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A Diet For Healthy Teeth

Diet for Healthy Teeth
Published By Dr. Rachel Hall at 2 July, 2022

Is there a specific diet that you can eat for healthy teeth and gums? When it comes to preventing tooth decay there is no set diet but there are certain nutrients and ways of eating that will support you to avoid cavities and have a healthy smile.

What You Eat Counts More Than Brushing If You Want Healthy Teeth

The modern prescription for healthy teeth is to brush, floss, don’t eat sugar and see your dentist twice a year. This approach has been touted for decades and yet despite improved dental education, we are seeing dental disease increase and no real improvement in preventive care.

We have been told if you want to avoid cavities and have healthy teeth and gums then all that matters is that you brush your teeth for 2 minutes.

I see so many patients who follow this advice and yet they still get cavities and gum disease. Why is that? Why if we are brushing away all the plaque and following the advice has dentistry not been able to address the number one most preventable chronic disease known to man.

Tooth Decay and Preventive Dentistry

Sure, dentistry has many solutions for fixing the problem after the event – you get a cavity, and we can drill out the decay and repair your tooth. But this is akin to driving your car, allowing it to break down and then getting it fixed so you can get it back on the road until it breaks down again.

It’s not really prevention, it’s a solution and one that costs you more tooth structure, time in the dental chair and money to put right.

So, whilst the dentist may have fixed the problem with your tooth, they have not fixed the problem that caused the cavity in the first place… And for the majority of the population, this is your diet, and more specifically the nutritional components of what you eat.

Yes, there are a few more factors involved than just the food you eat, like stress, mouth breathing and so on but if you nourish your body and your teeth correctly then even these issues will have a less dramatic impact on your dental health and overall wellbeing.

The Modern Diet and Vitamin K2

Our modern diet is one born of convenience and necessity – mass production, agricultural farming, pre-packaged and processed foods, and a heavy reliance on grains and carbohydrates as a fuel source.

Our diets are laden with sugars, salt, chemicals and foods that are denatured and stripped of nutritional value where we have become focused on calories rather than vitamins and minerals.

Before farming and supermarkets, we ate very differently and very simply:

  • Meat (including the organs and most parts of an animal)
  • Fish and seafood
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Oils/butters

This is what could be considered a paleo, ancient or traditional diet.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that our ancestors had terrible teeth but this in fact was not the case. Research of traditional populations done around a century ago showed peoples of native tribes had straight, disease-free teeth and that their diets were very different from the modern food of the day. 

However, after just one generation of being introduced to a starchy, bread-laden, processed diet, children in these cultures sported noticeable orthodontic problems (poor jaw shapes and crowded teeth) plus a massive increase in cavities.

Why was this – what was it about the change in diet that caused such a dramatic shift in dental health and jaw growth and what can we learn from this and apply to our modern diet today to help truly prevent dental disease?

Our modern diet as I stated earlier is heavy in sugar, bread, and starchy processed foods but also lacks nutrients that people from traditional cultures seemed to be getting from their ‘basic’ diets.

One of these key nutrients is vitamin K2.

A Diet For Healthy Teeth

Vitamin K2 is a nutrient vital to the movement of calcium throughout the body to strengthen teeth (and bones). Without this process — which also requires vitamins A and D — teeth are far more likely to develop decay.

Another reason we have more cavities is that our diet is very soft and lacking in textures. Leafy greens, meats, seeds and nuts require a lot of chewing and chewing fibrous food actually works a bit like your toothbrush to help keep your teeth clear of plaque and tartar.

I often see people who have missing teeth and thus chew more on one side than the other and have more tartar build-up on the non-chewing side teeth for this very reason.

The Spit Factor

Spit or saliva helps to protect your teeth and prevent cavities.

However, it’s not enough just to have moisture – your saliva needs to deliver nutrients to your teeth and thus your saliva needs to be good quality spit to do its job.

You need to provide the right fuel (nutrients) and be hydrated to have spit that does what it is designed to do.

Your diet impacts saliva production and quality. 

Thus, eating nutrient-dense foods, low in empty calories, processed sugars, acidic ingredients, and artificial sugars helps promote healthy saliva to protect your teeth.

Diet or Brushing or Both To Prevent Cavities

Yes, you still need to brush your teeth at least twice each day.

The reason why is because it disrupts and breaks up the bacteria that form as plaque on the surface of your teeth. This means plaque is less likely to congregate over time and create acid attacks that eat away at tooth structure and lead to tooth decay.

I recommend using a toothpaste with hydroxyapatite (the building blocks of strong healthy tooth enamel) as this helps to protect your teeth from decay.

But like you can’t exercise yourself out of a bad diet you can’t brush your teeth out of a bad diet and expect to avoid tooth decay if you aren’t eating in a way that will support your dental health and your body.

Reduce Tooth Decay Naturally

Good oral hygiene and a diet that supports your teeth and gums go hand in hand. Brushing may help you overcome a less-than-ideal diet, but it will not prevent tooth decay if your diet is unhealthy.

To prevent tooth decay naturally the formula is simple – brush your teeth twice a day and feed your body what it needs to provide you with the nutrients for strong healthy teeth.

Holistic Dentist Brisbane – Prevention First

At Evolve Dental Healing we look at the body as a whole and often suggest simple changes and ways for you to better care for your mouth and health.

As part of our prevention program, we offer dietary advice and assist in addressing acidity and mineral depletion and dry mouth issues that can all increase your risk of cavities and gum problems.

Unlike conventional dentistry, we do not advocate the use of concentrated fluoride applications but instead, use products that are non-fluoridated that assist to naturally remineralise teeth such as calcium-rich pastes and the use of xylitol-based products.

Call us to book an appointment at 07 3720 1811.

  • Dr. Rachel Hall

    Dr. Rachel Hall

    Rachel is the founder and principal dentist at Evolve Dental Healing with over 30 years experience, practising holistically since 2001. Not your typical dentist, Rachel is a passionate opinion leader, challenging convention to empower people to make better dental and health choices, helping thousands to have healthy natural smiles. A respected writer and presenter on holistic dentistry, health and wellness it is Rachel’s mission to revolutionise the way people look at their dental health.

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