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The Dental Diet

The Dental Diet
I have just finished reading a very interesting and informative book called The Dental Diet. It is written by Dr. Steven Lin an Australian dentist who came to the realization that although he was helping his patients by repairing dental disease, he was not getting to the root cause of the disease and therefore over time he was seeing a gradual aging and deterioration of people's mouths. He was helping people control disease but was not satisfied in that he felt he was not creating healthy mouths. In his research he discovered some very intriguing facts about how to eat for a healthy mouth, and as it turns out a healthy body as well.



Researchers have discovered that over the last few hundred years, our human jaws have gotten smaller than evolution would normally cause. This has been attributed to agricultural and industrialization. Our hunter gatherer forefathers ate much courser foods and thereby exercised their jaws and jaw muscles. Industrialization and processed foods, cooking of food, do not exercise the jaws in the same way, and as a result our jaws have gotten smaller. One of the outcomes of this fact is that more people require removal of their wisdom teeth which do not have enough room to erupt into the mouth. Smaller jaws tend to sit further back in relation to the skull and can impact our airways and contribute to the development of sleep apnea. As a result of this fact, one of the recommendations in the Dental Diet is to eat harder foods such as apples that require chewing and that excercise the muscles of mastication.


The second element of the a dentally good diet is to eat foods that give the mouth the nutrients it needs (with a focus on Calcium and fat-soluble vitamins). The fat soluble vitamins aid the body in using and distributing calcium to the proper tissues, among their other roles. Fat soluble vitamins include Vitamin D2, Vitamin A, and Vitamin K2. Vitamin D2 helps the absorption of Calcium, but Vitamin K2 helps transport the Calcium to the target tissues such as teeth and bone. It also keeps calcium out of the blood vessels which is important in the prevention of atherosclerosis.


There has been much research in medicine about creating a proper bacterial balance in the "gut". Since food enters the body through the mouth it is important to consider that the foods we eat will also impact the balance of bacteria in the mouth. There are basically 2 types of bacteria that reside in both the mouth and the gastro-intestinal tract. There are the "good" slow-metabolizing bacteria and the "bad" fast metabolizing bacteria. The fast bacteria feed in particular on carbohydrates such as sugars, grains, and their combinations such as cookies, cake, ice cream, soft drinks, etc. When these bacteria feed on those foods they produce acids which can either eat holes into the teeth (cavities) or the gums (gum pockets and loss of bone support for the teeth). These foods contribute to a proliferation of these fast-metabolizing bacteria. In this regard, it is good to consider eating probiotic foods which are for the most part fermented foods such as saurkraut, kombucha (fermented tea), kefir or yogurt, certain cheeses, to name a few. These foods help replenish and feed the friendly microbes which help prevent the harmful bacteria from taking over. There are also prebiotic containing foods which help feed the bacteria in the gut that we need to stay healthy.


The foods we eat are digested and the nutrients and bacteria are delivered to the rest of the body. They can affect the genetic expression of our genes which in turn can affect how our bodies operate. This is a very complex process and much too large in scope for this short article. Scientists are really just "scratching the surface" with their knowledge of these processes. Suffice it to say that the expression of our unique genetic makeup can be affected in a large part by the foods we choose to eat. Imbalance in these messages can predispose us to various chronic diseases (for example) such as tooth decay. Eating a dentally healthy diet as it turns out, is also very beneficial for our overall health. Once again this highlights another important connection between our mouth and the rest of our body. This is a very short summary of a very detailed and interesting book.

If you would like more information about the Dental Diet please leave a comment or question below. I will do my best to provide an answer to your question. 

Yours for glowing health ...

Dr. Marty Frankel - Smiles by Design                                                                                            3030-3080 Yonge Street,                                                                                                          Toronto, ON M4N 3N1                                                                                                                   416-770-8526