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Improving Oral Hygiene on a Raw Food Diet

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Insight From Natural Health Headers - Raw Food and Health by Brian Rossiter - Fruit-Powered

“Be true to your teeth or they’ll be false to you.”

This health advice, which I’ve heard from my 90-year-old grandmother at least 10 times over my lifetime, will go down as some of the best I’ve ever heard. Yet, despite my being true to my teeth, I’ve faced challenges in oral hygiene in my six-and-a-half years as a raw food enthusiast. I know I’m not alone, having seen several post about their dental health concerns on Facebook and and having spoken to many on this subject over the years.

I’d bet that if you ask most tried-and-true fruit-based raw vegans—those who’ve been on mostly or wholly raw paths for at least two years—what has been their biggest concern, the most common answer you’ll get is oral hygiene. Some have reported that they have wound up with a mouthful of cavities when they visited their dentists after eating mounds of fruit for a sustained period of time. Some have had teeth fall out after years of leading a low-fat raw food diet.

One very well-known low-fat raw fooder even disclosed that he suffered a broken tooth at a special dinner following a speaking engagement. I’ve learned from others that this author water fasts to resolve some dental issues. Water fasting, however, isn’t something most parents and working individuals can do at a moment’s notice.

A road sign says "Dental Care"

Some others, meanwhile, have proudly piped up that their dental health has improved while enjoying a fruit-based raw vegan diet.

After struggling with their teeth early into their adoption of this diet, still some others have figured out how to keep their pearly whites in tip-top condition.

And, finally, even others continue to be puzzled about what they might be doing wrong—or not doing that they need to do.

Sink your teeth into the issue of oral hygiene on a raw food diet. Learn from the insight of some of the world’s top raw food enthusiasts. I reached out to 15 raw food fans, and five shared their stories and tips. You’ll see my story first, with the rest of the contributors in alphabetical order. Dr. David Klein came back with a full story, running in a sidebar box. This story wouldn’t be possible without the input of these raw food leaders. Thank you! 🙂

Brian Rossiter

It was in January 2012, a month before I went wholly raw and a year after adopting a mostly raw food diet, that I discovered a groove-like cavity along the gumline of a back bottom molar. I was intent on healing it naturally but clearly wasn’t ready for this challenge. My dentist recommended many months later that I have it filled, advising it’s not wise to wait too long to fix a troubled tooth because the damage can worsen and might make saving the tooth impossible.

Over the years since, I’ve faced continued issues with decay, but this challenge hasn’t been an always-constant matter—rather a semi-constant matter. I must note that I was prone to having dental issues coming into this diet. My sister could get away with not brushing her teeth at night sometimes, but I was the child in the family getting cavities from time to time. During some dental appointments since going raw, I’ve been given a clean bill of health, and during other appointments, I’ve been told I have some pits or even cavities. Overall, my dental health improved once I began using every day two chef’s tablespoons of Daily Green Boost barley grass juice powder. This powder is a welcome addition to my lunch staple, Green ‘n’ Clean Smoothie.

A woman flosses her teeth, demonstrating oral hygiene care
Flossing, whether using string floss or water irrigators, is key to sound oral hygiene, most would agree.

Before I started regularly supplementing with barley grass juice powder, I faced an alarming dental emergency in October 2013 while living briefly in Chiang Mai, Thailand. A portion of one bottom tooth had broken. Thankfully, the excellent dentist I saw was able to save the tooth. I don’t recommend anyone get a root canal—and if you have one or many, look into what having a dead tooth kept in place does for your body, what with infection running rampant.

I’ve also found that using barley grass juice powder as a replacement for a considerable amount of actual tender greens, chiefly lettuces and celery, is a mistake, at least in my experience. Two years ago, while working part time at a raw vegan café, I found it challenging to eat about a pound of romaine lettuce, blended with bananas, along with my standard pound of celery over the course of a double shift. I upped the amount of barley grass juice powder I used and ran into some cavities a few months down the line. Clearly, I didn’t use enough of this powder to compensate for the amount of greens I missed because long-dormant cravings for salty Chipotle fare—this time for salads, which I had eaten only once or twice at this chain, not burritos—came back. What this means is that my sodium consumption was down because my consumption of tender greens was limited.

Before adding barley grass juice powder to my daily menu, I ate an average of 2⅓ pounds of lettuce and celery a day. Since adding two chef’s tablespoons of this supplement, I eat about 2 pounds of these tender greens a day. I consider mineral-rich greens along with a supplement to help compensate for the fact that most of us eat nutritionally subpar foods to be vital. I supplement just about every day with iodine, about four days a week with Vitamins D3, B12 and K2 as well as sparsely supplement with chromium, magnesium and zinc.

I’ve also experienced issues with staining, especially during and after the year I ate about 11 oranges, usually blended with mangos or strawberries or a berry medley, for breakfast just about every day. Dark grapes, especially the divinely flavorful concord grapes, do a number on teeth, too. I’ve learned that some claim the pineapple, oranges, lemons and limes most people buy aren’t truly ripe. Pineapple, for example, doesn’t ripen after it’s picked from trees. I’ve not eaten pineapple in three years and have limited my consumption of oranges. For me, oranges are a fantastic smoothie base and springboard to include berries into my diet, as I tend to buy these frozen unless added to salads. If I scratch oranges altogether, I cut out an affordable source of calories, leaving me with just bananas, grapes and watermelon as staple foods. Dates, with their ultralow protein and fat compositions as well as being devoid of much water, in my opinion, shouldn’t be relied on as a staple food. Mangos, sadly, are inconsistent in taste and ripen poorly, thanks to being dunked in hot water. When your fruit meals run between 1,250 and 1,500 calories, you’re somewhat boxed in by what you can make a meal out of, especially if you want to eat simple recipes or monomeals, which are meals of one kind of food at a time.

Woman holds a toothbrush topped with toothpaste, practicing oral hygiene care
I’ve experimented with several toothpastes and tooth powders since adopting a low-fat raw vegan diet in 2011.

Some are affected by staining more than others, and dental hygienists have told me that my teeth are more porous than most people’s. Thankfully, I discovered the wonderful company Uncle Harry’s Natural Products in summer 2015. I’ve found its dental products have helped me manage and even lightly reverse staining, especially Whitening Toothpaste Polish. I’ve experimented with scores of toothpastes and all-natural whitening agents since 2011.

My dental routine has evolved considerably over the years, and these days, I’m armed to the teeth, if you will, when it comes to preparation and execution. An insight I’d like to share with you is to ensure your teeth are truly clean—don’t just go through the motions of dental care and think you’ve done enough. I’d like to thank, in particular, Paul and Yulia Tarbath for their advice to me while I was in Thailand. Their recommendation to floss, use a water irrigator, brush after every meal and use oil-based agents have been blessings, even if I’ve still not completely mastered oral hygiene—or a component connected to dental health such as working less and resting and playing more. I’d also like to thank Don Bennett, who’s provided some outstanding advice as well, especially in regard to dry brushing and using a toothbrush as a tooth tool, both of which I’ve experimented with and continue to do so, and rinsing with clove and iodine solutions. Finally, I’d like to thank Dr. Barry Gillespie, creator of Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy. A former periodontist, Barry gave me a first-class lesson on best brushing practices as well as a huge box of top-notch toothbrushes and some dental floss. “You’re going to need your teeth,” this mentor told me.

So true. 🙂


  • Each morning upon waking, I rinse my mouth using water and scrape my tongue using a tongue scraper. I then brush for about 90 seconds using Eco-DenT Extra Brite tooth powder and my Philips Sonicare HX9160 toothbrush followed by a minute of a manual toothbrush, focusing largely along the gumline with the latter.
  • Immediately after each of my three meals, I rinse with water and then floss using dental floss, followed by using a Waterpik Aquarius WP-660 Professional Water Flosser. I then add a drop of clove-based Tooth and Gum Elixir and, using my tongue, smear it around the surfaces of my teeth and gums over as little as two and as long as five minutes.
  • If I eat or subacid fruits such as mangos or acid fruits such as oranges, strawberries or the juice of lemons and limes in salad dressings or sauces, I, immediately after rinsing, also add half-a-dime-sized amount of Eco-DenT Extra Brite tooth powder to my tongue, smearing it throughout my mouth, to neutralize the acid. I can feel this work better than baking soda alone. Along with the drop of Tooth and Gum Elixir, I also add two drops of Remineralization Liquid for Tooth Enamel.
  • After breakfast and lunch, comprising meals of fruit or fruit and tender greens, I usually brush for two to three minutes using Eco-DenT Extra Brite tooth powder. I usually wait 15 to 30 minutes to brush after finishing these meals. After dinner, I usually brush for three to four minutes an hour after finishing my meal using Spearmint Toothpaste or, about three days a week and especially after savory meals, usually containing acidic tomatoes and lemon and lime juice, using Whitening Polish.
  • About once every week or two, I rinse with iodine mixed with an ounce of water for a few minutes at the end of the night and after my last sip of water.

Don Bennett

Because I researched how I would need to live to be as healthy as I could be when making improvements to my diet and lifestyle practices, I didn’t have any dental issues even though I have “weak dental genetics” (non-bulletproof teeth). Making sure not to eat unripe citrus fruit is key, as is making sure to get enough of all the nutrients we need for healthy teeth and strong bones … don’t assume that the fruit and greens you eat will provide “enough of all,” because, for most people, they won’t; treat diet and nutrition as two distinct areas of study, and learn about nutrition as a researcher and not as a student. Also, rinsing your mouth with water after eating dried fruit and “acidic” fruit, and not brushing immediately after eating citrus fruit, are good tips.

I have counseled many people over the last 15 years, and a percentage of them had developed dental issues after “going raw,” and there are hard science reasons for this (it’s not the diet’s fault). My recommendations that people found to be helpful in resolving dental issues like demineralized teeth were: add a nutritional adjunct to the diet (Daily Green Boost is the best, in my opinion), and add more than a normal daily amount for a few months. Have your vitamin D level tested, and if low, and if you cannot get meaningful amounts of sunshine where you live, do not take a vitamin D supplement (yes, you heard me correctly); instead get a phototherapy device that mimics the sun’s rays (sunshine makes more than just D in your skin). This device is costly, but not nearly as costly as a diagnosis of something serious. The ShowerFloss device is excellent for water-flossing, and using a properly designed soft toothbrush as a tooth tool (not a brushing action) both with nothing on it (dry brushing), and with a healthy toothpaste is very helpful. And for those with weak dental genetics, rinsing your mouth with diluted clove oil just before going to sleep is a must.

Watch a Fruit-Powered Video Interview with Don Bennett on Oral Hygiene

Why Are Raw Foodists Susceptible to Dental Issues?

1. We pass more sugar by our teeth. Yes, this is the body’s fuel of choice, but if the diet isn’t providing enough nutrients to have well-mineralized saliva, the increased mouth bacteria’s acidic effect on the teeth can take a toll.

2. Nutritionally subpar food. The food that Nature once grew for us was far superior in nutritional quality than the food that is grown for us today by the agri-based food industry. This is a reality that people need to deal with, and one that some raw vegan educators misrepresent. And keep in mind that many of the consumables of the Typical Western Diet are fortified with nutrients that fruits and vegetables aren’t able to provide (for a whole host of reasons), and we need to consider this fact if we want optimal (dental) health for the rest of our life.

3. Dried fruit.

4. Unripe citrus fruit.

5. Too much nut consumption. When eating a meal of nuts, mouth pH becomes more acidic (digestion begins in the mouth), and this can affect tooth enamel.

I’m currently using Uncle Harry’s Whitening Toothpaste Polish after I dry-brush my teeth. The highly recommended ShowerFloss is at Read my dental blog, which has toothbrush recommendations and info on that clove oil mouthrinse.

Read Don’s Raw Vegan Transformation story and column in Fruit-Powered Magazine.

Don Bennett is a 40-year vegan, 25-year all-raw foodist who takes a truly real-world approach to health, and has applied his outside-the-box way of thinking to the best diet to also make it the healthiest diet so you can thrive and have optimal future health.

Petr Cech

I had problems with my teeth from a young age, and, in my 20s, I had about 14 amalgam fillings in my mouth. When I started on a raw food and fruit diet, some things got worse. I was losing tooth enamel on my front teeth and getting more holes in other teeth. Luckily, I learned about the causes of deterioration and could stop this damage when there was still time to save my teeth.

Yes, our jaws became smaller, but we retained the same number of teeth. That’s why it is very important to use interdental toothbrushes.The worse thing for the front teeth is to eat something acidic and also firm like apples or brushing teeth directly after eating acidic fruits.

I brush my teeth once a day after my last meal of the day. I use an ultrasoft Curaprox toothbrush, floss picks, toothpicks and interdental toothbrushes to clean my teeth. I rinse my mouth after each meal. I eat only high-water fruits and limit my consumption of apples, pineapples or kiwis. Every day, I eat about 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) of nonsweet fruits and greens.

What Helped Me to Achieve Better Tooth Health?

  • Choosing good quality fruits and eating them fully ripe
  • Limiting use of some fruits, especially apples and other acid, subacid fruits
  • Rinsing my mouth with water after each meal
  • Improving my oral hygiene with use of floss picks and interdental toothbrushes

What Do I Recommend Others to Do?

  • Limit the use of acid and subacid fruits, especially apples, pineapples, kiwis and lime or lemon on salads
  • Eat fruits when fully ripe and of good quality
  • Avoid dried fruits and nuts or other foods that stick to the teeth (raw food crackers and other dehydrated foods, but blended foods are OK)
  • Eat enough nonsweet fruits or greens
  • Rinse the mouth after each meal
  • Wait at least one hour after meals before brushing teeth
  • Use an ultrasoft toothbrush
  • Use interdental toothbrushes (most important to avoid dental caries)

Chris Kendall

Growing up, I couldn’t care less about my teeth. Honestly, I was proud that I went months without brushing at all. It was normal for me to need two cleanings and have five-plus cavities during my dental visits. That was when I was forced to go.

When I first went raw 13 years ago, I brought this same mentality to my oral hygiene. About one to two years in, I started to brush more consistently and occasionally floss. About six years in, I had gone 10 years between dental visits and was as surprised as they were when they said I needed only half a regular cleaning and had only a few cavities, which I had fixed without using numbing agents, between my teeth from a lack of flossing. Since then, I have become more conscious of my oral hygiene routine, with only a few breaks in regularity. On some occasions that my routine slipped, I found that I developed slightly recessed gums adjacent to two bottom teeth. I also found that they would correct themselves when I got back to regular brushing. After nine years on a raw diet, I got all my amalgam fillings removed and have vastly upgraded my oral hygiene routine, which has helped whiten and improve my dental health overall. During my last visit to my dentist, I had two potential cavities between my back teeth and have chosen to see if I can take care of them on my own.

My favourite oral hygiene tool is the WaterPik. I use it at least once per day and sometimes two times. These days, I brush one to three times a day using a Radius toothbrush and then follow it up with my WaterPik and sometimes flossing. I floss more often between meals or when I am on the go, as it’s a quick way to get rid of debris between my teeth. My toothbrush and WaterPik are my mainstay oral hygiene tools at home. I love the soft wide-bristled brush on the Radius because I cover more tooth area per brush stroke, reaching teeth and gums, and simply feel these toothbrushes clean better. A bonus is that they last a long time and the bristles never flatten out. I strongly prefer Eco-DenT tooth powder over all other forms of toothpaste and powder. I have tried well more than a dozen well-promoted healthy toothpastes and powders and find Eco-DenT to surpass them all. I often mix oral hygiene with yoga and do tree pose or other balancing poses while brushing. I find this helps me focus and brush for a longer period of time. If I eat strong acid foods such as lemons, limes or pineapple, I either eat some greens afterward or swish my mouth out with water and wait at least half an hour before brushing.

Dental floss spells "Clean teeth" on a wooden background

The main reasons I feel people starting on a raw diet may have troubles—I say “may,” as I do not find this to be overly common—that are more common than for the average person are:

1. Lack of a solid oral hygiene routine, with not enough time taken or methods of care used as well as using abrasive powders and overbrushing.

2. Eating too much underripe fruit, nuts or dried fruit, with No. 1 a consideration

3. Not eating enough greens or digesting their greens well enough in order to get the mineral density they require.

I find No. 3 to be one of the biggest reasons due to the fact that, in the beginning of a raw lifestyle, most people have a hard time consuming enough greens for maintenance, not considering the even greater amount of alkalinity required for the intensive detoxification that occurs in the first few months and years. It is my belief that in the first few months and years of a raw food diet, more alkaline minerals are needed to buffer the acidity being released and processed from the past lifestyle than in the “maintenance” stage. At this time, if our needs are not being met, our bones and teeth suffer. Couple this with the fact that people who come into the lifestyle often have poor digestion.

It takes time, knowledge and patience to build up the hydrocloric acid needed to digest and absorb even the volume of greens (1 to 2 pounds a day) often recommended in the maintenance stage of a raw food diet. Because of these factors, I often recommend people slowly increase the amount of whole greens they eat in the form of green smoothies, soups, stews, salads, juices and even green powders such as barley grass juice powder to increase the over all alkalinity of their lifestyle. Getting enough minerals, especially considering produce quality and detoxification, in my humble opinion, is central in tooth health and overall health.

For even more on this subject, check out The Ultimate Oral Hygiene Plan and Yoga for Dental Hygiene.

Dr. David Klein

My Dental Health Progression: Living and Learning, Alkalizing and Smiling

Raw Vegan Transformations - Dr. David Klein crouching - colitis - Crohn's disease - IBD - Fruit-Powered
Dr. David Klein reversed colitis, Crohn’s and IBD, or inflammatory bowel disease, on a low-fat raw food diet.

I grew up in New Jersey and ate probably like you did. More than 90 percent of my diet was meat, flour products, cereal and junk foods. I had a few cavities as a youth and teen. Then my terrible diet caught up to me. From ages 18 to 26, I had severe ulcerative colitis, which nearly ruined me.

Happily, I healed that up and saved my life via the teachings of Natural Hygiene with a mostly raw vegan diet in 1984. (Read my story on and in my books Self Healing Colitis & Crohn’s and The Fruits Of Healing.) Although my severely inflamed and ulcerated colon healed in four amazing weeks and I was able to get on with creating a new healthy life, I had severe demineralization to resolve. That proved to be easy.

My teeth were sensitive to the acid fruits in the beginning, but that resolved after a year or two on 99 percent raw foods. Also, I had some nerve pains in some of my front teeth the first few years. This, I believe, was from acid (probably alcohol) that was in my bloodstream as a result of some minor sugar fermentation that occurred in my bowel before my digestive system became strong and all bacteria overgrowth was eliminated. This, too, was resolved by healthful living.

In the first year after healing and becoming a “health nut,” I went to my dentist and told him I wanted my seven amalgam fillings (metal alloys, probably containing mercury, tin and silver) removed and replaced with composites and porcelain crowns. The dentist said that gold and porcelain crowns were the only materials to assure long-lasting dental prosthesis and that if I chose composites for the fillings, they would crack, and then I would need gold and porcelain. I could not afford all gold and porcelain crowns, so I asked him to go ahead with composites. He said he would take my money and do what I wanted, although I had been warned.

Right after the metal amalgams were removed, I was amazed to find that my mind was clearer and my jaw even felt lighter. These observations may have been “all in my head,” but then my teeth and the metals were in my head!

About two years after my healing, I moved to northern California and continued eating an excellent diet of 90 percent fruit, which was rounded out with raw veggies, seeds and nuts, only a few simple cooked vegan meals per year and no supplements. With that, my health was increasingly on the upswing. I went to a chiropractor because my neck needed work, and he insisted on X-rays. I did not want that, but I relented.

A week after he took the X-rays, I returned to his office, and he put the films up on a light box. He said: “Dave, I don’t know how to tell you this, but see all of this shadowy bone—about 50 percent of your bone calcium is gone.” He surmised that my bones were decrepit at only age 28 and told me that I needed to begin heavy calcium supplementation. I then got right in his face with this response: “Doctor, I am not going to take calcium supplements. I am on a totally healthful, mineral-rich diet, which is surely remineralizing my bones, and I will be perfectly fine in a year or two.”

Man opens his mouth wide at a dental appointment

He got flustered—so flustered that he sat down at his desk, reached into a drawer, pulled out a pack of cigarettes and, with his hand shaking, he lit one up and took a big puff. I was astounded!

Still flustered, he told me, “Dave, you are the one in 100 patients who wants to take responsibility for his health.” He totally respected my outlook on this and there on after kidded me unmercifully about how confident and steadfast I was in my knowledge about how I was caring for my body. His work was good, so I put up with his goofy kidding. Hey, it was California!

I am sure I fully remineralized my bones within the next few years. I became strong and robust, and later dental X-rays showed normal jaw bone density.

In 1993, I had my last bite of cooked food. To this day, my diet has been perfectly combined 100 percent raw with 90 percent fruit.

Ever since I had the amalgams replaced, I continued to have one to two cavities per year. I ate well and brushed regularly and certainly could have taken better care of my teeth with longer and more frequent brushing and flossing; however, the enamel and integrity of my teeth were impaired from my previous poor diet and illness—the damage was done.

About 1989, I had a deep cavity that ended up with a root canal. I had another root canal about 16 years later. Both procedures were successful; no problems arose afterward.

In 2000, my new dentist in California told me that the composite fillings were cracking (as expected), creating crevices and voids. New decay was occurring, and the only way to save my worst teeth was with crowns. I had him go ahead with eight gold and three porcelain crowns. Each has stood up well to this day.

A glass of barley grass juice powder mixed with water
Several contributors in this article connect the consumption of supplements such as barley grass juice powder with improved oral hygiene on a raw food diet.

Five years ago, I was reminded by my good friend, ecologist and soil remineralization advocate Don Weaver (and author of Regenerate the Earth!), about a mineral-rich green powder supplement I once briefly used and that he continues to use. As I learned years earlier from our raw fooder dentist friend Dr. Tom Stone, we need to have an abundance of alkaline minerals in our saliva. The minerals come from the bloodstream, which necessitates eating a mineral-rich diet. The minerals in the saliva will actually protect our teeth by laying down new enamel (although probably not a thick layer like the original), provided that we live healthfully, we keep our mouth pH on the alkaline end of the scale and we had not incurred too much damage.

So knowing that I (and virtually everyone else) need more minerals, especially trace minerals, I began regularly using the powder that we believe is the best (based on the manufacturer’s claim that the barley grass is grown organically in mineralized soil, which we expect would have the full spectrum of 90-plus minerals). It’s Purium’s “Organic Barley Green Juice” powder supplement. My wife, Annette, and I usually add a spoonful to our diet each day. We like the pleasant flavor, and the results have been very good. Here is how to order.

We both recently had dental checkups, and there were no cavities. I have not had a cavity in five years, and Annette has not had any either since we began using the barley grass powder. My run of yearly cavities has been broken! I did, however, have some erosion on the back of one of my teeth, and part of another tooth had a filling break off. Both will need crowns. All in all, after 34 years of mostly raw fruit eating, my patched-up teeth feel good and strong.

To keep your teeth healthy, I recommend the following practices. Above all, keep alkalized!

  • Seek a “holistic” or “green” dentist and have amalgams removed and replaced with nontoxic materials.
  • Eat 80/10/10 raw vegan with plenty of green leafy vegetables.
  • Eat dried fruit with greens and/or cucumber, then rinse, brush and floss your teeth.
A head of bright green lettuce
Tender leafy greens such as lettuce and celery as well as the nonsweet fruit cucumber are cited as keys to improved oral hygiene on a raw food diet.
  • Minimize or avoid spinach and other vegetables that are high in oxalic acid.
  • Practice perfect food combining (read “Making Sense of Food Combining Guidelines” and “Food Combining for Optimum Digestion”) to prevent fermentation.
  • Keep the acid-forming food content of your diet well under 10 percent (calorie-wise).
  • Do not eat nuts regularly (all are highly acidifying except for almonds and chestnuts), and do not eat more than 1 ounce per serving—a better choice is soaked and germinated seed dressings and “milks” (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame). You can do this with nuts, too, but nuts do not germinate in short time and do not digest as well as germinated seeds.
  • If you eat hard nuts and seeds, eat sparingly with greens and/or cucumber, then rinse, brush and floss your teeth.
  • Add a barley grass powder to your daily diet—we all need more alkaline and trace minerals.
  • Avoid strongly acidic meals as these can dissolve tooth enamel—acidic fruits (oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, pineapples) must be ripe and very sweet, which means they were grown in mineral-rich soil with mulch and/or compost and were not picked too early.
  • Avoid strongly acidic beverages (water with lemon, lime, kombucha, vinegar), and use a drinking straw if you drink citrus juices.
  • Chew slowly and thoroughly to the point of liquefaction—do not chomp on foods or grind your teeth when eating; Dr. Tom Stone advises that the teeth should never touch each other.
  • After a meal, use your tongue to spread saliva and swab your teeth clean.
  • Monitor your saliva pH with pH paper or strips. If the pH upon arising in the morning is on the acid end of the scale, avoid acidifying foods (nuts and seeds) for a while; if the pH is under 6.0 in the morning and later in the day, rinse your mouth with a solution of sea salt and water several times each day to bring up the pH of your mouth to help prevent the enamel from dissolving, and avoid nuts and seeds.
  • Brush, floss, pick (I like Rotadent Rota-Point dental picks), try a miswak stick, and have your teeth cleaned once or twice each year as needed.
  • Use a soft-bristle toothbrush or, better yet, use an electric toothbrush because it can do a far better job in less time.
  • When brushing, use water or natural nonabrasive toothpaste or powder.
  • If you grind your teeth while sleeping (bruxism), before resorting to using a toxic plastic mouthguard, work on resolving the possible root causes—for example, pent up anger, overwhelming stress, neck stiffness, jaw tightness/contraction/misalignment, neck vertebra subluxations, lack of support for your neck when sleeping on a pillow (try a cervical pillow or a rolled-up towel), weak neck muscles (try a strengthening program; ask a chiropractor or physical therapist for guidance).
  • Exercise and get sunshine regularly.
  • Smile a lot!

Tarah Millen

When I first began living a raw food lifestyle, I researched and read many conflicting views about how to care for your teeth properly while eating large amounts of fruit sugar and nuts. Prior to this time, I had a perfect dental record. For the previous 18 years, I cared for my teeth diligently and never experienced pain, sensitivity or a cavity, so I assumed my dental health would stay largely the same regardless of my lifestyle. I was wrong. Unfortunately, I made the same mistake that many people make when they begin eating raw: to take advice from others who are not dental professionals. I assumed that raw food enthusiasts and leaders in the movement knew all there was to know about dental health combined with a raw food diet, but I’ve come to realize that they were likely experimenting just as I have done over the years.

What I’ve learned over the past seven years of eating raw foods is that it is not worth it to experiment when it comes to your dental health. For example, I decided to quit using toothpaste and brushed my teeth with only water for two years. During this time, my teeth appeared to be fine, and I didn’t actually see the damage done until years later. Now I’m faced with many cavities and dental decay that could have been easily prevented had I stuck with a proper dental hygiene routine. Even though I truly thought I was doing the best for my dental health when I decided to stop using toothpaste, it’s a choice that I very much regret.

Nowadays, I stick with the same dental routine that I used prior to eating raw foods, namely using fluoridated toothpaste with mainstream toothbrushes and also fluoridated mouthwash. Although I understand that these products are in no way natural, I’ve come to terms with the fact that the more natural toothpastes and mouthwashes simply don’t keep my teeth clean enough. Now that I’ve returned to a more mainstream approach, my dental health has plateaued without my experiencing any new cavities or sensitivity.

My Routine

Morning (Prior to Eating)

  • Brushing for two minutes
  • Flossing
  • Rinsing with mouthwash

After Meals

  • Waiting 20 minutes and brushing teeth lightly


  • Brushing for two minutes
  • Rinsing with mouthwash

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