How to Get Perfect Teeth: 6 Ancient Diet Tips
Written by: Jon Mitchell, PA-C
Dr. Weston A Price was a dentist who traveled the world in the 1930s to find the secrets to perfect teeth.
He wanted to find groups of people with no cavities & full, beautiful, white smiles.
And in his travels, he found 10 tribes (photos below) with exactly what he was looking for.
But the surprising thing no one believed?
They did not brush or floss.
So what did they do to get perfect teeth instead?
Surprisingly, it was through their diet.
Dr. Price's authentic pictures of tribe members (Photos courtesy of the Price-Pottenger Foundation)
No group had the same diet... but there were striking similarities.
In this article, we'll talk about 6 common diet elements of these ancient tribes — so that you can use the same tips for your own pearly whites 😁 👇
1. All tribes were free of modern foods.
They did not eat things like white flour, white rice, sugars, pasteurized milk, or foods with additives/preservatives.
This is precisely how Dr. Price could tell diet was the key to their dental health, as opposed to genetics.
In the neighboring areas — where they changed to a more modern diet — teeth deformities and decay began to show up...
But the areas that maintained their ancestral diet?
They kept their healthy teeth.
If healthy teeth been more genetically determined... then the culture's change in diet probably would not have quickly led to tooth decay.
2. They ate organ meats and bone marrow.
Many of the cultures that had access to land animals preferred to eat organs, like liver or heart, instead of skeletal muscle, like modern-day steaks, roasts, etc.
They also made soups with bone marrow, which is rich in fat-soluble vitamins and minerals.
Organ meats have way more nutrients than skeletal muscle meats...
And this nutrient density can help determine the quality of our teeth.
To make our teeth strong, we need a lot of minerals like calcium and phosphorus. We also need Vitamin D to help us absorb calcium from our food, and Vitamin K2 to help deposit calcium into our teeth and bones.
Modern food choices today are severely lacking in these nutrients and many others, and it’s a huge reason why we have so many health issues.
3. They consumed dairy from pasture-raised animals.
Dairy is high in many essential nutrients, including calcium and Vitamin K2.
These tribes got their dairy from animals naturally raised on pastures, which means they were eating fresh green grasses.
Why is good grass important for animals?
Because food quality is a reflection soil fertility, and the quality of soil determines the nutritional quality of grass.
So, when animals eat high-quality grass... their meat, milk, and eggs are better.
This is, in turn, good for our health...
And it's likely why these tribal groups had "celebrity" smiles, too.
Bonus fact: The highest quality milk always comes in the spring & fall because that is when the grasses are the heartiest.
4. When available, they ate seafood and dried kelp.
Any tribe that lived near an ocean would eat lots of seafood.
The ate things like dried kelp — which is a very rich source of iodine and copper. This is important because iodine is essential for thyroid health and preventing goiter (a swelling on the thyroid gland due to very low iodine levels).
They also prioritized small amounts of cod liver oil and fish eggs since they are extremely nutrient dense.
They valued them so much, in fact, that these were given to pregnant women to ensure a healthy pregnancy... and to children to help them develop.
Here's what's fascinating:
Tribes from different areas — who never spoke to each other — discovered the same thing over time!
That tells you something.
5. They ate whole grains, legumes, fresh vegetables, and some fruit.
Whole grains were always ground fresh, daily...
Legumes were soaked in water prior to cooking to remove anti-nutrients like phytic acid and tannins...
And vegetables were either eaten in summer... or stored for the winter.
Ultimately, these groups prioritized local plant foods that were often in-season.
6. They chewed on bones and other tough foods.
When scientists like evolutionary biologist Daniel Lieberman and evolutionist Richard Klein later studied Dr. Price's work...
They found that facial development and straight teeth are largely influenced by how much mechanical force we put on our teeth when chewing at an early age.
Simply put: Our teeth and jaws respond to the forces we put on them through eating.
This chewing encourages the proper development of our jaw structure, influencing how our face and mouth develop.
As Klein said, "He had never seen an early human skull with malocclusion."
— That is, he had never seen a primitive human skull where the teeth did not align properly. Not one!
Lieberman has also supported this mechanistic theory, explaining "The mechanical forces generated by chewing food not only help your jaws grow to the right size and shape, they also help your teeth fit properly within the jaw."
That could be why crooked teeth are so common nowadays... because our modern lifestyle has removed the majority of kids' foods that provide the sturdiness required for proper dental development.
With modern technology and dentistry practices... it's easy to assume that getting perfect teeth has to do with advanced techniques and procedures...
But as we can see from Dr. Price's findings... maybe it's more about getting back to our roots so that we can improve our teeth AND our health. 🦷 ⚕️
That's definitely something to smile about. 😁
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