Dental Decay Before Birth?

Though Americans have access to some of the finest dental care on the planet, American babies are showing increasing rates of dental decay. There are a number of causes. First, the tremendous popularity of bottled water has played a part in higher cavity rates (bottled water is typically not fluoridated). Ironically, tap water is healthier than the pricey bottled options. Second, the prevalent reliance on juices, sweet drinks and milk for children – all high in sweeteners such as sugar and high fructose corn syrup – has contributed to the decay problem. And, finally, studies indicate that dental decay likely begins before children even have their teeth. Infants’ mouths and gums should be wiped clean and gently stimulated with a washcloth several times daily, even before their first tooth breaks. Interestingly, decay can begin in the womb. It turns out that a mother’s dental care regimen has a direct impact upon the developing dentition of her unborn baby. So, if the mother isn’t flossing, rinsing, and brushing consistently, or is following a diet that encourages bacterial growth (e.g. one high in grains and sugars), this can create early dental problems in the child. Though baby teeth are “disposable”, poor prevention and early decay impacts the strength, straightness, and health of the permanent teeth. Moreover, early gum problems can set the stage for systemic illness down the road.

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Further reading:

Homeopathy Is an Unscientific Scam

The Definitive Guide to Insulin, Blood Sugar, and Type 2 Diabetes

Photo Credit: Andrew Bain

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About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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7 thoughts on “Dental Decay Before Birth?”

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  1. Great post, except that water flouridation is controversial among naturopathic/alternative health practioners. Dr. Joseph Mercola is a vocal opponent. He believes that ingesting flouride in water not only does not help teeth but actually harms the body. You are probably familiar with the work of dentist Weston Price. Those hunter-gatherers didn’t get their perfect teeth by drinking flouridated water. Price’s book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration documented very clearly that cavities were practically non-existent among hunter-gathers and rare amongst people eating traditional diets made from whole foods. The worst teeth were found among poor people who subsisted on white flour products.

    My city’s water reeks of chlorine, so I forsake it in favor of reverse osmosis-filtered water.

  2. I’m not sure what I think of fluridation as a whole, but some places do it far too much. Where I live, my dentist said she could narrow the specific municipality I lived in to two, because of the state of my teeth. Both of these over-fluridate their water.

  3. My city does not have fluoride in the drinking water and I do not have it in my toothpaste. My family and I have good teeth. My 14 year old has never had a cavity despite the lack of fluoride. Hyperthyroidism used to be treated with fluoride because it slows the thyroid down.
    Kids are put to bed with bottles and juice boxes are out of control.

  4. Loved the article, but I have to agree that added fluoride to the water system, not to mention chlorination, is not good. The fluoride that is added is a waste by-product of aluminum.

    Keep up the good work. Reading your posts are always an education.

    I learned about Marks Daily Apple from

  5. I agree with Dr. Mercola. Fluoride is a poison. Besides, it’s completely foreign to the Primal Blueprint. It’s too bad that the government insists on mass medicating us… with medicine that does more harm than good.

    Furthermore, tooth brushing was also non-existent during millions of years of evolution. I’m still brushing and flossing, but am highly skeptical and it wouldn’t take much for me to stop. Dental problems come from the diet (sugar and flour), so with a healthy diet, brushing should be redundant.