I went to the dentist for a routine cleaning and he is always amazed how great my teeth are. I've had only one teeny cavity and it's not like I brush extra or do anything special. I attribute it to the lack of sugar and starches in my diet. What about you guys? Do you feel your teeth are better off for eating Paleo?
Dr. Weston Price, DDS, is really the guy that started off the paleo idea, although I don't think that he mentioned the Theory of Evolution. In 1939 he published a book and most of what he talked about was the strength of the teeth of primitive people and the reason why, which were their diet.
I have lousy teeth. But one thing going paleo has done for me is bring my chronic periodontal disease to a halt. I no longer have any pain or inflammation in my mouth, my gums no longer bleed when I brush my teeth, and none of my teeth feel loose any more. I can eat things like almonds again without discomfort. On top of that, my teeth are far less sensitive than they were--ice-cold drinks still bother me a little, but that I can actually drink them now is a tremendous sign of improvement.
I've got a long way to go in order to get my teeth above the gumline into decent shape, but my improved health below the gumline makes me feel far more optimistic about it. I never thought I'd say this, but I don't feel such deep dread about going to the dentist now. I won't be able to undertake any major work for at least another year, but for now I'm okay with that--it gives my mouth another year to do some more healing on its own.
I eat tons of starch, fruit, honey and sometimes plain white table sugar. And I have great teeth. But I also eat things like liver, bone marrow and I'm not afraid of fat.
It's not necessarily about sugar as Weston Price pointed out. It's more about mineral/vitamin deficiencies and consuming commercially prepared, processed foods most likely contributes to that.
I'm really happy for you that you have good teeth and that eating "paleo" seems to work for you. But please stop demonising carbohydrates! It's so not the cause for every ailment.
For some reason, between my British and Chinese parentage, my teeth have always been amazing- totally cavity free and no plaque build up ever. Besides a fake tooth due to a teenage accident, I've never had a problem. On the other hand, my poor little brother had 5 cavities throughout childhood eating the same diet as I was (a pretty high quality one, with very little bread and plenty of meat/veg). His teeth were considered quite "weak" according to the dentist.
Since going just gluten free and lower sugar, my brother's teeth are no longer described as "weak" and he hasn't had a cavity since. Me? No changes, but hey I wasn't complaining in the first place. I think there will be a lot variation in answers in experience, just like there are many different teeth in the first place!
Overall, my teeth are hundreds of times better than they used to be pre-Paleo, 9 months ago. Even on hard-core Paleo/ketogenic diets though, I still grow a bit of tooth plaque within a few months’ time. My goal is to not accumulate ANY plaque on my teeth ever again, to have fully re-mineralize my teeth (already healed ~80%), to have fully heal sensitivity in my front teeth (already healed ~70%), and to fix receding gum lines (healed only about ~10% so far). So I've started a home-made toothpaste regimen, recipe on my blog.
Yes. Without a doubt. I was the kid who got a new cavity every frigg'n time I would go to the dentist. EVERY time. Sometimes multiple cavities. I could never understand what I was doing wrong - I avoided sugar and had great brushing/flossing habits. It was never enough.
Fast forward to 2008 when I dropped the grains and upped the [good] fats in my diet. Cavities are suddenly a thing of the past, and a couple of tiny cavities that we were "watching" from a perious dentist appointment disappeared, much to the confusion of my dentist. Amazing stuff, and yet, I STILL can't convince her that the changes were all diet related. She still insists that reenameling is impossible. Sigh.
Yeah, the dentist the other day explained to me that excess sugar in the body can get spilled into your saliva and cause more cavities. A low sugar, mineral rich diet like paleo definitely helps with better dental care.
A part of it is just good genes. I've had maybe one cavity in my life that occurred after I got married and perhaps just a couple of flaws that were filled in. This was all before I went paleo. I'm 54 yo now. Whenever I go to the dentist I'm told that my mouth is gorgeous. (But I admit that I never liked soda or sweet drinks much, so probably that helped also.)
I am 66 and my teeth are beginning to fall out. I have been able to stop that trend and reduce the inflammation that proceeds the falling out of teeth since I started with paleo. I use one tender tooth as a guide to see if what I am eating causes inflammation or not. The dentist will certainly want to remove it, and I look forward to telling him "no" and telling him why.
As with most issues, it is genetics and diet. I am a dentist and agree that excess consumption of sugar and processed carbohydrates are the cause of dental disease. I'm not prepared to vindicate "natural" sugar sources. When I eat too much fruit, my teeth begin to hurt, and I eat plenty of fat and organ meats. I think genetics does play a role.
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