I'm interested to see what you guys think of the paragraphs below that I just read on Amazon for a review of a book on diet and teeth health - link text
From what I can gather the author of the book advocates a paleo type diet for teeth health, while the quotes from the guy below try to assert otherwise.
I'm not a science guy so I have no idea whether he is making a valid point. Can someone here debunk/support his hypothesis?
Improving your nutrition will go a long way towards improving your teeth, but Ramiel's methods are not ideal. He begins with the premise that because many indigenous populations had healthy teeth we should eat like indigenous populations. There is some truth to that (more later), but it's not so simple. Tooth decay is largely the result of acid production and eating a diet that is largely based on meat will only increase the amount of acid in your saliva, hastening tooth decay. An alkalizing diet--which would consist of most fruits and vegetables, buckwheat, millet, some fermented dairy products and some fish oils--would do more to improve dental health than living off of bone meal and organ meats. Making the simple switch of 80% alkalizing foods and 20% acidifying foods will have a huge impact in allowing the body to remineralize tooth enamel.
The primary reasons that indigenous populations had better dental health before switching to modern western diets is because of sugar and breads. Sugar feeds bacteria while raising the acid content in your saliva, aiding in the destruction of your teeth. Breads are similar, but also have the added drawback of containing phytic acid, which prevents the absorption of minerals needed for your teeth and bones! Ramiel touches on this briefly, but with his bizarre and impractical diet of meat it's clear he doesn't truly understand what the key difference is between indigenous diets and modern ones.
asked byRedbear (10)
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on April 30, 2011
at 04:54 AM
The acid-base relationship is correct, as is his assessment of sugars feeding the bacterial biofilms in the mouth. His error is a simple one, and a common one: "indigenous" populations are not necessarily Paleolithic populations, and our teeth evolved to remain mineralized in a Paleolithic setting. I'm not decrying the healthfulness of farmed fruits or vegetables (though maybe I should because of artificial selection imposed to increase sugar content) or of fermented dairy or fish oils, but these things were not available to Paleolithic man, so operating from a standpoint of evolution, it follows that dental health can be maintained with only Paleolithic foods, but not necessarily only with Paleolithic foods.
The mineral content of the foods he listed are insufficient to support tooth remineralization, with the exception of the fermented dairy -- unavailable to Paleolithic man. The mineral content of meat is sufficient to support tooth remineralization. I'm not sure where the critical point lies between the two -- the critic guesses 80% non-meat, 20% meat -- but Paleolithic man didn't get enough calories to survive eating 80% fruits and veggies and 20% meat.
Acid-base load is important, but we possess a strong, endogenous pH buffer system, and I'm not so sure a Paleo diet introduce enough acid through meat to reduce systemic pH enough to pull base out of our teeth, let alone significantly affect systemic pH at all. You can certainly do that though. My 2 cavities came after a summer of drinking several cans of Mountain Dew a day. That's way, way, more acidic than meat.
And assuming this guy is right, would you sacrifice your results on Paleo for another 10 years with your teeth? Not me.
on April 30, 2011
at 03:39 PM
I don't buy the acid/base stuff. I think we all can agree that reducing sugar/carb consumption will provide less food for bacteria on your teeth. I suspect, however, that the acidic environment our bodies create in our mouths is entirely intentional, and is part of the ongoing chemical/biological warfare we conduct against pathogens. There is a war going on between "bad" bacteria and "good" bacteria in the mouth, just as there is in the gut.
I started using non-flouride toothpaste six months ago. My dental checkup/cleaning two weeks ago was the easiest in my life. Incredibly low levels of tartar to scrape away. I wasn't in the chair more than 15 minutes.
I tried this experiment because I think fluoride may be screwing up the balance of good and bad bacteria. It probably kills all species indiscriminately, then the bacteria repopulate over the following hours. But, it is not at all certain that both good and bad bacteria repopulate at the same rate, and soon after brushing with fluoride, we may have a poor mix of species in our mouth.
At any rate, I'm continuing the experiement. The problem is I have two variables that have changed: sugar/carb intake and fluoride.
on September 08, 2012
at 03:03 PM
Hello, first time commenter on this site, I was just browsing and I know that it's been more then a year since this post has had comment, but I wanted to share my discovery in the teeth dept with you all! I have a giant cavity (it can fit a peppercorn in it) in one of my molars and was hurting like a mofo, I've brushed all my life (sure I forgot to somedays, who hasn't?), and I've noticed that my teeth have gone rapidly down hill over the past few years, despite my increased vigilance, so again I started thinking "back to nature" again, I stopped using tooth paste in an attempt to normalize my bioflora (not as uncommon as you would think, much like not using soap and shampoo), then I started with why animals in the wild have VERY low incidences of tooth decay, and I remembered that carnivores especially have low tooth decay, so I started thinking about the why's.
I put two and two together, the body's PH level is very important, along with the fact that carnivores have VERY basic saliva, filled with calcium, phosporus, and sodium with some more I'm sure, and that people advocate eating mineral-filled dark green veggies to increase the baseness of your body. WELL thats all well and good for herbivores, but why especially do carnivores not need veggies to not have tooth decay?
Bones. Simply put, bones have the exact same minerals in them that alkalising diets advocate about what's in their vegetables, and carnivores eat ALOT of them. And guess what humans STOPPED doing? Thats right, eating bones. I'm sure that our paleo ancestors noshed on some bones for a snack, if not for a diversion (like bubblegum) then for some sustenance.
So, I took myself and the lightbulb above my head to the local organic store, and bought some bone meal tabs, I've been on them for 3 days now, and while that is not enough time to really satisfy the die hard skeptics out there, you know what? I went from debillitating headaches (I'm poor and have no dental insurance, even though i work more then full time) to pain free within one day, and the only pain I do have is after I take a swig of soda, and even that is 1/10 of what it was...imagine the difference between someone stabbing you, and someone just touching you.
So, in the end? If you're looking to make sure you are "whole", or "complete" in your paleo quest, go get some bone meal tabs cuz it was very obviously lacking in my diet. good luck people, stay strong, and LIVE PALEO!!!
on June 19, 2013
at 07:05 AM
Thank you for the above comment, Jean Jones. It was very thorough, the large cavity size was both useful and inspiring, and the thoughts were well-laid-out. Confirms a long-standing suspicion & provides actionably good evidence. Being poor was very helpful, too!
As an additional comment, a post on PH mentioned an article entitled "Is Meat Always Acidifying?" or "...Why Meat Is Not Always Acidifying.". If the theory of acid-akaline diet (which I have not researched much; there may be many theories, but a common thread is that acidifying foods are unhealthy &/or contribute to a large amount of diseases and ageing problems. Akalyzing foods are viewed as restoring the alkalinity of something in the body and healing, or allowing the body to heal.) has some basis (as it seems to), this would help complete the evidence.
As with all "science" & hypothesis, the argument is as strong as its bases. The acid-alkaline theory, the theory which the author of the original quote is (very likely) referencing looks suspicious on account of possibility of being incomplete, or narrow in its map drawn by its hypotheses.
Empirically, though, there might be some evidence that consuming excessive amounts of protein (e.g. meat) past the requirement for one's body may be more taxing than, say, fats on the body's energy-production/digestion, and age the body faster.
on May 03, 2011
at 05:54 AM
What I have read recently is to not brush right after meal because the acid in your saliva and perhaps the food or drink has somewhat weakened your enamel. Not sure if this is true but I have been waiting a while after eating to brush.
I have been fairly primal for about 9 months. At my last cleaning, the hygienist said there wasn't much plaque to remove.
The whole acid/alkaline concept doesn't make sense to me. If anything changes the balance much, your body corrects it. Otherwise, you would probably die.
on April 30, 2011
at 05:14 PM
you can use ph test strips to check your mouth after a meal if you like. see dr ellie's blog. rinsing your mouth out with water after eating should be sufficient. I like a slice of lemon in a glass of water, but that's not that great for enamel that's in so so shape after so many years on the SAD.
on April 30, 2011
at 10:46 AM
I know before I went paleo I had one small cavity, dentist told me it was too small to really do anything with, 2 years later I've had no new cavities and that one is still to small to do anything to.
on April 30, 2011
at 09:07 AM
hi. i have ramiels book. Its a good start. He has some interesting facts.
There is a another way for healing teeth. Its to keep the blood clean. Do juice fasting avoid any irritant. Most likely diary and sometimes some animal product. Vegetable juices are a great way to improove your system.