Posted on 8/20/2019 by Tessa Smith-Greisch
|Everyone knows what sugary and starchy foods do to your teeth. They interact with the natural bacteria and cause the development of plaque. This, in turn, damages the enamel on your teeth, which eventually lead to dental caries or cavities.
But is that the only effect food has on your teeth? Studies are constantly being carried out to help increase our knowledge of dental health and to improve treatment options that we can offer our patients.
One study, involving food scientists, evolutionary biologists, and dental researchers came up with a very interesting conclusion. Our current dental problems including cavities, overbites, and crooked or crowded teeth are a direct result of our diet. It is just too soft.
What Is Too Soft About Our Diet?The researchers studied the teeth of skulls from 13,000 years ago, compared to today and interspersed with Aboriginal and Kalahari people who, until fairly recently, ate much as the ancient man did. Ancient man lived in the hunter-gatherer age. They ate dried meat and food with a lot of fiber.
This food required a lot of chewing. All of this chewing strengthened the bone our teeth sit in and that made it bigger. Our food is softer, requires less chewing and does not stimulate this growth. The result is that we end up with an overbite.
Overcrowding is another common problem. Our ancestors needed strong lower jaws to rip meat apart. Another change is the way our ancient ancestors fed babies. Evidence suggests they were breastfed until 3 or 4 years old. The action of breastfeeding, as opposed to bottle feeding, helps to improve the shape of the hard palate which in turn produces teeth that are properly aligned.
Gum disease was rare because of their diet of tough meat, vegetables that were stringy, and coarse grains. All of these acted like toothbrushes and stimulated the saliva. So, what can you do? Cut down on sugar, which wasn't introduced into the diet until the early 1800s, and eat a variety of foods, preferably some that make you work to eat them.