5

votes

Why do these healthy traditional folks lose their teeth?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 28, 2012 at 1:18 PM

The Island Where People Forget to Die is a nice article about the healthy centenarians of the Ikaria island. It makes me wish I could live there.

These folks have a healthy lifestyle with strong social community, active, and traditional diet: Mediterranean, high levels of olive oil, fish twice a week and meat (goat,pig) five times a month, Kalamata olives, goat???s milk, two to four glasses of wine a day, sage tea, coffee, honey, bread, beans (lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas), potatoes, yogurt, greens (fennel, dandelion or a spinachlike green called horta) and whatever seasonal vegetables their garden produced. At Christmas and Easter, they would slaughter the family pig and enjoy small portions of larded pork for the next several months.

This was really interesting as something seems different about Ikarians:

We do know from reliable data that people on Ikaria are outliving those on surrounding islands (a control group, of sorts). Samos, for instance, is just eight miles away. People there with the same genetic background eat yogurt, drink wine, breathe the same air, fish from the same sea as their neighbors on Ikaria. But people on Samos tend to live no longer than average Greeks. This is what makes the Ikarian formula so tantalizing.

When I flipped through the photos I was noticing a few were missing teeth and I was curious about the bone loss. Not sure at what ages it's occurring (50s ... 90s). Maybe it's simply normal aging to lose bone, but I'm also wondering if it could be something else like some missing nutrients, inflammation, infection ... obviously nothing affecting longevity, but possibly quality of life.

Also considering Weston Price's findings that indigenous groups retain healthy gums without cleaning:

Many primitive peoples not only retain all of their teeth, many of them to an old age, but also have a healthy flesh supporting these teeth. This has occurred in spite of the fact that the primitives have not had dentists to remove the deposits and no means for doing so for themselves."

Ikarian

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on November 03, 2012
at 04:32 PM

manul, noting the link to your separate question: http://paleohacks.com/questions/159120/is-losing-teeth-with-age-natural ; I've done some additional searching and offered some references.

5bac45c78a2be60bc17fc2084a0f5d43

(259)

on November 02, 2012
at 12:32 AM

Markes, for the life of me can't find any references (searched through weston price site and book, but no references about teeth of older people). Going to create separate question about this.

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 30, 2012
at 12:17 PM

Good point about Mr. Moraitis being in the war, he does have combat injuries and could have lost is teeth in combat. And also that he didn't always live in Ikaria. I wasn't initially thinking along those lines. I agree it sounds like a wonderful place to live ... it would probably be quite different from what I'm used to today ... no technology, computers, and much more centered around the land and social community.

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 30, 2012
at 12:07 PM

manul, do you have any references/links about losing teeth not being natural, I'd be interested. Their diet is low meat, but seems to have a fair amount of fat from olive oil and goat's milk, "rich in olive oil and vegetables, low in dairy (except goat’s milk)".

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 29, 2012
at 11:39 PM

It makes sense, I just keep thinking there's something else different with the folks that don't lose their teeth. So, maybe aging plus something else ... and that if it were only aging, then everyone loses their teeth. It's a quality of life type of thing ... eating/chewing whole foods, uninhibited smiling, self confidence, happiness ...

5bac45c78a2be60bc17fc2084a0f5d43

(259)

on October 29, 2012
at 11:18 PM

Matt, high grains/beans consumption and low meat/fat is an obvious cause of teeth problems. Losing teeth with age is not natural.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 29, 2012
at 04:35 PM

I don't mean to come across overly harsh, but sometimes folks attribute magical properties to paleo eating - being impervious to death, disease and aging. Having a background in livestock, I've seen the aging process again and again, and teeth show significant wear over time, cannot imagine that humans are any different than this, heck, our teeth don't even grow like many animals' do.

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 29, 2012
at 02:49 PM

That's fair and I don't mean to be overly critical. I'm just curious if/how people retain their teeth into old age. I appreciate the ideas.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 29, 2012
at 01:08 PM

@manul, I didn't say it did. I think you're grasping at straws to explain the (possible) tooth loss via a paleo framework. When the likely answer simply is natural aging.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 29, 2012
at 01:04 PM

Something has to fail eventually, everybody dies. If I lose some teeth in my late 80s, I wouldn't give a shit, I'm in my late 80s! Seriously, do you think that think that centenarians are going to be perfect pictures of health and anatomy? What's next? Criticizing them for having age spots? Nobody can beat aging.

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 29, 2012
at 12:55 PM

Yeah, I wondered if the grains and beans were a factor, too. They are likely properly prepared to remove toxins, improve absorption, and Weston Price also found healthy teeth in bread eating cultures. What's interesting is, "Chronic diseases are a rarity in Ikaria. People living in this region have 20% less cancer, half the rate of cardiovascular disease, and almost no dementia!" http://www.bluezones.com/live-longer/education/expeditions/ikaria-greece

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 29, 2012
at 12:48 PM

Also from the Ikaria Study is a figure showing the ages of men and women and maybe 85 is a cross-over point. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3051199/figure/fig2

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 29, 2012
at 12:43 PM

Interesting data MiMintzer. I found this in The Ikaria Study: "1.6% of the men and 1.1% of women participants in the Ikaria study were over the age of 90." So it seems it changes to more men over age 90. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3051199/

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 29, 2012
at 12:12 PM

So, does it mean everyone will lose their teeth with old age? What is different between the same aged person who retains their teeth vs. the person who loses some?

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 29, 2012
at 12:09 PM

It meant healthy teeth in Weston Price's findings. Also, these particular folks are living and active into their 100s. They are widely accepted as healthy and I'm wondering if losing teeth should be normal.

5bac45c78a2be60bc17fc2084a0f5d43

(259)

on October 29, 2012
at 12:02 PM

So, vitamin D alone can replace all the minerals that they lack due to high grains/beans consumption? That is insightful.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 29, 2012
at 11:54 AM

All modern diets are neolithic. Knee-jerk 'beans and wheat are bad' answers aren't that insightful. I doubt they are mineral deficient/deprived, heck, they all appear to get frequent sun exposure, they likely have excellent vitamin D levels, probably excellent bone health as well.

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on October 29, 2012
at 10:37 AM

Does traditional necessarily entail healthiness?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 28, 2012
at 05:56 PM

Generally failing teeth is a something that occurs directly before the end in animals. Loosing teeth means reduced eating efficiency which in the end means less body condition and thiftiness. Livestock often can be coddled past this with diet modifications (as can humans).

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on October 28, 2012
at 05:42 PM

MarkES, there was a little infogram at the side which showed that about 41% of women and 88% of men over the age of 80 were married. That seems to suggest that there are more women than men in the over-80 population.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on October 28, 2012
at 05:06 PM

In the Caucasus mountains there are many villages full of old people. Men outlive women and even take second wives at the ripe age of 80. That's because women are treated like slaves and are worked to death while the men enjoy the easy labour of sheep herding.

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 28, 2012
at 04:43 PM

Nice observation about the women, I didn't notice that. Out of 11 pics, 8 are men, 3 are women. huh, I normally think of women living longer ... I wonder if that sample ratio of men:women is representative of the centenarians as a whole.

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 28, 2012
at 04:32 PM

True, some I couldn't be certain about ... there was a toothless smile and some closed mouths that appeared somewhat inward as if not supported by teeth. And folks with missing teeth are probably less likely to have a tooth revealing smile. I admit I'm using subjective perceptions of some pics.

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 28, 2012
at 04:15 PM

Yeah, I sort of assumed the tooth has been loss due to the loss of the tissue and bone that secure teeth, but I can certainly see how normal aging is a factor. Are the geriatric animals domestic and eating their natural diets, or wild animals? I remember seeing a video of a lion that lost a tooth to battle.

F8fb7f16a02306405a796cc670a0f3f9

(120)

on October 28, 2012
at 02:58 PM

Coffee honey are probably not great for your teeth. I admit, I'm speaking out of my specialty (to be honest, I probably don't have a specialty) but peoples teeth are going to break down after a while.

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 28, 2012
at 02:31 PM

I had in mind from Weston Price's findings that dentistry cleanings, brushing, flossing, were not required for healthy teeth. I clarified in my question. Although, I personally still brush and floss and go to the dentist. :)

  • Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

    asked by

    (1211)
  • Views
    6.7K
  • Last Activity
    1426D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

7 Answers

4
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 28, 2012
at 03:15 PM

Because even 50 years of chewing is a lot of wear and tear on teeth. All it takes a chipped tooth or an infection and the tooth can be easily lost. Geriatric animals loose their teeth as they age, it's a natural process.

Traditional and paleo diets does not make one immune to natural aging processes.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 28, 2012
at 05:56 PM

Generally failing teeth is a something that occurs directly before the end in animals. Loosing teeth means reduced eating efficiency which in the end means less body condition and thiftiness. Livestock often can be coddled past this with diet modifications (as can humans).

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 28, 2012
at 04:15 PM

Yeah, I sort of assumed the tooth has been loss due to the loss of the tissue and bone that secure teeth, but I can certainly see how normal aging is a factor. Are the geriatric animals domestic and eating their natural diets, or wild animals? I remember seeing a video of a lion that lost a tooth to battle.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 29, 2012
at 01:04 PM

Something has to fail eventually, everybody dies. If I lose some teeth in my late 80s, I wouldn't give a shit, I'm in my late 80s! Seriously, do you think that think that centenarians are going to be perfect pictures of health and anatomy? What's next? Criticizing them for having age spots? Nobody can beat aging.

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 29, 2012
at 11:39 PM

It makes sense, I just keep thinking there's something else different with the folks that don't lose their teeth. So, maybe aging plus something else ... and that if it were only aging, then everyone loses their teeth. It's a quality of life type of thing ... eating/chewing whole foods, uninhibited smiling, self confidence, happiness ...

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 29, 2012
at 12:12 PM

So, does it mean everyone will lose their teeth with old age? What is different between the same aged person who retains their teeth vs. the person who loses some?

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 29, 2012
at 02:49 PM

That's fair and I don't mean to be overly critical. I'm just curious if/how people retain their teeth into old age. I appreciate the ideas.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 29, 2012
at 04:35 PM

I don't mean to come across overly harsh, but sometimes folks attribute magical properties to paleo eating - being impervious to death, disease and aging. Having a background in livestock, I've seen the aging process again and again, and teeth show significant wear over time, cannot imagine that humans are any different than this, heck, our teeth don't even grow like many animals' do.

1
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on October 28, 2012
at 03:54 PM

I don't know because I have not lived there and did not have a chance to ask them. However, I have read about inuit women who lose their teeth in the old age because they keep one part of skin in their mouth while scraping it with some tools to soften it so they can make clothes. So their teeth cannot withstand pressure for 80 years.

My guesses:

  1. They do some kind of activity that involves their teeth.
  2. They drink too much wine and hit each other, thus losing teeth. Notice that most women have their teeth intact. (I do not mean it in a bad way, it is a common activity among young guys in some cultures).
  3. They hold something with their teeth.
  4. They have some kind of nutritional deficiencies, although I doubt it.

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 28, 2012
at 04:43 PM

Nice observation about the women, I didn't notice that. Out of 11 pics, 8 are men, 3 are women. huh, I normally think of women living longer ... I wonder if that sample ratio of men:women is representative of the centenarians as a whole.

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on October 28, 2012
at 05:42 PM

MarkES, there was a little infogram at the side which showed that about 41% of women and 88% of men over the age of 80 were married. That seems to suggest that there are more women than men in the over-80 population.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on October 28, 2012
at 05:06 PM

In the Caucasus mountains there are many villages full of old people. Men outlive women and even take second wives at the ripe age of 80. That's because women are treated like slaves and are worked to death while the men enjoy the easy labour of sheep herding.

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 29, 2012
at 12:48 PM

Also from the Ikaria Study is a figure showing the ages of men and women and maybe 85 is a cross-over point. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3051199/figure/fig2

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 29, 2012
at 12:43 PM

Interesting data MiMintzer. I found this in The Ikaria Study: "1.6% of the men and 1.1% of women participants in the Ikaria study were over the age of 90." So it seems it changes to more men over age 90. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3051199/

1
782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

on October 28, 2012
at 03:49 PM

I'm not sure that you can say anything about their teeth. From the pictures some have their mouths closed or you can only see some teeth due to the way they are smiling. You also can't tell whether the teeth of some others are natural or dentures. Additionally, Mr. Moraitis spent considerable time in the U.S., so we don't know whether he lost his teeth there, or in the war, or once he returned to Ikaria. It does sound like a wonderful place to live, though, and the article makes it appear that the social aspects of living are just as important as the diet the people eat.

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 28, 2012
at 04:32 PM

True, some I couldn't be certain about ... there was a toothless smile and some closed mouths that appeared somewhat inward as if not supported by teeth. And folks with missing teeth are probably less likely to have a tooth revealing smile. I admit I'm using subjective perceptions of some pics.

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 30, 2012
at 12:17 PM

Good point about Mr. Moraitis being in the war, he does have combat injuries and could have lost is teeth in combat. And also that he didn't always live in Ikaria. I wasn't initially thinking along those lines. I agree it sounds like a wonderful place to live ... it would probably be quite different from what I'm used to today ... no technology, computers, and much more centered around the land and social community.

0
Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on November 02, 2012
at 06:29 PM

Smoking could be a key factor - 82% of the Ikarian men were former smokers.

Why do some people lose teeth across their lifespan whereas others retain a functional dentition into very old age? :

Smoking is a well-known risk factor for oral disease and tooth loss

Or, maybe the King of the Windmills has the secret ... ranch living, hard bread, and beans. ;)

Frank Medina is 94 years old, and has never had a cavity. He still has all his teeth.

why-do-these-healthy-traditional-folks-lose-their-teeth?

0
5bac45c78a2be60bc17fc2084a0f5d43

(259)

on October 29, 2012
at 12:30 AM

Judging from description, their diet is mostly neolithic. It is superior to SAD, as any traditional diet, but far from being optimal. No wonder they lose teeth as minerals are poorly absorbed from grains and beans.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 29, 2012
at 01:08 PM

@manul, I didn't say it did. I think you're grasping at straws to explain the (possible) tooth loss via a paleo framework. When the likely answer simply is natural aging.

5bac45c78a2be60bc17fc2084a0f5d43

(259)

on October 29, 2012
at 12:02 PM

So, vitamin D alone can replace all the minerals that they lack due to high grains/beans consumption? That is insightful.

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 29, 2012
at 12:55 PM

Yeah, I wondered if the grains and beans were a factor, too. They are likely properly prepared to remove toxins, improve absorption, and Weston Price also found healthy teeth in bread eating cultures. What's interesting is, "Chronic diseases are a rarity in Ikaria. People living in this region have 20% less cancer, half the rate of cardiovascular disease, and almost no dementia!" http://www.bluezones.com/live-longer/education/expeditions/ikaria-greece

5bac45c78a2be60bc17fc2084a0f5d43

(259)

on November 02, 2012
at 12:32 AM

Markes, for the life of me can't find any references (searched through weston price site and book, but no references about teeth of older people). Going to create separate question about this.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 29, 2012
at 11:54 AM

All modern diets are neolithic. Knee-jerk 'beans and wheat are bad' answers aren't that insightful. I doubt they are mineral deficient/deprived, heck, they all appear to get frequent sun exposure, they likely have excellent vitamin D levels, probably excellent bone health as well.

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 30, 2012
at 12:07 PM

manul, do you have any references/links about losing teeth not being natural, I'd be interested. Their diet is low meat, but seems to have a fair amount of fat from olive oil and goat's milk, "rich in olive oil and vegetables, low in dairy (except goat’s milk)".

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on November 03, 2012
at 04:32 PM

manul, noting the link to your separate question: http://paleohacks.com/questions/159120/is-losing-teeth-with-age-natural ; I've done some additional searching and offered some references.

5bac45c78a2be60bc17fc2084a0f5d43

(259)

on October 29, 2012
at 11:18 PM

Matt, high grains/beans consumption and low meat/fat is an obvious cause of teeth problems. Losing teeth with age is not natural.

0
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on October 28, 2012
at 03:16 PM

Hard to say from just the few photos you saw. Could very well be trauma induced. Without a dentist I would currently be missing two of my front teeth just from trauma, and I'm only in my thirties. You would have to differentiate that from decay before you draw any conclusions.

0
F8fb7f16a02306405a796cc670a0f3f9

on October 28, 2012
at 02:06 PM

Because they don't floss.

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9

(1211)

on October 28, 2012
at 02:31 PM

I had in mind from Weston Price's findings that dentistry cleanings, brushing, flossing, were not required for healthy teeth. I clarified in my question. Although, I personally still brush and floss and go to the dentist. :)

F8fb7f16a02306405a796cc670a0f3f9

(120)

on October 28, 2012
at 02:58 PM

Coffee honey are probably not great for your teeth. I admit, I'm speaking out of my specialty (to be honest, I probably don't have a specialty) but peoples teeth are going to break down after a while.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!