As we’ve discussed in previous posts the role of nutrition is integral to our dental health. Dr. Weston A. Price, a founding father in modern nutrition, studied cultures around the world in the early twentieth century. He was a dentist and curious about why the mouths of his western culture were so full of decay. He knew this degeneration wasn’t how our bodies evolved. In fact, this was the opposite of evolving, this was degeneration.
He found that isolated cultures (untouched by modern civilization) followed strict, traditional diets passed down from their ancestors. Dr. Price and his many followers found and continue to find that western civilization has lost its roots with it’s ancestral and traditional diets. We use additives and diet plans that have no roots in our heritage and this lead to the lack of nutrition we experience in our culture today. What was most astonishing about Dr. Price’s findings, (who had started his search to understand more about how nutrition affects dental health) was that he found these cultures who did follow traditional diets, always had strong, healthy, and straight teeth.
He concluded that this was due to three key factors needed in a diet:
- bio-availability of nutrients
- presence of enough minerals
- presence of enough fat soluble vitamins
Last week we discussed adding fats to your diet and the role they play in your bodies ability to absorb nutrients and remain healthy. Increasing your diet’s bio-availability is our next topic, this is key in keeping your teeth healthy and vibrant because increasing your diets bio-availability means your teeth will get the vitamins and minerals that you need.
How To Make Your Diet Bio-availability
A huge part of having enough minerals in your body isn’t just about having them present in your diet. First, you have to make sure that you are not ingesting foods that inhibit your body’s ability to absorb and use these minerals. Dr. Price found that food containing phytic acid inhibits mineral absorption. Phytic acid contains phytates that block your body’s absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc.
How Do Phytates Block Mineral Absorption In Our Body?
Because our body can’t absorb phytates, they keep our body from absorbing other nutrients. Phytates bind to calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc. When they’ve bound to these minerals inside our body, we can no longer reap the benefits because our body cannot get break down the phytate to get through to the mineral.
Where Does Phytic Acid Come From?
Primarily, phytic acid is found in grains. Read this article for an extensive look at how phytates affect your body and the major sources of phytic acid. Grains and legumes are the primary source of phytic acid. This includes sesame seeds, almonds, tofu, beans, whole wheat bread, and brown rice. A lot of these sources we are told are healthy for their fiber and protein content but they contain the phytates our body can’t ingest.
How Can I Keep Phytic Acid Out Of My Diet?
The best way to get rid of phytic acid so that your body can absorb more nutrients, is to limit or completely leave out any foods containing phytic acid in your diet. However, this can be really difficult (especially for vegetarians and vegans) and so there are other options to live with phytates. Here are other options you can look into. Soaking and sprouting grains and legumes is the main method of ridding foods of their phytic acid content.
Your Nutrition and Oral Health
Our whole life is an interplay between what we eat, what we do physically, how we think, and what we learn. When we change our perception of our oral health from the idea of correcting degeneration to an idea fueling our vitality, we change the our perception from seeing how we can keep from getting sick to seeing how we can continue to improve. The glass is half full and filling up.