Raw Vegan Diet & Dental Health
I went to the dentist last week for a regular cleaning, and received some bad news. I was told that I have 3 cavities—small cavities, but nevertheless, they are cavities. This is rather upsetting to me, since I've only had 2 cavities in my entire life, before beginning a raw food diet. Three cavities in less than one year is not good.
I remember Frederic Patenaude writing about how raw foodists often have dental problems, and his own personal struggles with cavities. Apparently, the acid in fruit can cause erosion of tooth enamel and contribute to faster rates of decay. Frederic Patenaude has suggested rinsing your mouth with water after eating any fruit. Unfortunately, I have not been very diligent with this practice (and now I am paying for it).
According to a study conducted by the Department of Operative and Preventive Dentistry at Justus Liebig University, raw food vegans have an increased risk of dental erosions…
Compared to the control group, subjects living on a raw food diet had significantly more dental erosions. Only 2.3% of the raw food group (13.2% of the controls) had no erosive defects, whereas 37.2% had at least one tooth with a moderate erosion (55.2% of the controls) and 60.5% had at least one tooth with a severe erosion (31.6% of the controls). Within the raw food group no significant correlation was found between nutrition or oral health data and the prevalence of erosions. Nevertheless, the results showed that a raw food diet bears an increased risk of dental erosion compared to conventional nutrition."
To make sure I don't develop any more cavities…
- I have started brushing my teeth after every meal. I will not let sugar from fruit sit on my teeth for long periods of time.
- I have started eating greens with my fruit. I think this may help to neutralize (or counterbalance) some of the acid from the fruit.
- I have scheduled 3 yearly dental cleanings—once every four months. This will help me recognize and respond to potential problems early. Previously, I had been visiting the dentist once per year because I am not very fond of doctors (i.e. traditional medicine doctors). Side point: Did you know that doctors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S.?
I encourage anyone who eats a high percentage of raw food to keep a close watch on your teeth, schedule regular dental cleanings, and brush after every meal. I would also suggest eating more whole foods, instead of juicing. Blending is better (in my opinion) than juicing because it retains the pulp, skin and fiber of the fruit.
Also, find a dentist who does not use amalgam fillings. See my next post on the dangers of amalgam fillings.