Improper Nutrition Is the Cause of Gum Disease – Guide Part 2/8
Many surveys on ancient skulls show that “primitive” humans were, with only a few exceptions, largely free of tooth decay and gum disease.  This is because traditional societies have benefited from an accumulation of wisdom over countless generations of how to live and reproduce with robust health.  If they did not know how to produce healthy bodies and healthy teeth and gums for generation after generation, then their society or population group would not have survived.
Weston A. Price, DDS, the first research director of the National Dental Association (now known as the American Dental Association, or ADA), suspected from observing the declining dental and overall health of his patients in Cleveland, Ohio, that something was fundamentally wrong with the way we live in modern society. Something was causing increased incidences of tooth decay and gum disease and causing a decline in general health among all ages of patients. Dr. Price’s research was spurred by the loss of his only son, Donald, to the complications of an infected root canal that he had placed himself. 
In order to gain insights and satisfy his wish to learn more, he decided to travel around the world in the 1930s to study primitive cultures enjoying optimal physical and mental health. Dr. Price’s investigations took him to isolated Swiss villages and a windswept island off the coast of Scotland. He studied traditional Inuit peoples (which you may have heard referred to as Eskimos), Native American tribes in Canada and in the Florida Everglades, South Sea Islanders, Aborigines in Australia, Maoris in New Zealand, Peruvian and Amazonian Indians, and tribesmen in Africa.
During his travels he not only found populations displaying healthy teeth and gums, but he was also able to observe the sharp decline in health experienced by previously healthy native peoples once they came into contact with what Dr. Price referred to as the “displacing foods of modern commerce.” That term refers to industrially produced food products rather than real, natural food. Through his words and photographs, Dr. Price’s landmark book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, proves that our modern food and lifestyle changes are the primary cause of physical degeneration, with one result being gum disease.
In 1931 and 1932, Dr. Price traveled to the remote Loetschental in the Swiss Alps. The people of the valley lived in harmony with nature, which resulted in a seemingly peaceful existence. Dr. Price wrote of the superior character and health of these people and the sublime lands of the isolated valleys in the remote Swiss Alps:
They have neither physician nor dentist because they have so little need for them; they have neither policeman nor jail, because they have no need for them. 
This harmony was also evident in the production of food:
While the cows spend the warm summer on the verdant knolls and wooded slopes near the glaciers and fields of perpetual snow, they have a period of high and rich productivity of milk… This cheese contains the natural butter fat and minerals of the splendid milk and is a virtual storehouse of life for the coming winter. [Emphasis added.] 
It was neither good genes nor luck that kept these isolated Swiss in superb health, but rather, it was how they lived and honored their food.
The native Alpine Swiss diet consisted primarily of soured rye bread and summer cheese—the latter consumed in a portion about as large as the slice of bread but not as thick, which was eaten with fresh, raw milk of goats or cows. Meat was eaten once a week and smaller portions of butter, vegetables, and barley were consumed regularly. Soup from animal bones was consumed regularly.
Real Milk Has Been Wrongly Vilified
Unfortunately in today’s world, the once profoundly honored cow’s milk—unpasteurized and grass-fed—which has brought health to people across the globe for thousands of years, is being attacked by our own state and federal governments. This whole, vital food has become an enemy of the state. When you and your friends and family reconnect with real food, you reconnect with the goodness of life. In this state, boundaries dissolve, and enemies become friends.
Immunity to Tooth Decay
The root of poor nutrition affects different people differently; some will develop gum disease, others will suffer tooth decay, and a few unlucky ones will endure both. Because of the similar cause (lack of nutrients), the immunity to tooth decay is still important to look at because it demonstrates how healthy these people were. In a study of 4,280 teeth of the children in these high valleys, only 3.4 percent were found to have been attacked by tooth decay. In Loetschental, 0.3 percent of all teeth were affected with tooth decay.  [Not sure about this footnote.]
Modern Swiss Were Losing Their Health and Teeth
In the 1930s, tooth decay was a major problem for school children in the modern parts of Switzerland. Depending on the location, between 85-100 percent of the population was affected. The local health director advised sun tanning for the children as it was believed that the vitamins produced from the sunlight would prevent tooth decay. However, this strategy did not work. The modern-living Swiss no longer ate their native diets of soured rye bread, summer cheese, summer butter, and fresh goat or cow milk, and as a result, their health began to suffer.
The Nutrition of the Modern Swiss
Foods that the modern-living Swiss ate that resulted in poor dental health included white-flour products, marmalades, jams, canned vegetables, confections, and fruits. All of these devitalized foods were transported to the area. Only limited supplies of vegetables were grown locally.
While there are several differences between the modern industrial diet and isolated native diets, there are two points of significant interest. When you compare these two tables, the key nutrient differences between the diets are not related to rye bread versus white bread. Rather, five hundred calories of the modern diet comes from sweets and chocolate, which are high in sugar and low in fat-soluble vitamins and minerals. These products replaced cheese and milk, which were dense sources of minerals and fat-soluble vitamins.
We studied some children here whose parents retained their primitive methods of food selection, and without exception those who were immune to dental caries were eating a distinctly different food from those with high susceptibility to dental caries. 
Of 2,065 teeth that Dr. Price analyzed in one study of modern Swiss, 25.5 percent had been attacked by tooth decay and many teeth had become infected.  [Unsure about this footnote.]
The same pattern emerged wherever Dr. Price traveled.
In each example of native peoples from around the globe that Dr. Price visited, manufactured foods of industry caused the loss of pristine health when they replaced and displaced the traditional foods of the area. These modern foods included large amounts of white flour, and sweeteners such as sugar, jams, and syrups, as well as sweetened goods and confections, canned fruits, canned vegetables, polished rice, tea, salt, chocolate, and vegetable fats with a relatively smaller amount of milk, eggs, or meat.
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Below are Africans captured by Dr. Price. The one on the left ate a traditional diet while on the one on the right ate a modern diet.
Traditional Diets Varied
Following are three examples of how varied the traditional diets that Dr. Price observed were:
The healthy indigenous Eskimos had several sacred foods, one of which was fish roe from salmon eggs. As they consumed it year-round, it was dried during harvest. This population prized salmon roe as a main food for infants after weaning to ensure their development and growth. Their diets were plentiful in fish, commonly dipped in seal oil, and some fermented. As analyzed in the laboratory by Dr. Price, he learned seal oil was one of the most abundant sources of Vitamin A. They also consumed fatty game meats including caribou, organs from large sea animals, and whale skin. Organ meats and whale skin were found to be rich sources of Vitamin C. Lastly their diet included ground nuts, kelp, berries, blossoms of flowers, and sorrel grass. We noted that their diet was primarily comprised of animal foods with no grains and virtually no vegetables.
South Pacific Islanders ate liberal amounts of sea foods including organs and eggs from sea animals, plus a wide variety of plant roots and fruits, both raw and cooked. The primary food eaten for carbohydrates was taro root; yams, sweet potatoes, and bread fruit were also eaten. Fruits such as bananas and papayas were consumed along with coconut. Sea life of every sort was consumed including crayfish, octopus, lobsters, oysters, clams, many types of large and small fish, as well as turtles. Fish head soup provided an abundance of minerals, and seaweed provided iodine. Even the eyes of the fish were eaten and valued for their nutrient content. 
The Aboriginal diet was a hunter-gatherer diet. For plant foods they used roots, stems, leaves, berries and seeds of grasses and a native pea eaten with tissues of large and small animals. The large animals available are the kangaroo and wallaby. Among the small animals they have a variety of rodents, insects, beetles and grubs, and wherever available various forms of animal life from the rivers and oceans. Birds and birds’ eggs are used where available. 
Even though the traditional diets of each healthy indigenous group Dr. Price visited varied quite a bit, there were three defining characteristics.
- The first characteristic of healthy traditional diets was that they contained no refined or denatured components. There were absolutely no processed foods. The list of such man-made items coming into the outposts during Dr. Price’s day was relatively short: refined sugar, white flour, vegetable oils (primarily cottonseed oil), canned fruits and vegetables, and canned and condensed milk.
Unfortunately, the list today is considerably longer. Not only does our diet contain much refined sugar, but also high fructose corn syrup, which animal studies have shown to be worse than sugar. 
- The second characteristic of healthy traditional diets was that there were animal products in every diet. This was Dr. Price’s greatest disappointment. He hoped to find a healthy population living entirely on plant foods, but he did not find one. What he did find was that people consuming a traditional diet expended a great deal of energy and went to considerable risk to obtain animal foods. Important nutrients in animal foods include vitamin A, vitamin D, complete protein, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, cholesterol—which is actually important for brain function and adrenal function, and minerals in their most absorbable form—and the minerals calcium, zinc, copper, and magnesium.
The most important animal food, according to Dr. Price, was fish and shellfish. He found that the populations that had access to seafood had the thickest skulls and best bone structure.
But traditional peoples used many other animal foods including different types of birds, organ meats, red meats always consumed with the fat, milk and milk products, eggs, and reptiles. Also, many, many cultures that he looked at valued insects. In some cultures, insects were the only animal food consumed. 
- The third underlying characteristic of healthy traditional diets concerns the high levels of nutrients in the foods. Perhaps the most important thing Dr. Price discovered was that traditional diets were much more nutrient dense than ours. Nutrient dense foods include seafood, organ meats, raw dairy, eggs, animal fats, and meat.
Dr. Price analyzed the foods of these people in his laboratory. He found that traditional diets contained high levels of minerals—at least four times more calcium and other minerals compared to the American diet of his day. 
Dr. Price had little doubt that the nutrient-poor industrial diet caused gum disease in modern civilization. He attributed loss of bone, including loss of the periodontium, to the body’s need to steal needed minerals for use in other bodily tissues and organs.
We have many other expressions of this borrowing process. Pyorrhea is a now outdated term for gum disease. Pyo means pus in Greek, and rrhea means flow or discharge. Pyorrhea refers to the discharge of pus around the gums.
Much of what we have thought of as so-called pyorrhea in which the bone is progressively lost from around the teeth thus allowing them to loosen, constitutes one of the most common phases of the borrowing process. This tissue with its lowered defense rapidly becomes infected and we think of the process largely in terms of that infection. A part of the local process includes the deposit of so-called calculus and tartar about the teeth. These contain toxic substances which greatly irritate the flesh starting an inflammatory reaction. Pyorrhea in the light of our newer knowledge is largely a nutritional problem.  [Emphasis added.)]
 Toverud, Guttorm. A Survey of the Literature of Dental Caries: Prepared for the Food and Nutrition Board National Research Council. Washington: National Academy of Sciences, 1952. 127. Print.
 Masterjohn, Chris. “Understanding Weston Price on Primitive Wisdom — Ancient Doesn’t Cut It.” Weston A Price. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Sept. 2014. <http://www.westonaprice.org/uncategorized/understanding-weston-price-on-primitive-wisdom-ancient-doesnt-cut-it/>.
 [Mark Fallon, Sally. The Right Price: Interpreting the Work of Weston Price. Weston a Price Foundation http://www.westonaprice.org/basicnutrition/right_price.html]
 Price, W.A. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, 6th Ed. 26.
 op. cit., p. 27
 Price, “Why Dental Caries with Modern Civilizations? V. An Interpretation of Field Studies Previously Reported,” 35.
 op. cit., p. 38
 Price, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, 6th Ed. 260.
 Price, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, 6th Ed. 186.
 Price, Weston A. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. La Mesa, CA: Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, 2008. Print.
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