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Why Raw-Foodists Have Such Bad Teeth and What to Do About It

What I’ll share with you in this article may come as a shock to you, but there are some things that need to be said about the real *weak link* of the raw food diet. I’m talking about the poor dental health of raw-foodists.

I have over 10 years of experience in the raw food movement. I’ve written several books on the subject, I’ve had one of the very first raw food websites on the Internet, and I’ve been in touch with tens of thousands of people following this diet over the years.

I’ve met most of the raw-food leaders personally, and I’ve even worked with many of them. I’ve even personally coached hundreds of people to succeed with a raw food lifestyle.

And after all of these years, I’ve come to the conclusion that raw-foodists have the worst dental health of any other “health group” in the world.

What I have observed is:

I high incidence of dental decay among raw-foodists, after they switch to the diet
A high incidence of gum recession and enamel erosion among raw-foodists
Sudden, drastic & dramatic dental problems that occur typically 1 to 3 years after a person has switched to the raw food diet, and tend to persist overtime.

A study done in Germany (which can be found here) found that when subjects switched to a raw-food diet, they experienced a higher incidence of enamel erosion.

I have gone through a series of dental problems myself as a direct result of following the raw-food diet incorrectly (and I’m not even talking about eating a lot of dates here), and I have met at least several hundred people who have gone through similar issues.

I know several leaders of the raw-food movement who have experience an increasing number of dental problems on the raw food diet, and still won’t come clean about it and explain to their followers why this happens.

The “weak link” of the raw diet

There’s a lot of positive aspects to the raw food diet. But the issue of dental health is the real weak link. A person can experience lots of wonderful beneficial effects on the raw food diet, but notice their dental health go downhill.

In my experience, it’s also the number one reason why people quit on the diet after being successful with it for many years.

It doesn’t happen to every raw-foodist. It probably happens to the large majority however, and there is a direct correlation between the switch to the raw diet and the development of dental problems.

The Two Culprits

At this point, if you have the least interest in eating raw foods, you should start reading very, very closely.

Dental decay is not caused by eating the wrong diet. That’s right. Dental decay is actually a *transmittable disease*. Dental decay is the result of the proliferation of certain types of bacteria in the oral environment. The bacteria eliminate acid waste that eat into your teeth and cause decay.

There are only TWO reasons why raw-foodists experience more problems when they moved to the diet. But before we look at them, let’s take a look at what is NOT the cause of these problems. So raw-foodists DON’T have problems with their teeth because…

– They don’t eat enough greens
– They don’t get the proper ratio of calcium/phosphorus
– They are not consuming “super nutrition”
– They are not consuming enough calories
– They eat too many acid forming foods like nuts and seeds

All of the reasons above are NOT why raw-foodists get problems with their teeth. The only two reasons why raw-foodists get problems with their teeth are:

– Underlying issues (the bacteria count)
– Sugar

Once you understand this simple concept, you’ll be able to eradicate decay for life.

What happens is that when people move into the raw-food diet, they are basically a time-bomb as far as their dental health is concerned. Their bacteria count is a little too high, but not high enough to cause major problems.

Suddently, they dump a bunch of sugar into their mouths. This sugar creates a giant feast for the bacteria who feed on them.

So in that sense, the introduction of a higher quantity of natural sugar is the determining factor. This sugar can be in various forms… it doesn’t matter for the bacteria who feed on them! There is no difference between white sugar and banana sugar when it comes to increasing the bacteria count in the mouth!

And this sugar is plentiful in the raw food diet. We’re talking about:

– Fresh fruits (bananas, mangoes, etc.)
– Fruit juices
– Dried fruits
– Nuts and seeds (which stick to the teeth)
– Raw food “bars” and dehydrated treats
– Dates
– Smoothies (that’s right)
– Green smoothies (that’s right)
– Coconut water

Now… here’s where it gets interesting. Sugar is food for the bacteria.

Normally, you want your bacteria count to be as low as possible. You want to avoid bacteria forming in to *colonies* and creating their own little civilization in your mouth.

If your oral environment is really clean… it doesn’t really matter if you eat dates all day. If the bacteria count is low, you can do that without problems.

So although the *precipitating* factor that creates problem for raw-foodists is the introduction of more sugar, the *real* problem are the underlying issues, so the bacteria count!

The Only Solution

The only way to prevent dental decay for life and reverse a bad situation is to take active control of your oral environment. Just controlling your diet does not address the root of the problem.

You have to move from a regular hygiene program to a *super* hygiene program.

This means:

Increasing the time you brush
Using an oral irrigator
Using a tongue scraper
And going through a daily routine that takes about 6 minutes instead of the usually two, and do it 2-3 times a day!

That’s the only effective way to prevent dental decay and gum disease for life.

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets.