The Benefits of the Paleo Diet on Dental Health

Want to prevent cavities and have healthy teeth? Have a hard time getting rid of bad breath? If so, consider switching to the paleo diet. This eating plan is best known for its ability to promote weight loss. However, its benefits go beyond just a slim body. Eating like a caveman can reduce cavities and may ward off dental problems. It’s also a safe, natural way to minimize bad breath and reduce oral bacteria that may cause tooth decay.

Eat Like a Caveman for Healthy Teeth and Gums

Nutrition and dental health are strongly connected. What you eat has a direct impact on your teeth and gums. Some foods can help prevent gum disease and tooth decay, while others feed harmful bacteria into your mouth, leading to dental problems. Sugar is notorious for its negative effects on dental health.

Several research studies indicate that most dental problems are the result of a mismatch between what we are supposed to eat and what we’re actually eating. For instance, tooth decay was extremely rare in the Paleolithic era, when people were hunting and gathering. Sugar and grain consumption, farming, and the overwhelming consumption of processed foods have all led to the development of bacterial strains that cause cavities. An example is Streptococcus mutans, which started to spread about 10,000 years ago when people began farming and consuming significantly more carbohydrates.

A 2009 study published in the Journal of Periodontology has found that subjects who ate a paleo-style diet, which excluded table sugar and processed foods, experienced less gum bleeding, along with a decrease in harmful oral bacteria, in just 30 days. The participants did not brush or floss their teeth during the study.

What Makes the Paleo Diet So Effective?

The Paleo diet benefits your teeth and gums in more than one way. This dietary plan is so effective simply because it restricts sugar, processed carbs, grains, additives, preservatives, and other modern foods that affect oral health. At the same time, it promotes the consumption of grass-fed and pasture-raised meat, as well as eggs, nuts, seeds, and leafy green vegetables. These foods are packed with vitamins C and D, calcium, phosphorus, and other nutrients that strengthen teeth and fight bacteria.

Compared to processed foods, most paleo-friendly foods require a lot of chewing, which increases saliva production and reduces harmful acids and plaque accumulation on your teeth. Even though our hunter-gatherer ancestors showed signs of gum disease and tooth decay, the bacteria in their mouths appeared to be less aggressive than the type that causes dental problems.

Perhaps we can all agree that processed carbohydrates and sugar are not healthy for any part of the body, and avoiding them can also help our smiles stay beautiful and healthy.