Is Your Raw Vegan Diet Eroding Your Teeth? Study Results : Exclusive Renegade Health Article

Monday Jul 9 | BY |
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It’s healthy for your body, but what about your teeth?

You know all the health benefits of a raw food diet, but did you know that it could potentially put your teeth at risk?

That’s according to a study that showed that a raw food diet increases risk of dental erosion compared to a conventional diet. How does raw food affect your teeth, and what can you do to protect them?

What the Study Showed
Researchers from Germany studied 130 subjects whose diet consisted of more than 95 percent raw food. The median duration of the diet was 39 months, with a minimum of 17 months, and a maximum of 418 months. These participants answered questionnaires recording their food intake during a 7-day period before starting the study.

Researchers then randomly selected 76 sex- and age-matched participants for use as a control group. Using study models, they then registered dental erosions in both groups, and found that compared to the control group, subjects living on a raw food diet had significantly more dental erosions. For instance, 60.5 percent of the raw food eaters had at least one tooth with a severe erosion, versus 31.6 percent of the control group.

Why Did This Happen?
Researchers aren’t sure why the difference. They noted that within the raw food group, they could find no significant correlation between nutrition or oral health data and the prevalence of erosions. Nevertheless, the results showed that raw food eaters were more at risk.

One thing to note is the high amounts of fruit eaten by the raw foodists. The raw food diet records showed the median daily frequency of ingesting citrus fruit to be 4.8, and the median intake of fruit was 62 percent of the total, corresponding to an average consumption of 9.5 kg of fruit per week. (The maximum amount consumed for one person was 23.7 kg, which is a lot of fruit!)

It’s no secret that though fruits have a lot of health benefits, they can also be high in sugar and acidity -— a double whammy for teeth. In fact, the British Dental Association (BDA) has advised that the safest approach when eating apples is to eat them only at mealtimes, and then rinse out the mouth to minimize tooth damage. Add to that the fact that the sugar content of apples (and likely other fruits) has increased by up to 50 percent over the last couple decades, as farmers genetically breed varieties to have a sweeter taste.

New research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that the typical modern apple now has a sugar content of up to 15 percent, which means it contains the equivalent of four teaspoons of sugar. A BDA spokesperson noted that erosion is becoming a real problem, and that once enamel is worn away, it doesn’t regenerate. “Research shows that dental erosion in adults due to diet is usually a result of excessive consumption of fruits and fruit juices.”

Other Potential Causes
The aforementioned research is only one study with a relatively small amount of participants. Still, it brings up an important concern. Can a raw food diet be stressful for your teeth? It’s safe to say that if it contains a lot of fruit, it can be. Beyond that, we need more research to discover the answers.

Some raw foodists who have experienced teeth problems after switching to raw have some additional theories. Eating more often may be part of the issue. Whereas you may have been used to eating three meals a day before, once switching to a raw diet, you may find yourself grazing. Even if you’re snacking on healthy foods, frequent eating can disrupt the natural remineralization of your tooth enamel. Typically after you eat, your saliva goes to work rebuilding enamel. If it’s constantly breaking down more food, while your teeth are frequently subjected to more sugars and acids, the enamel is more likely to suffer.

Another possibility is the increased intake of nuts, dried fruit, and dehydrated foods. Sticky, hard-to-scrape-off foods can become lodged between teeth where they are hard to remove. The longer food debris stays stuck on or between teeth, the easier for bacteria to attack.

How to Protect Your Teeth While Enjoying a Raw Food Diet (and Fruits!)
The answer, fortunately, is not to stop eating fruits or nuts or other great raw foods. The answer is to consider changing how you take care of your teeth in between meals and snacks.

One thing to be careful of—brushing right after eating an acidic food is actually worse for your teeth than doing nothing at all. Acid breaks down enamel, leaving your teeth vulnerable. Enamel softened by an acid attack is scrubbed away by the toothbrush.

Here are some other tips for careful dental care while eating a raw food diet. Please write in if you know of more!

  • Wait at least 30 minutes (an hour, preferably) after eating something acidic before brushing. Rinse your mouth with water instead.
  • To really reduce the acid in your mouth after an acidic meal or snack, rinse with a mixture of water and baking soda.
  • Drink acidic drinks (like citrus fruit drinks) through a straw and avoid swishing around the mouth. Better yet, drink them with a meal.
  • Realize that even fruit teas can damage tooth enamel. Brands that have fruits like lemon, raspberry, and blackcurrant put your teeth at risk. Researchers from the University Dental Hospital of Manchester placed extracted teeth in three different liquids: blackcurrant, ginseng and vanilla herbal tea, traditional tea, and water. After 14 days—the equivalent of drinking three cups a day for 18 years—the herbal tea had dissolved a layer of enamel from the tooth several thousandths of a millimeter thick.
  • Regular black tea, however, has shown to help reduce tooth erosion at just one cup a day. But avoid adding milk, lemon, or sugar.
  • Eat fruits with meals. For snacks, choose non-acidic foods rather than acidic berries, grapes, apples, and citrus fruits. Try veggies instead. (Watermelon, papaya, honeydew melon, figs, cantaloupe, and bananas are also less acidic than other fruits, and may work as a nice snack option.) If you go for nuts, rinse with water and floss afterwards.
  • Go easy on lemon juice and vinegar.
  • Chew sugar-free gum with xylitol to increase saliva flow and reduce acids in your mouth between meals.
  • Use a soft toothbrush and avoid brushing too aggressively.

Kev’s Thoughts:

I think what I want to highlight most here is that these raw fooders seemed to have eaten a lot of fruit — which is when my teeth issues were at their worst. But I also want to note that I’ve met all kinds of raw food eaters who have teeth issues — so I don’t want to unfairly single out the fruit eaters. Though it does seem there is a connection between increased fruit consumption in raw fooders and worsening teeth.

What’s interesting to note, and a point of curiosity for me, is that I wonder if I would have had the same teeth issues if I had been doing to dental routine that I am now — which is slightly more involved.

I was rinsing out after meals and I was also flossing then, but I wasn’t doing a salt and baking soda wash.

I know this gives all our fruitarian readers (are you guys still out there?) some fuel to flame me — since I’m sure I’ll be accused of giving up and not trying everything — a common fruitarian tactic. But my gut on this one, is that I would have had the same issues with my teeth regardless of the salt and soda wash.

This study helps me justify my hunch. I’m sure very few of these individuals have stellar mouth care protocols and I could easily argue that even before, when my teeth hurt, that my teeth cleaning routine was good enough — and maybe even better than most people involved in this study.

What’s pretty shocking is that the raw fooders had double the instance of severe erosion. This is particularly interesting since the control group was almost undoubtedly eating a standard, average German diet — that includes some processed white flour and sugar. (Yes, an assumption, but it’s the norm, right? I feel I can appropriately make this one.)

It would seem to me based on this data and a mild — but not so far fetched — assumption that the raw food diet may be worse for your teeth than a standard German diet. I would love to see how it compared with a standard American diet. It would be a trip if the research showed this group of raw fooders had worse teeth than those who ate Wonder Bread and drank soda all day long.

Anyway, based on experience, this study just further explains that theory doesn’t always make for the best practice in the real world. But I also want to point out, this is not a reason whatsoever to not try a raw food diet or high raw diet for an extended period of time.

It’s a lame excuse to say that you wouldn’t try the raw food diet because you’re afraid your teeth will fall out. This study and article is more of a warning to those who are on the diet or want to start it. This is just one of the pitfalls you could experience — some will and some won’t.

And also, please keep in mind there are 100’s of benefits to eating raw plants as the bulk of your diet.

Have you suffered from dental erosion after starting a raw food diet? Please share your story, and any tips you may have.

* * *

Photo courtesy Moosicom via Flickr.com.

Sources
Tim Utton, “Why an Apple a Day Won’t Keep the Dentist Away,” Daily Mail, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-99733/Why-apple-day-wont-dentist-away.html.

“Dental Drama: Tooth Problems on the Raw Diet (Part 1),” Raw Food SOS, January 24, 2010, http://rawfoodsos.com/2010/01/24/dental-drama-tooth-problems-on-the-raw-diet-part-1/.

Ani, “Black Tea Can Stop Tooth Decay,” Times of India, December 8, 2008, http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2008-12-08/health/27894152_1_black-tea-tooth-erosion-enamel.

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

65 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Daniel Donovan says:

    There has been some good discussion regarding this topic at 30badsucks. It mostly has to do with the lack of pre-formed fat soluble vitamins and the lack of the bio availability of certain minerals. Yes there are alot of precursor to the fat soluble vitamins in raw fruits and veggies on paper; however when it comes to conversion and assimilation of these various materials, that is where the break down is occurring. Vitamins A, E, D and K (more specifically k2) along with vitamin C, zinc, magnesium and calcium are all needed to build strong bones and teeth.

  2. elainie says:

    I’d suggest looking into the work of Melvin Page DDS and body chemistry balance. I think raw veganism is based on ideals much of the time. Also WAP and PPNF have excellent resources for healing teeth/remineralizing.

    And Cure Tooth Decay by Rami Nagel is another resource as gross as the diet may be (I couldn’t do it- been there/done that years ago with raw Primal diet).

    I’d make sure I was getting D3, K2, if ethics not an issue Blue Ice fermented cod liver oil and X factor butter oil and increase green juices and decrease fruit and acid forming foods such as nuts. I’d look at increasing calcium levels as well.

  3. Stephanie says:

    I think dried fruit & nuts are the worst foods for teeth. I never had a cavity in my life and thought eating a Larabar and not brushing my teeth at night would be okay. Guess what happened instead? Gum recession…darn it. Whenever i eat dried fruits, I notice it all sticking to my teeth and my gums and now I understand how bad it is for oral health.

  4. Stephanie says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I’m currently struggling to find a solution for decalicification/erosion. I’m keeping all my options open. Would love to hear your story as well Kevin. Please share.

  5. JustMe says:

    Kevin, you should interview Dr Ellie Phillips, and read her book, Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye. Xylitol! It works!

  6. Seppo says:

    I wonder if this has something to do with chewing more. Raw foods usually take much more ‘oral processing’ than conventional foods. Increased chewing puts more stress on teeth, especially in the case of hard vegetables. I actually cracked a tooth while chewing a big salad. Or I wonder if teeth are like bones that more you stress them the stronger they get.

  7. jeanne says:

    This is not surprising at all… considering many people who turn to a raw diet do it to heal the scourges resulting from a lifetime of bad diet. Because the researchers did not catalog the histories of the participants… from whether they were breast fed or formula fed… and on through to the present… it is a meaningless study.

  8. Lance says:

    What a great post! I do have some sensitivity to cold on one side of my mouth… but I can’t remember when that started? I would be REALLY interested in a study between regular eaters and those who follow an alkalarian diet. Eating more alkaline means you might have some fruit but definitely not a lot.

    I do alternate between green smoothies and green juices almost all day long so that idea that I may not be giving my enamel enough time to rebuild… but then again, I’m really just eating/drinking alkaline drinks/smoothies most of the time so it may be be breaking my enamel down as much.

    Btw/ i don’t think Dr. Ellie Phillips is a good recommendation as she advocates the use of flouride… *yeeesh*

    One I would recommend is a book by Ramiel Nagel who shows you how to heal and prevent cavities with nutrition: http://amzn.to/NhvNba

  9. Brianne says:

    I think a more interesting study would be one between raw foodies vs. paleo diet. A lot of this article seems to come up with ideas of what it might be, but it all seems to be guesses. There is substantial documentation that fat soluble vitamins play a key role in forming healthy bones. Disregarding that doesn’t help those whose bodies are craving it.

  10. totalwoman says:

    David Wolfe has information about the problems rawfoodists encounter with their teeth. In his book “The Sunfood Diet” he recommends eating more greens to mineralize and strenghten the teeth.

  11. Ali says:

    My concern, here, is that your teeth are the hardest substance in your body. IF the raw food diet (especially one with nuts, dried fruit and fruits) damages your teeth then you KNOW what is going on out of your awareness is seriously damaging your health.

    The worst part is you don’t even know the effects until your body has been so impacted that noticeable symptoms arise.

  12. Shari says:

    I have experienced dental erosion and even breaking of teeth because of the erosion because of eating raw. I have not had a cavity since I was a kid (early 1960s) and recently had to spend $2500 for dental work because of this problem.

  13. fania says:

    Also, vegans who eat a lot of whole grains and beans are at high risk for dental issues because these foods are high in the anti- nutrient, phytic acid. After many years of a veggie and grain based diet and increasing teeth and gum issues, I recently learned that phytic acid leaches the minerals, including calcium and magnesium from the body, causing demineralization and erosion of the teeth and bones over time. Soaking grains and beans before cooking reduces phytic acid to some extent in most cases. Complementary soaking, such as soaking grains with rye, buckwheat and beans in kombu does a better job of reducing phytic acid. Also what I’m doing now is remineralizing teeth and bones by taking nettle infusion (incredible source of calcium and lots of other minerals) and a tea with oatstraw, horsetail, kelp, and lobeila. Also doing trace mineral liquid drops.

  14. naomie says:

    Interesting posts. I have also heard from a European trained medical doctor that a German Study showed raw foodists have more problems with parasites than the general population. Sorry I cannot directly reference the study.
    Naomie

  15. If you want to eat raw vegan you have to do it properly, not half-way. You have to actually chew your food and mix it with saliva which is highly alkalizing. Drinking fruit juices is going to decay your teeth. It clearly isn’t natural. When’s the last time you saw a chimp with a juicer? And you may have to do some extra work to keep them good for 90 years since humans have never lived that long and our teeth are not really designed to last for 90 years. Typically a large cat or other meat eating predator ate us or we died battling other tribes before we made it to 30 or 40 years of age – maximum. Use common sense and don’t complicate it. Come on Kev – you almost seem on a covert mission to get people off raw food or high-fruit diets. What’s going on?

  16. Viviane says:

    I am not 100% raw but a high percentage. I did have a lot of cavities and my holistic dentist said that people who eat a lot of bananas have more cavities. I started rinsing my mouth with water after eating bananas and I saw an improvement.
    Dried fruits or sticky raw bread like Manna really stick to the teeth and a water rinse is not sufficient.
    My present ‘protocol’ is to swish water with salt (sea or Himalayan salt) as recommended by Nadine Artemis and in the book ”The Smile Method – How To Avoid Expensive, Painful and Disfiguring Gum Surgery and Dentures” by V. Gardiakos. I do it after each meal which changes the acidity in the mouth to prevent bacteria proliferation.
    I have read once that it takes only 10 minutes for bacteria to attack the teeth after consuming food with a sugar content (fruit or other), so waiting 30 minutes is a lot of time for the bacteria. The salted water rinse is the solution for me!

  17. jeanne says:

    Shari, Don’t you think your recent dental issues might something to do with your age? And how and what you’ve eaten for over 5 decades?

  18. Eva says:

    It strikes me that anyone who spends so much time on following a particular diet, diet rules, buying products from diet salesmen…doesn’t this seem to be narcissistic, self-centered to the extreme? After one gets so “healthy” how will they spend their life and if this raw diet is so healthy why the destroyed teeth, the need for blood tests, the hype about being healthy etc.? Kevin may say he is “helping” people but he is making a living at being completely self-involved. Anyone so obsessed with every morsel put in their mouth has got to be unaware of the world around them. Really healthy people live a full life, not a life watching every morsel of food put in their mouth, discussing their diet and bowel movements…

  19. Paul Palmer says:

    Hi Kevin

    My teeth are bad but I can’t blame it on raw food, as I haven’t been all that consistent, though it can contribute to the problem. Many raw foodists often swing back and forth between raw and cooked and even meat based diet. When they go on the raw vegan phase there is detox and increased systemic acidity which impacts adversely on the teeth.

    Dry fruit and nuts would cause increased erosion. I now don’t eat the more acidic citrus fruits but find oranges are not a problem (most often I blend them with greens to balance the acidity and provide alkaline minerals). People who have compromised parathyroid function are not going utilize calcium very well. I notice that oranges, apples, grapes do not cause tooth sensitivity whereas starchy cooked foods and eggs and meat do, at least in my case. If fruit is the problem, someone like Durianrider should have a mouth full of rotting teeth and yet he shows a full set of healthy teeth.

  20. Jeff says:

    I would like to alert everyone that there is what I consider a fabulous tooth powder. I love it, and when I get done, my teeth are literally (yes, literally) squeeking clean. The toothbrush bristles actually squeek when dragged over the teeth. Clearly, saliva is a huge part of healthy teeth. Clearly, acidity is not. This tooth powder, “IPSAB”, inspired by Edgar Cayce, is essentially powdered salt and baking soda (with a little extra ingredients, too). Your mouth will fill with saliva from the saltiness. When done your teeth will be bright clean and SHINY. The light will reflect off your teeth like crazy. Check out heritagestore.com for more. I don’t work for them, I play the violin for a living. I’m just saying…you might be interested. HTH.

  21. Jennifer says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Given that you are talking about a German study about raw food and tooth health, I would love to see an actual link to the study!

    The links that you provided are to internet articles, which are not scientific journal articles.

    If you are going to talk about science, it is important to provide it, so we can read it for ourselves.

    Thanks!

  22. Stephanie says:

    I agree with the others here that have discussed the fat-soluble vitamins (K, A, E, D) that are essential to teeth and bone health. Most Raw Foodies may not be getting adequate amounts of these vitamins from their food. I highly suggest taking a tsp a day of Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver oil daily as a good start.

  23. Dawn Gifford says:

    Rami Nagel goes into great depth about the physiology of tooth decay and the role of nutrition in his book Cure Tooth Decay. I have cured minor two cavities by eating a lot like he recommends.

    A raw vegan diet is often lacking in many of the fully-formed nutrients necessary to naturally keep tooth enamel strong. Also the nutrient conversion ability in individuals (like beta-carotene into Vitamin A) can be greatly compromised in many individuals without their knowing.

  24. RG says:

    There are nutritional deficiencies associated with vegan diets. Some can go for years without noticing deficiencies if ever, but most don’t do well on raw or cooked veganism over the long run. I know, I started veganism while in my twenties, and have been alternating being vegan, vegetarian and/or raw for two decades. I would now resonate more with Paleo, however when I want fruit, I eat fruit. No low carbing for me unless that is what I crave, which it sometimes is.

    It is possible to do well on a high raw diet if one incorporates grass-fed organic animal foods. There is a book written on this subject, called Beyond Broccoli, by Susan Schenck. A few years ago she published a raw, vegan-based book entitled The Live Food Factor, which was a big success. Then the author herself encountered deficiencies, so she incorporated some raw and lightly cooked animal foods into her raw plants diet,and is feeling great. She states that a raw diet is not the problem in terms of deficiencies, whereas a vegan diet is. Being a raw foodie does not necessarily equate to being vegan.

    There are many famous raw vegans who have encountered deficiencies and dental problems and now are eating animal foods. I do the same and have gotten the “glow” back. It is not the same high as it was upon going high raw vegan, but it is such a relief to feel good again. I felt quite depleted and deeply fatigued (with low endocrine levels showing up on blood and saliva tests) on the high raw diet with minimal animals foods. I am discovering what works for me. My tooth problem is healing.

    Everyone needs to discover what works individually for himself or herself. The diet gurus can give us suggestions and ideas, but it up to each person to take responsibility for one’s own well-being. And respond to our bodies’ signals accordingly.

    Thanks, Kevin, for bringing this information out into the open.

    • Danny says:

      In response to RG says: July 13, 2012 at 4:15 pm; I totally agree with your last paragraph “Everyone needs to discover what works individually for himself or herself. The diet gurus can give us suggestions and ideas, but it up to each person to take responsibility for one’s own well-being. And respond to our bodies’ signals accordingly.”

      I believe that anyone who promotes any type of diet needs to strongly mention this in their material. They have a duty of care to the public, as some people and even those that promote certain diets don’t admit to problems encountered on the way. I applaud people like Susan Schenk that have come out and admitted to having problems and constantly share what works for her for now. Who knows, that may change again for her.

      Anyone in holisitc medicine will tell you that each person is different and we all have different constitutions. What works for one may not work for another, an excellent cliche ‘one man’s medicine is another man’s poison’. I find it very alarming reading peoples posts about what diet they are consuming, how they whole heartedly believe it is the only true way because it is working for them in the present and that each person should follow their way. Sad to see so many of us to be so biased. I know, as I too have been down that road.

      Today I try to keep an open mind and life is more than what you eat, there needs to be a balance of nurturing your body, mind and soul. I also agree with Eva says: July 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm.

  25. Marisa says:

    Hi Kevin,
    the standard German diet is a little different than the standard American diet. There is a little less processed food and more home cooking. There is also a lot less sugar and corn syrup. They drink more fruit juices than sodas. The diet is grain based as they eat lots of bread, mostly dark varieties. Bread comes fresh-baked from bakeries for the most part. They also eat a lot of dairy. Cold-cuts, salamis, and sausages are very popular. The meat of choice is pork and it’s eaten liberally. The youth eat a more American diet, however, including spongy supermarket white bread and Coca Cola.

    Marisa, an American living in Germany

  26. hyesun says:

    i’ve heard about tooth troubles from a few people who eat/drink lots of fruit or fruit smoothies. barefoot amish herbal guy in ohio (can’t remember his real name) doesn’t have any teeth because i drank so much OJ. patrick timpone always talks about getting many cavities after a period of doing fruit smoothies. and i have so much dental erosion – i think from a combo of too much ACV, lemon juice, and grinding my teeth. my fillings have fallen out, which leaves my teeth pretty sensitive. i find that oil pulling for a few minutes after eating really helps that. i also use a soladey ionic toothbrush. and i rotate between or combine toothsoap, essential oils (from living libations), and dr. christopher’s tooth powder. but i even then i need help. i try to eat mineral rich food and take trace minerals but i think my teeth are continuing to erode faster than they are building up. i probably need to cut out the lemon juice/water every morning. 🙁

  27. hyesun says:

    oops, i meant “he”, not “i” drank so much OJ (above)

  28. Dee says:

    I have seen Xylitol mentioned as an aid to cavity prevention. In researching Xylitol I found where most is manufactured from corn cobs from China. Is this really a good thing to use if it possibly comes from GMO corn and from such an unreliable source as China??

  29. While everyone is afraid of fluoride in water and things, with good reason, fluoride in toothpaste and mouthwashes or occasional fluoride treatments are pretty safe and super effective. The reason americans are known to have the best teeth in the world is because of fluoride in the water. I think it’s a terrible idea to drink it, but to treat your teeth, well it works and is probably better than losing your teeth.

  30. Christine says:

    Im with Bowland…Proper chewing is crucial to pH balance!

  31. James Harkin says:

    Grounding yourself helps prevent plaque build up and therefore helps protect your teeth.

  32. Sara says:

    Kevin,
    Have you heard of Dr Collins Restore toothpaste?
    I’m not sure about some of the ingredients, but the reviews are amazing…
    Any info would be great.
    Thanks!
    Sara

  33. Cows do not get cavities. Eat and chew green vegetables for their calcium and potential for remineralization.
    1-Passive debridement with soft bristled toothbrush, floss, and irrigation device( Hyrofloss).
    2-Use of non-fluoride, non-sodium lauryl sulfate, non-abrasive toothpaste. Add theraputic, food grade essential oil like peppermint to mix.
    3-Rinse with naturopathic mouthwash that can be swooshed and swallowed. Ingredients like fulvic acid, msm, silver and zinc ions in a mix of sructured water and essential oils.
    4-Take green lipped mussel oil, cold pressed to reduce inflamation.

  34. Charlotte says:

    Yep, I have teeth problems. It started four years ago when I started eating big green smoothies for breakfast. I mostly have severe erosion, receding gum lines and a little staining. While I don’t eat nearly as much fruit, most of my diet is raw. Not really because I’m stuck in a health dogma, but because during the summer in Austin, all I want to eat are big salads (and to be honest I love them). It also doesn’t help that I squeeze lemon or line juice on everything. I feel like my health has really improved since I started to eat more animal products, like pasture-raised chicken, grass-fed beef, and wild salmon, raw egg yolks, and raw goat kefir. A couple days ago I also made beef stock for the first time, which was really delicious. I think decreasing the amount of acid I eat will help as well as decreasing the amount of foods I eat that are high in phytic acid.

  35. Thomas says:

    @#18 Eva:
    You must have studied marketing.
    Create a need & sell a product.

    You have discovered the secret of the infomercial. 🙂

  36. Susan says:

    Kevin,

    Thank you. These are serious issues and the more that they are discussed, the more solutions can be developed and problems avoided. My unrealistic awe of raw foodists was pierced when you happened to mention that you and your wife would see how some of them really ate behind the scenes – contrary what they were advocating.

  37. Lester says:

    What’s more important is whether your teeth are still standing at the end of your life. One shouldn’t get so excited about erosion which is as natural as skin wrinkles with age. A tooth with erosion could easily outlast a tooth with a thick protective enamel coating. There are too many variables that can affect a person’s tooth longevity. Let’s not over think it with worry. A good blog about all things plus dental is http://teethsense.blogspot.com/

  38. Helene says:

    Hi everyone,
    Do any of you know if the oral care products they sell on http://www.uncleharrys.com are any good?
    Considering buying their re-mineralization kit, but don’t really know enough about them – Does anyone of you guys?

    Personally I experienced my dense, white teeth going transparent after about a year raw. I also lately have been experiencing chipping in my lower teeth. Am being very strict with my dental hygiene practises, but feel I need to do more. I have recently started tracking my calcium intake through cronometer, but find it very hard covering my calcium needs without having to eat 1kg of cavalo negro a day – I did some research and found that amaranth contains high levels of calcium – Am considering to add it, but it is a cooked food. Will adding a cooked food make things worse?

    I personally have a very hard time even imagining myself eating animal products. It just feels so wrong. Any thoughts on what to do if you want to remain vegan?

  39. Kevin,

    What you are proposing with saying fruit sugar is a large culprit in dental issues flies in the face with the very material (“How To Prevent and Reverse Dental Disasters”) that you are currently promoting.

    *Spoiler Alert*: Dr. Nara says flat-out that sugar (in ANY form) is NOT the *cause* of dental decay. It may add fuel to the fire, but unless you address the underlying cause, you can avoid sugar all you want and your teeth will never get better.

    I’m confused, Kevin. :S

  40. IH says:

    I have not suffered from dental erosion or sensitive teeth but I eat little fruit and I am not 100 % raw or vegan or anything for that matter. I have had gum problems but that was before I knew about the raw food diet. i have solved those with laser treatments at my holistic dentist, a disciplined home care program with oregano oil and I have been oil pulling for about a month right now. I find that this helps in keeping my tongue nice and pink. I have heard on more occasions that the raw foodies who eat a lot of fruits, dried fruits and nuts and seeds experience these problems. When it comes to raw food I follow mostly the Hippocrates Institute directions. Low glycemic green juices, sprouts dark leafy vegetables and E3 live.As far as I’m concerned you can’t go too wrong with this because this helps to keep your mouth alkaline

    Like one of the readers of this blog mentioned, the standard North European (German) diet is heavy on grains ,cold cuts and dairy products and is VERY acidic. I know this because I grew up this way. I had dental problems and I didn’t even know it. Like in North America people have weight issues and often don’t look too healthy. Just visit a sauna over there and you will see. The meat though is generally speaking of better quality. I can get away with this once in a while but the last time I was over there this way of eating made me very lethargic and I couldn’t wait to get home and eat again my own way which is” fresh, unprocessed veggies, fruits, some cooked foods and a small amount of animal proteins such as fish and eggs and grass fed meat. The key is to keep your saliva alkaline no matter what diet you are on.

  41. I think Denise Minger, that most amazing deconstructor of scientific studies mentioned thatn her stint as a raw foodie left her teeth in tatters. Her website is well worth a look. She is what I would call a super-researcher, using accepted scientific and statistical technique to poke enormous holes in studies that are foisted upon us.

    Kevin, re the critics who say you are a sellout.. I relate to where you are at. Facts, once researched and verified, can only be denied by the blind. I too tried raw, lost weight and vigour, and still remember the surge of energy at all levels that re-entered my body with the first meat in 14 years. It was as if I’d rediscovered my warrior.
    Ian Blair Hamilton
    alkaway

  42. FruitRaider says:

    I eat have eaten as much fruit as DR and had issues from previous cooked food lifestyle but since year 1998-9 all my issues were fixed. I noticed as I increased my fruit dropped all fats my teeth are perfect with very little brushing. My thoughts; mouth flora via clean ripe food is the key. Most people have no idea or patience to let fruit sit for weeks until perfectly ripe. nothing to do with chewing, nothing to do with sodium bicarb (but use it), nothing to do with drinking through a straw (oh please). If you have a laugh, stop making choices less than optimal your teeth become very happy and you can even open bottles of beer with them (Brit humor). I have better teeth than Germans, Americans. That’s what a Swiss dentist told me back in 2000. EAT RIPE! wake up. (not your version of ripe)

  43. FruitRaider says:

    Chris Randall….I agree but!!!!!!!!!!!!…People have issues and need resolving first. You need to pay attention…Apathy is big in the RawFoodWorld and my TV thinks I need to get rid of it…I don’t you have been hit on the back of the head by a very good hypnotist.

  44. FruitRaider says:

    Stephanie……dried fruit is unripe fruit. Get fresh dates if you can. Nuts (never except Brazil’s once a month) Seeds: chia, hemp, flax may be again 2-3 times month. Never in smoothies, Never in salad dressings. Just grind and put in a hot cup of tea!….serious…sounds crazy right?

  45. Paul Palmer says:

    “Vegan diet rots your teeth. Vegans are weak and have no energy. You can’t build muscle without eating meat. Veqans get diabetes and are overweight. Vegans get cancer and heart disease. Vegans die young.” Why is it that when I give examples that are contrary to these claims that no one hears a word. It’s as if people have filters that reject anything that goes against their ideology.

    Yes, there are vegans, raw and otherwise, who are weak and sickly, overweight and die young. There are many kinds of vegans, raw or otherwise. People come to the diet with serious pre-existing conditions. Some misunderstand the theory and application. Some suffer from unnecessary social pressure and stress when alarmed people try to save them from their dangerous heresy. So what is said is both right and also wrong. What is missing is the context.

  46. Lehte Mahoney, NTP says:

    I have to agree with the people that mentioned the fat soluble vitamins A,D,E and K.

    For good mineral status and healthy bones(which your teeth are)you need these vitamins. There are nutrient precursors to some of them (ie. beta carotene) but many people are not efficient(and children are not capable of) at converting them and benefit from direct sources of these vitamins.

    Another thing to consider is that sweets natural or not are demineralizing to the body. Refined processed ones would obviously be worse as they do not contain any minerals, but all require minerals to be processed. So for many people juicing fruit, eating lots of dry fruit, eating lots of honey or even eating lots of fresh fruit can very well affect the teeth and not just because of the sugar in your mouth.

    This is not a simple issue as there are other things that can affect your mineral status such as hydration, hormone balance, gallbladder function, heavy metal toxicity, & more.

    I recommend to my clients eating a whole nutrient dense non vegan diet, with plenty of raw veggies, nuts and seeds, and small amounts of whole fresh fruits.

    Thank you Kevin for having a site that is open minded. And continually searches for truth instead of holding fast to just one way of thinking! I find you to be a great resource for my work.

    Lehte Mahoney, NTP
    Nutritional Therapy Wellness Center of Vermont

  47. mike says:

    I believe its the kale swiss chard collard greens spinach eggplant & afew others,no body preps these or cooks them in animal fat or ghee butter lard etc.These foods need to be prepared or they will pull calcium & enamel from your teeth & bones even though they are abundant in calcium k2 etc,I believe sally fallon spoke about this in norishing traditions.Many stuborn people in the raw food comunity.prepare & predigest your food like its always been in healthy comunitys.this is not selective science & Kevin you should be ashamed that your followers do not have this information.You should have provided this important info as it is most important to getting nutrition from veges.these foods are antinutrient when not prepared.thanks md.

  48. ariane says:

    what about the raw family jawsiciser? has anyone used that? supposedly it makes your jaw strong and improves alkalinity and saliva for keeping teeth and gums healthy.
    also germans have stronger jaws than weak-white bread-eating americans
    rawfamily.com

  49. Marie says:

    What’s missing in their diet is fermented foods. This is how you will keep the level of good bacteria in your gut flora high enough to keep in “check” the bad ones. Therefore keeping an alkaline gut flora = happy/healthy teeth.
    Take a look at the GAPS diet and see for yourself what has been missing in the SAD diet (Standard American Diet).

    I don’t believe that raw food is the only thing that one should eat to stay healthy! I have tried it and have been vegetarian for 2 decades, I now start re-introducing animal fats in my diet for a more balance gut-happy health and more importantly using fermented foods like kumbucha, milk Kefir, fermented fish, fermented veggies, etc.
    I feel much more energized, yet I love my fresh juices, and more raw veggies in my diet than cooked ones.
    After I changed my diet I visited my dentist for routine cleanup, she checked the level of bacteria in my mouth in the microscope as well as the level of white/red blood cells; she was very impressed on how healthy everything looked. She encouraged me to continue what I was doing….

  50. Kaelian says:

    I agree with Paul Palmer, who mentioned something important and said it well, and thus I make no comment in that direction.

    Here’s something else that I want to address. I noticed a lack of discretion about propre food combining. Although the focus of this article is teeth health, I wouldn’t recommend blindly drinking something acidic with just any meal.

    That said, I don’t follow a particular “diet”. I eat simply natural foods appropriate for humans. No cooking, no processing (except occasionally using a blender to make a simple smoothie of two or three fresh fruits that are synergistic). However, most people would label me “raw fruitarian”. No flaming here though. I don’t do cooking, remember? *chuckles*

    I have no challenges with dental health, but I understand that there’s more to know beyond the basics of sugars and acids, flossing and brushing the teeth gently. Consider the natural biofilm in the mouth that must be given time to restore itself after years of using conventional commercial toothpastes and dental rinses, and consider the emotional and spiritual aspects of human life too. I love scientific research, AND I integrate the other human aspects. I became more healthy as I managed mental\emotional garbage too!

    I continue to commend and support the motives and motivations behind this website: genuine care and the desire to expand the awareness of others in their personal journeys in health and life. The comestibles offered on this website are gems in the world of junk (“food”)., and I appreciate everyone who shares their experiences!

  51. Nicole- Australia says:

    I just came accross this – “Nourishing Our Children” I havent seen the whole movie but here is 20 mins of it. It shows different tribes & the state of their teeth. some NEVER brushed. Interesting!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCX1QG2df6c

  52. Selina says:

    Wow what a reaction!

    I’m not on the raw food diet, but for those who are or want too I would suggest going back to the source – which is actually = live foods done like our live foods guru Ann Wigmore taught us.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_Wigmore

    She did not advice a lot of fruit juices and smoothies, raw chocolate and dried fruit snacks. What she did was eating a lot of sprouts, wheat germ, shots of peas and all kinds of green living things. And FERMENTED foods, fermented nut yogurt and also rejuvenalac which was a staple in her kitchen.

    Also what is this talk about fat soluble vitamins? Do people even know what they are and what it means?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/treatments/healthy_living/nutrition/dietary_vitfat.shtml

    I don’t see any studies made that would suggest that K2 for example is essential for human health and that it could only be found in animal products (it can be found in many fermented foods btw). Studies I’ve seen so far are really past their best before date, ranging from 1920-1940’s. And most of them just people with opinions and throwing statements in the air and weston a. price. Not very convincing.

  53. Mirabelle says:

    About a month or two ago Dr. Mercola reported on his blog that he personally experienced a marked improvement in dental health after a period of regularly eating fermented foods.Despite meticulous dental care and diet he was still having problems with plaque, until eating fermented foods!It seems we not only need to clean to kill off the bad bacteria and remove acids and sticky foods, but we may also need to continually populate our mouths with good bacteria.

    I never had tooth problems until recently, four years after starting daily green juices with lots of lemon, plus morning lemon water. I have some enamel erosion and a few cavities. I also tend to blame it on eating very frequent tiny “meals.” I GENTLY brush after some of my “micro-meals”, but 30-40 min later I’m grazing again. I eat pastured meats & dairy, along with lots of raw, low or no sugar veggies, fresh veggie juices and smoothies.I eat very little fruits. So, raw food, nor an unhealthy diet are to blame for me.

    Along with more fermented foods, I’m going to try more frequent rinses with salt and baking soda in between more frequent gentle brushing.Will post my results.

    Thanks to Kevin and everyone’s input on this important problem which I’m also needing to resolve.

  54. Maria says:

    I am nutritionist from Germany and having worked with many raw foodists it is clear to notice that a sweet fruit based diet is lacking in important minerals if greens are missing out.
    A few more things to considers you didn´t mention:

    Important is the Large Intestine Meridian. It is sustaining the jaws and therefore responsible to sustain this area energetically. Look the meridian up. Starting at the index finger nail, it moves up to the shoulder, from there to the neck and up to the jaws. Stiffness in the Trapezius, often caused from rucksacks, school bags etc, can lead to a reduced energetic supply to the jaw area, also affecting the teeth. It is clear to notice that school children in Germany, when they change school to higher grades, having to carry a lot more weight in their school bags, it often brings a reduced dental health with it. Also in adults there is a clear connecting with stiffness in the Trapezius and dental health.
    Also on a energetic level it is the throat chakra, next to the root chakra which is responsible for healthy teeth.
    3 major reason for throat chakra to reduce its energy:
    1. Telling lies – one know when one are saying the truth, one can´t cheat yourself
    2. Hurting other verbally – either with what one says or how it is said – it always hurts the speaker first
    3. A women´s classic: one really want to say something, it is so important, but…
    for the sake of peace and harmony it is just suppressed
    In all three cases the energy is quite reduced and if it is a continuing problem, it absolutely affects dental health.
    In many cases of acute dental problems it is vital to skip nuts, grains, seeds, sweet fruits and live on vegetables, high amount of greens, lots of wheatgrass powder. Regular salt (for example bicarbonate) pulling through the teeth is helping to reduce the acid in the mouth therefore promoting dental health.

  55. Carl says:

    The work of Desmond Morris may shed some light on appropriate human diet and the rationale of why man is not designed to be a carnivore. I believe (but am not entirely sure) he also makes note that the first signs of tooth decay were found in the first civilization to cultivate grains. No society prior to that showed any sign of tooth decay. It is perplexing why the human species could not live on a raw diet. Every othr creature in existence does.

  56. Susan says:

    I am a little surprised that no one has mentioned the work of Peter d’Adamo and the blood/genotype diet. An A blood type will prosper on a meat free diet, but an O will do very poorly on a meat free diet. B’s and AB’s lie somewhere in between. If you think this is hype or foolishness, then do your due diligence and go to his website and read about his research. dadamo.com

  57. Edith says:

    Fluoride in the water only benefits tooth decay before about the age 14, after that, it causes artery/heart issues and liver problems. It does prevent decay on the teeth during brushing, but some are sensitive to it.

    RG, are you suggesting we eat raw meat? Have you seen the recent studies showing 80% contamination in some stores in the US?

    I’m with Donald here. I’m vegan, not raw, do not have perfect teeth, but feel so much better healthwise now.

  58. Tate says:

    A friend of mines recently went on a raw vegan diet and i
    asked him if he had any problems with his teeth and he mentioned he
    had some but nothing to serious.

  59. kathleen says:

    Hi !
    I found this page when I typed in ” two years raw food and teeth breaking off “….. I have been 100% raw vegan for exactly two years now, and tonight I was flossing my teeth and I thought something was stuck between two teeth and I tugged on the dental floss and a big chunk of tooth broke off. I also noticed a hole has been forming between two other teeth. I have only had two fillings ( cavities ) in 54 years of life …. so to suddenly be experiencing breaking teeth is rather bizarre ! I love my raw food , and never want to go back to my old ( vegetarian ) ways ! I am going to try rinsing a few times per day with baking soda …. but I’m sad that this is happening to raw foodists like me ! More warning must be shared , for this unfortunate reality ! take care, kmw.

  60. As a clinical dentist I cringe when I hear the suggestion of baking soda as a tooth care product.

    Men may get away with using this product ( because men have higher amounts of protein in their saliva) but women can suffer serious, severe and painless gum recession from using it regularly.

    The problem is that baking soda is SUCH a good cleaner – it wipes out a protein layer that covers the outside of enamel and that is supposed to protect teeth and gums. This Pellicle layer is vital to re-mineralizing and repairing damage after eating sweet or acidic foods. This is a vital layer for healthy teeth – but once it is damaged, some people ( women and people with acidic or dry mouths) have a difficult time forming it again.

    Without pellicle – teeth are soft and easily worn.
    This may contribute to the dental problems from the raw diet. Phytates in teas, and veggies – along with oxalic acid in veggies – can also damage this layer……

    I find the subject of raw foods and teeth very interesting and I would love to help your bloggers understand more of the chemistry for dental health – how to measure mouth pH etc…..so they can eat well, be healthy and have great teeth!
    Let me know if you would be interested in more dialogue on this subject.

    Best wishes, Ellie Phillips DDS

    • Cynthia says:

      Hi Ellie,

      I loved reading your post. Thanks for informing me about this pellicle layer that helps
      remineralize teeth.
      I used to use salt and baking soda but but have switched to using soap, yes that’s right,
      plain bar soap (all natural) to brush my teeth. When I switched to soap I noticed
      I don’t get a heavy build-up of plaque forming on my teeth between meals. It appears that soap is more anti-bacterial that salt. Have you heard of this?
      I also have a fair bit of staining on my front teeth which oddly enough appeared when I was
      following a Weston Price diet with lots of dairy, butter and eggs. My overall health took a downturn on this
      diet and it seems I just don’t do well with animal products. After a year of this I went back to vegan, and now high raw vegan, these last 3 months.
      Another interesting thing is that I’m doing oil-pulling for 20 minutes each morning and I’m noticing that
      the brown stain is disappearing from two of my front teeth. I’ve been oil-pulling for 3 weeks, and in the last week and a half I’ve seen the whitening happening.
      Hope to hear from you.
      Cynthia

  61. Rob says:

    This is new news to me as I am a vegan, but not a raw vegan and I don’t eat 5 pieces of fruit per day. Where is the source for the German Study?

    Do you think if you ate a whole food mostly green diet with no fruits would there be as much tooth decay?

  62. niko says:

    Hi,

    i would love to know more on this topic.
    1. How to find a good dentist?

    who isnt destroying and creating inflamation and pain and long itme suffering.
    Rather integrate minimal invasivise techniques, with nutrition, supplements, lifestyle, emotional spiritual adjustments.

    and is open to tooth regeneration.

    2
    how to talk openly with friend and close one on tooth problems and not get pushed to harmful treatments.

    do you have experienced teeth healing or teeth regrew i have research some of this stories and even made some email interviews on my webpage above..

    please contact me…
    kind wishes Niko

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