It’s common knowledge that what we eat affects the rest of our body. This includes the health of our mouth.
A poor diet can result in holes or cavities in our teeth, bleeding gums and worn down teeth as well as poor growth and development.
Weston A Price (1870-1948) was a dentist and explorer. Born in Cleveland in 1870, he made it his mission to uncover the causes of dental decay and malformation of craniofacial structures. He traveled the world, visiting indigenous communities and compared primitive tribes consuming a native diet to those from the same community who had been exposed to modern day processed foods. The conclusions he drew were startling for that time.
His idea was to ‘locate immune groups’ found as ‘relatively isolated from our modern civilization and living in accordance with the nutritional programs directed by the accumulated wisdom of the group’. And this is what he did. A pertinent question was asked – can modern society study and adopt programs developed through centuries of experience from the primitives in order to restore optimum health? Could these practices be the saviour for future generations?
The traditional diets consisted of whole foods rather than the modernised refined junk food we so easily have access to today.
Some of the key similarities in all of the studied groups were:
1) a whole foods diet
2) limited refined or processed products
3) high in minerals including calcium, magnesium, and zinc
4) plenty of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K2 (vital for mineral absorption and protein use)
5) active lifestyles and factors including the essence of community spirit
The modernised diet he mentioned consisted of white bread, cereal flours, sweetened milk, chocolate, canned goods, sweetened fruits, vegetable fats, jams, marmalades, syrups, confectionary, canned juices and coffee with a reduction in dairy product consumption. When children left the environment and went away to work or study, they were often exposed to these foods. This exposure had consequences that could be noted between siblings – a rise in dental disease, poor formation of the facial bones, crooked teeth and deformed, narrow arches.
Take home message
Your diet affects your teeth. Choosing real whole food as opposed to refined and processed foods that are high in fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and E and K2 are essential for good oral health and development. Why not try it and see?