In our educational materials, we pose the question, “Can we be well fed but malnourished?” Let’s explore the answer!
Father and daughter.
What do you notice about their faces from one generation to the next? Similar eyes, noses, smiles … however, daughter’s face is significantly more narrow. Why? Do you think it is because mother may have a more narrow face and her daughter inherited that trait? Perhaps … but, before we draw that conclusion, let’s consider the following:
Pictured above are a variety of different dental issues that we as a society have come to accept as normal or due to heredity. However, Dr. Weston A Price’s research indicates that these conditions are in fact not genetic but, rather, caused by a lack of vital nutrients during the formative period of the body. Dr. Price, a prominent Cleveland dentist practicing in the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s, embarked on a series of travels to remote parts of the world in 1931 which culminated in his first publication of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration in 1939.
He discovered time and again that when the “displacing foods of modern commerce” were introduced into a healthy population group that there was a corresponding impact on their teeth. At the time, the list of such man-made items coming into the outposts during Dr. Price’s day was relatively short: refined sugar, white flour, vegetable oils (primarily cottonseed oil), canned fruits and vegetables and canned and condensed milk. When people started to consume foods made with these items, he documented an increase in dental carries or cavities in that generation. The next generation developed a more narrow face, with corresponding dental deformities or crooked teeth. Please learn more about Dr. Price’s research in a preview of our presentation.
While dentists today do correlate cavities to nutrition, their focus tends to be on sugar and other refined carbohydrates. The typical solution for decay is to fill the cavities, encourage the patients to increase their level of dental hygiene while decreasing their consumption of sweets. According to Price, when given enough specific nutrients, the body will re-mineralize the tooth naturally so that no decay arises. The body can also repair damage that has already occurred. Otherwise we are faced with choosing amongst a short list of dental materials to put in our mouths and the mouths of our developing children, all of which are toxic to a certain degree.
Dentists by and large don’t correlate deformities, such as crowding or overbites, to nutrition. As Dr. Suzan Hahn, a San Francisco dentist, explains: “When the jaw bone has enough nutrient density during development, it forms as a wide flat plane and all 32 teeth can come in unobstructed. When nutrients are lacking during the formative period, the bone bows and then the teeth come in crowded, crooked, with under bites, over bites or spaces.” As an aside, the same thing happens with the pelvis. When the diet is poor during the formative period, the pelvic opening will be oval rather than round, creating the possibility of birthing problems. The common solution to dental deformities is to cosmetically straighten teeth with braces. However, even with orthodontics, there is a limit to the structural corrections that can be made.
What’s wrong with having crooked teeth? Can’t we just straighten them with braces?
While we can create a beautiful-looking smile, braces do not address the underlying cause of crowded teeth, which is a lack of proper nutrition. One may have corrected straight teeth, but one could still be permanently left with:
- Narrow nasal passages
- Constricted ear canal
- Constricted glands in the head
- Reduced surface area in the lungs
- Digestive disorders
- Bone problems
- and a narrow or flattened pelvis
The teeth tell the tale!
Pictured above are naturally straight teeth. As Sally Fallon Morell, President of The Weston A. Price Foundation and author of Nourishing Traditions, explains in her PowerPoint on Traditional Diets:
When the teeth are straight, it’s a sign that the rest of the body was properly constructed, with good bone structure, good musculature, keen eyesight and hearing, optimal function of all the organs, optimistic attitude and a well functioning mind. And when the teeth are straight and the facial structure broad, the pelvic opening is round, allowing for easy childbirth. But when the teeth are crooked, it is a sign that there will be compromises in the rest of the body as well. When the face is narrow and the teeth crowded, there is less room for the important glands in the head—the pituitary, the pineal and the hypothalamus, the master gland. The hypothalamus is the seat of impulse control—and what is the defining characteristic of our young people today? Lack of impulse control!
When the teeth are crowded, the nasal passages are likely more narrow so there’s more susceptibility to infection. The ear tubes are more narrow so problems in this area are more likely. Crooked teeth often goes with poor posture and underdeveloped muscles. The plumbing and the wiring of the body-house will be compromised as well. There will be less surface area in the lungs, fewer cells in the kidneys. The security system of your house—your immune system—will not be able to keep out all intruders. In addition to physical problems caused by poor diet, mental and emotional problems also appear. We actually have receptors for feel-good chemicals in our brains and these receptors can’t work without the nutrients found in foods like seafood, animal fats and organ meats.
Finally, when the face is narrow, the pelvic opening is oval and childbirth becomes much more difficult, even life threatening. We should not blame the doctors for all the C-Section births they are doing today—these operations are necessary because otherwise the babies cannot get through the narrow opening of the pelvis.”
Once a child’s body has been formed, we can’t correct the narrow bone structure, although with quality nutrition, it is still possible to be healthy. However, we can correct the bone structure in the next generation, or sometimes it will be the generation after that, with quality nutrition before conception and during pregnancy and growth. Please read these two testimonials from our Nourished Family series which describe and illustrate how nutrition nourished a wide face in the next generation: That Tale of Two Brothers and Reverse The Trend.
See our recommended diet for pregnant and nursing mothers and overall dietary recommendations.
This photograph illustrates perfectly the difference between normal and compromised facial structure. These two boys belong to the same tribe and have the same genetics, but the young boy on the right has excellent facial structure, a very broad face, while the young boy on the left shows the elongation of the face and the narrowing of the palate that comes with the introduction of modern foods. His body has done the best it could with the materials available, but did not have the nutrients needed to build the strong bones that are required for wide dental arches. While the boy on the right has a bone structure that supports the entire face, it looks as though the face of the boy on the left is actually hanging from the skull.
Like Price, Dr. Francis Pottenger was a researcher. His studies revealed that predictable changes in health can occur when you change the diet. In his study, cats that were fed a diet of raw meat, raw milk and cod liver oil lived generation after generation in good health. When the raw food was replaced by pasteurized milk and partially cooked meat, allergies and skeletal deformities occurred in the first generation. The offspring of these poorly fed cats developed glandular problems – thyroid, adrenal and pancreatic. The next generation experienced a whole host of degenerative diseases, and the fourth generation exhibited mental disorders and was infertile, meaning they did not reproduce. The implication for humans? Not that humans should eat only raw foods – humans are not cats. But, rather when the human diet produces “facial deformities,” as we are seeing these days, extinction will occur if that diet is followed for several generations.
The photo above is reproduced by permission by the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation who holds the copyright. Please do not use the photo without their express written consent. Read more about Pottenger’s Cats.
So back to our question: Can we be well fed but malnourished?
In a word – Yes. Yes, we can. It is possible to be malnourished even when we have plenty to eat. The very narrow arch behind the palatal expander captured above is indicative of what Dr. Price referred to as physical degeneration.
As has been previously mentioned … it is not just the teeth and the shape of the face that are impacted by poor nutrition! Knowing that there are key nutrients needed for brain development, we can infer that without them, full development may be delayed, interrupted or never realized. Key nutrients include Vitamins A and D, Choline, DHA, Zinc, Tryptophan and Cholesterol. Most of them are found in the following foods: cod liver oil, and the liver, butter and egg yolks from grass-fed animals, while some are found in seafood and the meat of grass-fed animals.
How many of us routinely consume these foods or feed them to our children? My hope is that more and more do – which is why I established this educational initiative! We can reverse this trend toward a more narrow face.
Please read these two testimonials from our Nourished Family series which describe and illustrate how nutrition nourished a wide face in the next generation: That Tale of Two Brothers and Reverse The Trend.
“We eat a nutrient dense diet, but my children still have crooked teeth?!”
In response to this information, a handful of people have expressed to me that they have fed their children a nutrient dense diet, yet their teeth are still crooked. Possible reasons: parents didn’t start eating a nutrient dense diet well before the child was conceived in order to build their own nutritional reserves, their diet wasn’t as nutrient dense as they thought, they didn’t allow for enough spacing between children to recuperate their nutritional reserves – 3 years is recommended, there is a malabsorption issue caused by a compromised gut in the mother and/or child, and/or it may take more than one generation for some families to reverse the trend of physical degeneration that results in crooked teeth.
This post has proven to be fairly long, so in a subsequent one, I share my own personal experience that mimics what Dr. Price and Sally Fallon Morell describe above.
89 Responses to How The Teeth Tell The Tale
Both my father and I have narrow mouths and needed braces to correct. I even had to have four teeth removed plus my wisdom teeth. I had a horrible overbite that was correlated to sucking my thumb. My daughters father also needed braces and had horrible cavities. Now my daughter is five and eats a much more nutrient dense diet than I ever did. She just visited the dentist for the second time and despite the fact that we are horrible about dental hygiene (I am embarrassed to admit but she probably brushes a couple of times a month) she has NO CAVITIES! Not one, not the beginning of one, nothing. She also has a fairly wide mouth and almost no overbite despite sucking on a binky until she was 4. The dentist was amazed and chocked it up to good genetics but obviously it is not that. Food is so important, so very important. She eats grass fed meats, pastured eggs five mornings a week, cod liver oil when the months include an R (something I learned from my mother who got it from her father in rural Holland) so September through March. It is not that we exclude sugar, she still gets some sugar as a treat but it is balanced out by generally eating nutrient dense foods. Thank you for validating what I knew was true, I love getting your information on Facebook, to be validated when so many people out there look at me sideways because I am such a stickler about food.
Hillary, thank you for sharing your experience … I am excited to write a post about mine as well! I am delighted that your daughter doesn’t have any cavities and is developing a wide palette!
Dr. Price discovered in Loetschental, Switzerland that the children never brushed their teeth – they had never seen a tooth brush. Many of the children’s teeth were covered with green slime, but they had virtually no cavities!
hi, i recently finished reading Dr Price’s book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” (which was amazing) and could not find mention of the green slime that i have heard about as being what Dr Price found on the indigenous peoples’ teeth. I have read that elsewhere as well (i am not sure where). Where did you find mention of the green slime on their teeth?
Eating fruit, smoked meat, and fibre is such an important part of our growth and maintenance
[…] How the Teeth Tell the Tale On Deep Nutrition and Genetic Expression […]
[…] 4. How the Teeth Tell the Tale 3. On Deep Nutrition and Genetic Expression […]
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I’m the fourth child of four and the only one of my siblings to have cavities or braces. My teeth weren’t bad but crooked enough that I got braces as an adult. I was the only child not spaced 4 years apart. I am only 18 months younger than my older sister. I believe that because of the lack of spacing my mother had less breast milk and I weaned myself at 6 weeks (I was given a raw milk formula – Adel Davis’s). I’m truly the runt of the family. The only one to break a bone, the only one with asthma and allergies, shortest & thinnest and I had the most difficulty in school.
I am so saddened to read this, Sheena … and I thank you for taking a moment to share with the community. I think our personal experiences will be of value especially to would-be-parents who have yet to conceive!
It is difficult to deal with the reality of this. I am degenerate because of the nutrition of my mother and what she fed me. It is a complex concept. I have two sons who are of childbearing age and have taken on vegetarianism and date vegetarian women. It is impossible to convince them of the dangers. When I tell people their food choices cause suffering to themselves and their offspring they become angry. I had to stop.
I spent thousands on orthodontia and suffered all the complications of poor nutrition. I instinctively married a woman who had a perfect palate. She came from a ethnic culture that had only recently been introduced to “civilized food”. Our ignorance of good nutrition caused great suffering to our children while growing up even though we followed popular media guidelines for eating well.
Even worse, Pottinger found that the damage was irreversible.
We must keep trying however. Thank you for your wonderful website and all your efforts. There is no better cause. You are all Saints. There is the adage “if we can save just one life …..
Hi Don, I am deeply appreciative of your open reply.
I will be posting about my personal experience as well … meanwhile, I agree wholeheartedly that “it is difficult to deal with the reality of this” as you stated. The first time I heard Sally Fallon Morell present her PowerPoint on Traditional Diets in 2004, I shed tears of grief for all the suffering that so many of us have experienced, having lost the generational wisdom about the vital importance of nutrient dense foods.
Deep within me, I hear the call of Dr. Price to “teach, teach, teach” every single day — and Sally and I have often said to each other that we believe our collective educational efforts do, in essence, save lives. I do believe that as we return to the nutritional wisdom of our ancestors, we will reverse this trend of physical degeneration.
Wow, this really puts it all together for me. I knew about the palate degeneration but not the other stuff. The degenerative qualities you describe are me. I’m the runt of my family, and probably the sickliest. I have a narrow face and had to have 4 premolars and my wisdom teeth extracted. I had kidney failure at age five. I almost couldn’t birth my 7lb 3oz baby who had a narrow head, despite planning a natural birth and knowing how to birth properly. I have digestive issues, allergies, etc. Thanks for giving me a few more pieces to my health puzzle.
And interesting, isn’t it, that we have conventional people that want to chalk up all these problems to random luck of the genetic draw, and then the natural people who believe that nature made us perfect, that since women have been giving birth for millions of years without intervention, we should still be able to, and that all mothers’ milk is sufficient for their babies, etc, but neither group acknowledges how strongly nutrition affects everything. It’s like nutrition is the “missing link” to everything, a lost wisdom.
I agree wholeheartedly – the old adage is simply so true – “you are what you eat” … and as Michael Pollan states, “you are what your eat, eats” — so that is why we put an emphasis on grass fed meats, and why I personally buy eggs from hens who are not only on pasture but, are also not fed any soy in their supplemental fed.
It’s really hard to find chickens that are not fed corn feed – of course, the farmers says it’s organic, but how do you really know? with 90% of corn being GMO nowadays. Would a farmer willingly pay more for the organic feed? We are asked to do a lot of blind trusting with our food. I am speaking from experience with farmers markets and known organic farms and CSAs. It’s a full time job investigating where you can find chickens not fed soy nor corn. And whatever bad grains may rob the animal & us of nutrition. If it’s not corn or soy, it’s wheat, millet, sorghum, barley. Mostly grains is what I’ve heard.
Susan, we are so, So aware of this problem on our young farm. We are working to follow a 100% forage plan. Once the babies are feathered out, they are ranging with the rest of the flock, and meet all their needs through pasturing, plus fresh, clean water.
I have a bad thyroid, and know plenty about GMOs, so corn, soy, and modern grains are out. We’re currently working on formulating a non-destructive recipe for babies that will give them a great start before they join the flock on pasture.
It’s incredibly difficult, and we are trying hard. There are farmers out there who are trying harder than us and are succeeding.
PLEASE, everyone, support your local farmers who are swimming upstream both ways to provide good, clean food. It’s seems like a fool’s task, but we know better. We really believe in good, old fashioned wholesome food.
It’s good to know that there are farmers who care out there. Just wish there were more of them. I try to support in every way I can. I go to farmers markets, and buy my meats from farmers too. I just talked to one who tried to avoid the conversation after I found out part of what she fed her chickens was expired milk and yogurt from the health food stores (pasteurized and who knows what those cows ate?). She said she mostly feeds her chickens veggies and fruits. Hmmm, is that their normal diet? And then she lets them pick for bugs. Once in awhile gives them worms (isn’t that supposed to be their main diet?) I was liberally eating the fat from her chickens, thinking she was careful about what she gave them.
I helps to remember, and remind your farmer, that farm animals getting GMO feed are experiencing significant health problems, particularly because of the all too common contamination with glyphosate, the weed killer widely used on GMO crops, even late in the season to “dry down”. There are many advantages to being careful about feed sources, both for the health of the animals and the health of the farmers. Here is a link to an excellent paper detailing all the dangers of glyphosate in our environment.
My family’s health history is really puzzling to me. My mom was the youngest of 3 children and was really sickly all of her childhood. Later in life she realized she was extremely gluten intolerant and when going gluten free many symptoms were relieved. But oddly enough, her teeth were always perfectly straight. She had some cavities but never needed braces or any kind of correction. My brother who is also sensitive to gluten (although not severely like my mom) has very straight teeth and I think has never had a cavity. I’ve had one cavity and have very straight teeth and have always been relatively healthy. So obviously my mother as a child had a very compromised immune system, so how come her teeth ended up being straight? Her parents were not necessarily healthy eaters either. I know that we’ve never shied away from saturated fat but it certainly wasn’t intentional. Before my real food “conversion” I just ate whatever and didn’t really think about it. I’ve just always been curious about this since I read about the correlation between gut health and face/teeth structure.
I’m sure that genetics does play a part in how we respond to the nutrition we get. If you didn’t avoid saturated fat, it may be that your typical diet was better than you realized, with less processed junk than is typical these days. Obviously if your mom was gluten intolerant for many years without knowing & correcting it that would be a major contributor to her problems.
Christy, it would have been interesting to know what you mother and father ate. While you wrote that they weren’t necessarily healthy eaters, perhaps their diet was much more nutrient dense than you realized. Many vital nutrients are in saturated fats.
Wow, very well done blog post of this foundational material. While we are very familiar with the work of Weston A Price and are avid WAPF oriented, this blog is the best synopsis I have read on the subject. Way to go to concisely encapsulate this crucial topic.
Thank you for writing it. We will share this to explain the topic to our customer base.
To your health!
As a side note, our child at 8 years of age had a wider palate than her mother. It is possible to positively effect what Dr. Catherine Shanahan calls ‘genetic momentum’ in one generation provided that we are able to address the nutritional deficiencies prior to and during the developmental stages.
As a fun follow up question to ponder, when are any of us NOT in a developmental stage in our lives? After all, our bodies are constantly rebuilding themselves… That means that today you can effect positive change on your health!
To your health!
About 3 years ago at the age of 57 I started into a raw-paleo grass-fed garden-salad type of nutrition program with lots of joint, meat & bone broth; figuring that at the molecular level the good would eventually replace the bad. The results are miraculous! Skin cleared up age spots went away, no grey hairs, put on about 15 pounds of lean muscle, strength and endurance tripled, mind and memory cleared up, AND my dentist and oral hygienist always compliment me on my excellent oral health at my twice a year cleaning. It is never too late.
I started to do bone broths too, and then I read about fluoride accumulating in the bones of animals. With most of our water deliberately fluoridated thanks to our government, how do you avoid fluoride in bone broths?
Well you use distilled or purified water (via reverse osmosis) for the broth, as far as the fluoride goes in their bones already, you can’t escape that. But bone broth is much more important than to not have it because of a small amount of potential fluoride in it.
We would not recommend distilled water. We would recommend you use water that has been had fluoride filtered out when you make broth. Beyond that, we can all ask our farmers and ranchers about the quality of the water they use … and as Theodore suggested, the bone broth benefits likely out weight the fluoride that may or may not be in the bones.
Sandrine, when I boiled the bones to make a second-time-around stock, when I drank that stock, I felt a discomfort and sensitivity in my back left molars where I got my fillings recently replaced. I don’t feel that when I eat other foods – sometimes when I eat too many nuts in one sitting. So I think for me to boil and simmer once with the meat on is ok, but not the 2nd time with the bones. Our water is fluoridated, crops fluoridated through pesticides, it’s probably very much in our soil.
Sorry, Theodore, but how can you be so sure to tell people that beef bones have just a small amount of potential fluoride in it? Did you study thus subject in order to be able to baldly assure people about pros and cons? Nothing personal but it just irritated me.
I will come back and respond to all of these comments individually! I am so appreciative of finding several here. Meanwhile, this post was one of the top posts of the day! Number 57 out of 100 — http://botd.wordpress.com/2011/12/24/top-posts-2063/ – I am overjoyed that this vital “teaching” may plant some seeds!
Critical Information, Sandrine! Nourishing Our Children DVD MUST be in every home of caring, dedicated parents & grandparents! Thank you!
Thank you, Catherine! We’ve love your review: http://www.nourishingourchildren.org/Reviews.html
Thank you for posting this great summary. I hope my family reads this (after I repost it), and quits calling me a “food Nazi”
Thank you for your positive feedback, Vandy!
[…] This is a great blog post from Nourishing our Children […]
My son is forming a great dental arch. I have somewhat of a narrow arch, but because I grew up on a farm and had raw milk and lots of meat, have fairly straight teeth. My son’s smile, though is radient. I’ve been a somewhat compliant Paleo eater, as well as him. This has resulted in him having a very big, toothy smile. What I especially notice is that his lower jaw is very well developed. I’ve noticed that other kids’ smiles tend to only show only upper teeth, while his show everything. My blog has some pics of him on it, and I may update with more pictures because as he’s getting older, his teeth are getting even better compared to other kids his age.
Thanks for sharing! I saw the photos – it will be interesting to see how he develops once he looses his baby teeth!
You are a beautiful inspiration
[…] Unfortunately, our two oldest children were subjected to the “no/low-fat lie” and have poor teeth alignment. Our youngest, however, was raised on “full-fat” and has perfect teeth. | See related article: The Teeth Tell The Tale […]
[…] related post: The Teeth Tell The Tale and share this “cautionary tale”! Please add your testimonial of support for the […]
I needed to have my jaw broken and expanded and still had 8 teeth pulled and braces. It was pretty traumatic. My oldest will need something similar. My middle one is better. But our third we are praying will escape this. Why? Because we know more about nutrition. I can see the truth of this in various family members, too. This just astounds me and makes me more determined to feed my family well and raise them to want to do the same.
Hi Sandrine- My question is this, if my children’s baby teeth came in straight and with adequate space (they are 2 and 4). Is it safe to assume that their adult teeth will too (assuming we continue to eat a WAPF diet)? I am concerned because I was a vegetarian for 10 years and through both of my pregnancies; although I ate lots of milk, cheese and fish. I have read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration and articles on the WAPF website and cannot seem to find answers. I would appreciate your insight. And thank you for your wonderful blog.
For three years before conceiving my first baby I was a vegetarian but a very bad one. I survived on Kraft Dinner and cheese sandwiches and vegetarian pizza (I owned a pizza restaurant). My first round of blood work during pregnancy showed such abnormal levels of everything that they highly recommended that I start eating meat again for the health of the baby. I did, and changed my diet to include more red meat for the iron and other nutrients they figured it would give me. Our beautiful baby was born, and subsequently came to be with us at the restaurant through out her first 5 years. She was fed a diet that came from the restaurant of Hot dogs, chicken fingers and pizza. Greens were non existent. She is 10 now and has several dental issues including crowding and an upper incisor growing in at a weird place. Comparatively, our 4th and 5th babies were born and raised after we sold our restaurant. While I carried them I had a more nutritional diet that was almost fully home made although not quite as traditional at the NT diet. They have perfect teeth, round faces and no dental issues. They will eat what ever we put in front of them, where as our first two will still not go near greens, nuts, or most food in it’s natural state. I feel like I am making up for my ignorance back then by educating and feeding them worthwhile food now. I was definitely well fed but under nourished and that was passed on to my first little girl. We are trying to make sure it stops there. All my kids watched your DVD and help make the food decisions in the house even if they are not keen to eat what we are putting on the table. We are getting there, one little step at a time.
Hi Jaye, I was quite moved to read your testimonial, and the impact of our DVD! In light of what you’ve written, I must say that I have wondered about the page you created and recently posted on however, which I found by clicking on your name in this comment and landing on the associated website Living Meat Free: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Living-Meat-Free/180927675340974
hi madam, I’m having a problem with my teeth, actually i don’t know how to explain my problem but i wil try to explain it, problem in front part of the teeth they are not straight little bit of curves and one of the teeth in right side jaws below was suddenly bended towards the tongue……..
of course sometimes it is causing a problem
please solve my problem ………….
I’m not smiling properly because of embrassing to smile to show my teeth
[…] As surprising as it was to me, every natural health book and every book about coconut oil, and every other book I’ve read so far, discovered on the shelves in the holistic dentist’s office, refers to and recommends reading Dr. Weston A. Price’s book. Why? Because Dr. Price is telling the truth about the causes of tooth decay, deformed jaw structures and crooked teeth, the causes of the many degenerative diseases in our modern industrialized world, with pictures to prove it. All disease starts in the mouth and the teeth tell the tale of your overall health. […]
[…] https://nourishingourchildren.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/how-the-teeth-tell-the-tale/ […]
I am at a loss as far as what to eat and feed my children. I read about all the dangers of eating processed foods etc. but I cant find anywhere WHAT we should be eating. Can someone please direct me.
Thank you for asking! Here is what I recommend you take a look at: https://nourishingourchildren.org/Pyramid.html
Click to access healthy4life2011.pdf
Another resource: http://nourishedkitchen.com/10-tips-for-real-food-newbies/
Also – I posted on our Facebook page so others could offer their advice: https://www.facebook.com/nourishingourchildren/posts/424377307605214
Here is our healing journey from vegetarianism and associated dental hypoplasia in our son …. http://bohemianfamilyliving.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/curing-tooth-decay-with-diet.html
Something this doesn’t mention is the impact of breastfeeding (at the breast, not just breast *milk* feeding) and bottle feeding. The mechanics of suckling at the breast are completely different than those of sucking on an artificial nipple. Breastfed babies have lower incidence of needing braces later in life.
Me? I was formula fed through bottles and had braces not once, but twice. My daughter, however, never had a pacifier (another way to mess up your palate and oral structure), never took a bottle (“ecological breastfeeding”), and has perfectly straight, beautiful teeth, and a nice wide palette. (Though she did have an upper lip tie which tore when she was 9 months old.)
This topic has been raised before and so I consulted with Sally Fallon Morell, President of the Weston A. Price Foundation, several months ago. In regard to your assertion, “Breastfed babies have lower incidence of needing braces later in life.” She writes, “I don’t agree. I have seen many fully breastfed babies with narrow palates; and non breast fed babies who got good nutrition in utero with wide palates. The breast is not an orthodontic device. See this article: http://www.westonaprice.org/dentistry/from-attention-deficit-to-sleep-apnea. Scroll down to the sidebar on bottle feeding and palate development. Sally”
Yes, however the majority of breastfed children in our society are not fed to full term (approximately 2.5 to 4 years of age) and do not see the same mechanical benefits of continued suckling during the development of the mandible that, for instance, hunter-gatherer children (who generally don’t wean off the breast until about 36 to 42 months). I notice one of the photos of naturally good teeth that was included in this article was of !Kung children, who culturally have the longest interbirth intervals and breastfeeding lengths. Nutrition is important to development, but key to human nutrition is breastfeeding to term, especially when it comes to the development of the maxilla/mandible and occlusion.
I absolutely think things like full term BFing and feeding our kids whole, natural foods instead of processed junk has leaps and bounds more to do with proper body formation than the idea that vegetarianism is “dangerous” and harmful. I find it odd that the key nutrients (Vitamins A and D, Choline, DHA, Zinc, Tryptophan and Cholesterol) cited can all be found in plant-based forms and yet not one is listed in this article. Not to mention cholesterol is made by the body and the fats we consume, not the cholesterol, determine the types and amounts our bodies make. Everyone has an agenda, and I think ignoring the fact that you can absolutely be well nourished and be a vegetarian is deceitful. As a nurse and someone that enjoys science, I think it’s important to relay all the facts, not just the ones that support a point we think is right.
Thank you Kristie, I agree, as vegan and mother of three vegan children I find this kind on article scare mongering and one sided.
I have to disagree. My parents, siblings and I have straight teeth, and no cavities. We were not fed nutritionally balanced diet as children. We grew up poor in a third world country. As infants and toddlers our primary source of nutrition was cow milk and mothers breast milk. As we got older we ate whatever is available without giving any thought to nutrition. The nearest medical facility was two hours away, traveling by foot. The first time I visited a dentist was when I was 18. My parents were in their late 40s when they first visited a dentist who thought they had remarkable teeth.
If what this article claims is true then we should have narrow faces, overcrowded, crooked, and unhealthy teeth which we do not.
Was the cow’s milk raw? We would consider raw cow’s milk and mother’s breast milk to be nutrient dense. It would make sense to me that you all had straight teeth and no cavities. Please view this to understand more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCX1QG2df6c
[…] How the teeth tell the tale… what teeth and facial bone structure say about health […]
Just wondering if the change in our diets now will help my 2 oldest teeth to straighten out ?
How old are the children? The wide palette which will house all 32 teeth is established in the womb and in the early years of development. Our bone structure does not change with diet once it is set however, dental cavities will be impacted!
Let us not forget how very, VERY important breastfeeding is. Full-term breastfeeding with baby leading the way in the weaning process is the ideal. Not to bash those who didn’t. The most common cause of early weaning is lack of information and support. Don’t listen to horror stories. Don’t take advice from someone who was not successful. Ignore nay-sayers. Call La Leche League!!
We would concur that breastfeeding is important, but not in regard to a wide palette. See our recommend diet for nursing mothers:
Another reader wrote, “Something this doesn’t mention is the impact of breastfeeding (at the breast, not just breast *milk* feeding) and bottle feeding. The mechanics of suckling at the breast are completely different than those of sucking on an artificial nipple. Breastfed babies have lower incidence of needing braces later in life.”
Here is a copy and paste from my response above: This topic has been raised before and so I consulted with Sally Fallon Morell, President of the Weston A. Price Foundation, several months ago. In regard to your assertion, “Breastfed babies have lower incidence of needing braces later in life.” She writes, “I don’t agree. I have seen many fully breastfed babies with narrow palates; and non breast fed babies who got good nutrition in utero with wide palates. The breast is not an orthodontic device. See this article: http://www.westonaprice.org/dentistry/from-attention-deficit-to-sleep-apnea. Scroll down to the sidebar on bottle feeding and palate development. Sally”
[…] How The Teeth Tell The Tale […]
Good info, thanks for the article! What are your thoughts on “gap teeth?” My oldest son has a gap between his two front teeth, but otherwise, the rest of his teeth are pretty straight.
I would think gap teeth is a success. That would mean he had more than enough room to fit all of his teeth… a sign of good nutrition.
I am the oldest of four, however, unlike some families where the more older siblings one has, the more sickly one becomes, my family is the opposite. As you look at me and my siblings, you see that each sibling is healthier than the one before. I am probably the most sickly. I have crooked teeth. My face isn’t too narrow, but narrow enough. Very small nasal passages. Always has ear infections. In fact my nose and ears are physically quite small compared to my face. Even my mouth and eyes as well. I have horrendous vision. My pelvis had difficulty opening when I had my daughter. It was narrow enough that for the first month her nose was crooked from coming through. I’ve had 3 staph infections. One almost killed me and another was inside my ear. So my hearing is ever so slightly compromised. I could keep going. Of course as time went on my parents ate better. There are 4 years between my brother and I. 3 years between him and sister 1. And 3 years between her and sister 2. Changing diets after so long is difficult. I’m trying to make a difference for my daughter and future kids. Really struggle with it. So far she has very little resemblance to me but she’s only three months old so we’ll see what happens
I was born with crooked teeth also and then I switched to a ketogenic diet a few years ago…now my teeth are almost perfect! I swear the gaps seem to get smaller every day
My five-year old son is plagued with dental decay. He’s had to have extensive dental work that was both costly and traumatic to him and me. His dentists all say that his teeth are very clean yet he continues to have this terrible problem. I am at a loss of what to do. :( can you tell me how I can use diet to reverse his dental caries?
Hi there, I would consider reading “Cure Tooth Decay “I by Rami Nagel. I’ve read a lot of testimonials of people who have reversed tooth decay through his practices.
[…] you be fed and still be malnourished? An article here for those of us interested in Dentistry and food […]
I don’t think it’s all diet. My baby sister has the best teeth and the worst diet. She always has. There’s quite a gap between me and my younger siblings. My mom was home and made all our meals primarily using whole foods. My younger siblings grew up on take out and boxed, processed foods. My baby sister having the worst of it, yet she has the most beautiful teeth.
What did she get fed as a baby?
The question is what did your mother and father eat. Sally Fallon Morell states that the palette is largely decided long before a baby is born – based on the pre-conception diet, the diet during pregnancy and the quality of mother’s breast milk.
She was mostly formula-fed where as my older brother and I were breast-fed. He has beautiful teeth too. In fact, I’m the one with the worst teeth, has the smallest bone structure, and the only red-head.
This is really interesting. I wasn’t planned and is the 1st in my family to need braces and had them for 4 1/2 years. granted part was that I was in a bad accident a year or so earlier that almost broke my jaw and had to have an adult tooth reimplanted and at 13 had the last of my baby teeth removed when having the adult tooth put back in. The accident also activated my Celiac Disease that took another 22 years to be Dx’d. My front teeth were overlapped and since the baby teeth never came out my adult eye teeth came out high in my gums.I’m thankful to this day my orthodontist didnt believe in pulling teeth and widened my mouth like in the last picture.
Before the accident I had 1 tiny cavity, after I had at least 1 every time I saw the dentist and would get chewed out since my teeth were demineralizing and losing enamel. Since going GF 4 1/2 years ago, I’ve only had a couple of small cavities.
I can’t tell you how many doctors have been amazed that on the small size of my sinus cavities and that I rarely get sinus infections.
Makes me wonder how much of whats wrong with me now was from the CD and how much was from my parents poor diets.
I’ve a question. If a child didn’t get a properly nourishing diet before the age of four, yet started the full nutrient dense regime (codliver oil, bone broth, etc) at four, is there a chance that child will have straight adult teeth? I know we have both sets of teeth when we are born so I was considering that to be improbable but I am not sure. I guess only time will tell?
I have a question…I have two children who have crowded teeth (no pregnancy WAPF diets, unfortunately). Is the metal palate expander in the photo the ideal way to expand the palate? I am wondering because I have contacted a biological dentist who uses a plant-based plastic removable appliance to expand the palate. She stated that her appliance will attempt to prevent the need for braces, while the other expanders just expand and then set the stage for braces. The issue is that the biological dentist charges 4 times the price as the traditional orthodontist. Yikes! She says that after expansion, her braces are less costly.
That’s what I experienced looking for biological dentists to take out my mercury fillings!
[…] I talk about this pattern in the article How The Teeth Tell The Tale. […]
Great information! I have recently come up with a theory that I’d love to hear your thoughts on. Here’s the background story first:
I grew up eating quite well because I grew up in Montana and my dad hunted and we had a very large garden every summer. We froze and canned our food to eat throughout the year. We had a few slip ups along the way like eating margarine instead of butter for a year or so and eating some packaged foods but overall my parents really did great at feeding us nutrient dense foods (even offal). My teeth and jaw reflect this with straight teeth that have plenty of room. I even have my wisdom teeth. Luckily I discovered Weston Price’s work about five years before having my first child. I have been eating a nutrient dense, high fat paleo version of Weston Price Foundation diet. I had planned a home birth and was confident my hips had developed correctly because of the good jaw and teeth I have. Unfortunately, the birth did not go as planned and it ended up in a c-section after two days of labor. I got her down to the +2 position but we could not get her past the pelvic notch. My midwife told me I have a android pelvis and that I have a severe angle that the head must pass through that is less than 90 degrees and it should be around 130 degrees. My beautiful sweet baby is ok and so I’m happy but quite shocked by this news. Of course it’s hard to know for sure why my jaw and pelvis developed so differently but I have a theory. Here it is: we need to squat as our hips develop and grow as well as eat the right foods for them to develop properly. I figure along with all the processed foods also came a lot more sitting on furniture as apposed to squatting. Just like the sucking motion of breastfeeding helps a babies jaw develop correctly. Just wanted to put this idea out there because it could be a missing piece to the puzzle and I can’t see any downside to having children (and adults) squat to sit. What do you think?
Oh, I forgot to also mention the importance of sleeping flat on your back (supine position). And for those of you with babies- If you want the face to develop properly and for your children to swallow properly- you need to NEVER bottlefeed them, and to not use “baby food” when weaning them. Let them chew the same tough, coarse foods you eat- this strengthens their jaws and cleans their teeth. Let the baby wean themselves- they will reach for adult food and keep a sustained interest in it when ready to try it. And remember- you can eat lots of fat, lots of meat, fruit, veggies, nuts, fresh-ground fermented grains- you name it- but if it’s grown on poor soil, the nutrient density of that food will be sub-par. Even “Certified Organic” food is often grown en masse on degraded soil, and sprayed with their own pesticides to compensate for the weak plants. Keep in mind, that even in the days before the Industrial Revolution, childbirth was still seen as rather laborious process. Even people with relatively harsh lifestyles compared to us struggled with getting their health right. If you want perfect development for an easy childbirth, you have to get your diet 100% right. Even a little bit of convenience food of any kind can make a huge difference. Keep that in mind- healthy, vigorous “primitives” ate NOTHING but primitive. No “cheat meals”, no added sugar anywhere, very little if any cooked food, it was ALL nutrient dense food- and lots of exercise for their entire bodies. They also gave birth unwatched by anyone, to facilitate proper hormonal changes for a relaxed birth. Having a midwife or doula on call a while away is fine (in case anything does happen), but you are better off not being watched by anyone so you can achieve a truly meditative state, not distracted by social niceties. Chris Kresser writes better on this subject.
Maybe so, although I can’t entirely agree. My husband and his sister grew up on horrible diets, although the are not over weight and mostly healthy. They have never had braces and have very straight teeth, So why? Did they just luck out?
But your you husband and his sister grew up before the days of genetically engineered foods and the Roundup and other toxins that are sprayed on them. Those things have added a whole new level of problems, which of course are being swept under the rug, as the link is not easy to establish “scientifically” in humans, but is becoming very obvious in farm animals.
Some people obviously have better genetics.
It’s so great to see this information being available. The knowledge you share will impact the health of so many, and that’s so great! I too am an advocate for a traditional diet. I have a six month old baby who is just starting to eat food now. His first foods are egg yolks, cod liver oil and liver! I feel saddened, and a times angry, that people are advised to feed cereal and pureed vegetables and fruit as babies first foods, where are the fats??These foods are not nourishing for a growing baby. They cannot digest carbohydrates at such a young age so cereal is not a good choice.
I love to follow your posts and acknowledge you for educating so many and contributing to a healthier world!
My son, now 4 has several carries on the top due to prolonged nighttime nursing (we had some problems nursing so he got lots of the sugary foremilk and would sleep with it in his mouth). My hubby and I have been on a nutrient dense diet including cod liver oil and all the raw dairy products and liver, etc… My son’s straight teeth, wide dental arch and strong facial structure are all proof of that. My big concern is whether to treat the carries he does have or just let them go. A few of the carries are pretty big, on the side where he slept and the milk obviously pooled…. anyway, I don’t know if nitrous or general anesthesia or just leaving them be is the best course of action. I have all the books on curing tooth decay naturally, and we do all that stuff… What to do now? What would you do if it were your child?
My daughter is nearly 4 and I was just about to seek treatment to widen her palate as she has crowded teeth. She was long-term breastfed and now has a very good diet (but I had to learn a lot in 4 years – too many grains too soon). Just as I’m about to seek this dental treatment I’m noticing bad posture and other issues and thinking her muscle development hasn’t been great. Can you suggest what, if anything, I can do for her now and how to get her treated holistically? Should I simply continue a good diet and pray, or are there other things I can still do to promote correct development? Do I get her palate widened or is this pointless?
[…] Personally, I would not consume or recommend that anyone else consume low-fat dairy. It isn’t what I consider to be real food. It has been denatured, meaning it isn’t found in nature that way. All of the vital nutrients are in the fat. I would consider low-fat dairy to be processed food. I completely trust that the way we are intended to eat is as food is provided in nature. Low-fat, pasteurized milk is not how it comes from the cow, the goat, the sheep, or the camel. It is made that way in a factory. Historically, we never ate such foods look at what has happened to us: Read How the teeth tell the tale. […]
[…] teeth come in crowded, crooked, with under bites, over bites or spaces.” Please read our article, How The Teeth Tell The Tale, which is at the heart of our educational initiative. Please know that even if you have had […]