Wisdom from The Dental Diet
When Dr. Steven Lin, author of the Dental Diet, sent me his new book (it goes on sale today!), I honestly had no idea what a gem I was holding until I started to dig in. I curled up in my cozy new chair and was shocked to be able to go through chapter after chapter and not only NOT get annoyed at any misinformation that is normally found in nutrition books, but to actually get excited reading all of the accurate info he was sharing, and in a way that is easy to grasp even for newbies. Even better, I learned a lot too, even though I read a ton of nutrition info each week, as you can imagine.
Did you know this?
But The Dental Diet is FAR from being only about preventing crooked teeth.
He often mentions the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, who provided many of the pictures in the book, and quotes from Dr. Weston A. Price. Just like that great doctor who so many of us love, Dr. Lin also learned and teaches about the HUGE connection between overall health and dental health. (I can confidently say that if the WAPF chooses to review this book in their Wise Traditions journal, it'll likely get a “thumbs up” — I was thankful when my book got that honor!)
More stand-outs from the book:
- “Dental school had taught me how to treat these issues, not prevent them.”
- He explains how down he became after years of treating patients but not knowing how to truly help them, and how one day he “happened” to come across THE Dr. Price book in an Istanbul hotel of all places — this changed the direction of his career.
- “Your mouth is the gateway to your entire body.”
- He explains how food shapes our face.
- I love that he went into detail about why K2 is SO important for our teeth and bones. (I wrote about that here too: Are you Taking Vitamin D or Calcium? What You MUST Do First.)
- Of course he explains the importance of a healthy gut microbiome for dental health and overall health. (Here's more about that one: Is My Probiotic Really Helping or am I Wasting Money? 5 Ways to Know For Sure.)
- “It's not genetic…How crooked teeth are caused by poor nutrition.” You'll learn how epigenics, the way genes are expressed, makes much more of an impact on our health than the genes themselves, and how much our food affects that!
- “How modern food destroyed our health… Why the food on your plate is making you sick.”
- He discusses all the different food groups, and tells about modern grains vs. the 3 ways they were prepared in traditional cultures: soaking, fermenting, and sprouting.
- There's a lot about my favorite topic too: healthy saturated fats!
- The book includes solid science (with 300 scientific references) and a 40-day delicious food plan, too.
I snapped a picture of this interesting chart showing what he ate before and after he started the Dental Diet (and of course his health issues cleared right up):
Notice how most of the foods on the left are actually considered “healthy foods” according to the professionals! Also notice how he no longer needs or craves snacks, because real food is so filling and satisfying.
The Breathing Epidemic
One of the most interesting parts of the book for me was when he explained the connection between your jaw structure, how you breathe, and your health. Here's an excerpt:
Orthodontia in the 20th century was all about giving kids a straight smile by aligning the “social six,” the six front teeth on the upper and lower jaw. The standard practice was to wait until children were 12 or 13 years old—after their jaw had finished growing—extract their premolar teeth, and fit them with braces that would straighten their crowded dental arches. Today this practice is still quite prevalent.
But in recent years, we’ve learned that the growth of the jaw is not some random roll of the dice. The shape of our face is tightly connected to the development of the muscles that let us breathe, chew, and swallow. Waiting until the jaw is finished developing to straighten the teeth with braces wastes valuable time that could be spent helping the jaw develop properly in more natural ways.
For that to happen, the child’s tongue must sit at the top of the mouth, against the palate, which puts pressure on the palate to expand and grow.17 The child must also breathe through the nose. The flow of air through the nasal passage stimulates the maxilla to keep growing outward and helps to lower and broaden the palate.18 While research outlining these links dates back to the 1970s,19 the notion that breathing plays a role in crooked teeth has generally not been applied in the practice of orthodontia. In fact, there’s a new school of thought that extraction orthodontia may compound these problems by compromising breathing even more. If a patient has had teeth extracted to straighten the dental arch, a contracted maxilla can lead to jaw joint problems, sleep-disordered breathing, and a host of other issues, all in the name of a straight smile, or bite.