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From the Townsend Letter
November 2006


The Cause, Prevention, and Treatment of Early Childhood Tooth Decay
by Rami Nagel

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If the current theory were true, that Early Childhood Caries is caused by drinking sweetened juice from bottles or eating sweet and sugary foods, then my daughter would not have decayed teeth. My daughter has never consumed fruit juice or processed sugar, and she has only eaten small amounts of sweetened foods with natural sweeteners throughout her life. When her teeth began decaying rapidly at the age of fourteen months, a great fear in me grew about the possibility of scary, painful, and dangerous medical/dental surgeries that are the only conventional treatment for this condition. However, by using a nutritional treatment, we were able to dramatically decrease my daughter's tooth decay. Her teeth still decay, but now only slowly; they are much harder, and I am sure that no intervention will be needed as her teeth may now fall out naturally and without pain if they wear away more.

Early childhood tooth decay is usually curable and naturally treatable because it results from a mismanagement of the environment. You have not heard of this cure because the Western medicine almost categorically refuses to acknowledge the relationship of individuals to their environments in the creation of illnesses. The cause of misinformation about disease is twofold: citizens who are unwilling to be open-minded enough to seek an alternative viewpoint that points the responsibility towards the individual; and business interests, like large corporations and professional medical associations, who profit when people seek medical treatments. These corporations and organizations (who, of course, have a stake in keeping their profit margins high) go to a great lengths to influence the information taught in medical and dental schools, as well as influence governmental agencies and the media so as to suppress knowledge of natural healing. This influence turns our attention from cures – such as nutritional cures – that, despite their efficacy in preventing or curing illness, are not profitable to large corporations. Inappropriate food and drug laws also allow corporations that make food products to profit more by using cheaper ingredients – at the expense of our health. Pregnant women who eat these foods are literally starving from a lack of nutrients. A lack of nutrients affects the ease with which a woman gives birth, the availability of her milk, the health of her child, and the susceptibility of the child's teeth to decay.

The current false disease mythology about tooth decay states that there is no cure for tooth decay and that tooth decay is genetic or caused by malignant bacteria that feed off sugars and starches in people's mouths. Other than cleaning teeth through brushing, the only treatments for young children are dangerous chemicals like fluoride or costly and dangerous dental surgery. These treatments sometimes help, but it is also common that, after these treatments, tooth decay returns, because conventional treatments address the symptoms of decay while ignoring the cause: a nutrient deficiency. Allowing such medical and dental procedures to be performed on young and vulnerable children, without at least first offering or sharing the knowledge of a safe, natural, and harmless approach, is wrong and unfounded. Many times bacteria is not the cause of tooth decay, but rather proliferates when the internal ecosystem of the body is not well.

Deficiency and Toxic Build-up:
Because a vast majority of the American population eat substandard foods, they consume nutrient amounts far below the US recommended daily allowance (RDA), including recommended amounts for such vitamins as A, E, and minerals such as magnesium and calcium.1 For example, on average, 69.4% of all women consume below the RDA for Vitamin E. Dr. Weston Price, a dentist who traveled around the world in the 1930s, studied the diets of primitive peoples, isolated from the modern world, i.e., people who did not consume any modern foods. The primitive groups Price studied rarely got tooth decay. In carefully analyzing the nutrient intakes of twelve isolated groups of indigenous peoples and comparing their nutrient intakes with those associated with a standard, modern diet, Dr. Price determined that our modern nutrition was, in many cases, at least four times below the nutrient standard for which our bodies where designed. "If we are to provide nutrition that will include an adequate excess factor of safety… for such periods as those of rapid growth (for children), pregnancy, lactation, and sickness, we must provide…approximately four times the minimum requirements of the average adult if all stress periods are to be passed safely."2

Aboriginal tooth decay
Do the Australian Aboriginies as Weston Price observed have Baby Bottle tooth decay? Or do babies have a nutrient deficiency from a poor diet that is causing tooth decay as with the Aboriginies. Notice how, almost always, the front teeth decay first.
Dr. Weston A. Price's research and photos printed with permission from The Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation,; 619-462-7600.

The abundance of nutrients in the primitive diet created teeth almost impervious to decay. In contrast, the lack of nutrients in a modern diet creates teeth that are destined to decay. This nutritional deficiency – which many people deny by attributing a tendency for tooth decay to an uncontrollable genetic inheritance – is passed down from mother to child. The fetus is forced to develop without the adequate nutritive building blocks. During the crucial early years of life, when faced with a lack of nutrients, the growing child's body must cannibalize itself to provide vital organs nutrients for survival. The body begins this process by sacrificing the least vital part first – the teeth!

Pregnant mothers have nutrient requirements that far exceed the requirements of a normal adult. Yet nutrition as cause and cure is not well publicized, maybe because if it were well-known that a healthy birth and prevention of illnesses could largely be accomplished through nutrition, then there would be little room for the health care industry to profit from pregnancy-related health issues, vaccinations, and a variety of the sad and related complications during and after birth. The nutritional approach also places the responsibility for health and well-being of the mother and child on the parents. Many Western practitioners are not taught that miscarriage, morning sickness, and countless other pregnancy-related problems, including some birth defects, can be caused by too many toxins in the mother's body, accumulated from the intake of modern adulterated foods and/or the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle3,4 and unfelt emotions like fear, which affect the body's nervous system.

Toxins in the body can also drastically decrease the body's ability to absorb nutrients.5 To increase the body's ability to absorb food, cleansing must be done. During the menstrual cycle and pregnancy, a woman's body continually works to cleanse itself of toxins. This cleansing is usually the cause of morning sickness and PMS. Before pregnancy, a woman can fast and partake in efforts proven safe to cleanse her bowels and liver. For a mother who is breastfeeding or pregnant, fasting can be unhealthy, so she can gradually cleanse her body of toxins through a natural and clean diet. Large amounts of a vegetable soup called Bieler's Broth is especially helpful to aid this process. You can make a soup, consisting of organic dark leafy green vegetables, zucchini, string beans, celery, and carrots. Of vital importance in aiding the cleansing and rebalancing of the body functions is the consumption of fermented or lacto-fermented food and beverages several times per day. Such fermented foods include carrots, cabbage (sauerkraut), potatoes, and radishes; fermented beverages include rejuvelac (made from fermented wheat), kombucha, and beet kvass. Recipes and sources for these and other healthy foods are available in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.8

Through years of consumption of modern foods, our livers, no different than the livers of primitive peoples, have slowly become dysfunctional. Most of us have a large and negative accumulation of plaque in our colons and stagnant bile in our livers. Furthermore, many childhood diseases, like colic, can be caused either in the womb or after birth from a lack of nutrients or from too many toxins in the baby's system "inherited" from the mother's bloodstream.

How Tooth Decay Happens
In observing the effects of our modern diet on various groups of people, the dentist Weston Price commented, "The rapid degeneration of the Australian Aborigines after the adoption of the government's modern foods provides a demonstration that should be infinitely more convincing than animal experimentation. It should be a matter not only of concern but deep alarm that human beings can degenerate physically so rapidly through the use of a certain type of nutrition, particularly the dietary products used so generally by modern civilization."6

Tooth decay is caused by a deficiency of nutrients needed to build healthy teeth. "Daily, the calcium and phosphate of the enamel is migrating out of the teeth to the bones, heart, brain, and other places where it is needed. This is called by dentists demineralization."7 Sugar, usually used in a processed form, encourages calcium to be pulled away from the bones, and therefore it is not a direct cause of tooth decay.8 Instead, sugar causes an increased amount of nutrient deficiency, which the body then tries to correct by pulling nutrient reserves from the teeth.

Tooth decay occurs through several mechanisms: from within the tooth, from a toxic blood supply, a deficient blood supply to the tooth, or imbalanced saliva within the mouth.9,10 Decay begins as a deficiency in the parents before the child is conceived, and that deficiency begins many generations back, each successive generation becoming weaker and weaker through an improper diet.11 The child's first teeth are formed in the womb of the mother.

The importance of breastfeeding has been greatly understated in Western cultures. During breastfeeding, the mother passes vital nutrients to her child, providing support against childhood infant caries. Breastfeeding – not even nighttime breastfeeding – is not responsible for infant tooth decay.12 It is possible to breastfeed and still have a child with decayed teeth, however, if the child has a weak digestion and cannot absorb adequate nutrients from food, if the mother does not have enough nutrients in her milk, or both. Nonetheless, needed nutrients can be replenished through proper diet and supplementation. If the child has tooth decay, then it is highly likely that the mother's milk does not contain enough nutrients. Since breast milk is the easiest form of nutrients for a child to absorb, the first step towards healing and preventing tooth decay should be to modify the mother's diet to dramatically increase her nutrient intake. In doing so, breast milk becomes the most important support for the health and happiness of the child.

As I learned in Nourishing Traditions, many modern foods actually rob the body of vital nutrients. Even some foods labeled as organic are unhealthy and mislabeled, since they have been processed and consequently do not contain highly absorbable nutrients. Please purchase organic products whenever you can, but do not assume that they are giving you needed nutrients. Particular hazards are pasteurized milk, including organic pasteurized milk, and all processed grain products, even organic ones, like cereal, cookies, crackers, etc. In contrast, raw milk from grass-fed cows, and grains that have been freshly ground at home and soaked or fermented in an acidic medium are extremely life-giving and contain vital nutrients.

The Cure That Works
In addition to avoiding toxic foods, mother and child should consume only whole unadulterated foods, properly prepared, without exception. When both the breastfeeding mother and the young child consume foods high in nutrients, a powerful force is created to stop decaying teeth. The key foods that supported a higher level of nutrition for my wife and daughter were organic dark leafy green vegetables, like kale, consumed up to three times per day (steamed/boiled, then blended with the liquid ingested as well); naturally dehydrated kombu (and other seaweeds) high in trace minerals. My daughter also consumes approximately one-eighth teaspoon butter oil mixed with one-eighth teaspoon cod liver oil twice daily before meals. My wife consumes one-quarter teaspoon butter oil with one teaspoon cod liver oil twice daily before meals. Note: alternatives to butter oil are yellow-orange colored butter from pasture-fed cows (domestic sources are located at or butter imported from Ireland or New Zealand. The approximate ratio of butter to butter oil is one to two tablespoons butter or one-quarter teaspoon of butter oil mixed with High Vitamin Cod Liver Oil.4 Please consult your health care provider to determine the proper amounts of butter oil and cod liver oil for your child. Too much of these substances can be dangerous as they have very high levels of fat-soluble vitamins. Extra care should be used with children under two years of age.

Mothers and expectant mothers also need to eat foods high in Activator X, which is a special vitamin-like substance Dr. Price discovered that promotes nutrient absorption, creates well-formed bones, and prevents tooth decay. According to Dr. Price, Activator X as a potent fat-soluble catalyst found in organ meats and butter from pasture-fed animals and in some seafoods, including fish eggs. High Activator X foods need to be consumed daily before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and during breastfeeding. When children begin to eat, they can be fed appropriate foods. Foods high in Activator X also are foods that have a high fat content. Because of the physical demands of pregnancy and breastfeeding, it is essential for mothers to eat diets high in fat, provided that the fat comes from pasture-raised animals. Following a low-fat diet and avoiding cholesterol is not only scientifically unfounded for most people, it is a guideline for "converting healthy people into patients."26 A sample dinner, recommended by Dr. Price, would be beef stew made from bone marrow bones, tender cuts of meat, and lots of organic vegetables, including carrots; biscuits made from freshly ground grains soaked overnight in buttermilk and lathered with raw butter; and two cups of raw milk. A sample breakfast: pasture-raised uncured bacon (no nitrates), two eggs, a small serving of fresh beef liver, and homemade buttermilk pancakes made with freshly ground and soaked flour and lathered with butter, and one cup of raw milk. Eat meals like that three times daily, and a gentle calmness of satisfaction will flower over you.

Proper Care of Teeth
As a secondary measure to diet, children's teeth should be brushed often, as soon as they appear. Brushing teeth seems to aid in the body's process of creating a healthy ecosystem in the mouth. Do not use fluoride, drink fluoridated water, or give your child fluoride treatments. While fluoride may have some short-term benefits, fluoride changes the chemical structure of the tooth, making it extra-brittle, and damages the body's organs, including the liver. Fluoride is highly poisonous; most brands of commercial toothpaste contain a worrisome dose. Fluoridated water has been linked to cancer.27 Instead of toothpaste, use tooth powder, tooth herbs, sea salt with natural baking soda, or a combination of all three to brush your child's teeth. Avoid the use of regular toothpaste as it contains glycerin which coats the teeth and can prevent teeth from re-mineralizing. Herbal mouthwashes or herbal gum treatments can be helpful, provided they are not swallowed.

Contrary to the popular mythology that states there is no cure for tooth decay and the cause of tooth decay is "unknown," both cause and cure are rooted in our environment, and therefore the ability to treat this condition is in our hands. The conventional treatment – dental surgery – does not cure tooth decay caused from a lack of nutrients in the body, but only treats the immediate symptom. A mother who avoids toxic foods and eats a nutrient-rich diet – dense in high-fat and whole foods – during pregnancy can expect significant health benefits: prevention of tooth decay, a higher chance for a healthy birth, and a lower chance for birth defects.28 Carry this diet forth religiously, and your child may never need to see a dentist. When both a breastfeeding mother and a young child eat foods rich in absorbable nutrients, tooth decay will most likely slow down or even stop. Rebuilding bones can take up to one year, so do not expect immediate results from increased nutrients other than a more fulfilled, happier, and more peaceful child.29

Please refer to my web site for more health information., and also to the excellent resource on which most of this article is based, The Weston Price Foundation,

1. Supplementary data tables, USDA's 1994-96 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals, Table Set 12, US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Available at:, (157KB .pdf) Accessed August 4, 2006.
2. Price, W. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. La Mesa: Price-Pottenger Nutrition Fdtn., 2004: 275.
3. Bieler, H. Nichols, S. Dr. Bieler's Natural Way to Sexual Health. New York: Bantam Books, 1974: 25.
4. Ibid., 17.
5. Christopher, J. Herbal Home Health Care. Springville: Christopher Publications, 1976: 128.
6. Price, W. Op. cit., 174.
7. Judd, G. Good Teeth Birth to Death. Glendale: Research Publications, 1997: 18.
8. Fallon, S. Nourishing Traditions. Washington, DC: New Trends, 1999: 24.
9. Ibid.
10. Christopher, J. Op. cit., 124.
11. Christopher, J. Op. cit., 113.
12. Palmer, B. Infant dental decay – is it related to breast-feeding? Brian Palmer, DDS Available at:, Accessed August 4, 2006
13. Fallon, S. Op. cit., 24.
14. Ibid., 23-24
15. Price, W. Op. cit., 493
16. Fallon, S. Op. cit., 41.
17. Ibid., 13-14.
18. Ibid., 15.
19. Ibid., 48.
20. Ibid., 34-35.
21. Ibid., 62.
22. Ibid., 25.
23. Judd, G. Op. cit., 25.
24. Source for purchasing Butter Oil, Green Pastures, Page Nebraska,
25. Sources for purchasing High Quality Cod Liver Oil,,,
26. Ravnskov, U. New Cholesterol Guidelines for Converting Healthy People Into Patients, Uffe Ravnskov, Available at:, Accessed August 4th, 2006
27. Judd, G. Op. cit., 39.

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