I discovered the Paleolithic diet just before the beginning of my third trimester of pregnancy, and adopted it immediately and fully (no grains, legumes, or dairy).
My motivation was to better my own health and reduce my chances of serious autoimmune problems later on down the line. My diet had already been free of sugars, processed foods and vegetable oils, but it did include a lot of fermented or soaked grains (i.e., plenty of sourdough breads) prior to learning about the Paleo diet.
I know that when Weston Price researched the dental arches of children from traditional hunter-gatherer tribes, and found them to be wide, beautiful and free from the crowding of the neolithic peoples, it was also noted that, for those hunter-gatherers whose diet had changed from a traditional to a neolithic one, the very first generation to be born, exhibited the crowded, narrow dental arch.
Chances are I have not adopted the diet in time to influence my own baby's dental arch, and avoid the terrible crowding of teeth that I myself had as a young person, but I couldn't find information which would indicate exactly when the critical stage takes place. Does anyone know when in the baby's development, that period is, and if there is any hope for a wide arch in my child?
asked byDiana_4 (95)
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on October 08, 2011
at 05:13 PM
I think the Weston Price foundation recommends starting a nutrient dense diet at least 6 months before conceiving based on evidence that primitive people started special diets for conception for some time prior. I imagine if you follow the diet now and liver once or twice a week, lots of shellfish, k2, etc and follow it when your baby starts solids, you'll have at least an improvement compared to you and your parent's dental arch. Don't forget, though, some of the epigenetic expression your child will display will be influenced by your parents and grandparents as well, so you don't have complete control over it even if you DID start 6 months before conception, so don't be too hard on yourself. It will take a few generations of healthy people for us to truly gain what was lost. You're doing an awesome job. I didn't learn about WAPF and paleo until the last month of my pregnancy so you have me beat. My son is doing great (he's 10 months old,) has never had a cold, ear infection, or been sick otherwise, he sleeps well, and has a sparkling disposition. Your baby will be just fine too, and if you have to drop a some cash on some dental work, so be it. He'll still be a mllion miles ahead of the SAD families. Good luck!
on October 08, 2011
at 03:39 PM
From what I've read there are two stages of growth when forming the dental arch. On is in utero (my new Paleo son had a much wider mouth than I do) but the more important growth phase is when they're eating solid foods. You want to give them meat and other things that require work to eat. That will strengthen and promote proper growth of all the facial bones and muscles. Other that poor nutrition, feeding kids mush is also bad. Granted until they have teeth they have to have mushy stuff. But get them chewing difficult stuff ASAP.
on October 08, 2011
at 09:21 PM
Being a dentist of 30 years I find the question of dental arch size particularly interesting. I have to imagine that nutrition plays physiologic a role. Genetics, however, plays a central role as well. I have to imagine that the non-crowded arches Dr. Price observed were more from the lack of caries (cavities) due to the lack of fermentable carbohydrates (starches, sugars). You see, when a child has a tooth (or, regrettably several or many teeth) that are damaged or lost to caries, the other teeth crowd forward on the dental arch into the space. Interestingly, deciduous (baby) teeth are space holders for adult teeth. If lost before the adult tooth is ready to erupt, the surrounding teeth crowd into the space so there is not enough room in the arch for the adult tooth (i.e. it erupts "crooked"). Another complicating matter is that when a tooth is lost early without the successor ready to take it's place, the dental arch (the jaw bone) becomes smaller. It makes sense when you think about it - that part of the bone that would hold the tooth no longer has function, and like other body parts that lose function (e.g. a limb that is paralyzed) it begins to atrophy (becomes smaller) therefore there is not as much arch length for the teeth to occupy. So, at the end of the day, a diet with un-primal foods like grains results in crowded teeth.