… The Real Diet …
the “Next Best Thing”

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
February 26, 2018 [printfriendly]




The Real Diet - the "Next Best Thing"


Fads come and go – especially dieting fads. It’s always the “next best thing” that replaces the previous “next best thing”. These diets seem to work to some extent until they don’t. Or, the fad diet you’re on makes you sick. What do you do? Move onto the “next best thing”?


Some of these diets are based on facts. Most of them are based on hype and anecdotal justifications. When a celebrity endorses a new fad diet, the masses rush in to become a part of the “next best thing”.


This style of dieting sets you up for one experiment after another. The Real Diet, which I’ll discuss near the end of this article, should complement your body’s requirements to survive and thrive. It should be a lifestyle diet and not a “next best thing” diet.



Timeline of Diets

Rene Lynch wrote an excellent article, which sets up a timeline of major diet crazes.[1] There are many diets that have gone in and out of favor over the decades. I’ve summarized some of the earliest ones as well as some of the more bizarre ones below:


1830: One of the first “diet crazes” was created by Reverend Sylvester Graham. He emphasized a high-fiber diet based on whole grain breads. His work inspired the manufacturing of graham flour and graham crackers.


1863: William Banting was an Englishman who was obese. To improve his own health and lose weight, he developed a low-carb diet and wrote about it in “Letter on Corpulence”. He was the first to popularize a weight-loss program based on limiting carbohydrates, especially starchy and sugary foods.


1925: Of all things, there was The Cigarette Diet.  Lucky Strike, a brand of cigarette, created an advertising campaign with the slogan, Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet”.


1928: The Inuit Diet became popular with the publication of “Studies on the Metabolism of Eskimos” by Peter Heinsbecker. His book emphasized eating meat, raw fish, and whale blubber.


1930: The Grapefruit Diet was a 12-day crash diet. It required eating a grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice at each meal.


1934: The Banana and Milk Diet was created by a medical doctor at Johns Hopkins University for his patients with diabetes. The diet consisted of eating four to six bananas and drinking three to four glasses of milk every day for two weeks. Then, for the next two weeks, patients would eat only meat, fish, eggs and vegetables, avoiding other fats or carbohydrates.


1950: The Cabbage Soup Diet is still popular today. It’s a 7-day diet that consists mainly of fat free cabbage soup, eaten two to three times a day. Other specific foods are allowed as the diet progresses over the course of 7 days.


1962: The Drinking Man’s Diet was published by Robert Cameron. He suggested dieters should count carbs and not calories. He stated that his diet, “… would let you have two martinis before lunch, and a thick steak generously spread with Sauce Béarnaise, so that you could make your sale in a relaxed atmosphere and go back to the office without worrying about having gained so much as an ounce.”


1975: The Cookie Diet was the baby of Dr. Sanford Siegal, a physician who specialized in treating overweight patients. He created a low-calorie cookie made with his secret “hunger-controlling” formula. These cookies were touted to keep appetite down and calorie-count low. There was a scheduled plan for eating Dr. Siegal’s cookies during the day along with a low-calorie meal for dinner.


1976: The Sleeping Beauty Diet suggested that being sedated is necessary to help people lose weight. It recommended taking sedatives when hungry to avoid eating too much. In essence, a person would sleep instead of eating.


1981: Judy Mazel created The Beverly Hills Diet to help her lose weight. It was based on the actions of enzymes on various foods as they were being digested. The diet detailed when specific foods could be eaten and in what combinations they should be eaten.



The Real Diet

Enter The Real Diet.


It’s not a fad at all; it’s a lifestyle. It’s my “slogan” for what humans have been eating over the course of evolution – different foods based on different locations throughout the world.


For the last 200,000 years or so, modern humans – our primal ancestors – have learned to survive and thrive on the foods that were endemic to the areas of the world where these people lived. The DNA of our ancestors slowly evolved to become the blueprint, which guides our lives today. Our gut microbiome, which is continuously evolving more rapidly than our human cells, plays one of the most important roles in our overall health.[2] Our human cells and our gut microbiome require specific foods to provide the nutrients for us to survive and thrive, just as was true for our primal ancestors.


There is enormous variation in the foods that can provide our body with everything it needs. However, over-processed foods, ingested chemicals and medicines, and an overly-antiseptic lifestyle have caused our cells and our microbiome to malfunction.


Fad diets are not the answer. The “next best thing” should be The Real Diet. We need to return to a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory way of eating supported by a lifestyle embedded with efficient exercise, restorative sleep, and reduction in all forms of stresses on the body.



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Does Gum Disease Cause CVD?

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
May 15, 2017 [printfriendly]



Does Gum Disease Cause CVD?Does gum disease cause CVD (cardio vascular disease)? This is a critical question. It needs to be answered, if possible. I will offer my opinion shortly. But first…


3 Peer-Reviewed Papers

The prestigious journal Circulation published an article in 2012 titled, Periodontal disease and atherosclerotic vascular disease (ASVD): Does the evidence support an independent association?


The conclusion of this important paper stated that there is an association between periodontal disease and CVD (cardiovascular disease). However, the authors could not find a causal relationship. In other words, there was no evidence that the treatment of periodontal disease would prevent ASVD. The authors went further to suggest that there could be unknown factors that might be causing both chronic diseases.


The Postgraduate Medical Journal published an article in April 2017 titled, High-risk periodontal pathogens contribute to the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.


The authors of the article stated that periodontal disease, due to its high-risk pathogens, is a contributory cause of atherosclerosis.


On May 4, 2017, the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease published an article titled, Is periodontitis a comorbidity of COPD or can associations be explained by shared risk factors/behaviors?


These authors suggested that periodontal disease and COPD most likely share common causes. The authors proposed that these common causes also might be those related to other chronic diseases like CVD.


A Vicious Cycle

My research suggests that a common source of chronic diseases of the human body could begin with the gut. Unhealthy bacteria could overgrow in the gut because of various insults – damaging food choices, lack of necessary nutrients, toxic and irritating substances. The bad bacteria and irritating substances in the gut could cause leakage in the intestinal lining that could allow bad things to seep into the blood system. Our immune system would then become activated like an army fighting an invader. The result would be chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation could travel to all the organ systems in the body. Chronic inflammation could affect all vascular walls as well as the tissues surrounding the teeth in the jaw. This chronic inflammation could be the initial cause of CVD and periodontitis.


The bacteria in the gum pocket could become unbalanced and pathogenic, especially if they were fed by poor food choices. Importantly, once periodontal infection was to take hold, it would become another continuous source of further damage and infection leaking into the circulatory system.


The vicious cycle would involve the infected and damaged gut being a source of further chronic disease, and the infected and damaged gum spaces around teeth being another source of further chronic disease. Bad food choices would continue to feed an unhealthy gut and infected gum pockets.


My Opinion

Ultimate prevention for CVD would require treatment and repair of the gut as well as treatment and repair of the infected gum pockets. Only treating one or the other will not prevent CVD.


A functional medicine practitioner should evaluate the gut to determine if there is damage and treat it. A dentist should determine if there is active gum disease and treat it. If there is other chronic infection in the body, the source must be treated. A medical doctor must evaluate for various chronic diseases and integrate therapy with the functional physician and dentist to treat them. The goal must be to reestablish a healthy gut and healthy gum tissues. In addition, and probably most important of all, the patient must begin a diet and lifestyle that includes nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods that support a healthy gut and healthy gum tissues moving forward.



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Nutrition & Gingivitis:
A Marriage In Science

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
May 8, 2017 [printfriendly]



Nutrition & GingivitisPeer-reviewed medical research continues to prove a link between nutrition and gingivitis. I see this link to be a marriage in science. The link is not just a correlation; it’s causation. Good nutrition equals gum health; poor nutrition equals gingivitis.


Naysayers need to read the science.


My goal is to educate patients, medical and dental professionals, and anyone else who is interested in the facts. Prevention of gingivitis isn’t as simple as flossing and brushing. Gum health is based on nutrition of the entire body, starting with every cell. Good nutrition and bad nutrition are not only correlated with the health of gum tissues; they are a direct cause.


Difference between Correlation and Causation

Correlation is a relationship between events. When researchers find a correlation between two variables in a medical study, they have found a relationship where one event occurs when another event occurs. This relationship can be positive or negative. However, there may be many more variables affecting this relationship, which the researchers don’t know anything about. Unless all variables are controlled for, there only can be a correlation – not causation.


An example of correlation is the Super Bowl Indicator, which is highly correlated at 82%. The correlation: When an AFC team wins the Super Bowl, the US Stock Market will end the year with a loss; when an NFC team wins the Super Bowl, the US Stock Market will end the year with a gain. Obviously, the result of the football game does not cause anything to happen in the stock market.


Causation, on the other hand, signifies that researchers have found a specific change in one variable that directly caused a change in the other variable – end of story.


An example: Jumping off a cliff will cause physical harm.


In order for researchers to prove causation in a study, scientists need to split the participants in the project into different groups. Investigators would assign one random group the behavior they wanted to study and would maintain a control group that was exactly like the other group but not required to participate in the behavior to be studied. This is known as a randomized controlled trial (RCT).


The following two peer-reviewed papers are randomized controlled trials. They show good nutrition causes healthy gum tissue and poor nutrition causes unhealthy gum tissue.


Peer-Reviewed Research

Dr. Woelber’s Research Published In 2016


Dr. Woelber’s team chose fifteen people at random for this RCT. Researchers only selected those who had signs of gum disease and were eating a diet heavily based on carbohydrates. Ten individuals made up the experimental group, and five individuals made up the control group.


The experimental group had to change their diet. Their new diet consisted of foods low in carbohydrates, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and abundant in vitamins C and D, antioxidants and fiber. The control group did not change their eating habits.


As far as oral hygiene was concerned, researchers instructed all fifteen participants not to clean between their teeth with dental floss or interdental brushes. However, the subjects did not have to change the way they brushed their teeth.


The study began after each group had two weeks to acclimate to these changes I mentioned above. Then, the four-week study began.


Investigators recorded the signs of gum disease (bleeding-on-probing, pocket depths, degree of gingival inflammation) in all participants at the start of the four-week study and at the end.


At the conclusion of the trial, all disease parameters decreased significantly in the experimental group by approximately 50% from the starting point. In contrast, all inflammatory markers increased from the starting point in the control group.


Dr. Jockel-Schneider’s Research Published In 2016


Dr. Jockel-Schneider’s researchers enrolled 44 patients with chronic gum disease. Patients were divided into two groups. At the start of the study, doctors recorded the health of the gum tissues. Also, the researchers measured the level of nitrates in the saliva of all 44 participants. One group, the experimental group, drank a glass of lettuce juice daily for two weeks. The other group, the control group, drank a similar liquid that did not contain any natural nitrates.


At the end of two weeks, the group that drank the lettuce juice, which was high in natural nitrates, had significantly healthier gum tissues and significantly higher levels of nitrate in their saliva compared to the control group.


My Conclusions

There will be those who claim that these studies don’t prove a thing. Some will demand more studies with more subjects to prove that nutrient-dense foods cause healthy gum tissues and that innutritious foods cause unhealthy gum tissues. For me, these two papers prove the science that has been reported in the past. Previous papers have demonstrated that our primal ancestors rarely had gum disease based on skeletal remains. And, researchers have reported that primal societies living in remote areas of the world today rarely have gum disease. Our primal ancestors didn’t have toothbrushes or dental floss. Today, primitive societies don’t have toothbrushes or dental floss. They all basically consumed (and are currently consuming) nutrient-dense foods.


Enough said!



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Mouth Bacteria Must Be Fed

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
February 7, 2017 [printfriendly]




Mouth Bacteria Must Be FedDon’t kill the bacteria in your mouth. Instead, feed them. Yes, mouth bacteria must be fed in ways that keep them healthy. Balanced, healthy bacteria are your friends – not your enemies.


I wrote an article about antibacterial mouthwashes and how they were harmful to the health of your mouth. Actually, antibacterial mouthwashes may increase the level of gum disease. That was a surprise to most people.


In this article, I want to look at the mouth bacteria from a different perspective. How can you improve the existing garden of bacteria in your mouth so that they maintain your dental health?


New knowledge is unfolding. It appears that the answer starts with healthy dental plaque. In fact, balanced dental plaque is important for the health of the gum tissue and the health of the tooth surface. When mouth bacteria are in healthy balance, they are said to be in a state of homeostasis. In this article, I discussed the different forms of dental plaque – the good, the bad, and the ugly.


The chemistry of healthy dental plaque

To keep dental plaque in a healthy state, a relatively new study suggests a necessary chemistry that must be maintained. While this research is in an early stage, the chemistry appears like this:


Some mouth bacteria in healthy dental plaque produce hydrogen peroxide that keeps bad bacteria under control. As long as this process continues, dental plaque functions as a healthy film around the gum margin hugging the tooth. But, events can change.


One change could be the level of peroxide might decrease or be neutralized. If there was chronic inflammation that entered the area, the elements of inflammation could neutralize the peroxide, which in turn would cause bad bacteria to overgrow. Another change might be if levels of healthy bacteria were reduced.


So, the solution for healthy bacteria may come down to two important factors:

  • Good mouth bacteria must continue to grow and produce healthy peroxide levels in dental plaque, preventing bad bacteria from overgrowing.
  • The immune system must be supported to prevent chronic inflammation that could damage healthy dental plaque.


Feed the good bacteria

Healthy bacteria are screaming, “Feed me!” They need nourishment just as our 10 trillion human cells need nourishment. Modern humans have evolved over the course of 160,000 years or so. Our genetic code has become quite efficient in running the machine we call our human body. The natural food supply, physical movement, restful sleep, and avoidance of stressors on the body have contributed to our well-being.


Our microbiome, which is estimated to be as many as 100 trillion cells, must be fed. They are critical for our overall health, and their food source is primarily in the form of prebiotics.


Prebiotics are nondigestible nutrients that promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms. Some of the best natural food sources of prebiotics, which have been shown to improve the health of gut bacteria, include:

  • Jicama
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Chicory root
  • Dandelion greens
  • Allium vegetables such as garlic, onion, leeks, chives, and scallions
  • Avocado
  • Seaweeds
  • Raw cacao


Recent research suggests that prebiotics might increase the growth of healthy bacteria in dental plaque. However, studies need to be performed that identify specific prebiotic foods that will enhance healthy bacteria in dental plaque.


Avoid chronic inflammation

If there was an irritant that was causing inflammation, it would need to be removed. A perfect example is dental tartar between the gum tissues and the tooth. Tartar actually acts like a splinter in the skin of your finger. If you wanted the skin of your finger to heal, you must first remove the irritant or the splinter. If dental tartar was irritating and causing inflammation in and under the gum tissues, dental tartar would need to be removed.


The next step might be to repair the damaged tissues of the gum and the tooth. Also, repairing and restoring the immune system would be critical to reduce and eliminate states of chronic inflammation. To get to that goal, nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods need to be part of the picture.


Real food gets real results

Two examples of significant periodontal benefits from nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods were published by Dr. Baumgartner in 2009 and Dr. Woelber in 2016. Both studies showed that unprocessed foods would decrease harmful bacteria in the mouth and decrease specific signs of gum disease. The choices of food in these studies fed the good bacteria that supported dental health.



Bacteria are not your enemies if you keep them in balance. To keep them balanced, feed them properly and avoid chronic inflammation.



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I Write A Lot. I Read A Lot.
But, I Don’t Believe Everything I Read

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     Nutritional Periodontist
      August 18, 2016   [printfriendly]

I Write A Lot; I Read A LotI write a lot; I read a lot, but I don’t believe everything I read. I am always reading papers of peer-reviewed research on PubMed.gov. PubMed is the go-to site for me to search what’s available in the worldwide archives of published science.


I was scanning through recent articles about periodontal disease on PubMed when I came across this paper. The title is, Primary prevention of periodontitis: managing gingivitis. It was published in the prestigious publication of the Journal of Clinical Periodontology in April 2015. Great article title, if you were a dental geek like me. Detailed review, if you wanted to delve into results of many published papers. But, way off the mark in its conclusions, in my opinion.


Just because you read peer-reviewed research that has been scrutinized by experts before it is published doesn’t mean it’s “correct”. The words “published” vs. “correct” may be as confusing as “normal” vs. “healthy”.


It may be “normal” to have occasional bleeding in the gums, but that condition certainly would not be “healthy”. “Normal” means the far majority of the population exhibits a particular condition. Occasional bleeding gums are “normal” because most people have that condition, but any bleeding gums certainly are not “healthy”.


This article presents information that was “published” many times before, but the conclusions are not “correct” because the human species over 2.5 million years of evolution proves otherwise.


Here is what the article concluded: “All people should brush their teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes with fluoridated dentifrice”. Also, for patients with advanced gum disease, “2 minutes are likely to be insufficient.” In addition, patients with gum disease would need to clean between their teeth and use “chemical plaque control agents”.


I agree that brushing for at least 2 minutes and the use of interdental cleaning brushes are the best ways to clean around and between the teeth. I recommend that to all my patients. However, evolutionary dentistry clearly shows that tooth decay and gum disease are primarily a result of a lack of a nutrient-dense diet and the abundance of unhealthy gut bacteria. (HERE. HERE.) The human species is not deficient in chemical plaque control agents. We were not born with a genetic deficiency in fluoride. If anything, chemicals disturb the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut and mouth. (HERE.)


So, what should you do if you had gum disease or if you wanted to prevent gum disease? If you had gum disease, first the disease would need to be treated properly. Once it was treated, or if you only were trying to prevent this disease in the first place, you should be eating nutrient-dense foods and you should maintain a healthy and balanced level of good bacteria in your gut. (HERE.) Proper brushing and cleaning around your teeth are important, but proper diet and healthy bacteria are critical for health going forward.


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We All Wear Shoes:
But Not The Same Size

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     February 29, 2016   [printfriendly]

We all wear shoesIt may sound like I am going off the deep end again. Not really. This is a metaphor.


We all live in homes, but not the same ones. We all talk, but not with the same voice. We all eat, but not the same food.


Even if we all were to eat a Paleo-type diet, it would not be, and it should not be, the same for everyone. One size does not fit all.


The facts are that nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods are the healthiest foods for our individual cells to function, as they should. Eating these foods is also the major means to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other chronic diseases. A Paleo-type diet is a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet, but there is a huge variety of foods that can be eaten.


Some “experts” say that you must eat a low-carb, high-fat Paleo diet. That may be good for some.


Other “experts” say that you can never have milk products. That may be good for most.


Still, other “experts” say that you can never have beans if you say you are on a Paleo-type type. That also may be true for most.


However, there is no specific way that you must eat to be on a Paleo-type diet. The natural foods that are available in the immediate environment and prepared properly are the foods that become part of a Paleo-type diet.


Primal societies around the world, who have never experienced chronic diseases or tooth decay or gum disease, eat differently. They still eat a Paleo-type diet.


But, here is where diversity ends: No healthy primal societies today (or over millennia) eat (or have eaten) processed grains, processed sugars, processed seed oils, or pasteurized and homogenized milk products. No healthy primal societies today (or over millennia) have allowed their food supply to be tainted with antibiotics, hormones, preservatives, genetically modified organisms and foods, insecticides, and other toxic chemicals and heavy metals.


Put nutrient-dense foods into your body, and remove or avoid anything that is toxic to your body, and you will be eating a Paleo-type diet. There is no one size to fit all.


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Battling Swollen Gums with Super Foods

        Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS       December 9, 2015


Super Foods
Can you battle swollen gums with super foods? Have you even thought about it? Here’s my professional opinion based on science and 41 years of experience treating gum disease.


Swollen gums are frequently a result of some irritant (like dental plaque or tartar) in and around the gum tissue. These irritants need to be removed. But is that all there is?


No! More importantly, swollen gums are a result of (1) eating an abundance of bad stuff like processed foods, unhealthy fats, and refined sugars and (2) not eating necessary nutrients.


Here is a paper that suggests some of the science behind this. It was published in 2009, and the results surprised the investigators.


Before the experiment began, the mouths of 10 participants were examined for various signs of gum disease. These individuals then were placed in a primal environment in Switzerland where they had to gather and fish for their own food for 30 days. To start, they only were given some basic, raw foods. They had no processed foods, no unhealthy fats, and no refined sugars to eat. In addition, during the 30-day experiment, these individuals were not allowed to brush or floss their teeth.


At the end of this experiment, their mouths were reexamined for existing gum infection. The investigators were amazed with the results:

  • The amount of bacteria around the gum margins was significantly increased.
  • The infectious-types of bacteria actually decreased.
  • The participants had healthier gum tissues than they had before the 30-day experiment.


Even though those in the study could not brush or floss for 30 days, they all had less gum infection after the experiment. How could that be?


The answers lie in the healthy changes in the gut and the mouth as a result of the primal foods these 10 people ate for 30 days. These foods were Super Foods .


My interpretation of super foods is straightforward. I am all about (1) eating what makes our individual cells and overall bodies healthy and (2) removing whatever makes our bodies unhealthy. Our mouths are the happy recipients of this healthy lifestyle.


We have 10 trillion human cells that make us who we are, but we have 100 trillion bacterial cells that live within us! Each human and bacterial cell needs its nourishment. Each cell affects every other cell in some way. Therefore, I view super foods as those that are nutrient-dense and anti-inflammatory for each cell.


If you took care of your car’s engine, your car would run more smoothly; if you took care of your body’s engine, your body would be healthier. Give your body what it needs, and your mouth will benefit also.


So what are the super foods?

These are the foods with high levels of nutrients per calorie of food. These are the foods that are grown with no chemical additives that could leach into the food and damage the powerful nutrients contained within. These are the foods that have NOT been genetically altered to create something that our body cannot recognize or use effectively. These foods give you the greatest bang for your buck.


Super foods are the pastured and wild caught animals including their organs and healthy fats. Super foods are the organically grown fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Super foods are NOT the processed foods, unhealthy fats (like commercially prepared vegetable oils or man-made trans fats), or refined sugar products that are abundantly available in the average grocery store. Super foods are those that make up a Paleo lifestyle.


My recommendation: Consume a Paleo Diet, and you will consume super foods. These foods are the nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory nourishment that will help keep you healthy and help keep you from having swollen gums and gum disease. Super foods will battle swollen gums.


Can Food Change the Shape of Your Jaw?

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
November 30, 2015 [printfriendly]




Shape of your jawBeginning about 10,000 years ago, the shape of our jaws started changing at a faster pace than the previous 200,000 years of modern humans. The change in jaw structure coincided with the advent of agriculture farming about 10,000 years ago and then later with the way mother’s fed their children.


Processed foods like baked goods, pasta, and refined sugars were created and grew in popularity after agriculture farming began 10,000 years ago. Processed foods were devoid of many nutrients that were necessary for normal bone growth. Also, eating lifestyles replaced nutrient-dense foods with processed foods. Without proper nutrients, jaw development was compromised.


Processed foods also were very soft and didn’t require much chewing. Since forceful chewing was no longer necessary, the jawbones and muscles did not have to be as strong as they needed to be when foods were tougher and harder. So, the size of the jaw and the size of the muscles began to shrink.


The jawbone didn’t change for all people. For example, today’s hunter-gatherer societies that are located in various spots around the world do not eat any processed foods. They only eat what they can hunt and gather. They have relatively healthy jaws and healthy bodies. However, when some of these individuals migrated to different “modern” societies and replaced their traditional diets with highly processed “western diets”, things began to change. These individuals over time developed chronic diseases and dental problems, and they had offspring with increased dental abnormalities.


Another factor affecting a change in the shape of the jaw was a decrease in mothers who were breastfeeding their babies.  Breastfeeding allowed the baby’s palate to develop and grow normally. When bottle-feeding replaced breastfeeding in the 1800s, infants’ jaws were not able to properly grow because of a lack of normal stimulation from the human breast.  Without proper stimulation, the upper jaw was challenged to grow wide enough to allow room for the teeth to erupt.



My Thoughts


What I have described is not universally accepted. Not surprisingly, there is controversy. But, eating nutrient-dense foods that represent the nutrition of our primal ancestors will provide our body with the necessary fuel required for proper cell growth and function. Eating raw foods as well as crunchy foods like nuts and seeds will stimulate and exercise the muscles and bones of the jaw. In addition, when mothers breastfed their children, these children were healthier than those that were not breastfed. (Here, Here)


Our health and our children’s health are dependent on these primal and natural lifestyles.



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What Did You Say I Have?

        Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS       November 8, 2015


evolution r“What did you say I have? I brush my teeth everyday and floss when I can. Now you say I have gum disease that is eating away at my jawbone! How did this happen to me?”


You are not alone!


A study published in 2010 demonstrated that 93.9% of adults in the United States had some form of gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gum tissues surrounding the teeth.


Another study published in 2012 by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that 47% of the US adult population has periodontitis (the advanced stage of gum disease that eats away at the jawbone). If you were over 65 years old, the prevalence of this advanced infection jumped to 70%. Wow!


Advanced gum disease typically does not hurt. The earlier stage of this disease, which is gingivitis, usually produces bleeding gums. But, if gingivitis progresses to the more advanced stage of periodontitis, the bleeding generally stops as the infection moves deeper under the gums to begin destroying the jawbone.


If left untreated, periodontitis will cause teeth to get loose. Teeth will become sore and painful to the touch. Chewing will become uncomfortable. Infection that is around the tooth root could be pushed into the blood system, affecting other areas of the body. These gum infections could also become severe in the mouth resulting in much swelling, bleeding, and odor. Once the structure of the jawbone is significantly destroyed, the only option would be to extract the teeth involved. In addition to mouth problems, gum disease has been associated with many other bodily conditions such as diabetes, pre-term and low-weight babies, heart disease, and many more.


There are many causes. The most common is bacteria that get under the gums around the teeth that thrive off of the sugars and refined carbohydrates we eat abundantly everyday. Another cause is the lack of efficient oral hygiene, which includes effective tooth and gum cleaning habits. Additional causes are the health of our digestive system, the nutrients that are in our foods, our stress level, and our genetic predisposition. Frequently, habits like gritting or grinding your teeth, even if you are not aware of this habit, could weaken the jawbone and result in further destruction.


You cannot change your genetics, but you can change the quality of foods you eat and your lifestyle, and you can learn to properly clean around your teeth and gums.


Those who read my blogs may know that I am a periodontist (gum specialist) with 41 years experience in treating patients with advanced gum disease. I also am licensed in the laser gum treatment called LANAP® (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure), which is patient-friendly and involves no cutting with scalpels and no stitches. I have found this to be the best way to treat advanced gum disease. In addition, I am a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner using this background to guide patients to a healthier diet and lifestyle. Some of my patients decide to complete a 3-Day Food Journal, which allows me to evaluate their eating and lifestyle habits and then to recommend healthier food and lifestyle choices.


I offer my patients a Lifestyle Repair Plan, in which I recommend an anti-inflammatory diet, selecting from a host of nutrient-dense foods. These are the foods that have a great deal of nutrients packed into each calorie. My Plan also incorporates changes in lifestyle that are critical for overall health. Included are concepts of health maintenance like Oral Care, Restorative Sleep, Efficient Exercise, and Stress Reduction – concepts that I have summarized into simple and doable steps.


My goal for my patients is to treat their active gum infections, teach them methods to maintain a healthy mouth, and assist them with eating and lifestyle changes that could lead not only to a healthier mouth for the rest of their lives but also to a healthier body.

What Would Happen If….?

evolution rImagine an animal in the wild – a cute, cuddly little thing. And let’s say this animal was living 200,000 years ago. In order for this animal to survive and thrive, it needed to chew its food to get the necessary nutrients into its body. As this animal was growing up, something was happening. Its teeth began to decay, and its gums started to bleed. Soon, this fury guy started to have pain when he chewed his food, and eventually his teeth started to get loose. Then his teeth began to rot and fall out. And this was happening not only to him but also to most of his brothers and sisters and their offspring. What do you think would happen over time to this animal species?

The answer is that this species would eventually die off because it could not survive without its teeth to chew the food to get the nutrients that were critical for life.

As a matter of fact, primal man and woman hardly ever had tooth decay or gum disease during the 2.5 million years of evolution. Our evolutionary ancestors ate a nutrient-dense diet and had healthy gut bacteria that allowed their teeth to stay healthy. Then things changed about 10,000 years ago.

As grains become a staple part of our diets, our overall health declined. Today, the Standard American Diet consists of refined carbohydrates, unhealthy fats, lots of sugar, and a variety of processed foods. However, not everybody eats this way.

There are people living today in isolated parts of the world as hunter-gatherers. They eat the food that their natural environments provide. They never have been exposed to the Standard American Diet, and they do not have tooth decay or various degenerative diseases that plague most of the world’s modern population. Unfortunately, when some of these people leave their native surroundings and start eating unhealthy diets in the “Western” world, their health begins to decline rapidly.

The solutions are learning and believing what nutrient-dense food and healthy gut bacteria are all about as well as yielding to the needs of our individual cells.