The Inconvienient Truth about Cavities…

By on November 2, 2009
impacted wisdom teeth

In western countries, cavities are an almost universal human condition. With almost 98% of people with at least one cavity, the person without them is a cause for comment. But the condition of dental caries is NOT a normal condition and is entirely preventable; not with good oral hygiene, as we have been taught, but with good nutrition. While good Oral Health and Hygiene is certainly a PART of preventing cavities, and is vital for social reasons, brushing and flossing pales in importance to good nutrition in the fight against dental caries.

In the 1930’s, a dentist by the name of Weston A. Price traveled around the world observing the oral condition and dental health of those people who had been untouched by processed foods. What he found should have made waves in the medical and dental communities then and now. But most of Dr. Price’s detailed studies, described in painstaking detail in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, have been largely ignored except by a few vocal minorities such as those who run Weston A Price Foundation . Yet the conclusion that he drew from his many observations with people of different races that ate different foods in different climates on different continents were remarkably similar. People who ate no processed foods had virtually zero cavities. Even more startling is that he concluded that Poor Nutrition Causes Impacted Wisdom Teeth.

Dr. Price does have his critics, and there are those that claim that cavities come strictly from exposure to cavity causing bacteria and that these people who had minimal contact with modern people simply did not have exposure to the bacteria that cause cavities; therefore they were unable to contract them. While this is an interesting theory, if it were true then cavity rates should have increased to the same rate as the outlying areas once the bacteria was introduced- but this is not the case at all. As well, there is plenty of evidence showing that proper nutrition decreases the incidence of infections, such as has been shown in the interesting cases of Poor Nutrition Mutating Flu Viruses and Viral Heart Failure from Selenium Deficiency. So, even if the bacterial theory is true, it’s possible that these bacteria proliferate only under conditions of decreased nutritional status.

One island community was a particularly interesting case. The incidence of cavities, as shown in the elders of the island, was essentially zero before traders came to buy the dried coconut product called copra. Along with the traders came white sugar and white flour; as well an increase in cavities among the young that reached the equivalent incidence of modern day. But some years later, the demand for copra disappeared and traders no longer came to the remote island, removing the ability for the islanders to have sugar and flour. Along with the traders and their processed food went cavities as well. The next generation on the island, who often had parents and siblings with cavities, again returned to a natural cavity-free state, despite the fact that toothbrushes and the concept of oral hygiene was virtually unknown.

More evidence that cavities are due more to exposure to processed foods than oral hygiene can be seen from animals. Whether wild animals or pets, animals have no oral hygiene practices- ‘dog breath’ didn’t get its name because your pet keeps his teeth and gums sparkly clean. But pets eat almost no processed foods and have virtually no cavities. With the amount of pets in the US exceeding the number of children, if cavities were prevalent in pets, then pet dentistry would have become a common profession rivaling that of dentistry for children. Yet a quick look at any phone book in any major city will show that there are far more pet spas and pet hotels than pet dentists. While many pet owners do get their companions’ teeth cleaned regularly, few pet owners agonize over whether Spot should get an amalgam or a ceramic filling.

If oral hygiene were the answer to eradicating cavities, the enormous increase in sales of toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss over the past 70 years, should have paralleled a concurrent decrease in cavities. Yet by any statistics, almost 99% of the population of industrialized societies have cavities with 4 to 5 cavities per person not an uncommon figure. But if anything, the incidence of cavities has INCREASED right along with the increase in sales of dental hygiene products. A correlation that Colgate is not likely to splash in their next full page ad. So, while the answer to fewer cavities doesn’t lie in stopping oral hygiene, it does lie in eliminating processed foods, especially in the young who have growing teeth and jaws and who will be responsible for the nutritional status of the as yet unborn generation to come.


Oral Health Resources

  • Can Cavities and Periodontal Disease be Reversed? One dentist says that they can. Take a look at Money by the Mouthful to learn how Dr. Nara does it.
  • Fresh Mouth– The Healthy mouthwash with Coenzyme Q10 and Colloidal Silver.
  • About Kerri Knox, RN

    The author is a Registered Nurse and Functional Medicine Practitioner. With 20 years of experience in health care, she has the unique perspective of being solidly grounded in both Conventional Medicine and Alternative Medicine. She can help you to to find and repair the underlying causes of chronic illness, while empowering you to take charge of your own health. She is the owner and author of this blog and website.

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