These days we consider brushing twice a day, flossing, visiting the dentist regularly, and perhaps even orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry to be the key ingredients to a perfect oral hygiene routine. Right? Well, not quite.
Studies have found that our teeth are much less healthy than our ancestors. Alan Cooper, the director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, says that our change in diet from meat, nuts, and vegetables, to grains and sugars has changed the bacteria in our mouths.
According to NPR, researchers have found that as prehistoric human hunting and gathering evolved to farming, several types of disease-causing bacteria that used to be effective at using carbohydrates overpowered the ‘friendly’ bacteria in human mouths. The Industrial Revolution introduced processed flour and sugar only making the matter worse.
NPR also states that we no longer have the proper bacteria in our mouth that is essential for keeping our teeth healthy and our body is in a constant fight toward them. The recommended oral hygiene habits of brushing, flossing, etc. are actually just masking the real problem.
So what is Alan Cooper’s recommendation? Reduce the carbs and eat more like a caveman.
But what exactly is a caveman diet?
The Paleo Diet is an excellent representation of what the caveman would have eaten. In fact, it is also known as the “Caveman Diet” or the “Stone Age” diet. Paleo is a high-protein, a high-fiber eating plan most popularly used for weight loss.
Going Paleo means you’ll be eating a lot of fresh lean meats and fish, fruits, and vegetables, and healthier fats. Eggs, nuts and seeds, and healthier oils, including olive oil and coconut oil, are also allowed.
Processed foods are eliminated on this diet, along with wheat, dairy, and other grains and legumes (such as peanuts and beans). Other foods to avoid are refined sugar, potatoes, salt, and refined vegetable oils, such as canola.
Processed foods have a deficit of minerals and vitamins your body needs to keep your gums and teeth healthy. By excluding these types of foods from your diet, your overall health, including the health of your gums and teeth, could significantly improve.
Learning this aspect of dental hygiene from our ancestors doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. Maybe it’s time we let our inner caveman or cavewoman shine and save our smiles in the process.
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