Though overshadowed by calcium and d3, vitamin k2 is a critical nutrient for oral and dental health. found primarily in animal products, k2 helps keep the oral microbiome in balance, prevents cavities, and supports remineralization.
Dental tradition teaches us that calcium is the most important nutrient for strong bones and teeth, and i’s the reason school cafeterias across the country serve up milk by the case. Yet calcium, alone, isn’t enough to ensure dental health. It is vitamin K2, working synergistically with calcium and other minerals, that is most responsible for preventing cavities and even reversing some pre-existing cavities.
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Vitamin K2 and Activator X
In 1939, famed dentist Weston A. Price published a body of research that provided a foundation for the future of preventative dental care and, in truth, a guide to optimal health overall. (1)
For years, Price had studied primitive groups around the world that enjoyed long lifespans, minimal disease occurrence, and very few incidences of cavities or gum disease. And this was the case even though those cultures had no exposure to the Western world and its modern “advancements”. Shockingly, many of the people Price documented had never heard of a toothbrush.
Yet one pattern arose in Price’s research: Those cultures commonly ate foods high in a compound that Price had no name for, prompting him to call it “activator X.”
Once Price realized the impact of activator X on dental health, he abandoned nearly all conventional dental procedures in favor of a system of dietary recommendations. And he found that those recommendations led to straight, healthy, cavity-free teeth in most cases.
While we aren’t certain what Activator X was, the best guess within the scientific community is that Price was generally referring to vitamin K2. (More specifically, science leans toward the fact that K2 is most powerful when operating synergistically with vitamins A and D3.)
So what makes vitamin K2 different from vitamin K1?
Well, it wasn’t until 1975 that Harvard researchers realized that vitamin K2 wasn’t just a different version of vitamin K1 with the same benefits. On the contrary, they discovered the protein osteocalcin, which is dependent upon Vitamin K2 for activation. Once activated, osteocalcin pulls calcium from the bloodstream into your bones and teeth to keep them strong and disease-free. (2) Vitamin K1 doesn’t have the ability to activate that process.
With a new focus on vitamin K2 and its specific benefits, it would make sense for doctors and dentists to promote it as a vital nutrient and encourage people to get more of it in their diets. But that just wasn’t the case.
In 2007, 68 years after Price published the incredible benefits of Activator X, researchers finally realized that most people in modern society are deficient in Vitamin K2. (3) The ramifications of this are huge, as scientists believe that vitamin K2 may have the potential to reverse the heart disease and diabetes epidemics.
And, of course, without vitamin K2, it is nearly impossible to achieve optimal oral and dental health.