Paleo Diet, How To Keep Your Teeth Healthy And Strong
Epipaleolithic Skull, Coombe Capelle 7500 BC, Still has his teeth 9000 years later.
Diet And Healthy Teeth
Keeping your teeth healthy in our modern world is hard. When archaeologists dig up some ancient, fossilized skeleton, usually the best preserved part is the teeth. Our ancient ancestors had strong, healthy teeth. How did they do it with no dentists, no fluoride, no tooth brushes or toothpaste?
We know what causes teeth to go bad, sugar and starchy foods, and diets low in essential nutrients. We have so much food that it makes us fat, but still don't get the nutrition we need.
I have had weak, bad teeth all of my life. Virtually every tooth I have has a filling or has had other work done on it. They ached, the gums bled, I needed to go to the dentist all the time.
Now my teeth are great. The only time I go to the dentist is if an old filling breaks down. The dentist comments favorably about my oral health. I am over fifty years old, but I still have all thirty-two teeth, even my wisdom teeth. My gums are good, don't bleed and are not receding.
What caused the change? Simple. I stopped eating food that is bad for my teeth. In my mid-thirties I went on a diet to lose some weight. The diet was low-carbohydrate, similar to Atkins but without all the various gimmick 'food' products the Atkins company sells. I cut out almost all prepared foods, bread and cereal. I ate vegetables, meat, fish and some fruit. No grains, no starches, low sugar.
I didn't start this diet with any special thought to my teeth, but the result was almost miraculous. Instead of being on a first-name basis with my dentist, and helping to put his kids through college, I became free of tooth pain for the first time in years.
Research suggests that bad teeth are bad for your general health. People with bad teeth are more likely to die from heart attacks!
Choosing what to eat is simple on this diet. Eat natural foods, like vegetables and meat, and avoid processed foods, especially those made from grains, potatoes, or any form of sugar.
Don't avoid the fatty meats, either. Fat is essential for your body to absorb nutrients, especially the fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, E and D. All those veggies you eat won't do you any good if they aren't eaten along with fat.
Our natural paleolithic diet provides full and healthy amounts of every nutrient we need. Save money on endless supplements by eating food that is already full of nutrition. There is precious little scientific evidence that any supplement actually improves your health or lengthens you life. The only time to take supplements is if you are living somewhere you simply can not find good food.
Highly acidic foods will also damage your teeth. Coke and coffee are examples. The acid gradually removes the enamel and can make your teeth soft and weak over many years. Other acidic foods are fruits, especially citrus fruits. Eat fruit, but excess fruit consumption, with its high sugar content and acid can lead to weaker teeth.
Tea, on the other hand, is linked to stronger teeth. Scientists believe that it may be the fluoride naturally present in tea leaves that causes this beneficial effect, since tea is, like coffee acidic, and you would expect it to be bad for teeth. Tea also has antibacterial properties, so this may also be beneficial to teeth, by killing the bacteria that cause cavities.
Dietary Causes of Tooth Decay
What causes tooth decay in the first place, and how does the paleolithic diet described above prevent it? Tooth decay is caused by a bacteria, Streptococcus mutans, which eats carbohydrates, basically sugars, and starches turned into sugars in our mouths.
When the bacteria digest the sugar they produce acids, mainly lactic acid. This acid is what actually eats away at your teeth. Avoiding sugar and starch is the primary way to avoid tooth decay, and eventually cavities. Brushing, flossing, and using fluoride treatments can help offset the negative effects of a bad diet. The lower the amount of sugar and starch in our diets, the more healthy our teeth will be.