…why do modern cultures have so many dental problems?
An oldie but goodie from Dr. Stephan Guyenet:
Our ancestors had straight teeth, and their wisdom teeth came in without any problem. The same continues to be true of a few non-industrial cultures today, but it’s becoming rare. Wild animals also rarely suffer from orthodontic problems.
Today, the majority of people in the US and other affluent nations have some type of malocclusion, whether it’s crooked teeth, overbite, open bite or a number of other possibilities.
I rarely hear dentists or orthodontists talk about these ideas. Wonder why.
Some of us do talk about it, but no one much cares; there’s a wave growing, but it’s counter-culture to the production crowd. There’s more money to be made by not talking about it, and that devalues what we can offer. Mt. Dew has a nutritional label on it, expansion of a dental arch has more beneficial effects than just a pretty smile. But the powers that be stifle healthy conversation. Does your dentist routinely do a periodontal exam on you?
Hi, Dennis. He has his staff measure my “pockets” every visit, if that’s what you mean.
Exactly what I mean, but I’m always surprised by how many new patients (from other practices) have NEVER had this procedure done. Kudos to yours!
My father was a dentist and was very concerned about this – but as one of the few dentists practicing in a small town he hardly had the time (or the inclination) to publish research papers on the topic, and found that people were generally not receptive to being told what to feed their children by a dentist. My mother-in-law steadfastly refuses to believe that what you eat has any impact on how your teeth form, only that sugar can cause cavities – and I’m pretty sure her attitude is typical of her generation. Nowhere in any school curriculum is dental formation discussed and there is a pervasive cultural assumption that genetic factors are about 90% responsible for what drives dental development. That’s a lot for dentists – whose opinions are far less highly regarded than doctors – to swim against. I’m sure there are plenty who understand the role of nutrition in oral development but they’re not willing to bash their heads against the wall of public opinion. Dr. Brian Palmer is an exception to this, particularly with respect to infant nutrition and breastfeeding – you should check out his website. 🙂
Thanks for that input, Sarah.