Foods for healthy teeth
What are the essential ingredients and foods for healthy teeth? We all know that we should clean and floss our teeth and get regular check ups at the dentist. But what about dietary issues and teeth? While cleaning teeth and dental checkups are the cornerstone of preventative strategies for healthy teeth, we should always include good nutrition as well.
Most of us know that sugar is a major cause of dental decay and calcium makes strong teeth. But is there anything else that we can do to ensure healthy teeth? The development of teeth and facial bones starts in utero and continues into childhood. Nutritional deficiencies in protein, calcium, vitamins A, C & D can lead to problems such as delayed tooth eruption, reduced tooth size, poor mineralisation, decreased enamel solubility and increased susceptibility to cavities and overcrowding. So nutrition is indeed an essential component of healthy, straight teeth. There are many other nutritional links between overcrowded teeth and other problems such as snoring and allergies – you can read more about this here.
Research in recent years has revealed the impact of facial bone development on teeth formation – such that modern orthodontic practices now exert their influence on teeth through manipulating the palate and cranial bones. But perhaps we can influence the development of the teeth, palate and facial bones, so that orthodontics are not needed.
Half a century ago an American dentist named Weston A. Price was so disturbed by the rampant decay he found in his adult patients and the increasing incidence of crowded, crooked teeth in his young patients that he vowed to find a cause. Price found that the overcrowding accompanied other “facial deformities”–overbites, narrow long faces, underdevelopment of the nose and pinched nostrils. Children with dental problems also had immune issues including allergies, asthma, recurrent infections as well as behavioural problems, sleep issues and fatigue. Price found that adults with tooth decay also often had serious degenerative problems elsewhere in the body such as arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, gastric complaints and general exhaustion.
To try and find some answers, Price took a bold step and decided to travel around the world seeking out groups of people who had no prior or only limited contact with the ‘civilised’ society to examine their health and physical development. He travelled to diverse regions around the globe from Australia and New Zealand to Africa and South America. He found people in isolated Swiss villages and a windswept island in Scotland as well as Eskimos, Native Indian tribes, Fijians, Aborigines, Maoris and Africans. His research was conducted when there still remote cultures and tribes who were untouched by modern civilised society.
Price did meticulous research and took some amazing photographs – which culminated in his acclaimed book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. In every country he went to he found consistent results in the ‘primitive’ peoples. They all had strong, healthy bodies with perfect facial features and virtually no tooth decay or overcrowding. Of course this was all achieved without toothbrushes and toothpaste! In contrast, when Price compared neighbouring tribes and groups of natives who had adopted western ways and dietary patterns (sugar, refined grains, canned foods, pasteurized milk and devitalized fats and oils), he found striking physical degeneration and rampant tooth decay and he observed facial and dental deformities within the next generation of children.
So what can we learn from this pioneering nutrition researcher? Although geography and culture dictated differences in foods eaten in these diverse tribes of people, all the diets that Price analysed offered similar nutrition. He found that they all had a very high intake of calcium (four times our modern dietary intake) and fat soluble vitamins (vitamin A, D & K). These vitamins act as crucial activators for a range of body functions – including bone and teeth development. Price recommended cod liver oil and high vitamin butter products to enhance the health of children or adults with cavities or poor teeth development.
A modern traditional whole foods diet can confer many of the benefits that Price found in the native people’s diets. Avoiding processed foods – especially sugar, white flour products, hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarines, soft drinks and fruit juice is essential. Traditional diets had more fresh, raw and fermented foods – that are loaded with nutrients for a healthy body. Including nourishing foods in your family’s diet everyday can optimise the development of your children’s teeth and go a long way in keeping your own teeth healthy too. I also recommend and stock the Green Pasture range of products that provide an excellent way of incorporating nutrient dense vitamins into your diet. Including fermented cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil, these products offer superior nutrition than standard fish oil products.
Visit the Weston A Price website to learn more.
See Green Pasture for more information about their products.