I recently finished reading Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel. It was an amazingly interesting read to say the least.
I purchased the book after playing an upside-down game with our toddler and realizing that one of his molars has a sizable brown spot on it. I had seen the book a lot around the web and decided it would be worth reading to help me decide what to do about the cavity. I’m a minimalist when it comes to any sort of intervention but I don’t always know what to do myself. This book is a good guide for helping teeth.
The first chapter covers modern dentistry and how it has failed. I tend to agree with the author on many of his points regarding the failure of modern dentistry, and the points he makes in the section about orthodontists (I had braces). The section on orthodontics – which is later in the book – really resonated with me because my orthodontist fixed my bite alignment and then promptly undid any progress by giving me invisalign braces for a “retainer”. So my bite is still messed up and I now feel obligated to fix it because there is mention of a misaligned jaw being a factor in several health issues in the same chapter about orthodontists.
Back to dentistry: the author puts forward a new theory about what causes tooth decay. He states that poor nutrition, specifically a lack of certain vitamins and minerals, is the root (pun intended) cause of tooth decay. Modern dentistry is “waging a war on bacteria” and failing miserably, because any war on bacteria is pretty much doomed to fail at the outset. To illustrate his points he uses the research of Dr. Weston Price among other dentists. The thing that surprised me about modern dentistry’s push against bacteria, sugar and starch is that Dr. Weston Price was a well respected dentist. He published an article reviewing his extensive research and the conclusion that strong teeth are a direct result of a strong diet. Modern dentistry pretty much ignored his and other dentists research stating similar things.
This book is full of intriguing facts. Like the fact that feeding rats a diet of un-fermented oats causes rickets. There are lots of little trivia facts like that throughout that I found to be really interesting.
The book seems very well researched. There’s a good balance between scientific studies and personal experience the author uses to bring home his points. He offers feasible solutions for fixing the nutritional holes in your diet. There’s a plan for vegetarians – if you’re vegan you are missing essential nutrients for healing your teeth by the nature of your diet alone and so you’re stuck with dentistry – that relies heavily on fish and fish products, which was nice of him to include. He does mention that he suspects the cause of his daughters severe tooth decay (which is what started his journey and writing this book) was his and his wife’s vegetarian diet during conception and pregnancy.
The author includes resources for finding good dentists, orthodontists, and (I think) orthopedists for fixing jaw problems. He also includes links to videos about specific teeth cleaning methods. Of course there is also the section citing all of the research studies he mentions in the book, and I think there’s a recommended reading section at the end (I lent my book to a friend and I don’t remember for sure, I’ll update when I have it back).
I disliked two things about this book. The first being that the author sneaks his personal opinions in. It’s not like he beats you over the head with them; he just adds them at the end of sentences sometimes. His opinions are stated as if everyone else feels the same and even though I agree with them, I found it a little off-putting. Doing that is sure to alienate a good portion of potential readers (like people who sympathize with industry, and there’s a little bit about vaccinations which is a good way to have a pitch-fork bearing mob show up at your door these days). The second thing I disliked is he made me a little uncomfortable when he started talking about having conversations with your tooth in order to see what was the best next step in terms of getting a filling or taking some other course of action. There’s also a section where he talks about healing dental trauma in a similar way. He talks about owning the feelings of the trauma and then realizing that it wasn’t the dentist doing it on purpose. It was a little bit shrink-y.
Otherwise this was a very pleasant read, which is saying a lot coming from me, because I usually have a really hard time reading non-fiction. The author presents the scientific findings and historical evidence in a way that is easy to understand and interesting to read. I hesitate to call it a page-turner, but I was really eager to finish it so that I might learn something new.
I very highly recommend this book. Even if you’re not struggling with tooth decay the information in here is very interesting and useful. Even though the author got a little weird at times it never lasted more than a few paragraphs before returning to scientific studies and general nutrition information. It’s totally worth spending money on.