2. The Teeth
2.1 Sinking Your Teeth into Good Health
Dental health indicates body health. A proper program of diet, exercise, freedom from stress, and sensible living habits will insure that your teeth will last for a lifetime. Outside of gum disease, the two most common dental problems are caries and malocclusion.
Caries are erosions of the teeth, and are usually called “cavities” by the layman. Malocclusion means that the teeth do not fit together properly, such as in “buck teeth” or other deformities of the jaw and mouth.
Both of these conditions will not occur if a person consumes an optimum diet. Not only the diet of the person involved must be superior, but also the diet of the person’s mother as well. Good nutrition for the teeth must begin before birth, and the diet of the pregnant mother will shape the child’s dental health for the rest of his life. To understand the role of nutrition in dental health and well-being, you must be familiar with the chief causes of dental abnormalities and diseases.
2.2 What Is a Cavity?
A cavity is a hole, whether it is in your teeth or in the ground. Holes appear in your teeth when there is a mineral imbalance in the body. Chiefly, the calcium-phosphorus mineral relationship is the determining factor in cavity formation.
When the diet is excessively high in phosphorus, or in foods commonly known as “acid-forming,” a calcium deficiency may occur. This deficiency is usually not due to inadequate calcium in the diet (although it may be if the diet is especially poor), but due to such foods as white sugar, refined flour and grains, and other processed carbohydrates that deplete the body of vitamin and mineral reserves (including calcium).
Cavities are not created by the external action of bacteria on the surface of the teeth, as is commonly thought, but by the imbalances created in the body by improper foods. Consequently, thorough brushing and flossing of the teeth are ineffective in preventing cavities if a substandard diet is still followed. Healthy teeth can only be built by a healthy diet and lifestyle—not by fluoridated water or “whiter than white” toothpastes.
2.3 The Truth About Dental Health
For the truth about nutrition and tooth decay, read the book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston Price, DDS. Dr. Price traveled throughout the world to study the effect of various diets on
He found, without exception, that the people who ate diets free of refined and processed foods were almost completely free of tooth decay. In addition, these people had excellent bone structure, jaw formation, and were well adapted for chewing, singing, and speaking. (In other words, not only were cavities not a concern, but a natural diet does not cause malocclusion, or deformity of the dental bite.)
He also discovered that within so short a time as a single generation, eating refined foodstuffs resulted in narrow dental arches, malocclusion, and rampant tooth decay. His book has pictures of families that show the older generation who ate unrefined and natural foods with perfect “choppers.” The younger members of the family who ate the “civilized” foods, like candy, soft drinks, canned foods, and refined grains, had teeth with holes, snags, and decay.
His conclusion: rough, unrefined, whole, unprocessed, and untampered foods promote the highest degree of dental health. Without exception, the eating of modern foods produced dental deterioration.
Although the medical establishment’s standard position is that tooth decay is caused by food particles stuck to the outside of the teeth, even the Journal of the American Medical Association recognized that tooth decay dropped when a more natural diet is followed. In an issue of this magazine, Dr. James H. Shaw reported on the improvement in dental health that occurred when certain countries during World War II had to revert back to a traditional, unrefined diet:
“Careful study of these countries indicates that the nutritional influences imposed on the teeth during development and calcification through the consumption of coarse, unrefined diets of natural foodstuffs resulted in teeth that were more decay-resistant than those teeth formed during the prewar years.”
Notice that emphasis is placed on the formation of the teeth and a good diet. Your mother’s diet during pregnancy and lactation provided the foundation of your dental health. Even if you now eat an excellent diet, your teeth may be suffering from poor eating habits of your younger years, or from your mother’s prenatal diet.
Still, a diet of chiefly raw fruits and vegetables can make your present teeth last longer. Besides diet, what else can prevent tooth decay? Exercise!
Most people would laugh if you suggest that they exercise their teeth. After all, with all the overweight people in this country, you might think that people need to keep their mouths shut more and exercise their teeth less. Like any other healthy part of your body, however, the teeth require regular exercise. It is a fact: if any part of the body is not exercised or used properly, it will deteriorate. The teeth are no different.
2.4 Exercise, Chew, Chomp, and Gnash!
So, how do you exercise your teeth—by flapping your gums? No, the best exercise for your teeth is to use them for the exact purpose that you have them: chewing food.
Look at the typical American meal: white bread, mashed potatoes, gravy, meatloaf, mushy peas, and a glass of tea. You don’t need teeth to eat that kind of food. You could almost swallow the slop in a few gulps with one or two chews. You need a meal you can sink your teeth into. You need to eat food that requires chewing and using your teeth.
Which foods exercise the teeth best? Raw, fibrous, wholesome fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Cooked foods are poorly chewed; raw foods must be thoroughly masticated. The chewing of the firm raw fruits and vegetables give the teeth exactly the kind of exercise they need. In fact, so effective is this exercising of the teeth in promoting good dental health that Dr. Shelton has this story to tell:
“A mother brought her young child to me. She was distressed that his jawbones and mouth were developing poorly. The boy had a terrible bite (referring to the way the teeth fit), and there did not appear to be any room in the crowded mouth for the new teeth to erupt. After discussing the child’s diet, I suggested that the mother give the child a raw carrot to chew on at his regular meal and as a replacement for his sweet snacks. Years later I saw the mother and child again. The child had beautiful straight teeth. The hard chewing that was required for the raw carrot allowed the teeth to straighten out as they performed the job for which they were originally intended.”
Not only are raw fruits and vegetables beneficial in exercising the teeth, they may be your best Toothbrush! Consider this report made by two British researchers in the Medical Press:
Two groups of children were chosen at random. One group ate a raw apple after their regular meal the other group did not. It was found that chewing an apple stimulated the gum tissues, increased the saliva flow to cleanse the teeth, and provided optimum exercise for the jaw muscles. The researchers discovered that the children who ate apples (or any other raw, fibrous fruit or vegetable) with their meals had significantly better gum health and fewer cavities than those children who simply followed a regular program of brushing and a conventional diet.
Dr. Maury Massler, a professor of children’s dentistry at the University of Illinois stated that the best way to clean the teeth and gums is not by harsh brushing or chemical toothpastes, but by eating foods which are “natural cleaning agents for the teeth, such as pulpy, fresh, raw fruit, nuts, and vegetables.”
Raw food particles do not produce decay or stench in the mouth as does food which has been processed, cooked, or refined. Once a food’s composition is altered by cooking or refining, the food particles decay rapidly when left in the mouth and between the teeth. By eating raw fruits and vegetables, your teeth will stay naturally clean and healthy without abrasive toothpaste or excessive brushing.
2.5 Here’s to Your Teeth—Drink Up!
“Studies have shown,” writes Dr. Arthur C. Guyton, “that teeth formed in children who drink water containing small amounts of fluorine develop enamel that is more resistant to caries than the enamel in children who drink water not containing fluorine.”
Can fluoridated water prevent decay? Actually, the real evidence proves otherwise. An engineer in Massachusetts has analyzed the official government figures on tooth decay and municipalities that use fluoridated water. His figures have conclusively shown that artificial fluoridation does not prevent tooth decay, but only postpones it for a few years.
Fluorine does not make the enamel of the tooth harder and more resistant to decay. Instead, the fluorine simply displaces certain chemical ions in the enamel which makes it less soluble. The fluorine which is now stored in the tooth’s enamel is said to be toxic to some of the bacteria in the mouth, which is the original rationale behind putting fluorine in our water in the first place. Bacteria causes cavities; fluorine kills bacteria; therefore, fluorine prevents tooth decay.
Such reasoning is both dangerous and faulty. Bacteria no more causes cavities than they cause any disease. It is true that fluorine will kill bacteria, and that in itself should make you wary and alert.
Remember, any substance that is capable of killing bacteria is an anti-life agent. If fluorine is poisonous to bacteria, you may be sure that it is poisonous to you as well. In many locales all over the world, the people have excellent teeth and there is not a trace of fluorine in the water supply.
Actually, fluorine in its organic and naturally occurring form as found in small amounts in some foods is a beneficial mineral for the teeth. The fluorine that is dumped into the water supply, however, is a harsh chemical byproduct from industrial manufacturing and fertilizer production. No wonder some people would like us to believe that fluoridated water is beneficial. This simply gives chemical and metal industries a profitable outlet for a hazardous waste. Fluoride toxins are dumped into public water supplies in the name of dental hygiene. In reality, fluoridation is rank pollution of our water supply.
2.6 Building Healthy Teeth
You cannot drink a chemical and expect to have healthy teeth. Good teeth are only built through good nutrition, and this means avoiding the harmful foods as well as including the natural fruits, vegetables, and so on.
Which foods are the tooth destroyers? Refined carbohydrates, in the form of sugars, sweets, breads, pastries, cakes, and cooked foods, are the worst foods for the teeth. The white sugar and white flour in these products are nutrient-robbers, and they set the stage for cavity formation. Other poor foods are those high in phosphorus and acid-forming elements such as soft drinks (the chief source of inorganic phosphorus in the American diet) and meat.
The most important person in tooth care today is not the dentist but the mother-to-be. A pregnant woman’s diet determines the quality of teeth that her child will have throughout the early years and the entire adult life. After birth, the child should be fed only the optimum foods. If this practice is continued through adulthood, perfect dental health will be a reality.