WAPF claims that bacteria do not cause tooth decay:
As for claims that xylitol can prevent tooth decay, I can only say, “Buyer beware!” Such claims are based on the faulty theory that bacteria cause tooth decay. We know from the work of Weston Price that tooth decay is a problem of nutrient deficiencies—the bacteria are just there cleaning up dead tissue.
Is there a consensus in the paleo community?
A related idea is the effect of acid, either produced by bacteria or in acidic beverages like orange juice. Does the acid do nothing at all to the teeth, or is a well-nourished body just able to rebuild the teeth quickly enough?
If I'm well-nourished, and decide to eat some fruit before bed, and not brush my teeth, is that a bad idea?
(I also wonder about xylitol but I'll probably ask a separate question.)
There are 3 determinate s of tooth decay. I wrote about that here. Teeth, bacteria, and ferment able carbohydrates. (sugars) If you want to read about the best theory we have of tooth decay download and read the article by Dr. Southward linked in this piece. It also talks about the correctness of the Weston Price approach.
This is an expansion of John Sorrentino's answer (the accepted one) based on the cited sources. Give him an upvote too if you find this answer useful.
His website has a pdf to an excellent article by Ken Southward. I found a link to the text here.
I only read parts of the article so far, but I think this excerpt summarizes it well:
The tooth is designed to withstand the harsh oral environment, provided it is properly nourished. A high-sucrose diet affects the tooth from the outside by enabling oral bacteria to produce acid and from the inside by reducing the dentinal fluid flow and the body's ability to control the inflammatory process in the dentin. Antioxidants can shield the dentition by decreasing the effects of acid erosion, by minimizing the effect of ROS in the hypothalamus, and by replenishing TIMPs in the dentin. Minimizing sucrose as well as increasing fruit and vegetable intake and nutritional supplementation are modifiable lifestyle decisions with significant measurable benefits.
The systemic theory of dental caries By Ken Southward, DDS, FAGD Featured in General Dentistry, September/October 2011 Pg. 367-373 Posted on Friday, September 02, 2011
I wonder if dietary fructose and glucose have the same effect as sucrose. That's something that wasn't addressed. Someone who knows more about the oxidative effects can probably address that issue.
Since Price observed green stuff growing on remarkably healthy teeth in some of the populations he observed, it seems reasonable to conclude that it's not strictly a bacteria problem.
My takeaway from the WAPF reading I did was that people who eat primarily processed, industrial foods end up deficient in vitamin K (assumed identity of Price's Activator X). Since vitamin K controls calcium partitioning, being deficient in it directs calcium to be deposited in blood vessels instead of the skeletal system and teeth.
Basically, garbage in, garbage out.
yes - diet is formost however there IS bacteria and it DOES "cause" tooth decay when the conditions are right - and yes xylitol HAS been clinically/research shown to reduce the activity of the decay causing bacteria.
like everything else -there is no ONE reason for such a thing - like there is no ONE reason for obesity, or ONE reason for diabetes...
Healing Tooth Decay: Cod Liver Oil/Butter, Xylitol, Spry Gel & Tooth Powder http://daiasolgaia.com/?p=74
Paleo-Plus Dental Healing & Health Diet Recommendations http://daiasolgaia.com/?p=2892