Most remineralization protocols rely heavily on animal-based foods. This vegan-friendly guide identifies the factors driving enamel demineralization and summarizes how to remineralize teeth from the inside and outside. This information is based on dental science, real-life experiences and ancient practices.
The mechanism behind remineralization is a positive balance of mineralization: remineralization must outpace demineralization. In other words, the goal is to expose your teeth’ surface to more mineralizing agents and a regenerative environment than demineralizing agents and a degenerative environment. To learn more in-depth about the mineralization balance and its factors, read the article on enamel health on a vegan and raw vegan diet.
In this article you will find:
Prevention and treatment of demineralization
Enamel (de/re)mineralization is determined by availability of mineral building blocks, oral pH and deficiencies. There are three main pillars to remineralizing teeth and building stronger enamel:
- Avoid demineralization
- Mineralizing nutrition
- Mineralizing oral care
Let’s explore all of them in-depth:
1. Avoid the causes of demineralization
Tooth decay prevention can be done before demineralization occurs, and it is effective at halting existing problems and even reversing them to some degree. Thus, tooth decay prevention is basically a natural remineralization treatment for enamel. In short, it is always a good time to mineralize your enamel.
Rule Number One: Always Alkalize!
Magnesium water is the simple alkalizer super-hack to avoid an acidic oral environment: Adding a pinch of simple magnesium malate powder to your drinking bottle creates alkaline water. Use it after every meal, snack, sugary/acidic drink to neutralize your oral pH. Take a sip, and swish around, swallow. Repeat 2-3 times.
Main factors to avoid tooth demineralization:
- Avoid an acidic oral environment: Swish with alkaline water after eating (i.e., water with magnesium powder [see above], green powder or bicarbonate; see easy recipe below). Add a pinch of calcium powder to help the formation of hydroxyapatite in the saliva. Eat ripe, sweet fruits instead of acidic fruits! If you eat sour or unripe (acidic) fruits, do not do so over a whole day. Also, avoid acidic foods by minimizing vinegar-based foods, unripe citrus fruits and soda. Also, find out if your usual drinking water is slightly acidic. This could be the main reason for demineralization. Use a straw for fruit juices.
- Avoid mechanical enamel abrasion: Use only non-abrasive toothpaste. The market for fluoride-free and natural toothpastes is huge. However, most natural toothpastes that are widely distributed contain ingredients that prevent remineralization or lack important ingredients for speeding up remineralization. Most natural toothpastes contain aggressively abrasive components, such as charcoal, bentonite clay, silica and baking soda. Avoid them, as they take small layers of enamel off the teeth. Do not brush too often, and use the softest toothbrush you can get; use an ultra-soft brush (most ultra-soft toothbrushes from supermarkets are still too hard), or use a (vegan) sea sponge as often as needed. A wet cotton swab (with or without) colloidal silver can help you clean areas near the gum line. Also, do not brush immediately after meals that include fruits or other acidic ingredients.
- Avoid glyercol: Glycerol is a widespread ingredient in toothpastes, including natural ones. However, avoiding it is a good idea, as glycerol is believed to slow down mineral uptake into the enamel. The accuracy of this belief is not established.
- Avoid constantly feeding bacteria with sugars: Avoid sticky foods (like dried fruits) or brush after eating them. Practice intermittent fasting frequently to avoid sugar for an extended period while allowing saliva to do its remineralization. Avoid snacking and grazing throughout the day. Use natural antimicrobial agents and “add” good bacterial strains, which can keep the cariogenic ones in check (see below).
- Avoid a dry mouth: mouth breathing or under-productive salivary glands can lead to a lack of remineralizing saliva. Those issues may be addressed by improving breathing through your nose (try the species-appropriate frugivore diet for both issues) and addressing vitamin deficiency and diet.
- Avoid nutrient deficiencies: Addressing deficiency in fat-soluble vitamins, magnesium, and calcium are key for teeth health (see details below). Also, do not drink distilled water before remineralizing it. Distilled water acts like a sponge that takes up minerals, including from your saliva. If you drink distilled water frequently, your oral cavitation and saliva are wiped clean of minerals, which is not helpful if you want to remineralize your teeth through mineral-rich saliva. Vegans that eat cooked foods avoid the phytic acids in grain and legumes, which chelate minerals from foods and prevent their absorption.
Eating a lot of fruits, is extremely beneficial for health, but it can put stress on your enamel in form of acidity. Hence it is critical to avoid underripe fruits and eating high-acid fruits often. Tropical ripe fruits play a special role in a high-fruit diet and our health, thus replacing acidic and underripe fruits with ripe tropical fruits often can make a significant difference.
2. Speed-up mineralization with nutrition
Internal factors (like nutrient deficiencies) play a role in the health of your teeth. While medications and pregnancy deplete nutrients and can affect teeth negatively, there is plenty of evidence that nutrients (especially those involved in calcium metabolism) can help restore tooth strength. What are the crucial supplements that mineralize teeth from the inside?
- Calcium: Optimize calcium uptake with a high-quality natural supplement, such as calcium from algae. Getting enough calcium for your teeth is a no-brainer, but is it enough to take a calcium supplement? The main challenge is that calcium from diet or supplements can’t be used for building the material of teeth and bones (calcium hydroxyapatite) if the calcium is not transported to the teeth in the first place. And the compounds critical to these biochemical processes are what we often lack (see below, fat-soluble vitamins). Even worse, without them, calcium can build up in arteries and soft tissue, leading to arteriosclerosis. Therefore, people who live in countries with high milk consumption often have narrow jaws and weak teeth. Moreover, osteoporosis is prevalent in these countries. Why? Because their populations usually lack vitamin D (little sun exposure due to colder climate), which is a key compound for calcium metabolism. We observe stronger teeth and jaw bones in tropical countries and near the seaside, where people are exposed to more minerals through the iodine-rich air and lots of sunshine (natural vitamin D). Nonetheless, as a vegan or fruitarian, it can be necessary to supplement calcium, along with other compounds needed for proper calcium metabolism and transportation (see below) in the first months or years of your transition.
- Magnesium: Most us have a magnesium deficiency and today even our food plants suffer from a short supply of this important mineral, which makes getting enough magnesium challenging. Magnesium malate or glycerinate are bioavailable forms to take. Taking a magnesium supplement will bring you many health benefits, but when it comes to mineralization it is needed to metabolize vitamin D and calcium. It is not recommended to take vitamin D3 without taking magnesium.
- Fat soluble-vitamins: Fat-soluble vitamins transport calcium to your bones and teeth! Fat-soluble vitamins are crucial to calcium metabolism, meaning that the calcium is absorbed and transported to bones and teeth and not stored in soft tissue! Do you need to supplement fat-soluble vitamins to restore teeth? This depends on your vitamin status. Vitamin D3: Vitamin D3 is necessary for calcium absorption. If you don’t live in the tropics or sub-tropics, you likely do not get enough sun exposure and need to visit vitamin D sun studios (UVB Light) or take supplements. Vitamin K2: Vitamin K2 aids the transport of calcium and reduces cardiovascular calcification (Scheiber et al., 2015). K2 is found in animal foods, but it is also produced by our microbiome. Thus, it is essential to restore your microbiome by eating a species-appropriate diet and taking probiotics (see below). We can supplement K2-MC7 orally. But, generally, fat-soluble vitamins can also be absorbed transdermally.
- Probiotic supplement for the intestinal microbiome: In addition to diet, some functional supplements can help repopulate your intestinal tract with the “good guys” and improve your body’s absorption of nutrients, including calcium. Your microbiome also produces some of these vitamins, but it requires a high-quality probiotic or the addition of effective microorganisms, raw fermented foods. Fruits will help you feed the good bacteria with inulin.
- Green powders: Greens deliver minerals in a natural composition. Grass juice powder, greens from leaves (like moringa), green foods, and microgreens add important nutritional value to the diet. The minerals in greens alkalize and provide resources for the body, which helps to prevent the deficiencies that cause teeth weakness.
- Silica: Silica has been shown to play a role in collagen and proteoglycan interaction (Rondanelly et al., 2021), both which are important in tooth health (see here and here). Silica can be taken via diatomaceous earth supplements, but it also exists in high quantities in fruits. On a frugivore or raw vegan diet, silica is not necessary as a supplement.
- Boron: Prevents vitamin D deficiency and calcium and magnesium loss (bone growth and maintenance) (Pizzorno L, 2015) by aiding in the absorption and use of calcium and magnesium. Boron has been shown to support dental stem cell differentiation (Taşlı et al., 2013). Boron can be taken as a supplement, but significant quantities are also present in fruits. On a frugivore or raw vegan diet, boron is not necessary as a supplement.
For a complete supplement guide for a raw or vegan diet, go here:
3. Mineralize teeth from the outside with the right oral care
Speed-up tooth mineralization with super-mineralizing oral care. Externally, enamel is strengthened by creating new enamel crystals built from calcium and phosphate, called hydroxyapatite. Acids dissolve this component, contributing to the rate of demineralization. Acids are neutralized by alkalinity, so the goal is to expose the surface of your teeth to its critical building blocks, calcium, and phosphate, for the maximum amount of time while simultaneously reducing (or eliminating) the acid-producing biofilm (cariogenic bacteria) and exposure of enamel to acids in foods.
Important: For most oral care products (if not declared otherwise), it is important to not rinse so that the ingredients can act longer on the place of application.
You can always take a DIY approach and order the items listed below separately, or you can purchase (good!) products to have everything ready. After the list some good brands and products are mentioned.
- Calcium ions: Calcium is needed to build up enamel crystals on your teeth. Calcium can be added to your water (just put a pinch in your bottle) to enhance your teeth’s exposure to calcium during the day. Aim for toothpaste with calcium.
- Hydroxyapatite: Calcium hydroxyapatite is basically the stuff our tooth enamel is made up of. Around 70-80% of dentin and enamel is hydroxyapatite (a calcium-phosphate compound), which has been used in regenerative science since the 1950s. It is used as a coating material for metallic implants, drug-delivery systems (carries other chemical compounds) and tooth implants. Nano-hydroxyapatite speeds up dentin remineralization (Tutut et al., 2021). Hydroxyapatite has been used in Japanese dentistry for decades, and it is known to mineralize deeper than fluoride. Read more about the many benefits of hydroxyapatite in this in-depth article from Eagle Harbor Dental here.
- Use a natural mineralization agent (a fluoride substitute): Theobromine has been shown to aid in the building up of hydroxyapatite crystals (Taneja et al., 2019). It is a natural, safe and effective alternative to fluoride. Theobromine is isolated from the cocoa bean and is found in some dental care brands (see below). Unlike fluoride, theobromine is safe to ingest. It is found in chocolate and also in theobromine toothpaste.
- Alkalize, alkalize, alkalize: The pH of your saliva is crucial to remineralization. You can alkalize your saliva throughout the day with this simple one-ingredient DIY mineral alkalizing mouth rinse: magnesium water (see above). Take a sip after every snack and swish it around for a few seconds. Do this two or three time in a row. Any other alkaline solution will serve the same purpose (i.e., baking soda).
- Trace minerals: Enamel contains small amounts of trace minerals that affect the properties of the enamel (Ghadimi et al., 2013). Using liquid trace minerals as a mouthwash is useful to alkalize the saliva and add all the trace elements needed to strengthen your enamel.
- Special ultra-soft toothbrush and (vegan) sea sponge: Use special soft toothbrushes (like the curaprox velvet), sponges, or fine cotton as tools to reduce the cariogenic biofilm without mechanically brushing away the enamel. A “sea” sponge or a delicate cotton towel is a practical tool to complement your toothbrush. After brushing, simply rub your wet sea sponge over the smooth surface of the teeth, especially near the gum line.
- Natural antimicrobial agents: Cariogenic biofilm (bacteria) produces acids. The bacteria ferment the sugars from the foods and “poop out” acids. This process is similar to the process for making “sauerkraut”. This gives you an idea of how the bacteria change the pH in a layer (biofilm) that sticks on top of your enamel. To kill off those bacteria and thus reduce the formation of biofilm, natural antimicrobials were traditionally used in ancient cultures. See examples of effective natural substances:
- Colloidal silver: Colloidal silver has traditionally been used as alternative oral care. Yin et al. (2020) conclude in their research: “Silver nanomaterials inhibit the adhesion and growth of cariogenic bacteria. They also impede the demineralization of enamel and dentin.” That is pretty impressive! Practical application: You can use 10ppm colloidal silver as a mouthwash (a few spray pumps) or put a few drops on a cotton swab and apply it to the weak spots on your teeth a few times daily, especially after eating or brushing your teeth. Let it sit and act on the bacteria for as long as possible.
- Iodine: Iodine is used as an antimicrobial agent and disinfectant in medicine. It has been shown to help reduce cavities (Gupta et al., 2020). It’s advisable to use non-toxic, non-tinting potassium iodide drops (they can be ingested as nutritional supplement, too). Add one drop to water or to your oil-pulling oil, and swish it for a few minutes. Iodine is especially interesting, as it shares chemical similarities with fluoride ions (both are in the halogen group), but instead of toxicity, iodide it’s an essential nutrient that has an important biological function. Read more about iodine and teeth in this article from Don Bennett.
- Essential oils: Essential oils are a science. Especially for internal use, one must know exactly which ones are safe. You can buy pre-made mixtures designed for oral use, to be on the safe side.
- Tongue scraper: A tongue scraper is a simple tool, but effective to reduce the bacterial load (and thus acid production) within the oral cavity.
- Probiotics for the oral microbiome: Balance your oral microbiome by adding beneficial bacteria, which keep the “bad” bacteria in check. Possible sources for a probiotic mouthwash are effective microorganism or probiotic supplements, especially those for oral care. Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus Reuters and Lactobacillus rhamnosus have been shown to reduce cariogenic S. mutans bacteria in saliva (Fierro-Monti et al., 2017).
Overview of natural mineralizing oral care (fluoride-free)
1. DIY and home care
DIY mouth rinse to use all the time: After every meal or snack, swish your mouth with alkaline water. Just add a pinch of magnesium powder to your water bottle. This will dramatically increase your water’s pH and thus neutralize the acids (from food or from bacteria) that erode enamel. Additionally, you can add a pinch of calcium and/or green powder (like clean chlorella, matcha, any grass powder or chlorophyll powder). Just keep your bottle with you and make it a habit to swish or rinse your mouth after eating, or drink the water just as it is.
DIY toothpaste: There are some good toothpastes on the market. However, they can be costly.
Don’t buy just any natural toothpaste, as many do more harm than good, with ingredients that are abrasive to tooth enamel.
If you can’t get your hands on one of the really effective remineralization pastes, you are better off with a DIY toothpaste: Coconut Oil with a pinch of some sea salt or dead sea salt is an easy non-abrasive alternative. However, you can level up by adding trace minerals, calcium and green powder.
DIY mouthwash to use once daily: Drop 3-5 drops of Potassium Iodide into a glass of water and swish it in your mouth. Do this for about 10 minutes. Spit out.
DIY spot treatment: Add (drop or spray) a colloidal silver solution (10 ppm) to a wet cotton swab, and rub it on demineralized spots or lesions. You can do that several times daily, especially after eating or also after brushing your teeth. Let it sit and act on the bacteria as long as possible.
Oil-pulling: While not everyone experiences benefits, many report that oil-pulling helps. Oil-pulling is an ancient tooth health remedy used in Ayurvedic medicine. You can use simple coconut oil. To enhance the effect, you can add a pinch of Dead Sea Salt and a drop of potassium-iodide to the oil.
2. High-quality, fluoride-free remineralizing products
If you are not the DIY-type, finding high-quality, non-abrasive products requires some research. Find a few examples below that contain everything you need and do not have any ingredients that are not recommended. These products have outstanding reviews online, plus they are highly-recommended in various remineralization groups on social media:
- Theodent is a toothpaste brand developed by the researcher who discovered the mineralizing properties of theobromine. Impressively, it has been shown to grow larger enamel crystals than fluoride, thus it aims to substitute fluoride with a safer alternative. Theobromine in combination with calcium and phosphates, creates Theodent’s active ingredient, which is called “Rennou”. The additional ingredients are not all-natural, but this toothpaste is an excellent option if you value a toothpaste that tastes and feels like a conventional one. The reviews on Amazon are impressive. Use: brush and rinse. Then brush again and spit without rinsing.
- Bliss Energetics has outstanding all-naturals, high-quality products with highly effective ingredients like theobromine, hydroxyapatite, and antimicrobial herbs. The “Tooth Putty” seems to have especially many users in remineralization groups, as it is a unique “sticking-to-the-spot” use. A unique concept, it requires being left on overnight. See the reviews here.
- Oncle Harry’s Remineralization Kit (tooth powder, mouthwash and liquid remineralization) has highly effective antimicrobial (anti-cariogenic) ingredients like colloidal silver plus calcium and ionic minerals. Colloidal silver is a highly effective natural antibiotic, thus it should not be used as an everyday product, but during a more intensive phase of mineralization or against inflammation. Note that the toothpaste contains bentonite clay, which might too abrasive if you suffer from enamel loss.
With so many choices, it can be a challenge to establish a routine at first. You also don’t need to do all of the mineralization measures and methods to succeed. The key is to expose your teeth to more mineralizing components than demineralizing ones. Often, changing a few things and adopting new habits will lead to success. It’s amazing when you feel that sensitivity slowly fading away…
Read more about enamel erosion here..
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