oral care aisle

Last month, at a California Dental Association meeting in Anaheim, one presenting dentist lamented the fact that despite all the hygiene coaching and fluoride, too many patients were coming back with cavities.

“Give me something to treat this disease that’s better than something my patients can buy at a drugstore,” Dr. Novy told the crowd at his well-attended lecture.

But are yet more products really the answer?

Caries – tooth decay – is not a mysterious disease. A lack of essential nutrients and too much sugar and acid both impair the biological terrain and allow pathogens to thrive.

Weston Price showed decades ago that proper nutrition naturally lends itself to healthy teeth and fully formed dental arches, all without the aid of modern dentistry or high-tech oral hygiene. He also documented how the teeth suffered when traditional, nutrient-dense diets were displaced by white flour, white sugar, and other “advances” of modern Western civilization.

As one 2015 paper in the Journal of Dental Research put it,

Without sugars, the chain of causation is broken, so the disease does not occur (Sheiham 1967). So, it is clear that sugars start the process and set off a causal chain; the only crucial factor that determines the caries process in practice is sugars. The other factors [driving tooth decay] are additional factors that alter the primary effect of sugars, not alternative contributors (Sheiham 1987; Scheutz and Poulsen 1999)….

And by “sugars,” you can include all fermentable carbohydrates – foods that are broken down as sugar in the mouth, including white flour products and refined starches, as well as the sweet stuff you usually think of when you hear the word “sugar.”

Preventing decay – not to mention gum disease – by improving diet is a far better step than grasping for yet another product in hopes that it will prevent the damage that a hyper-processed diet can do.


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