Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Need Braces

Jun 10, 2009 by

Braces teeth We already knew that eating too much sugar causes tooth decay.  But what if our diet is also causing our teeth to be misaligned and overcrowded? What if needing braces is not programmed into a child’s genes, but is completely preventable?

It’s generally broadcast and accepted that a lot of Americans are wrecking their health by eating too much of the wrong stuff.  A well kept secret is that needing braces seems to be simply yet another casualty of that poor diet.

Evidence is “sufficiently compelling” that orthodontic problems, just like cavities, are caused by the typical American diet today, according to science writer Gary Taubes.

Gov food pyramid The average American eats more grains and cereals (bread, potatoes, rice, pasta) than anything else, just as the famous USDA pyramid instructs us to do. We also consume massive quantities sugar and salt (against even the pyramid’s advice). This cereal- and grain-based diet is radically different from that of the earliest humans.

Fossil evidence indicating what ancient peoples ate along with the state of their teeth and their general health is confirmed by not-so-ancient studies of a few modern hunter-gatherer societies. These groups of people—who, like their most distant ancestors, ate only fresh fruits and vegetables, lots of wild critters of all kinds, some eggs and nuts—revealed “splendid physical development,” reports researcher Weston Price in the 1930s.

These peoples’ teeth were found to be not only basically free of decay even without brushing or dentistry, but are also straight, even and well-spaced without orthodontics.

And no, our modern processed food doesn’t appear to be the whole problem. Fossil evidence already reveals a big difference between the earlier hunter gatherers and their nearest descendants, the farmers.

Farming and cooking, along with methods of storing and preserving food, brought in a more sedentary and secure lifestyle. Progress also ushered in the foods that form the base of our USDA pyramid, along with dairy, foods that generations of the earlier humans had thrived without. But just like today, convenience was expensive and progress came with a price.

Quality gave way to quantity, as it tends to do. Population boomed, but general health declined. The fossil record reveals the farmers to be significantly shorter in height than their ancestors. The farmers bear evidence of more infectious disease, more bone problems like osteoporosis and rickets, and vitamin- and mineral deficiency diseases.  They had a higher rate of child mortality and shorter life. The state of their teeth continues the pattern.

“Their jaws, which were formerly square and roomy, were suddenly too small for their teeth, which overlapped each other,” writes Loren Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Food You Were Designed to Eat.

Needing braces may actually the least of our worries if we feed our children more of a modern western diet than the more optimal foods of our earliest ancestors. But as Taubes says, saving the $4,000-$6,000 orthodontist bill may alone be worth the extra effort.

Related post:

Your child’s diet and how to prevent osteoporosis

© Sacred Appetite  / Anna Migeon / 10 June 2009 / All rights reserved

To learn more about the benefits of eating the diet of the earliest humans, go to: