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Thread: Cavities, Weston Price, and Primal Ramblings page

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    MithrilHawk's Avatar
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    Cavities, Weston Price, and Primal Ramblings

    Primal Fuel
    Explanations for Cavities
    Lately, I have been very interested in what causes cavities because I think that oral health is a very good indicator of overall health. I read a lot of articles through Google and some of Weston Price's studies of traditional people (Nutrition and Physical Degeneration). Through all of it, different explanations for tooth decay presented themselves. I believe the most commonly accepted explanation is that the bacteria in our mouths survive on sugar and excrete acid which chemically breaks down enamel of teeth. If I remember correctly, Price writes that an important component of oral health is sufficient vitamins and minerals in your saliva which allow teeth to remineralize. Another explanation is that when your body is starved for certain minerals, it will take them from your skeleton or teeth, which causes deterioration.

    I think these explanations make good points. Bacteria explains why brushing your teeth is generally accepted as the best way to combat tooth decay. Sufficient minerals in your saliva would explain the remineralization of teeth that Price documented. I think it's important to note that cavities only form after the tooth erupts from the gum line and becomes exposed to food, bacteria, air, and saliva, so it must be one or more of those factors that cause (or fail to prevent) cavities.

    Traditional People
    I'm interested in knowing how the traditional people that Price studied were able to maintain nearly cavity-free mouths despite their teeth being covered with "green slime" and having no access to oral care or modern dentistry. Surely these people's mouths were dirty by today's standards and full of bacteria, but what prevented cavities from forming? Did they simply avoid eating food that acid-causing bacteria survived on? Or did their diet include plentiful vitamins and minerals to constantly remineralize and repair the teeth? Price even found that some Eskimos had teeth ground nearly to the gum line from making clothes, yet had no signs of tooth decay. Also, the traditional Swiss ate mostly fermented sourdough bread and cheese (not particularly Primal?), and once a week ate meat, and were almost cavity-free as well. I have yet to finish reading his entire book, but perhaps it is sugar which is the most important factor.

    My Experiment
    I have also been interested in what the differences between cavities and plaque are, whether or not plaque leads to cavities or tartar, and other things. In the past two weeks I performed a small experiment to determine whether or not fruit causes the fuzzy or rough feeling on my teeth, which I can only assume is plaque (you can scrape it off with your fingernails or a bit by brushing). Before the experiment, I ate a moderate amount of fruit, perhaps once a day and about a quarter of my meal each time. I had the slightly fuzzy feeling mostly on the back of my bottom front teeth. During the first week I ate a lot of fruit; over half of my food intake consisted of equal parts watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, and to a lesser extent strawberries, grapes, and bananas. The fuzzy feeling didn't go away, but it didn't increase significantly either. The second week I immediately cut out all fruit from my diet, replacing it with a larger portion of meat, butter, and vegetables. Shortly thereafter, I noticed the feeling on my teeth had nearly disappeared and now my teeth feel smooth. I did not change my brushing or flossing habits at all, only my diet. My best explanation for this improvement is that the bacteria that had been thriving on my teeth quickly died off once their food source (sugar) was removed.

    Toothpaste Necessary?
    In light of the lifestyle of traditional people, is brushing your teeth with toothpaste really necessary? I find some things in toothpaste suspicious:
    Abrasives - wear down your enamel?
    Sodium laurel sulphate (foaming agent) - I've heard this causes sores in the mouth, irritant
    Glycerin - I've been reading that this coats your teeth and prevents remineralization
    Fluoride - apparently speeds up the remineralization process and decreases bacteria's ability to produce acids, ingestion is controversial
    Flavorings - to mask the taste of the otherwise terrible chemical concoction that you're slathering on your teeth?

    The only ingredient that sounds beneficial is fluoride, but isn't primal. I've also read that the mechanical action of brushing is what cleans your teeth for the most part.

    Dependence on Chemicals
    Another thing that has been on my mind is that throughout my primal journey, I have gradually decreased the number of things that I put on my body (things like shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, deoderant, lotion, chapstick, etc.) and I am starting to think that being dependent on nothing would be great. Did Grok really do enough throughout the day to wear down his finger and toenails? It's hard to imagine.

    Well that was a lot to say, but I had been keeping it locked away in my mind for quite some time. I'm curious to hear what you think and feel free to share your experiences.

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    emmie's Avatar
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    I am an old person (70) and have been fortunate to have had several superb dentists in my life. ALL of them shared the belief that a person's dental health is principally genetic, dependent on the chemical composition in the mouth which is not much influenced by either food choices or dental hygiene.

    I don't know whether this is true or not but my brother is a good example of this belief. Although he improved his diet in his old age, as a young person, he not only ate the SAD but loved sweets, starches, etc. As a child, he was very careless about tooth brushing, avoiding it as much as possible, despite my mother's nagging. He never had a cavity in his life nor any gum disease, etc.

    My last dental visit also illustrates this. I've been low carb for years, eating primal for the past 2 years. I rarely touch sugar, no grains, and no dairy. I brush and floss regularly. My dentist commented that I had so much tarter on my teeth that he assumed I had not had a cleaning for a year until he checked the record and realized it was only 6 months. When I was shocked, he repeated what I've heard from other dentists--the chemistry of my mouth is mainly a genetic issue, not much influenced by my behavior.

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    econ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MithrilHawk View Post
    Toothpaste Necessary?
    In light of the lifestyle of traditional people, is brushing your teeth with toothpaste really necessary? I find some things in toothpaste suspicious:
    Abrasives - wear down your enamel?
    Sodium laurel sulphate (foaming agent) - I've heard this causes sores in the mouth, irritant
    Glycerin - I've been reading that this coats your teeth and prevents remineralization
    Fluoride - apparently speeds up the remineralization process and decreases bacteria's ability to produce acids, ingestion is controversial
    Flavorings - to mask the taste of the otherwise terrible chemical concoction that you're slathering on your teeth?

    The only ingredient that sounds beneficial is fluoride, but isn't primal. I've also read that the mechanical action of brushing is what cleans your teeth for the most part.
    Similarly, is flossing necessary?

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    June's Avatar
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    My dentist says that each person is either tarter-prone or cavity-prone. I'm not sure if that is true, but I get so much tarter that I go for cleanings every 4 months and scrape it off myself in between visits. However, I've only had one cavity (and that was as a child).

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    Getting adequate nutrition is the most important part, this basically requires supplementation and using something like cronometer to log daily food.

    The most important supps are-
    Retinol
    Vit D(if you don't get enough sun)
    vit k2 mk-4
    magnesium glycinate
    iodine

    These along with a nutrient dense diet should help most people. I've essentially healed a couple pretty bad cavities on a diet of mostly potatoes, dairy, orange juice and other random stuff, brushing once a day at night with plain water. I do saline water rinses after every meal and up until awhile ago I would gargle zylitol after sugar meals which probably helped.

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    I've never had a cavity and my diet was never good until a couple of years ago. I do notice that when I eat sweets there is one or two teeth that seem to hurt when I brush them, but floss and mouthwash seem to fix it. I hate flossing and mouthwash, so that's another motivation to keep the sweets out. I used to really hate brushing my teeth as a kid, and would do whatever I could to get out of it. Even now I only really do it because my wife insists.

    My brother and both my sisters have had terrible teeth- they all have had braces and multiple cavities. I still have all four of my wisdom teeth, and just one tiny slip in my lower front teeth, from a little bit of crowding. My dad has several fillings, but his teeth are fairly straight. My mom's teeth were screwed up from a massive x-ray when she was really little (turned chalky and crumbled, I hear), so I'm throwing her out as a data point.

    I'm really not sure of what the difference is that I had the only good jaw/teeth in the family. The only thing that I can think of other than genetics is that I was born second, so my mother knew how to have good nutrition during pregnancy (as opposed to my older sister), but I was born before my mom went on the low-fat margarine and diet coke kick (that is still ongoing, through her diabetes). When I was a kid I must have managed to get adequate nutrition before the "health" food destroyed my health.

    Sidenote: My little sister was pretty overweight (like our mom) until a few years ago, and my brother is a Mountain Dew fiend with ADD.

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    the chemistry of my mouth is mainly a genetic issue, not much influenced by my behavior.
    Not so, IMO!

    You might find this interesting:

    Could Zinc and K-2 be a 1-2 Punch for Reversing/Preventing Dental Caries? - Paleo Hacks.com

  8. #8
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    Last summer, I saw some skulls of Native Americans found in Utah that were 500-600 years old. What amazed me were the teeth--they were ground down to almost the gumline in the adults and showing signs of wear in the younger skulls. All the skulls had wisdom teeth that had grown in nearly straight. There was no sign of cavities or any other dental problems. It seems if teeth were worn down this much, it would expose dentin and cause serious pain. I had a cracked tooth once and it was painful. On these skulls, there was no sign of the cusps and ridges you see in your own teeth, just worn flat.

    I live in Alaska, and last week there was an article in the paper about the epidemic of dental problems in the remote native villages. It is thought to be caused by the high soda-pop consumption of the folks, especially kids. The instance of cavities is like 10 times what should be expected. The conclusion of the study was to try to get the villages to add fluoride to their water supply. I think the solution needs to be dietary. If they quit the pop and got the right nutrients, either through food or supplements, I think they'd reverse the trend.

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    Perhaps I should have replied to this thread, but I started a new thread having to do with remineralization from a dentinal fluid perspective. If interested see:
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread72128.html

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    And necro'd this thread I see.
    Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

    Griff's cholesterol primer
    5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
    Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
    TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
    bloodorchid is always right

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