To Hell With Bastardly Dentists:
Dental Healing with Paleo/Primal Diet Plus
by Ravi – UPDATED/REVISED FALL 2012
Many of us are conceptually incarcerated by decades of indoctrination to modern dentistry’s revival-tent calls to sit in the dentist chair and “be healed” (and forfeit big bucks doing so). Dental “care”, dental products and dentifrices are a huge, 100′s of millions of dollars a year business. We’ve been led to believe – like in so many other areas of our lives, that we need holy professionals, in this case the “dental care priests” to pray over us with their high-speed drills in order to keep our teeth past childhood.
It seems inconceivable to learn that, in fact,
our teeth CAN HEAL THEMSELVES!
Deep-seated fears of the dentist’s chair (was that a pun?) and his office full of instruments of barbaric torture are held by those of us who had less-than-happy experiences in such offices (can you, even for a moment, remember that scene from “Marathon Man” without writhing in your chair…?!). My own still-vivid personal remembrance of my dentist is of a rather slovenly, overweight and sweaty middle-age man placing my then-10- year-old head in a half nelson (that’s a wrestling hold) jammed up to his growling belly, with my mouth pried open, so he could drill while holding me still. And I can still *easily* recall the intense electric-like pain of the “slow ball drill” cleaning the huge holes in my molars before the most excruciation moment of all – the cold blowing air stream to dry the raw-nerve hole in preparation for filling. (yes folks, that’s me in the movie being played by Dustin Hoffman…)
I’m actually getting a little cold sweat as I write this –
and that memory is from 45 years ago!
Novocain was reserved for extractions, and this old bastard either had no idea about or was too damn cheap to invest in nitrous oxide (laughing gas). At 20 years of age, after 10 years of nightmare-inducing appointments with this supposed “healer”, I had a mouthful of poison mercury amalgam that would, by age 45, be causing the beginnings of innumerable digestive and physiological issues for me, culminating in appendicitis at the ripe old age of 46.
Happily (and just in time for my health) when my parents passed away, they left me the means to have removed the poisons they unknowingly let the quack put in my mouth 30-some years before. It cost me $12,000 (2004 dollars) and was worth every cent. All debilitating symptoms cleared within 6 months to a year (after a regiment of chelation).
I’ve moved on and long since forgiven my dear parents for their unknowing – but it has made me determined to not let anything like this be foisted on my young daughter Lola. What did I need to learn to save her from this experience?
Lola’s Primal/Paleo Diet (plus) Has Stopped and Healed Her Dental Caries
Lola just turned 3 today – and Sunna, Elena and I were checking out the decay we were so shocked to find just about 2 years ago. The marks are still there as the enamel will not heal over, however the re-mineralizing dentin has clearly filled the small cavities that were forming and the decay has most certainly stopped with no indication of any damage to to her other teeth.
FALL 2012 UPDATE: Lola’s teeth are strong (at 4.5 years old) and only show the remains of the damage from 3.5 year ago. NO further decay took place and we look forward to seeing her strong and healthy adult teeth erupt in the next couple years!
We now see that stopping grains, keeping sugar consumption VERY low, dropping ALL seed oils replacing them with excellent fats and oils and religiously feeding Lola her much loved “lemon cod-liver oil treats” has done exactly what we learned – STOPPED her toothdecay and allowed her teeth to heal and keep any further decay from happening! (go here to get your kids to LOVE cod liver oil daily!) and PLEASE READ ON:
How Did We Do This?
Some background first. I want to present a little more of the research by DDS Weston Price (who inspired us to go this nutritional route with Lola and her dental caries) and also the research of a husband and wife team: Dr. Edward and Dr. May Mellanby, all of whom pioneered and *proved* that nutrition and diet was responsible for tooth decay and dental healing. The maddening part of this story is that this knowledge has been around SINCE 1935, and yet modern dentistry has still been allowed, at huge and shameless profit, to expand and prosper with absolutely zero regard for this seminal work.
That nutrition is the absolute factor in dental health is hard for us to get our minds around – it’s NOT teeth brushing, it’s NOT regular dental checkups and care, and it most certainly is NOT conventional dentistry – but in fact, it is what we DO eat and what we DON’T that makes our teeth rot… or not.
Dr. Weston Price
Dr Weston Price DDS, after the heart-wrenching and professionally demeaning experience losing a child, his OWN child, to complications from tooth decay (he was a dentist remember…), embarked on a Quest to find out why human teeth would rot so long before their usefulness to us was over. He set out on a years-long world travel in the 1920′s and 30′s searching for traditional cultures not yet exposed to “modern” foods – specifically refined sugars and grains – and he found them. These were not people who brushed and flossed daily – most did it NEVER.
In fact, numerous tribes and peoples had practices or habits that so physically punished their teeth it’s hard for us to imagine them not simply falling out.
Unbelievably, some of these peoples – the African Wakamba, for example, file their teeth to points, cutting through all layers of enamel, dentin and STILL got little or no tooth decay. The Inuits would use their teeth in leather work to the point of wearing them down right to the pulp with similar un-decaying results.
It was through these travels and studies that Dr. Price developed a theory as to why this was the case and his ideas, with a few new pieces to the puzzle, still hold up today. He postulated that traditional cultures had learned what traditionally prepared and locally available foods were “healthy” for mind, body and spirit – including dental health. Without access to industrial revolution refined foodstuffs, these cultures thrived with excellent health, full strong dental arches (mouth structures able to fit all the teeth growing into them) and little or no decay well into old age.
The foodstuffs these people ate varied widely but had certain important similarities. They were all natural, unprocessed, unrefined food sources, and from both animals and plants. In fact, no traditional people where Dr. Price observed this vibrant health were vegetarian – ALL used animal products and most used an abundance of animal foodstuff sources. Additionally, Dr Price was able to determine a number of “prized” foodstuffs – ones that the traditional culture revered for absolutely BEST health and well being. These observations were key in his final, successful analysis.
The most shocking revelations of his travels and studies was that the literal moment in time when these cultures started consuming “superior” western refined foods and sugars, their dental health (and other well-being) plummeted. And even more shocking is the deformation of the dental arch of the children, even within the same family, causing a narrowing of the face, nostrils and the crowding of the teeth in the mouth (braces anyone?).
Dr. Weston Prices’ Research Trials Back In England
Upon his return to England armed with his new knowledge and ideas, Dr. Price also had substantial success curing tooth decay. He fed underprivileged children one very nutritious meal a day and closely recorded their dental health. From Nutrition and Physical Degeneration (p. 290):
About four ounces of tomato juice or orange juice and a teaspoonful of a mixture of equal parts of a very high vitamin natural cod liver oil and an especially high vitamin butter was given at the beginning of the meal. They then received a bowl containing approximately a pint of a very rich vegetable and meat stew, made largely from bone marrow and fine cuts of tender meat: the meat was usually broiled separately to retain its juice and then chopped very fine and added to the bone marrow meat soup which always contained finely chopped vegetables and plenty of very yellow carrots; for the next course they had cooked fruit, with very little sweetening, and rolls made from freshly ground whole wheat, which were spread with the high-vitamin butter. The wheat for the rolls was ground fresh every day in a motor driven coffee mill. Each child was also given two glasses of fresh whole milk. The menu was varied from day to day by substituting for the meat stew, fish chowder or organs of animals.
Before and after X-rays are provided by Dr. Price showing re-calcification of cavity-ridden teeth on this program. Both Dr Price’s diet and Dr Mellanby’s diet – although somewhat different, were high in minerals, rich in fat-soluble vitamins (including D), and low in phytic acid.
Dr. Edward and Dr. May Mellanby
In England during the 1920′s and 1930′s, Dr. May Mellanby conducted dietary trials to test nutritional paths for preventing and healing cavities. Complete control over their diets was achieved using children living in institutions. Teeth were examined at the start of the trial, and the number, texture and degree of each cavity was observed. After each six month trial of different nutritional regiments, the teeth were re-examined.
The “standard diet” included milk, eggs, meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, bread, oatmeal, some sugar and no supplemental vitamin D, except naturally occurring in eggs and from sun exposure. Other were fed the Remineralizing Diet, it was similar but higher in calcium, and vitamin D (“discovered” by her husband Dr Edward Mellanby) was supplemented up to 2000 IU per day. Added sugar was held constant in both diets sugar, jam and syrup. There was no difference in dental hygiene practices between the two groups.
The differences were astounding. The children following the Remineralizing Diet had 93% fewer cavities than those following the Standard Diet. Pre-exisiting cavities in the Remineralizing Diet group actually healed without dental intervention.
Here is Dr. May Mellanby’s Remineralizing Diet basics:
- Vitamin D was supplement using cod liver oil vitamin D supplements to about 2000 IU per day.
- Milk was served with all meals so that each child received about one quart per day providing about 1200mg of calcium out of a daily total of 1700mg, and also provided considerable phosphorus;
- Added sugar (including jam and syrup) was limit to 57 g per day, or about 14 teaspoons. Currently in the US, children and adolescents consume on average 26 teaspoons of added sugar per day.
- No cereal, bread, rice or other grains. Carbohydrates came from potatoes, fruit and vegetables, milk and sugar.
And here is the chart showing the dental results in the 2 diets used:
You can read the full Mellanby study text from the 1930′s here.
What Have We Learned Since Price and the Mellanbys?
There are numerous advances in knowledge since this original research was done in the 1920′ and 1930′s. The detrimental elements in grains have been identified and studied: Phytates (phytic acid) that bind up essential nutrients and minerals in the digestive tract, the damaging effects of even small amounts of WGA (wheat germ aglutinin) in the lining of the digestive tract and the unfolding saga of gluten itself and how it impacts more than just those with identified celiac disease (see this growing list of studies here).
Whereas Price used freshly-ground wheat (still full of phytase, the enzyme capable of degrading phytic acid – that helps lessen the negative impact of the phytate) to make a bread as part of his trials, Mellanby used no grains.
Unfortunately – surf as I will, I cannot find any definitive studies/trials that show exactly how much of the negatives in wheat/grains are eliminated by traditional souring (as promoted by the Weston Price Foundation). This has led us to decide that – without hard data as to the net-positive or net-negative effect of consuming soured grains – we’d just rather not.
We also know more about sugar and its role in feeding the bacteria that attack the teeth. When closely examined, both Price and Mellanby had great success in spite of some continued sugar intake – however science has now identified the bacteria – staphylococcus mutens – that is the primary candidate for tooth decay and sugar makes this bacteria a happy camper. That said – “the terrain is everything” and despite some *modest* sugar consumption, dental health improves if the other good nutritional elements are present. Happily for us – a “sugar alcohol” called xylitol holds promise as a food sweetener and xylitol has shown to depress the growth of staphylococcus mutens in the mouth rather than assist it. Xylitol is also arguably healthier nutritionally – if you have to use a sweetener at all (and what family with kids can totally abstain?).
So, “In a Nutshell”, What are the Teeth-Rotting Foods We Eat?
So what are the foods the we moderns eat that rot our teeth starting literally during infancy?
Refined sugars and all grains – especially refined grains/refined grain products. Simply put – all breads and refined grain products – breads, cookies, crackers, breakfast cereals, pasta/spaghetti, breaded anything and anything with gluten grains – wheat being the absolute worst! Also to be avoided are any products/fruits high in sugar and fructose.
Stephen over at his blog Whole Health Source has found another very interesting and revealing experiment with in vitro (in solution) tests of the effects of common foodstuffs on the eating away of the enamel of our teeth. “A Comparison of Crude and Refined Sugar and Cereals in Their Ability to Produce in vitro Decalcification of Teeth” is the paper and he gives it an excellent reading here.
for Our paleo-dental-healing diet Recommendations Based on our Research and our Success with Lola- Please Click here