Dental Drama: Tooth Problems on the Raw Diet (Part 1)


Say almond cheez!

NOTE: Before reading the rest of this, please check out my more recent article at Frugivore magazine, which talks about the role of fat-soluble vitamins in dental health—particularly in the context of vegan diets. Although I still think the information below is important, I’m now convinced that an insufficiency of vitamins D, K2, and A are the main reason so many vegans and raw vegans experience declining dental health.

Ah, teeth. Everyone’s favorite subject. In the land of the raw, no topic springs up quite as often as dental woes do—everything from cavities to sensitivity to receding gums to eroding enamel. It’s a little scary. And considering raw foodists probably do more chewing than any other humans on the planet, keeping our chompers in good shape is vital.

Before raw, my own teeth were in tip-top condition: only one tiny cavity when I was 12, perfect dental checkups, never needed braces. Dentists loved me, and I loved them. All was well.

Alas, after my first year as a raw foodist, reality bit me (with its own perfectly-whittled incisors): 14 cavities in one dental visit. That’s not a typo, although I kind of wish it was. I’m still dealing with the aftermath, and will probably never have a bite that fits together perfectly due to the grinding and drilling all that dental work required.

And my experience is an unfortunately common one. Amidst a laundry list of health improvements, many raw foodists find a startling decline in their oral health when they amp up the fruits and veggies and nuts—a paradox, considering that good nutrition and avoidance of refined sugar should improve the state of your mouth, not degrade it.

So what’s going on here? (more…)