify tooth structure, areas of the tooth that have been treated with ozone are stronger than what was there before.
- Sensitivity: Because ozone can harden compromised tooth structure, flooding a sensitive area or tooth with ozone gas can effectively eliminate sensitivity. We have successfully addressed many patients’ sensitivity issues with ozone therapy.
- Safety: Ozone does not have any contraindications with other medications, therefore cross-reactions are not a concern at all. You cannot be allergic to ozone, because you cannot be allergic to oxygen.
The Whole Body Dentistry is a great resource for those looking for more information about how Ozone can be used for bacterial infections, dental restorations, dental surgery, TMJ, cavitations, sinus infections and mouth lesions.
With Sawyer, her two cavities remineralized and are currently non-existant after following this simple protocol:
- Initial cleaning and ozone treatment with Dr. Smith
- Twice daily brushing using Coral Minerals Kids Toothpaste
- Formulated with coral minerals, Echinacea, Ginko Biloba and American Ginseng and without Fluoride, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Carageenan and Glycerin
A follow up visit a few months later reflected in a full set of healthy teeth! For some, this protocol may work, others may need more ozone treatments and/or things like tooth powder or implementing a tooth decay protocol/diet, which is based on the research by Weston A. Price.
It may be important to note that Sawyer eats a nutrient-dense diet nearly free from all refined foods/sugars and drinks filtered water free from many contaminants including fluoride. The cavities she had were at the back of her two bottom molars, most likely because they got skimmed over during the brushing process.
I had the chance to ask Dr. Smith many of the questions you all sent in and here’s what he had to say!
What are the habits one needs to incorporate into their life to combat and repair cavities?
A good home regimen would include brushing twice daily, with a manual or electric toothbrush and implementing an oral irrigator. It’s important to have regular check-ups, once or twice a year to catch small problems early.
That said, nearly anything can contribute to oral health including diet and gut health. It’s also important to note that while several water filter systems can eliminate a good amount of fluoride from the drinking water, many people don’t realize how much fluoride is absorbed via the bath and shower. Though there is a small population of people experiencing immediate effects of this type of exposure, the larger population can still experience long term effects.
What is your recommended hygiene routine for those under 5?
Brushing twice a day and flossing daily are important habits for children to implement. Obviously the Coral Toothpaste you use is a great option (Adult version here), and another one I like is My Magic Mud which is an activated charcoal, bentonite clay paste, but can be messy…which is why kids like it so much.
Also, children don’t have the dexterity to brush their teeth on their own before the age of 5, so parents need to assist until then.
Can you explain how Ozone works with cavities?
As an antimicrobial, ozone disinfects and kills bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc. It stimulates healing by addressing the nutritional and bacterial imbalance in the mouth and aids in the remineralization process. The beauty of ozone oxygen gas is that the gas form can penetrate areas water can’t.
Ozone has a bad rap because some associate it with air pollution, whereas in fact, it’s actually a byproduct of air pollution and UV light and can be an irritant if not controlled properly. This is why we use a high volume suction when applying. None of our patients are breathing any of the gas in. The IAOMT has some great research on the topic.
If a dentist tells says a filling is necessary, what steps should one take to ensure unnecessary procedures aren't performed?
Ask how big the cavity is and if there are any preventative measures they recommend before filling. While microscopic tooth breakdown can’t be seen by the eye, many of the latest diagnostic tools are giving false positives and unfortunately patients are consenting to unneeded procedures.
Always trust your gut instinct. I had a patient in here this week who was on their 8th opinion because she didn’t believe her teeth her irreparable.
On that note, are there cases when teeth are irreparable? If a filling is truly necessary, is there a “safe” one to get?
Yes, sometimes teeth are beyond the point of remineralization. There are a wide variety of porcelains and composites to choose from, and in fact, there is a brilliant test called the Clifford Reactivity Test offered from CCRLAB.com. This blood test provides dentists with information specific to the patient’s individual chemical sensitives so the least offensive materials can be used in their treatment.
Outside of that, some dentists can perform applied kinesiology or muscle testing to gauge what causes or alleviates stress in the body.
Any insider tips on finding a good holistic dentist?
The definition for a “holistic dentist” is wide and varies from dentist to dentist. Below are a few good resources for finding a dentist registered with their respective organization, but you will need to determine what you’re looking for in a dentist and call around to find a good fit. The first link, IAOMT.org has a helpful list of questions to ask the dentist.
We also discussed jaw development relation to MTHFR and/or improper nutrition which led us back to Weston A. Price's profound research on the topic:
The renowned holistic dental physician Weston A. Price has incredible insight into the the westernized world’s effect on dental health. After studying groups around the world not yet exposed to refined and toxic foods, he found they displayed:
- Almost no cavities, in general, less than 0.5%
- Normal facial and dental bone development with room for all 32 teeth (including wisdom teeth
- Observed to be happy and contented with a high sense of humor and often displayed superior intelligence
Contrast this with those in a modern society:
- Common and expected dental cavities
- Wisdom teeth extraction is considered a normal rite of passage since almost no one has the craniofacial and dental bone development required to house all 32 teeth
- Large percentages of children and adults prescribed anxiety, depression, ADD and ADHD medication paired with learning and behavioral disorders.
There are so many other conditions associated with improper jaw development which could result in:
- Ophthalmic issues such as astigmatism or myopia
- Airway obstruction/Deviated Septum
- Mouth Breathing
- “Due to the lack of proper oxygenation, the ability to deliver fully oxygenated blood to the cells is also much reduced. Thus mouth breathing has a negative effect on every cell in the body as it deprives them of oxygen. Overall wellness and health requires proper oxygen as every particle of our being requires oxygen. Cancer cells, by the way, are anaerobic by design. Other manifestations of mouth breathing include snoring and cessation of breathing (also known as sleep apnea), some types of headaches, hypertension without other known clinical causes, bed wetting, chronic ear or sinus infections, TMJ pain, sleep disorders and dark patches under the eyes.”
- Poor facial development
- Strong gag reflexes
- Long term consequences have shown “people who are not well oxygenated and who have poor posture often suffer from fatigue and fibromyalgia symptoms, they snore and have sleep apnea, they have sinusitis and frequent ear infections. Life becomes psychologically and physically challenging for them and they end up with long-term dependence on medications—and all of that just from the seemingly simple condition of crowded teeth.”
I've had so many people asking for this dental post, I don't think any of us thought it would turn into an article primarily about jaw development! But the information and evidence is astounding, I hope it sheds some light on numerous areas for some of you!
Here's an example of one beginner exercise we did with Sawyer twice a day to loosen up the frenulum area: