Rebuilding tooth enamel after drinking water with lemon

I wanted to remineralize my tooth enamel after drinking water with lemon and noticing my teeth had become so sensitive it was scary. Drinking it first thing in the morning had softened my enamel, and by brushing my teeth right after drinking it, I was literally brushing my enamel away. Yikes.

My previous post from a couple of years ago contains many suggestions on how to drink water with lemon safely, preventing a loss of enamel.

After writing that post, I started researching how I could rebuild my tooth enamel. Now this is not something most dentists will tell you is even possible. There is no hard scientific evidence about how to do this (so far), and as far as I know, dentists do not receive any training on the effects of diet on teeth except for the connection between sugar and cavities.

Fortunately, one dentist did extensive research. More on him below. 

Rebuilding tooth enamel is a process in which success is measured by having stronger, less sensitive teeth. It takes knowledge, time, and commitment. While I was working on this, I also wanted to improve my gum health.

To accomplish these goals, I took an approach that included changing my diet and supplements and refining my dental hygiene practices, including making a remineralizing toothpaste at home.

Diet and supplements make a difference

I adopted a Weston A. Price Foundation diet. Dr. Weston A. Price was the dentist who researched and wrote about the link between diet and dental health around the world. This diet is similar to a Paleo diet:

  • no dairy unless from pastured animals, untreated with antibiotics and hormones, full-fat dairy
  • avoid grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds or give them special preparation*
  • lots of non-starchy vegetables
  • fermented foods daily
  • drinking bone broth or taking gelatin daily
  • consuming very little sugar in any form
  • eating healthy (organic, pasture-raised) meats
  • consuming only healthy oils and fats
  • getting plenty of Vitamin K2, essential for putting calcium in just the right places

*One little factoid of note here: Grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds are coated with phytic acid, which if not soaked away before eating, prevents the body from absorbing minerals. This means fewer minerals are available in your saliva to rebuild tooth enamel. This is one of the few things we do know about rebuilding tooth enamel, that minerals in your saliva make a difference. If you eat these foods while trying to rebuild tooth enamel, they should be soaked first to reduce phytic acid.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 5.09.11 PMThe main cookbook I use for following this diet is Nourishing Traditions. If you’re interested, see my Products I Recommend page for this and other Weston A. Price diet cookbooks.

I believe that following this diet, over a couple of years, has healed my leaky gut and reduced inflammation in my body, as well as strengthened my tooth enamel.

I make sure I get Vitamin K2 in the form of natto (a Japanese dish of fermented soybeans), gouda cheese, brie, paté I make from organic chicken livers, egg yolks, and ghee, and that I balance K2 with enough calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and Vitamin D3 to optimize nutrition. The information is evolving. Read more here.

I take food-based Standard Process supplements recommended by my nutritionist so that my digestive system absorbs more of the nutrients from the healthy foods I eat. You can only buy this brand through health care professionals (clinical nutritionists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, and others — in Austin, People’s Pharmacy carries them, and they will ask you who recommended you take them).

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 5.19.05 PMIf you don’t have access to Standard Process supplements, consider taking Betaine HCl to increase stomach acid before eating and improve your digestion. (If you’re on anti-inflammatory medications, talk to your doctor before taking it.) Here’s how to find the right dosage.

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 5.20.23 PMTaking digestive enzymes before meals helps your body assimilate the nutrients in your food. This formula from the NOW brand contains a small dose of Betaine Hcl as well as digestive enzymes, so you might want to try it by itself to see if it’s enough to help with stomach acid.

Refining my dental hygiene practice

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 4.57.56 PMI use a soft small toothbrush with rounded bristles. I very gently and thoroughly brush my teeth, gum lines, gums, roof of mouth, and tongue. I also scrape my tongue.

After brushing, I floss or use a Waterpik along my gum lines. Seeing tiny food particles going down the drain even after a thorough brushing convinced me that the Waterpik was a worthwhile investment. There are places a toothbrush or floss can’t reach, but water can.

Important: This is something I learned the hard way. Set your Waterpik on the lowest setting. Using a high setting can weaken the tiny ligaments between your gums and teeth, deepening your periodontal pockets and making it easier for nasty gingivitis-causing bacteria to cause gum disease. Also: aim it at right angles to the gum line. Don’t angle it to spray water under your gums, unless you are flushing a periodontal pocket with the tip designed to do that. Same with brushing your gum lines: go for 90 degrees.

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-10-00-50-amTip: If your teeth are sensitive to cold water in the Waterpik, use warm water until your enamel has remineralized enough to no longer be sensitive to cold. Also, don’t add essential oils to the water reservoir as they can corrode the plastic. You can also add salt (I prefer fine Real Salt) to reduce inflamed gums.

I’ve been told by a hygienist that using a Waterpik does not replace flossing, but if you can’t floss, it’s way better than nothing.

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 5.09.04 PMOne alternative to flossing is using dental picks. I like The Doctor’s Brushpicks. Some of my teeth are too closely spaced for them, however, so I haven’t given up entirely on flossing.

Some current attention is being given to the lack of research on the value of flossing, stating that it may not be necessary because we don’t really know if it helps, which seems like quite an odd oversight in the dental profession, seeing as how they tell everyone to floss daily. I personally continue to floss because my mouth clearly tastes and smells cleaner when I floss than when I don’t.

The last few times I’ve visited my dentist’s office for cleanings, I’ve asked the hygienist to print a copy for me of my Perio Comparison chart, which indicates gum pocket depth for each tooth. Pocket depths of 1-3 millimeters are considered healthy. Gum disease is considered to be present when pockets are 4 or more millimeters deep.

I can see how each pocket has changed from visit to visit.

Warning: The chart is not intuitive for dental patients (the rightmost teeth are on the left instead of the right — it’s designed to show what left-to-right-reading hygienists and dentists see when they look into your mouth). If you need help interpreting it, ask your hygienist.

I taped the Perio Comparison chart to my bathroom mirror and used a highlighter to mark the pockets with higher numbers, giving those pockets more attention.

Making remineralizing toothpaste at home

For the past several years, I’ve used various “healthy” toothpastes including Tom’s of Maine, an Ayurvedic brand, and Earthpaste. They are expensive, and the color of the Earthpaste (greenish brown from clay) was hard to get used to.

I’ve experimented with making my own toothpaste, and this time when I ran out, I decided to make another batch at home, and I finally found a great formula. I’m really happy with it! 

I measured these ingredients into a bowl:

I stirred and mushed it up to mix well.

To that I added:

  • stevia to taste (get the purest, least processed brand you can find)
  • 5-6 drops of high-quality essential oil (whatever flavor you prefer — mints and citrus taste good)

After mixing well and spooning it into a small jar, the final product is white, fluffy, a little gritty, a little effervescent at first, and tasty. After cleaning, my mouth feels super clean, and it has a very pleasant aftertaste.

IMG_4859.JPG

Unlike mainstream commercial toothpastes, this recipe has no neurotoxins or carcinogenic or mutagenic ingredients. These are all food-grade ingredients that pose no risk of harm, even if you swallow a little when brushing. There are only five ingredients, and the calcium and magnesium are available for remineralizing teeth. It makes sense to me that by including calcium and magnesium in toothpaste, these minerals become available for absorption into enamel, and they continue to increase the mineral composition of my saliva after brushing if I spit but don’t rinse my mouth after brushing.

The only downside I’ve encountered is that coconut oil congeals when cold and can clog your drain, so it’s good to flush the drain with hot water to keep it draining well.

If you find something else that works for remineralizing your tooth enamel and improving your gum health, please share!

h/t to Wellness Mama for getting me started on this toothpaste-making journey! Also to OraWellness for so much single-minded good information.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

 

3 thoughts on “Rebuilding tooth enamel after drinking water with lemon

  1. Hello MaryAnn! I read your previous article about lemon acids ruining teeth enamel, because same thing happened to me! Thanks for this great article, very throughout.
    After 5 years at least of drinking warm lemon water ou water with ACV every single morning, my teeth became very sensitive, are hollowed in 2 points, i have more cavities than ever although I eat very healthy. I made the connection with my healthy habit only a couple of weeks. Now I stopped drinking lemon water cause damage is real, and I need to remineralize. I will try the homemade toothpaste and also I imagine a spray containing trace minerals water, always on hand in my purse to spray several times a day. You could try this too!
    Wish me good luck 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Vanessa. Be sure to brush very gently. I (and I imagine many others) would love to know more about the trace minerals spray you are using. Is this a commercial product, or something you make yourself? All the best with remineralizing your teeth!

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