This is part 2 of a 3 part series exploring the role that diet and nutrition plays in our ability to prevent tooth decay. In part 1 Dr Rachel Hall explored how our diets have an impact on whether our teeth are prone to decay or not, and particularly how the system called dentinal fluid flow is responsible for helping to make our teeth decay resistant. This article will focus on what foods prevent tooth decay and support greater oral health and more importantly why.
It’s all about bio-available minerals and fat soluble vitamins…
Studies in the 1930’s of cultures who ate traditional foods found that traditional peoples consumed 4 times the minerals and 10 times the fat-soluble vitamins than found in our modern diets and that they also had very low incidence of tooth decay.
Given this information, it makes sense that we require more minerals in our diets and more healthy fats than most regularly consume especially if we want to prevent tooth decay.
Here’s the thing about minerals…
There are several challenges we face when it comes to getting sufficient minerals in our diets. Certain foods inhibit our ability to uptake minerals; they act as ‘anti nutrients’ and bind certain minerals in the foods we eat making them unavailable for our bodies to utilise.
The main challenge issue when it comes to obtaining sufficient minerals in our diets is how our food has been grown for the past 80 years. Industrialised farming dumps lots and lots of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium into the soil because scientists misguidedly advised these were what were exclusively required to grow healthy plants and agricultural products. This has resulted in a soil that is very depleted of all the other minerals necessary to live a vital healthy life. Many of these minerals are required to ‘turn on’ or make specific enzymes in the body and without them the body cannot function properly.
The third challenge with getting sufficient minerals in our diets arises from not having a healthy gut colony. The ‘good bugs’ in our intestines actually predigest the foods we eat thus making the nutrition more available for us to uptake. Without healthy gut bacteria even when eating the most nutritious diet we don’t absorb what our body requires. We are what we assimilate from what we eat - in other words, if we eat lots of quality foods but have less than optimal digestion and absorption, then we’re still going to fall short of our nutritional needs.
Eating to Prevent Tooth Decay
Eat more quality fats
We need more fat-soluble vitamins and activators. These vitamins are vitamins A, D, E and K (particularly K2). These vitamins are crucial for oral health and work together hand in hand.
Vitamins A and D together stimulate cells in our bones to produce osteocalcin. Osteocalcin is used by the body to build new bone tissue or reinforce bone tissue that needs support that includes our teeth which are very similar to bone.
Osteocalcin needs to be activated. Here the body utilises Vitamin K2 as it activates osteocalcin and makes it ready to plug into existing bone and dental tissue.
Without sufficient vitamin K2 in the diet, you can supplement all the vitamin A and D you want and it won’t have nearly the same impact as if you have the synergistic benefit of A, D and K2 together.
Where can we get these vitamins together in a highly available form? Cod liver oil and egg yolks, chicken liver, chicken breast and fish eggs are a fabulous combination to supplement to provide our bodies with lots of these fat soluble vitamins.
Animals create K2 from vitamin K1 that they get from eating green grass. In fact, the amount of K2 in animal products drops significantly when the animal is off green grass. The lesson here is to source the quality of animal products well as healthy animals living on their natural foods accumulate the minerals from the food they eat and concentrate them into very available forms when we consume their products.
Foods that provide the highest nutritional components of a healthy diet are:
- Eggs from free range chickens or ducks,
- fish eggs,
- the organ meats of cattle and other grazing animals, chickens and fish
- bone broth or stock
As an interesting side note, consuming animal products and organ meats is the very best way to stabilise and optimise blood phosphorous which is crucial when it comes to keeping our teeth healthy.
In order to prevent tooth decay we must focus on eating the highest quality foods we can to maximise the minerals and fat-soluble vitamins in our diets if we want to reach optimal oral health. To find out more about what you can do to support your oral health and prevent dental decay call us 07 3720 1811.