Dental hygiene anecdote

Last update: 14 April 2021

This is a now-concluded (as of April 2021) experiment in ceasing the normative dental hygiene of western societies (brushing one’s teeth and using toothpaste) while on a very low carbohydrate, high-meat diet. I forget exactly when I stopped brushing, but it was probably in late 2018, shortly after I removed plant foods from my eating pattern. I still used floss and otherwise mechanically remove bits of leftover food from my dental surfaces, primarily for comfort.

The reason why is primarily having read Weston Price’s seminal work on comparative dentition1 where primitive peoples had excellently developed teeth and very little tooth decay – in the absence of modern dental hygiene. Nutrition being a huge factor in dental health is also corroborated by the works of the Mellanbys2 and more recently there have been investigations into “stone age” dietary regimens in periodontal health3. To my understanding, the critically important nutritional factors to avoid tooth decay and other dental unpleasantness are threefold:

  1. Avoid refined carbohydrates, especially sucrose.
  2. Provide adequate minerals, which means eating enough protein and limiting dietary oxalates and phytates.
  3. Provide adequate fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K.

Given that my diet accomplished all three, and I take ideas seriously, I decided that brushing my teeth was unnecessary and stopped. Since then, I was in for a dentist appointment four times.

You should be aware that until that point, I have had fillings (sometimes multiple) in all but four of my teeth.

First appointment

This was about seven months into carnivory, in May 2019, about a thirteen months since my previous appointment. There were two previously-identified problem areas (carious lesions that needed fixing) and one new potential problem area (to be observed). A buildup of calculus was noted. I had reported on this before on Wykop here.

Second appointment

This was a couple of months after the previous one, to fix what wasn’t fixed last time (time during appointments is limited). Large buildup of calculus was noted again.

Third appointment

Due to a scheduling mishap, I had to reschedule my usual dentist appointment (private practice) and made an appointment with another (public practice), as I reported previously on Wykop here. This was in September 2020. The dentist noted I have calculus, but that my fillings are sitting tight and that I don’t have obvious decay anywhere.

Fourth appointment

Back at my usual dentist’s at the end of October 2020, I got calculus removal. No new carious lesions, and the previously identified problem area unchanged. Improved calculus status was noted, curiously. The dentist suggested I do a pantomograph (last time I had one was in 2014), which I have since done.

Fifth appointment

Reconstructed a molar filling that fell out. Pantomograph shows further areas of interest, mostly more maintenance on old fillings.

Sixth appointment

New filling in another molar. Comparing the 2014 pantomograph with the 2020 suggests the problem may have existed already back then.

Seventh appointment

New filling in molar next to the previous one, the problem was only discovered last visit. My dentist agrees with my speculation that these cavities are not new.

Eighth appointment

Old filling replaced, other old filling polished.

Conclusions

ResultRelation to hypothesis
No new cavitiesSupportive
Old demineralizations unchangedSupportive
Old, advanced cavities foundNeutral
Old fillings replacedNeutral

A meat-based, very low carbohydrate diet is, in this individual, sufficient to ward off tooth decay in the absence of modern oral hygiene.

References

  1. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects BY WESTON A. PRICE, MS., D.D.S., F.A.G.D.
  2. Mellanby M, Pattison CL. Remarks on THE INFLUENCE OF A CEREAL-FREE DIET RICH IN VITAMIN D AND CALCIUM ON DENTAL CARIES IN CHILDREN. Br Med J. 1932;1(3715):507-510. doi:10.1136/bmj.1.3715.507
  3. Baumgartner S, Imfeld T, Schicht O, Rath C, Persson RE, Persson GR. The impact of the stone age diet on gingival conditions in the absence of oral hygiene. J Periodontol. 2009 May;80(5):759-68. doi: 10.1902/jop.2009.080376. PMID: 19405829.