Updated: Nov 14, 2019
Dr. Weston A. Price, often called the “Isaac Newton of Nutrition,” was a Cleveland dentist known for his global research which led him to discover the connection between nutrition, physical health and dental health. He traveled the world observing the diets of various cultures, realizing that nutrition directly impacts dental health.
His observations were published in his 1939 book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, where he concluded that the modern Western diet causes nutritional deficiencies which lead to dental issues and other health problems. Though his research received controversial feedback, the Weston Price Foundation has a large following and many physicians and nutritionists back up his claims.
During his research, he studied several cultures in small communities around the world. He visited villages in Switzerland, Gaelic communities, Eskimos, Native Americans and Indians in North and South America, South Sea Islanders, African tribes, and communities in Australia and New Zealand, and collected 15,000 photographs and 4,000 slides.
In Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, he claimed that modern diseases prevalent in Western cultures did not exist in non-Western cultures. The photographs and findings in his book are truly remarkable because several cultures he studies have little to no dental issues. These cultures that had cavity-free teeth were also free of modern diseases such as heart disease and tuberculosis. After analyzing the foods eaten by isolated indigenous groups, he found that they were consuming four times the calcium and water soluble vitamins, and ten times the fat soluble vitamins from animal sources compared to those who eat a typical Western diet.
However, as these non-Western cultures adopted Western diets, which included high amounts of processed and denatured foods, their health declined. He believed this was because they were no longer getting the vitamins and nutrients they needed to prevent disease. In fact, the modern, Westernized diet high in sugar and processed flour and vegetable fats is often associated with poor dental and overall health. Sugar feeds bacteria in the mouth and gut which increases tooth decay and allows infections to grow all over the body.
Based on his research, Weston Price created dietary guidelines with the overall concept that many nutritionists, scientists, and physicians will agree on. He says that eating a diet of whole, unprocessed foods is the best way to reach optimal dental and physical health. Here are some of the main dietary guidelines as outlined by the Weston Price Foundation:
Eat beef, lamb, organ meats, poultry, and eggs from non-GMO, pasture-fed animals
Eat wild caught fish from unpolluted waters
Eat full-fat milk produced from pasture-fed cows such as kefir, raw milk, cultured butter, and whole yogurt
Use traditional vegetable oils such as extra virgin olive oil, expeller-pressed sesame oil, flax oil, and tropical oils from coconut and palm
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic
Eat whole grains, legumes, and nuts prepared by soaking and sprouting
Drink filtered water
Use natural sweeteners in moderation such as raw honey, maple syrup, and stevia
Get adequate amounts of sleep, exercise, and natural light
Take cod liver oil regularly to make sure you you get 10,000 IU of vitamin A and 1,000 IU of vitamin D daily
Cook in pots and pans made from stainless steel, glass, or cast iron
The one thing I really like about this diet is that it doesn’t exclude entire food groups. Even people who have trouble digesting dairy and grains have found that they can better digest these foods in their most natural form. People who think they are lactose intolerant can often digest dairy products made from raw organic milk sources. Others with gluten sensitivities do not get symptoms when they soak and sprout grains before cooking them. Even sugar is not excluded from this diet, but like everything it must be consumed in moderation.
Because Weston Price was a dentist, his main focus was on the connection between nutrition and dental health. It is known by the American Dental Association (ADA) that foods high in carbohydrates and sugars feed bacteria in the mouth and produce acids that over time, destroy tooth enamel and cause tooth decay. However, there are several other nutritional factors that contribute to dental decay.
The main things that cause tooth decay, according to Dr. Edward Mellanby, Dr. Weston Price, and Ramiel Nagel, are mineral and vitamin deficiencies, too much phytic acid-rich foods, and over consumption of processed sugar. Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K are crucial for optimal dental health. If you follow Weston Price’s dietary guidelines, you will be eating a diet that promotes dental health because is high in these necessary vitamins and minerals and low in processed carbohydrates.
Some people have used the Weston Price diet to reverse tooth decay by remineralizing teeth while others use it as a way to prevent modern diseases. And though some may feel best following his dietary guidelines, it is always important to listen to your body and do what feels right for you.
I believe the research done by Dr. Weston A. Price connecting nutrition to dental health is one of the best studies that make the connection between diet and disease. His research is just one of many that prove eating a diet of whole, unprocessed foods is the best way to achieve optimal health. For more information on Dr. Weston. A Price, his research, or his dietary guidelines you can visit the Weston Price Foundation here.