What Can We Learn from Past Civilizations Who Had “Nearly Perfect Teeth”

diet and teeth

Diet and teeth, what’s the connection? Archaeologists have studied the remnants of Mt. Vesuvius for years. According to an article in the Smithsonian Magazine the people of Pompeii had “nearly perfect teeth”.  Their studies also indicate that this civilization had a low-sugar diet, with lots of fruit and vegetables and fluorine in a local water source. Their teeth are still intact, albeit under tons of hardened lava and ash. Researchers could not help but note that they had a better diet than we do, which no doubt contributed to their healthy teeth. Read on to learn more about diet and teeth connection.

Our Ancient Predecessors Had a Low Sugar Diet

If we are going to emulate what our ancient predecessors did to have healthy teeth, we should have a low sugar diet. Foods high in sugar are a common cause of tooth decay and ill health. Low sugar foods are not only good for diet and teeth, but for your overall health. Some of those foods include:

  • Fresh meats, such as chicken, shrimp, pork, beef, and fish are a good source of protein and many other nutrients.
  • Whole grains are rich in nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. Studies have also shown that those who eat enough whole grains have a lower risk of gum inflammation and periodontal disease because whole grains improve the body’s ability to process blood sugar.
  • Nuts and seeds are a healthy low sugar snack: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, cashews, pecans, and walnuts are nutritious options.
  • Milk, cheese and yogurt are high in protein and calcium, which strengthens your teeth.

Our Ancient Predecessors Ate Lots of Fruit and Vegetables

Nutrients found in fruits and vegetables may also strengthen immunity and improve the body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation, all of which can help protect the teeth and gums.  The following are some of the fruits and vegetables that have a direct impact on diet and teeth outcomes:

  • Carrots and celery are loaded with beta-carotene, which your body needs to create vitamin A. Chewing on foods that are crunchy and high in fiber, cause your mouth to work hard and they also stimulate your gums. Healthy gums are an important component to having healthy teeth.
  • Leafy Greens and Vegetables – Dark, leafy vegetables like kale and spinach are packed with vitamin A, which supports tooth structure by building enamel and the high fiber content acts like a natural toothbrush when chewed.
  • Cabbage, Chard and Brussels sprouts are loaded with vitamins and minerals needed to help maintain and improve your quest for healthy teeth.
  • Apples, otherwise known as “nature’s toothbrush”, help clean your teeth and stimulate your gums They also reduce cavity causing bacteria to build up in your mouth.
  • Citrus fruits are good for your oral health because of the vitamin C. Fresh fruits massage your gums, help clean your teeth and increases salivation, which neutralizes the acids in your mouth.

Our Ancient Predecessors Had Fluoride in Their Water

There was a source of fluoride in the water in Pompeii. Fluoride, is a natural mineral that helps prevent cavities by making the outer surface of your teeth (enamel) stronger. Fluoride is often called nature’s cavity fighter and for good reason:

  • Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. It also reverses early decay.
  • Once the fluoride is in your enamel, it combines with the calcium and phosphate in your saliva to create a powerful defense system to prevent cavities from forming.
  • Today, fluoride is found naturally in a variety of foods and water.  It is also found in fluoridated toothpastes and mouth rinses.

We can definitely learn from the civilizations before us, but we have advantages that our predecessors didn’t have. We have modern dentistry with technology and techniques that have brought many changes to the world of dentistry from past years.  Although there is no indication that the civilization in Pompeii had dentists, the condition of their teeth since 79 A.D. is evidence that diet and teeth go hand in hand.  Strive to eat a healthy diet to help your teeth to be healthy.

Want Better Health? Focus on Your Diet and Teeth 

Strive for good oral hygiene with a healthy diet by brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Regular check-ups are another important aspect of a healthy mouth and Dr. Ashley Niles of Niles Family Dentistry provides a wide variety of services for the whole family.

Dr. Niles is passionate about the correlation of your overall wellness to a balanced diet and healthy teeth. She strives to abide by this philosophy in her personal life and knows that a healthy diet makes a big difference when it comes to having a healthy mouth. To learn more about Dr. Niles and her healthy approach to modern dentistry, please follow this link.

If you currently have cavities or if you wan to learn more about diet and teeth, don’t put off seeking treatment. Contact Niles Family Dentistry (720) 744-0001 and schedule an appointment for an examination. Located in Niwot, Colorado at 136 2nd Ave. Suite 101, Dr. Niles also provides dental care to patients in Boulder, Longmont and other areas of northern Colorado.

Dr. Niles is committed to provide you with the best and most advanced dental methods and she is equally committed to your overall health and wellness. Here’s to what we’ve learned from the past civilizations and we look forward to a healthy mouth in 2019!

Ashley Niles

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