Dentistry in Harmony with Nature

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By Alex Shvartsman, DDS, MAGD, AIOMT

 

I have been following the Paleo Diet since 2001, after reading Lauren Cordain’s The Paleo Diet. As a Biology major, and student of human evolution it just made sense. I have fallen off the wagon many times, succumbing to sugars sweet and deadly call. But Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution finally put it all into perspective and I have been “clean” ever since.  As a dentist I see the ravages of disease every day.  After looking at medical histories of my patients for over 20 years I am convinced that most of our chronic degenerative diseases are a direct result of the disconnect between our biology and the unnatural environment humans have created.  We live in a world of convenience, and pay for it with our health.  Nature gets it right, humans mess nature up. It’s really that simple and that tragic.  This article will explore this from a dental perspective.

 

photo by lupinoduck

How feeding influences your child’s jaw development.

Did you know that humans are the only animals on this planet that have crooked teeth? In fact, our ancestors had perfectly straight teeth, with room for all of their wisdom teeth! Straight teeth and well-formed jaws are our birthright.

Recent research has shed some light on why today most everyone has some degree of crowding, misaligned teeth, and impacted wisdom teeth.  It has to do with how we feed our children.

It turns out that the development of the upper jaw is highly dependent on breast-feeding. During the first few years of life the upper jaw is made from 2 separate pieces. During breast-feeding the round shape of the breast helps to form and guide upper jaw shape and development. Children who are exclusively breast fed (like our ancestors) have round upper jaw arches that lead to enough room for straight teeth and that broad white smile we all find so appealing!  When babies are bottle-fed with the typical narrow man-made bottle the upper jaw becomes constricted leading to a narrow upper jaw arch.  The consequences of this unnatural deformity are crowded and misaligned teeth, high vault palate, breathing problems, large adenoids and the frequent colds, narrow unattractive smile, cross bite, and speech problems, to name a few.  It is no wonder that palatal expanders are frequently used to correct this upper jaw deformity created by man-made, unnaturally shaped narrow shaped bottles. While breast-feeding is the best way to feed your baby, if for some reason you are unable to breast-feed, it is advisable to purchase anatomically shaped nipples and bottles.

The development of the lower jaw depends on the consistency of the food we feed our children.  Today our modern baby food is highly processed and refined.  Electric food processors create an extremely mushy baby food, which does not require any chewing.  In contrast, our ancestors fed their children much less processed food that may have been pre-chewed or ground in a mortar and pestle type of device.  Recent studies have demonstrated that a natural hunter-gatherer diet lead to normal sized lower jaws, while our highly processed modern diet retards lower jaw growth, leading to lower jaw deficiencies. Improper lower jaw development leads to crooked lower teeth, a “weak chin” and less ideal facial structure.

Combined together, improperly formed jaws lead to impacted wisdom teeth. In fact, our jaws are 11% smaller than that of our hunter-gatherer ancestors who lived just about 10,000 years ago.  Our modern civilization has given us a life of convenience at a great cost to our health, which we are just beginning to realize.

 

How to eliminate tooth decay naturally.

To answer this question we need to go back…back in time.   You may not realize this, but tooth decay was virtually non-existent 10,000 years ago.  In fact, tooth decay is a relatively modern disease, first seen in the archeological record with the advent of grain consumption, which led to farming. Tooth decay as well as many other diseases is what used to be called “diseases of civilization” until it became politically incorrect.  However, it is a very fitting name, and it includes cardio-vascular disease, strokes, heart attacks, many cancers, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, food allergies, and autoimmune diseases such as Lupus, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, Type I diabetes, vitiligo, psoriasis, etc.

Approximately10,000 years ago humans began transitioning from living as hunter-gatherers to farming.  Agriculture has turned out to be a double edge sword. It allowed humans to develop civilization and technology at the expense of our health.  Today at the highest point of human civilization and technological achievement we are sicker than we have ever been before and it is going to get worse!  We went from a diet that we evolved to eat for 2 million years, a diet that gave us our large and impressive brain, to a diet that in the short 10,000 years of agriculture has become full of processed foods that are foreign to our metabolism.

We evolved eating a diet of meat, fish, poultry (and the fat that came along with these animals) and seasonal veggies and fruit.  Skeletons of our ancestors showed perfectly straight teeth with zero cavities.  These skeletons also showed people with strong robust bones with muscle insertions similar to today’s top athletes. Of the little over 200 remaining pockets of hunter gatherers left today none of these people show any signs of tooth decay or any other disease of civilization.

Our agricultural diet is full of foods that we are not designed to eat. These foods include grains, legumes, dairy, plant oils, and exorbitant levels of fructose found in processed food and unnaturally sweet fruit that are available to us year round.  The unnaturally enormous levels of carbohydrates as well as antinutrients and toxins found in these “evolutionarily foreign” foods are making us sicker and sicker.

Grains and legumes are the seeds of plants. Since plants have no claws, teeth, or legs the only defense against their seeds being eaten is biologic chemical warfare: toxins and antinutrients. Enough of these chemicals survive heating and digestion to wreak havoc on our health.  Dairy is also an unnatural food.  We are the only mammals on this planet that drink the milk of other mammals into adult hood.  Milk makes babies grow and cow babies need to grow FAST! Not only is milk loaded with proteins that are toxic and allergic to humans, it is full of natural (and sometimes unnatural) growth hormones.   Plant oils are loaded with omega 6 fatty acids that are pro-inflammatory and unnatural to our diet. Fruits have been bred to be large and sweet and are now available all year and together with High Fructose Corn Syrup found in everything from ketchup to soda are overloading our liver with fructose and destroying our health and teeth.

So if you want to stop cavities and cure yourself from “diseases of civilization”, begin eating and moving like our Paleolithic ancestors did!

 

Biomimetic Dentistry: dentistry in harmony with nature

Our teeth are a remarkable feat of biologic engineering. In fact, human teeth are designed so well that they have not changed for the past 200,000 years.  Their perfect design is a balance between biologic, mechanical, functional, and esthetic parameters.

You may not realize this, but conventional dentistry was developed in the early 1800’s and is based on wood working principles and jewelry making techniques.  Biomimetic literally means “Mimicking Biology”. Therefore, Biomimetic Dentistry is the reconstruction of teeth to emulate their natural biomechanical and esthetic form and function. Biomimetic Dentistry is the most current, science-supported approach to treating weak, fractured, and decayed teeth in a way that keeps them strong, seals them from bacterial invasion.

from wikimediaNature had designed the root and the core of the tooth to be resilient; much like a tree is resilient to withstand the wind. This material is called dentin, which is 70 % crystal and 30 % collagen. It acts like a shock absorber during chewing. The trouble with dentin is that it is not wear-resistant. So nature capped it with a rock! The enamel that covers dentin is 99% crystal and 1% collagen.

 

When a rigid material such as metal: mercury-silver amalgam fillings, gold, and ceramic inlay are placed into the flexible dentin, over time the tooth usually cracks!  In the other side of the spectrum are resin-composite fillings. The majority of these are much more flexible than the tooth and under function flex too much, tearing the bond between the filling and the tooth, leading to premature failure of the filling and secondary decay.  So the rigid materials break the tooth, the flexible materials do not last long.

When teeth are restored biomimetically, using materials that replicate the physics of dentin and enamel, the filling acts in harmony with the tooth, in harmony with nature.  Fortunately today there are a handful of materials that fit this paradigm.

It may surprise you, but most dentists do not create anatomically correct fillings.  The filling is plugged into the tooth and the bite is ground in leaving a flat, amorphous blob of a filling. And crowns are even worse! However, the grooves, cusps, pits and fissures of the tooth are there for a reason. Nature does not waste energy for no reason. Form follows function. Replicating the correct anatomical form of each tooth allows teeth to function naturally.  Most TMJ problems are man-made.  Dentists create flat teeth and disrespect nature. (Maybe they are vegetarians and think we are herbivores with flat teeth).

Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution not only helped me lose 50 lbs, and look good naked, it changed my approach to dental care and benefited thousands of my patients in the process.

 

Dr SchvartsmanAlex Shvartsman, DDS, MAGD, AIOMT

Long Island Center for Healthier Dentistry
260 E. Main Street, suite 109
Smithtown, NY 11787
www.SmithtownSmiles.com
(631)361-3577

 

 

 

 

 

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  1. Andy
    August 29, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Great post Alex.

    My dental health has improved greatly since starting Paleo. Nothing but great things to say from the dentist aside from the horrible mistakes that my previous dentist did when filling 8 cavities that had to be redone less than a year later(which my current dentist said likely weren’t even cavities to begin with)

    I actually wrote an article over on my blog about a study discussing oral bacteria and how our modern diet has lead to a change in the types of oral bacteria inhabiting our moths, leading to poor oral health. A paleo type approach to diet actually leads to bacteria that can protect us from cavities. Very Cool!

    By the way, do you use toothpaste? If so is it fluoride free, and do you use fluoride in your practice?

    • PaleoDentist
      August 30, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      Hi Andy,

      Thank you for mentioning the bacterial co-evolutiuon with our diet. I was going to write about it , but thought it was too lengthly of a post already. It is not surprising that the bacteria in our mouths would adapt to the new processed-food diet of neolithic times. Tooth decay rates are on the rise globally!

  2. Cherry Williams
    August 29, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    I never imagine that this kind of dentistry exist. At least I learned something new.

    • PaleoDentist
      August 30, 2013 at 7:47 pm

      Hi Cherry,

      here is a link for more info on Biomimetic Dentistry:

      http://www.academyofbiomimeticdent.org

      • Janet
        October 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm

        Took a look at that website. The nearest biometric dentist is almost 90 miles away from me. :-(

        I have absolute horror stories of the things that have been done to my teeth by dentists. One dentist decided to replace all my old amalgams with composites and did an in-house 1 hour teeth whitening session first (so he could get the proper color match for my teeth and the composite material). Once he was done with everything, my teeth were so sensitive (even using toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth) that I couldn’t eat an apple that I pulled out of the fridge because it was too cold. If the food or beverage wasn’t body temperature, it hurt to eat.

        The next guy decided the solution to the sensitive teeth was to do root canals on all of them. He did 7 in one year, the last one on a tooth that had been damaged as a tooth bud when I was a child and had a misshapen root. Unable to locate the root when he did the root canal, he ended up drilling through the side of my tooth below the gum line.

        It took another dentist and endodontist applying a procedure they’d read about in a peer magazine to save the tooth from needing to be pulled. What’s left of my teeth have lots of fractures and several have had to have crowns with several more potentially going to need them in the future. If you want a poster child for what dentistry should not do, I’m your gal.

        Even reporting the dentist who’d done all the root canals to my state’s board of professional regulation for improperly damaging the last tooth he tried to do a root canal on was for naught. They decided he hadn’t done anything wrong (but he got scared enough to try and threaten my current dentist and the endodontist for testifying against him).

        All I’ve ever wanted was some nice, straight, white, strong and healthy teeth. Well, they’re sort of straight (thanks to braces as an adult). As for the rest? Eh.

  3. mister worms
    August 30, 2013 at 4:52 am

    Premature weaning of babies is a problem that few people are aware of so it’s nice to see it out there. Awareness is the first step to a solution and we’ve made some itty bitty progress after recognizing that the nutritional qualities of human milk are important and impossible to replicate. Some working women now have accommodations to express milk when separated from their babies, however, this doesn’t solve for the physical properties lost when a baby feeds directly.

    It would be great if baby product makers put as much effort into a physiologically proper bottle as they have into breast pumps at least. It won’t be a replacement, but hopefully an improvement for those who need to bottle feed.

    I think the ability to make thin mush out of food and the various social and cultural pressures to get babies on to solid foods and non-human milk is going to be very difficult to solve. For one, orthodontia is seen as a normal rite of passage in the US and people don’t know that it’s much more than a cosmetic issue. Especially as we get older, the wear and tear on our whole body from malocclusion (cracked teeth, airway obstruction during sleep and otherwise, pain, etc.) turns into a very costly matter for our well-being and wallet.

  4. Lynn
    August 30, 2013 at 6:36 am

    How can you not mention the findings of Dr. Weston A Price when talking about the decline of dental health in the modern world? In his book, “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” he tells how the infant’s face and jaw are formed in the womb and depends on the health of both mother and father. Every primitive culture he studied had “sacred foods” the parents ate before conception to ensure their health was optimal before pregnancy. As I understand it, our small jaws/narrow middle third of the face/crooked teeth with no room for the wisdom teeth is the result of worsening diet in our parents, not just a factor of bottle feeding.
    And dairy: we humans drink it because we can, we have thumbs to milk! Many of us have evolved to retain the ability to digest lactose in adulthood. Growing numbers in the paleosphere now agree that unprocessed, pasture-based dairy (and especially fermented dairy) is a nutritious food if tolerated.

    • Robb Wolf
      August 30, 2013 at 7:40 am

      We also see a remarkable number of people suffering from systemic inflammatory issues who got better once they dropped the dairy and fermented grains ala WAPF. My position has always been “remove 30 days, reintroduce, assess for effects.”

    • PaleoDentist
      August 30, 2013 at 7:57 pm

      Dr. Price made excellent observations during his travels around the world in the early 1900’s. Now we have scientific articles to explain his observations. I am merely reporting on the result of recent studies on upper and lower jaw development. Now we understand the mechanism of his observations better.

      Also, just because some Europeans and Africans evolved a lactase enzyme, it does not mean consuming the milk of another mammal into adulthood is natural for humans. It’s a much more complex issue. Please refer to Lauren Cordain’s “Paleo Answer”. He outlines it very well in that book.

  5. Sarah
    August 30, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    Alex, what an eye opener this post has been for me. This is a really quality post. I read your post very carefully, it is really very informative post. I have learned so many things from you. Thanks for sharing it.

  6. Nicole
    August 31, 2013 at 12:24 am

    I can certainly see the value in eating less sugar, being sensitive to developmental issues, and paying attention to the sorts of foods that our bodies evolved to process.

    But Dr. Shvartsman, if I took a shot of vodka every time you made an unsubstantiated claim, I might die of alcohol poisoning. Where are your citations and references? What are the “recent studies” you mentioned? For example, you claim that “The unnaturally enormous levels of carbohydrates as well as antinutrients and toxins found in these ‘evolutionarily foreign’ foods are making us sicker and sicker.” You might be right, but you might not be. What’s your source?

    I would argue that you, as an authority figure, are obligated to be as diligent as possible in the information you share.

    You say that, “Of the little over 200 remaining pockets of hunter gatherers left today none of these people show any signs of tooth decay or any other disease of civilization.” Would eating very little sugar have something to do with that? Or is the lack of legumes? It’s unclear exactly what your claim is.

    “Grains and legumes are the seeds of plants. Since plants have no claws, teeth, or legs the only defense against their seeds being eaten is biologic chemical warfare: toxins and antinutrients. Enough of these chemicals survive heating and digestion to wreak havoc on our health.”

    Sure. And it’s no different for fruits and vegetation, but you don’t seem to claim that they’re full of toxins (except for the claim that fruits are now bred to be sweeter–a reasonable but unsubstantiated claim). You could claim that veggies are full of toxins of course–for example, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli has isothiocynate in them, which, while is probably anticarcinogenic (Stoner et al., 1991; see below for full reference), also may depress thyroid functioning, at least in animals (Fenwick et al 1983; but also see Shapiro et al., 2006). Of course, you don’t want to say that eating reasonable amounts of broccoli is bad for most people. So you can’t make the same claim for grains, unless you cite some references saying that grains are harmful in the amounts commonly eaten. Grains may very well be harmful! But so might anything that is generally accepted as being beneficial. Again, let’s have some statistical (not anecdotal) evidence, and clear measures. Just what exactly do you mean by “toxin”?

    “We evolved eating a diet of meat, fish, poultry (and the fat that came along with these animals) and seasonal veggies and fruit. Skeletons of our ancestors showed perfectly straight teeth with zero cavities.”

    I don’t know about the straight teeth, but here’s a study you could have cited for lack of tooth decay in our ancestors: http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v45/n4/full/ng.2536.html (Adler et al., 2013). Very cool. I would have thought that their teeth would be falling out all over the place. Now I know!

    “These skeletons also showed people with strong robust bones with muscle insertions similar to today’s top athletes.”

    Ok, let’s be clear that correlation is NOT causation. Just because our ancestors ate a particular diet does NOT necessarily mean that’s why they had morphology like today’s athletes. Alternative hypothesis: weaker humans would presumably have been more likely to be picked off by predators, leaving the athletic ones alive to reproduce and make more athletic-type humans, who would then have been more likely to fossilize (given sheer numbers). Hmm. Do today’s top athletes all eat a paleo diet? Is that why they have the bodies they do? Or is it because they train hard and eat enough nutrients in general?

    “Of the little over 200 remaining pockets of hunter gatherers left today none of these people show any signs of tooth decay or any other disease of civilization.”

    Regarding the latter, Kuru affects hunter-gather tribes in Papua New Guinea. It’s what happens when you consume the flesh of your own species (Alpers, 2007). I’d say it’s a disease of civilization.

    “Dentists create flat teeth and disrespect nature. (Maybe they are vegetarians and think we are herbivores with flat teeth).”

    So you’re suggesting that if you have flat teeth, then you’re a vegetarian. But some vegetarians (gorillas) certainly do NOT have flat teeth. See the image at the following link (or look it up on google images) http://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.telegraph.co.uk%2Fearth%2Fearthpicturegalleries%2F8860636%2FThe-Planet-of-the-Apes-and-Monkeys-by-Steven-Miljavac.html&h=0&w=0&sz=1&tbnid=O3Tfv49BqFfC3M&tbnh=227&tbnw=222&zoom=1&docid=tBClYepgwHE6YM&ei=YHohUobKDOXmiwKx44GICw&ved=0CAUQsCU

    Your reasoning here is flawed. Also, I’m pretty sure that vegetarians realize that humans don’t have flat teeth. Especially if they’re dentists. It’s generally good practice to avoid attacking people, and instead attack their logic–while being charitable and not attributing clearly false beliefs to them when it’s unwarranted.

    Lastly, humans are clearly not the only animals with crooked teeth. The 3 following links lead to images.
    http://www.google.ca/imgres?um=1&sa=N&biw=1280&bih=709&hl=en&tbm=isch&tbnid=0j5ymdEUMIdANM:&imgrefurl=http://banoosh.com/blog/2013/07/17/8-ugliest-animals-in-the-world/3/&docid=KQ5VBvePGhiQnM&imgurl=http://banoosh.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/image-81.jpg&w=640&h=480&ei=p3ghUpWUA8mLiAKHuYGACA&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:47,s:0,i:228&iact=rc&page=3&tbnh=194&tbnw=205&start=46&ndsp=25&tx=77&ty=77

    http://www.google.ca/imgres?um=1&sa=N&biw=1280&bih=709&hl=en&tbm=isch&tbnid=-GRy7Lb3paGY3M:&imgrefurl=http://fphmapleton.com/dentistry.html&docid=7R_Kn6aaXq7etM&imgurl=http://fphmapleton.com/clients/4433/images/slideshow/Charlie%252520before%252520R.jpg&w=1280&h=960&ei=p3ghUpWUA8mLiAKHuYGACA&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:45,s:0,i:222&iact=rc&page=2&tbnh=173&tbnw=214&start=21&ndsp=25&tx=110&ty=103

    http://www.google.ca/imgres?um=1&sa=N&biw=1280&bih=709&hl=en&tbm=isch&tbnid=wHmlsjQtMQdh4M:&imgrefurl=http://bitsandpieces.us/2010/12/20/britains-ugliest-dog-gets-a-home/&docid=xy6GtXja8VPJEM&imgurl=http://bitsandpieces.us/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/imagesugly-dog2.jpg&w=634&h=908&ei=p3ghUpWUA8mLiAKHuYGACA&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:9,s:0,i:106&iact=rc&page=1&tbnh=165&tbnw=106&start=0&ndsp=21&tx=33&ty=64

    There may be some good support for adopting something like the paleo diet, but your article is generally unconvincing.

    Thank you for your consideration.
    Nicole

    My References:

    Adler et al., (2013). Sequencing ancient calcified dental plaque shows changes in oral microbiota with dietary shifts of the Neolithic and Industrial revolutions. Nature Genetics 45, 450–455

    Alpers (2007). A history of kuru. PNG Med J. 50: 1-2.

    Fenwick, G. R., Heaney, R. K., & Mullin, W. J. (1983). Glucosinolates and their breakdown products in food and food plants. CRC Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr. 18: 123-201.

    Stoner, G. D., Morrissey, D. T., Heur, Y., Daniel, E. M., Galati, A. J., & Wagner, S. A. (1991). Inhibitory effects of phenethyl isothiocyanate on N-Nitrosobenzylmethylamine carcinogenesis in the rat esophagus. Cancer Research, 51, 2063-2068.

    Shapiro, T.A., et al., Safety, tolerance, and metabolism of broccoli sprout glucosinolates and isothiocyanates: a clinical phase I study, Nutr Cancer. 2006;55(1):53-62

    • PaleoDentist
      August 31, 2013 at 4:54 am

      Hi Nicole, I will read your references, but will abstain from replying to you further due to your sarcastic, combative and inflammatory tone. I’m not here to fight with you.

    • Heath
      October 2, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      I enjoyed the article, but Nicole has some great points, and is only asking you to back up your claims. Way to duck out and dodge, Doc. She wasn’t rude, but apparently she left you speechless.

      • Brad
        October 3, 2013 at 5:39 pm

        +1 Doc is not the expert he pretends to be.

  7. Stefano
    August 31, 2013 at 2:26 am

    Very interesting post. I’m really happy to learn about biomimetic dentistry.

    A question though. How much is too much?
    I’ve been following a paleo diet and lifestyle for about a year now. I’ve cut out all refined sugars. Still, I have about 2-3 fruits and 1-2 cups of tea with raw or biological honey in it each day. Is this too much? How much natural sugar is okay?

    • PaleoDentist
      August 31, 2013 at 4:52 am

      Hi Stefano,

      my “litmus paper test” is to think about how these foods occur in nature. Sugar in nature is seasonal. Although there is no doubt that human’s consumed honey it was not available year-round to be added to foods, neither were fruit. Like it or not all commercially available fruit is GMO’d (human selective breeding is a type of GMO). plants are selectively bred to be sweeter, less fibrous and larger. so we are getting an unnatural sugar load no matter how you slice it. Admittedly I try to eat fruit seasonally, but fail often.

      • PaleoDentist
        August 31, 2013 at 12:53 pm

        I hear the words “natural sugar” thrown around a lot by companies trying to sell things like agave “nectar”, coconut sugar, etc… sugar is sugar is sugar: one glucose bound to one fructose. if you want to learn how those two sugar molecules interact with our physiology, Dr. Robert Lustig does a phenomenal job detailing the pathways of sugar, natural or otherwise (HFCS) in his book “Fat Chance”. I personally love his collection of over 20 names the food industry uses to disguise the sugar they add to our processed food.

        • Brad
          October 3, 2013 at 5:37 pm

          “sugar is sugar”. Really? So table sugar, honey, blackstrap, rapadura, agave nectar, and palm fruit (date) sugar is all the same? All are made using the same process and all have the same amount of vitamins and minerals, right??? You make a lot of claims that do not hold up to logic/evidence.

      • Otto
        October 3, 2013 at 2:01 pm

        I think you shouldn’t worry about fruit too much. If you lived somewhere around the Equator your could eat fuit all year round, only going up to the North and the South would give you trouble getting fruit in the winter time. Or else you should only eat the stuff you could get from the surrounding area you live in and not stuff that comes from 1000+ miles away.

        My theory is just plain: if you can get it from nature and eat it without too much trouble preparing it, it’s probably ok and healthy, just make sure you vary a lot and don’t eat 10 fruits (or 10 eggs or..) a day.

  8. Emily Rose
    September 1, 2013 at 5:08 am

    I think it has become human nature to choose the easier way around things, unfortunately our health suffers.
    Awareness is still the key, educating people about the little ‘sacrifices’ they have to make today to get into the http://bit.ly/paleolithicstyle of eating, will benefit them in the long run.

  9. Damien
    September 2, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    Alex,
    Do you have any insight into the concepts of tooth decay healing itself, particularly in children? We eat a pretty solid Paleo diet but recently have taken our son to the dentist where a few small cavities were found. The modern dentistry approach is drill and Flouride, Flouride, Flouride. In doing some research, most information online seems to follow the Weston Price approach of Fermented Cod Liver Oil, high Vit. butter oil (ghee), bone broths, organ meat, and raw milk/butter (which you addressed above).

    Can you offer insight on this approach (or what your personal experience is) and also a take on Flouride? I am personally reluctant to give him a known toxin such as Flouride, and drill into his baby teeth if we can heal them naturally by tweaking our dietary approach…..

    Much thanks for your willingness to post responses.

    • PaleoDentist
      September 6, 2013 at 9:11 pm

      Hi Damien,

      great question! Before you have your child’s teeth drilled, how was the tooth decay identified? if it was by the old fashioned dental pick method, it could be a false positive as the sharp metal pick can be wedged into healthy grooves and pits of the teeth that do not have actual decay and can even damage weakened enamel and potentiate tooth decay. A better method is using a dental laser such as the Diagnodent or the Canary system. these are much more accurate an non- invasive. the best method is to use ozone to arrest the tooth decay. my second choice would be reminerilizing pastes such as amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP) as in Novamin and Recaldent. Nano hydorxyappatite is another method. You can also use ICON resin infiltrate. All these methods are non-invasive and do not require drilling teeth. Welcome to the 21 century of dentistry! Now you need ot find a dentist who is up to date!

    • PaleoDentist
      September 6, 2013 at 9:18 pm

      Fluoride: Friend or Foe? The misunderstood mineral.

      The mention of the word “fluoride” sends shivers down the spines of most wellness-focused people. I have been accused of “not being a real holistic dentist” because I offer topically applied fluoride to my patients. Some have even left my practice because of this. The Internet is teaming with websites condemning fluoride. Books have been written about its health negative effects. Everything you have read or heard about fluoride happens to be true!

      There is no doubt that systemic fluoride is terrible for our health. And water fluoridation has been yet another disastrous government public health experiment. Ingesting fluoride is dangerous for adults and may be even more harmful for children. In, November of 2006, the American Dental Association (ADA) advised that parents should avoid giving babies’ fluoridated water due to increased risk of brain damage and other health effects. Ingestion of excessive fluoride during tooth development, can lead to unaesthetic brown mottling and pitting of permanent teeth, a condition called fluorosis. In addition, fluorosis has been associated with lower IQ scores in children in a recent study. In adults ingesting fluoride has zero benefit for the teeth, but the health consequences can be devastating: brain damage, reduces thyroid function, weakens of bones and increased bone cancer risk, higher risk for arthritis, increased infertility in men and early onset puberty in women. Fluoride may be hidden in any man-made beverages such as soda, iced tea, beer, wine, sports drinks or energy drinks. Moreover, discontinuing water fluoridation has not shown to increase tooth decay risk.

      The fact remains that when fluoride is applied directly to teeth there is a benefit against tooth decay. Globally, tooth decay rates are on the rise. Our consumption of ever increasing processed carbohydrates and sugar as well as bacteria mutating to more aggressive forms is the main reasons for this new epidemic. Fluoride can play a significant role in preventing and reversing tooth decay.

      When applied directly to the teeth, fluoride can help heal early cavities in the enamel by being incorporated into re-mineralized enamel as fluorappetie. The healed enamel becomes highly acid resistant so that area of the tooth is harder to decay in the future. Continued use of topically applied fluoride creates an acid resistant layer in both enamel and exposed tooth roots. Fluoride has also been effective in reducing tooth sensitivity.

      The key question is “how much fluoride penetrates the skin of the mouth?” In other words what is the systemic fluoride impact on a 1-minute fluoride rinse or a 2-minute tooth brushing with fluoride containing tooth paste? To date, there has been no human scientific study published in any peer-reviewed journals to show that topically applied fluoride to teeth has any systemic effects. Yet millions of people with tooth decay issues shun topical fluoride due to fear of its health effects and let their teeth rot unnecessarily.

      It is important to understand that ingesting fluoride and tooth surface treatment with fluoride are two completely different and separate things. Perhaps it is time to rethink our demonization of fluoride as a whole and shun its systemic use, while embracing its topical benefits for patients with high tooth decay rates.

  10. Silvana Batalha-Silva
    September 3, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Congratulations Dr Shvartsman! Nice post! As I learned Biomimetic Dentistry with Dr Magne I am an enthusiastic research on this field. Here in Brazil the dentists are naturally more conservative in restorations compared to US, but we still have many unnecessary posts and crowns wasting tooth structure.
    All the best.

    • PaleoDentist
      September 6, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      Hi Silvana!
      Wow! how very cool! Dr. Mange is one of my mentors and is a leader in Biomimetic dentistry research. Thank you for your research in the field of Biomimetic Dentistry! Pascal spoke very highly of his Brazilian researchers! Glad to see another Paleo Biomimetic!

  11. Julianna
    October 2, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    As an RDH, it is wonderful to read a post about paleo effects on oral health from another health professional! I see a lot of the lower economic class (especially children) and they are riddled with caries! Why? Because when I ask their parents what their diets contain it is mostly carbs and processed foods! I wish we could change this and help parents realize that diet has a lot to do with oral health!

    JD

  12. Maxer
    October 3, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    I’m with Nicole and Heath.

    You made far too many generalizations, and didn’t support any of your argument. Completely dodging their replies does not help your case. Nicole was not combative or inflammatory. She asked you to defend some of your assertions. The adult response is to do just that, not take your ball and go home or bury your head in the sand.

    I was going to forward your article to friends and family, because despite the lack of sources, I liked it. But, towards the end, it really reads like an infomercial. Condemning mainstream methods, claiming to practice the only “natural” way repair teeth, but not mentioning any specifics. You purposely peak people’s curiosity, intentionally skip clarification, then conveniently drop your business contact information.

    …and really, “look good naked”? I would suggest a more professional approach.

  13. Jason Luchtefeld, DMD
    October 7, 2013 at 5:28 am

    As others have said there are a lot of statements with no support.
    I really appreciate the link between paleo and a healthy mouth but there needs to be supportive data.

    I wrote a long-ish rebuttal to the full article here:
    http://www.prismpodcast.com/2013/10/06/dental-paleo-rhapsody/

    Also, a post about the positive influence of paleo in dentistry will be coming later this month.
    Cheers!

  14. Chris from Babyplants
    November 22, 2013 at 7:58 am

    “+1 Doc is not the expert he pretends to be.”

    Totally Agree with that one mate.

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