You may have heard people sharing stories online about how cod liver oil has helped them to remineralize their teeth or in some cases, heal cavities. I decided to look into the science behind this phenomenon and this is what I found out.
Limitations of Tooth Enamel
Tooth enamel has no living cells, which means the body has no way of repairing it when it is chipped or cracked. But that's not the end of the story because saliva containing calcium helps to remineralize teeth and enamel is only one part of the tooth. The interior parts of the tooth (dentin, cementum, and pulp) all do contain living cells. Cod liver oil nutrients affect both the saliva that can remineralize teeth and the living bone tissues under the enamel. It cannot repair a broken, cracked, or chipped tooth.
Cod Liver Oil Nutrients
Like anything, cod liver oil is a sum of it's parts and it's these parts that people are claiming to remineralize teeth. Cod liver oil contains DHA, EPA, and Vitamin A, but there are two other nutrients that (along with calcium) the body can use to rebuild bone in the body: Vitamin D and Vitamin K2.
What Can Remineralize Teeth?
Remineralization of the tooth occurs from nutrients in the saliva, but saliva is unable to penetrate through plaque. This is why both good nutrition and good oral hygiene is required to prevent tooth decay.
No nutrient acts alone in the body. Calcium needs Vitamin D to be absorbed into the body and it needs Vitamin K2 to decide where to go in the body. Together, calcium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K2 work together to rebuild bones in the body.
What is Vitamin K2?
Vitamin K2 is a set of compounds of Vitamin K, but as it relates to dentistry, much of the research you'll see comes from a book called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. The book was written by Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist and dental researcher in the 1930’s who collected food samples from groups of people with low tooth decay and found that their diets contained at least four times the quantity of minerals and water-soluble vitamins as normal Americans. While high amounts of K2 in the diet has not been proven to increase bone density, low amounts of K2 has been found to increase the fragility of bones.
Whole Body Dentistry
Our bodies are truly remarkable in their abilities to self-heal. The way saliva helps remineralize teeth to combat the acids from foods is truly amazing. But what we eat and how we take care of our teeth also matters. We must use our mind in conjunction with our body to work together as one whole body.