When I first got Nourishing Traditions I had to unlearn a lot of what I had just learned a few years prior in pre-nursing school (mainly nutrition and physiology). The main myths that I had believed were
1. A calories is a calorie. To lose weight output must be more than input. (it’s a lot more complex than that)
2. A vitamin is a vitamin. Walmart vitamins are just as effective as pricey alternatives or food sources. (more on this here)
3. Teeth are fairly simple, and are only influenced by outside activity like brushing and eating too much sugar.
The dental ideas really were interesting to learn. I had been told that tooth health was dependent on outside influences (brushing, sugar eating bacteria eating away at the enamel) and internal fluoride (Europe doesn’t floridate their water or give supplements, yet there isn’t the rampant tooth decay there that Americans are lead to beleive would happen without flouride).
Weston Price’s work, which is what most of Nourishing Traditions is founded on, suggests that it isn’t the topical sugar that is eating away at American’s teeth, but it’s the lack of good nutrition that weakens the teeth from the inside, making them more susceptible to decay. He agrees that sugar and white flour are bad for teeth, but not because of their contact with the teeth themselves, but because they take up room in the diet where more nutrient dense foods could be.
I was skeptical, honestly, because didn’t my dentists and the FDA know what they were talking about? Hadn’t they gone to school to become experts on dental health? But as I continued to read more case studies about indigenous people who had never had the ‘typical American diet’ yet never used fluoride or tooth brushes, or floss, or orthodontists, I was amazed at how they had perfect cavity free evenly spaced teeth.
I read about how root canals can be linked (but it’s not a proven fact) to many health problems. I have a root canal and I get morning stiffness (perhaps reactive arthritis?) 3 months following the birth of my children, and I also have gotten oral allergy syndrome since having the root canal. Because those are autoimmune responses, and root canals may be linked to autoimmune responses, I thought it was worth looking into.
Because I don’t want to do anything drastic based on one person’s opinion, I decided to take it slow. I decided that I’d do some less drastic, less expensive, less permanent things first and see if ‘these people’ really knew what they were talking about. I started by decreasing the amounts of chemicals in our diet, then moved on to focusing on the Nourishing Traditions/Maker’s Diet way of eating. I decided that if I had the discipline to actually do this, and noticed a difference at all, I’d consider removing the root canal later.
I’ve been doing decent on improving our diet, there is still room for improvement, and I’m working on it. I really do notice that we feel better and our bodies seem to work better since following a more whole-foods diet, so to me it’s worth it. And ‘those people’ really do have something going for them.
That’s how I got to where I am now. I got one tooth that ‘needed’ a root canal out on Friday, and I’ll get the actual root canal tooth out in September. They’re in line with each other, one on the top and one on the bottom, which the dentist said is more than just ‘you didn’t brush well back there’ – I’ll look more into that and let you know what I find out. Hubby has two root canals, but he doesn’t appear to have any associated health problems, and they’re his two front teeth (BMX accident) so we’ll leave those alone unless something comes up.
More posts on how I plan to prevent tooth decay in my children through diet, evidence that you may be able to heal teeth through diet, and how teeth are a strong indicator of overall health coming as the kidlets allow me to blog and research.