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Why The Inuit Do Not Suffer from Tooth Decay


Inuit dental care has been a subject of some interest for a while. It seems that the Inuit do not brush their teeth at all, and oral hygiene is delegated to a handful of water used to rinse after meals. Yet it is a known fact that the Inuit simply do not suffer from tooth decay. The question that many anthropologists have asked themselves is why.

The obvious first place to lo is at the diet the Inuit live on. There are no processed foods or refined sugars in the Arctic, nor are there supermarket products sprayed with ascorbic and citric acids for storage. The indigenous people of the Arctic live on moss and berries and seafoods mostly, occasionally eating animal fats. These foods are much less likely to corrode teeth, and will not harm tooth enamel either. So it may seem at a glimpse that the reason for this uncanny protection from tooth decay is not genetic, but dietary.

This interesting article also points out that the Maya living on the Yucatan peninsula also do not brush their teeth, and also have no tooth decay, but their diet is very different from that of the Inuit. The Maya eat primarily beans and corn and rice, and live off of a mostly vegetarian diet.

According to Westin A Price, a professor of dental medicine, surface decay of teeth is not the most important thing to lo for. The human body maintains a calcium to phosphorus ratio, and when that ratio is healthy, tooth decay simply does not occur. When, due to a poor diet, the calcium to phosphorous ratio is unbalanced, the teeth start to rot from the inside out.

While a drastic change in diet might be too much to swallow, a few more home cooked meals from fresh ingredients may very well keep you out from under the dentist’s drill just a little bit longer.

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