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Dental Connections to the Paleo Diet?

In Dental Care on August 16, 2011 at 4:30 AM

In recent years the Paleo Diet™ has been gaining more popularity amongst an enlarging segment of U.S. Citizens.  It’s no secret that, generally speaking, Americans have been increasing our waistlines like we’re preparing for a long hibernation.

Could a paleo-friendly lifestyle improve our health?

Whether or not the agricultural prehistoric method of consumption is the scientifically proven next step in personal nutrition refinement, we can learn how what we eat directly impacts the health of our teeth and gums.

According to their website, the Paleo Diet™ is based on the simple understanding that the best human diet is the one to which we are best genetically adapted.1

Paleo has also been referred to this as the ‘Caveman Diet’; with the basic principle being we eat foods according to our genetic make-up, pre – Agricultural Revolution.

To poorly paraphrase the experts, this basically means a ‘Paleo’ form of diet consists of ingredients we as people subsisted on prior to the mass production of foodstuffs.

The Paleolithic diet consists mainly of grass-fed pasture raised meats, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts. The regimen specifically excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.2

Eat Like a Caveman…and Brush Your Teeth Like One Too!

So our collective waistlines have been expanding at an alarming rate, out of the Ancestral Health Symposium recently held at UCLA, comes the dental debate.

Your can read the complete blog post entitled, “Where is Darwin on Dentistry? You Are What You Chew” by clicking on the link.

To offer a weak synopsis, we’ll try to explain how Dr. Kevin Boyd, D.D.S., MS and Dr. Michael Mew D.D.S., two dentists present at the symposium, discussed the historical connection on how and why modern dietary factors are adversely affecting our oral health.

The discussion highlighted in the above-mentioned article, centered around their respective theories on how dietary factors are represented in the occurrence of malocclusion and craniofacial developmental disorders like crowded teeth, crooked teeth, or jaw misalignment.

Dr. Boyd stated how over the last 10,000 or so years, our faces have been shrinking. And how a narrow face can affect one’s teeth and the ability to breathe through the nose.

Is a nutritional deficiency causing rotting and crooked teeth in a growing number of the population, all due to our diets becoming increasingly high in sugars and refined grains?

The point Dr. Boyd opens leads us to think that over time, our diet alters our bone structure which inhibits proper breathing and leads to more oral health problems.

In the article, Dr. Mew, the distinguished dentist out of the U.K., goes further in explaining it’s the HOW as much as the WHAT we’re eating.

Dr. Mew says this increase in malocclusion occurrences may come from a lack of chewing and biting difficult foods. On a diet of soft, easy-to-eat processed foods and boneless meats, certain jaw muscles are never properly developed, and a poor “mandibular-lingual posture” leaves people unable to breath out of their nose (and mouth breathing further misaligns the jaw).3

What’s this all mean to us?

Eating like a caveman can be good for our teeth too; like a dog with a bone, or deer antler, or beef knuckle…

The common denominator we saw was how diet affects a lot more than our waistlines, and poor breathing habits further complicate oral health issues. Two major areas of concentration for anyone interested in maintaining optimal health and wellness longevity.

Anyone concerned about sleep apnea…or oral systemic dentistry?

Moral of the Story

What we put in our mouths not only affects our overall health, but it also affects the health of our teeth and gums. Whether or not the chicken or the egg came first, most likely all of us could use a little dietary adjustment.

Does this mean if we call go Fred Flintstone and feed on Brontosaurus Ribs to give our chompers a proper workout?

Maybe…if that’s what’s best for you. To be sure, a conversation with your physician and your dentist would go a long way in figuring out the proper dietary equation.

If you have questions about the diet and dentistry connection, or have concerns about maintaining optimal oral health with your current diet, just ask your dentist or hygienist next time your due for a cleaning and exam.


  1. EXTRACTII DENTARE hello , i love your post. Hope to see nice words about dentistry…

    hello , i love your post. Hope to see nice words about dentistry…

  2. I disagree that this was a “weak synopsis” of the Boyd-Mew presentation; it is actually an excellent and highly accurate synopsis of what the speakers were hoping to convy. This particular summary of yours was very rewarding to read and I want to thank you for your effort

    Kevin Boyd, DDS

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