I am so excited to write this article! It’s been a passion of mine for some time and now I am able to share it with you.
Teeth are often a controversial issue in the raw food movement, especially when it comes to eating large amounts of fruit. There is definitely some cause for concern over eating large amounts of citrus fruits, such as pineapple, oranges and berries, as these have been shown to cause dental erosion. Limiting the teeth’s exposure to unripe fruit and highly acidic fruit is beneficial to maintain tooth health, since rats who were exposed to fruit up to 17 times a day did show erosion and dental problems.
However, many raw food eaters have also experienced problems with their teeth. There are many factors that can contribute to tooth erosion and decay. Of course, we have all been told about the bacteria that are involved in tooth decay, which secrete an acid that can erode away at our teeth. This bacteria has evolved with humans and has been diversifying itself over the years. At this point, we now have a very unique bacterial situation, which may require a unique means of controlling the bacteria.
Some studies have shown that fresh fruit and other fermentable carbohydrates (the kinds that our cavity-causing bacteria feed on) can actually be correlated with good oral health and teeth. However, white sugar and processed carbohydrates seem to be more cariogenic (cavity causing) than other carbohydrates. This includes fruit juices as well as dried fruit due to it’s ability to stick to teeth.
The general consensus by the World Health Organization is that whole foods tend to lessen one’s chance of developing cavities, as does fluoride exposure and good dental hygiene. But some people are legitimately concerned about fluoride and its other side effects on the body. A condition called fluorosis is discussed in this scientific review. It appears that fluoride can cause teeth to become more brittle due to this condition. There is even a website dedicated to the harmful effects of fluoride, linking low grade fluoride exposure over time to diseases like: arthritis, bone fracture, brain problems, cancer, CV disease, diabetes, endocrine problems, gastrointestinal problems, hypersensitivity, kidney disease, male fertility issues, pineal gland effects, skeletal fluorosis and thyroid disease.
Whew! This could be a good enough reason to avoid fluoride in your dental hygiene routine if possible. But what if your fluoride-free toothpaste isn’t enough to protect your teeth against cavities?
On a personal note, I have experienced many cavities while using fluoride toothpaste and have struggled with dental issues long before eating a raw food diet. One thing I did do when I went raw is to switch my dental hygiene routine to a fluoride-free one. I believe many people might do the same when they switch to a healthier lifestyle, which could possibly account for some dental erosion experienced on a raw foods diet.
But recently I was watching a small black hole in my teeth develop while I was using fluoride toothpaste. Then I made a switch in my dental routine and I saw the small black hole reduce!
What was the switch you ask (and how does this relate to chocolate)? I started trying a product called Theodent, which is a toothpaste which contains the active ingredient Rennou. Recently, it has been published in a few sources, that a substance called theobromine, which is derived from cacao (hence the chocolate reference), might actually be even better than fluoride at strengthening teeth. This is just one of the ingredients in Rennou and Theodent toothpaste. And the best part about this toothpaste is that, according to the company, it is safe enough to swallow if ingested. This could mean the end of toxic substances in our toothpaste.
But that’s not all that I switched…
Pills for Teeth
As I stated earlier, the bacteria in our mouths have been evolving for some time, and it appears that they have made themselves quite comfortable. These bacteria cause an acidic condition in the mouth, which can lead to dental decay and erosion of the teeth.
Scientists have examined the mouths of many different animal and human species, and are now catching on to the possibility that there are bacteria that could be beneficial to the teeth and actually help in preventing cavities. These are probiotic dental bacteria, not to be mistaken with probiotics used for gut and intestinal health. There are several different strains that could be involved in keeping bad bacteria (namely of the Streptococcus origin) at bay, and dental probiotics are on the rise with new products coming out recently.
I added in a dental probiotic to help with my cavity issues, and coupled with the Theodent toothpaste, saw the regression of a cavity.
A note for vegans: several prodiotics are made using dairy as a growing medium. Check the product label and information site to see if the probiotic is a vegan one.
Along with these two dental hygiene practices, it is also necessary to follow a well-rounded raw food diet which contains all of the recommended daily nutrients, with supplementation for those nutrients that you unable to get with diet alone, such as vitamin D, B12 and K2.
I will take the time to discuss vitamin K2, as this (as well as vitamin D and other nutrients) does relate to teeth and may necessitate supplementation on a raw diet. Unless you consume things like sauerkraut or certain animal products daily, you probably aren’t getting K2 in your diet. And the bacteria that can make vitamin K2 might only be making small amounts of K2, according to recent information on the vitamin. That is why supplementing K2 might be necessary for some people, according to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M. D. Vitamin K2 is associated with tooth and bone health, in conjunction with other vitamins and minerals.
I also can’t stress enough the value of ensuring you are getting enough vitamin D as well. Check out my vitamin D article to find out how to get more of this important vitamin and whether you’re getting enough (most people aren’t!). Vitamin D as well as other nutrients like calcium, play a vital role in keeping teeth in good shape and preventing cavities.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and have gotten some useful information out of it. I would love to hear your comments and testimonies about healing teeth and managing good oral hygiene whilst on a raw food diet!
**I am not affiliated with Theodent toothpaste in any way, just wanted to share with you my experience!**