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Local Diets Provide Immunity to Dental Decay

Native Diets Give high Immunity to Dental Caries

The native foods of the primitive peoples of the south Pacific islands gave high immunity to dental caries in which only 0.42% of teeth were attacked by dental decay. The natives had all their teeth including 3rd molars, in what Dr Price called “splendid facial and dental arch development.”

Their selection of animal life from the sea plus certain plants and fruits from the land gave them the nutrition they needed.

Efforts to find interior island dwellers that lived exclusively off the land were not successful. Even interior island dwellers obtained food from the sea under unique arrangements with warring neighbors on the coast.

Studies of Weston A. Price

Weston A. Price, D.D.S. traveled the world in the 1920s and 30s. He planned itineraries among isolated primitive peoples living on their native diets. He examined their mouth and teeth and invariably found little evidence of dental decay.

He also located these same primitive peoples who had been influenced by the white man and embraced his foods of commerce.

This usually came about because of sugar plantation establishment, and the need for labor. The natives were then introduced to sugary foods, white flour products, and vegetable oils, none of which had been a part of the primitives’ diet.

He also studied the mouths and teeth of primitive peoples who had succumbed to the white mans’ diet. Dental caries was rampant in the teeth of those examined. The first generation children suffered from tooth decay, narrowed dental arch development, and crowded teeth.

Dr. Price wrote extensively of his findings in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.

Melanesians Before and After Diet Change

Early navigators among the primitive peoples, the Melanesians, living in New Caledonia and the Fiji Islands, described the natives as strong, beautifully proportioned, and in the past often war-like. The diet at this time was exclusively their local foods.

When a sugar plantation was planned in a desirable location on the coast, the islanders raided the coastal area and massacred nearly the whole French population.

The Melanesians believed their access to the sea was being cut off, and their required fish from the sea was in jeopardy. They had to have food from the sea to maintain their health.

Inspection of the Melanesians on their native diet showed few dental problems, only 0.14% teeth examined showed any decay. Photographs of the Melanesians mouths showed a beautiful array of teeth.

Among those who had traded their native foods for the white mans foods of commerce, dental decay ranged to 30.1%.

Children and young mothers suffered the most. Resistance to dental decay was lost in the first generation of those eating the white mans foods. Abscessed teeth were often a cause of suicide.

Children borne to the 1st generation of those who traded their native foods for the sugary foods and white flour products of the white man, had elongated faces and narrowed arch development.

Photographs portrayed mouths in which there was not room for all their teeth.

With the advent of modernization, the death rate had so far exceeded the birth rate that there was concern that the race might disappear.

Choosing to adopt imported foods over their own native foods proved disastrous for the Melanesians and other groups as well.

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