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A study published in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that vegetarians are much more likely to suffer from tooth decay, lower (more acidic) salivary pH levels, and lower stimulated saliva flow than control subjects that were matched by sex and age. In addition, plant-based diets pose a greater risk for fractures according to a related, peer-reviewed study of over 55,000 people.
Specifically, the study found that those who consumed a vegetarian diet were:
…much more likely than age- and sex-matched controls to have dental erosions on some tooth surfaces, lower salivary pH levels, and lower stimulated saliva flow. (1)
Conclusions from the study found that:
The rate of flow of saliva and consumption of vinegar-containing foods, citrus fruits, and acid berries was associated with the dental erosions noted. Diets that are excessively high in fruit juices were also found to erode dental enamel. (1)
The study confirms what Dr. Weston A. Price DDS in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, discovered on his 10-year journey around the world studying isolated, traditional societies still untouched by what he termed “the displacing foods of modern commerce.”
Dr. Price found that indigenous vegetarian cultures suffered from tooth decay at a higher rate than either the omnivore or the almost completely carnivorous cultures he studied.
The published study concluded that eating a vegetarian or vegan diet does not in any way impart a dental health advantage over non-vegetarians. Criticisms of What The Health, the pro-vegan documentary, reveal similarly ignored research.
Tooth Decay Signals Poor Immunity and Nutrient Deficiencies
Tooth decay is an indication of lowered immune function and a higher susceptibility to degenerative disease in general. Ever heard of the term “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”? This refers to the well known historical practice of examining a horse’s teeth and gums to assess overall health elsewhere in the body.
People can similarly assess their level of general health and whether it is improving or declining by observing the health of their teeth and gums.
Rami Nagel, author of the book Cure Tooth Decay, states that the dentinal-fluid transport mechanism is how the body controls the rate of tooth decay including whether or not it occurs at all. When tooth decay is present, Mr. Nagel says this is a sign that blood sugar levels are askew and that certain critical nutrients such as the fat-soluble activators A, D, and K2 are lacking in the diet.
Vegetarian diets are typically much higher in grains and sugars (from fruit) than non-vegetarians, and when the body senses too much sugar at one time, this can initiate demineralization of the teeth. Ever noticed how your teeth can get a bit sensitive for a period of time after a very sugary dessert or a day that included too many grain-based foods and treats?
If you are vegetarian and have noted a problem with dental decay, incorporating grass-fed meats, raw grass-fed dairy, wild seafood, and high vitamin cod liver oil into your diet will introduce the critical nutrients that are necessary to reverse caries and prevent further problems.
Moreover, whenever sweet foods such as fruit are consumed, they should always be eaten in the presence of healthy fat like cream to maintain stable blood sugar and not disrupt the body’s ability to transport minerals.
Reference and More Information
(1) The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 27 Dec 2011, 712-738