Raw Food and Oral Care

Article Summary

In this article, Karen Ranzi help you make the connection between Raw Foods and proper Oral Care. You'll learn some great info about eating in connection to your teeth and more.

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When I transitioned my family to a raw food lifestyle in 1994, we did not realize the damage dried fruit, which is quite sticky, could have on the teeth. Neither were we informed of this danger by raw food support group leaders at the time we were transitioning to raw foods.

Brushing after eating any dried fruit is necessary. Soaking dried fruits will release some of the sugar into the soak water, so if you do eat some occasionally, it is better to soak it first. Incidentally, complex carbohydrates and refined, simple carbohydrates stick to the teeth in a fashion similar to dried fruits. Most complex carbohydrates, such as potatoes, breads and pasta, are acid-forming, and produce acid waste products that corrode the tooth enamel.

It is important to be aware that many raw foodists eat excessive quantities of nuts and seeds; nuts are acid-forming and cause acid buildup in the blood. The kidneys monitor the blood for pH, and if the blood becomes too acidic, calcium is leached from the bones, teeth and tissues to restore the alkaline balance, but at too great an expense to teeth and bones.

...if the blood becomes too acidic, calcium is leached from the bones, teeth and tissues to restore the alkaline balance...

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A raw foodist can develop many health problems if not focused on keeping his blood pH toward greater alkalinity by not eating acid-forming foods to excess. Dentists who emphasize prevention point to the high potassium and phosphorus content of nuts and seeds. In addition to grains, these acid-forming foods eventually leach calcium, causing cavities and gum problems.

As discussed earlier, most nuts today are heat treated. We may be fortunate enough to get nuts that are sun-dried, but many are chemically dried. According to Dr. Timothy Trader, “Fats begin to break down at temperatures above 110º Fahrenheit. They start to decay, and become carcinogenic and unusable. The acid-forming nature of eating too many nuts can cause significant dental decay.”My holistic dentist has expressed the raw foodists who come to him with very severe dental problems are almost always eating excessive quantities of dried fruits and nuts.

Any commercially grown produce would be acid-forming because of the chlorine and fluorine, chemicals used in pesticides and fertilizers, so it is best to eat organically grown ripe fruits and organic leafy greens to achieve correct blood alkalinity.

Babies and Children

From the time a baby’s teeth start to grow in, parents are told by the media and food industry that the calcium and vitamin D in milk supports good oral health. “Got milk?” ads appear in virtually every publication, from Parenting to Sports Illustrated and even Cosmopolitan. Society is constantly told to drink milk and eat dairy to have strong teeth and bones. But what about those who choose to follow a vegan or raw vegan diet? Do they just accept the fact that in order for their bodies to be extremely healthy, they have to sacrifice their oral health? Fortunately, there are plenty of plant-based foods that offer the benefits of oral health without the saturated fat, cholesterol and acid-forming nature of milk and dairy.

Some children raised on raw foods have complained of sensitive teeth. Sensitive teeth can often be the result of too much acid in the system – either too great a percentage of nuts, citrus, or dehydrated fruits. For stronger teeth, more alkaline-forming foods are necessary – organically grown vegetables, especially leafy greens. After eating tangerines, grapefruits or other citrus fruits, rinse and/or floss, but don’t brush so as not to brush away a layer of enamel that has been temporarily sensitized by the fruit acids.

Karen RanziAuthor, Raw Food Teacher 

Some children raised on raw foods have complained of sensitive teeth. Sensitive teeth can often be the result of too much acid in the system – either too great a percentage of nuts, citrus, or dehydrated fruits

Transitioning to Raw Foods

When one transitions to raw foods, it’s crucial to take extra care of the teeth by carefully brushing and flossing after eating. Oral detoxification can result during the transition process. Canker sores and other oral detoxification symptoms that result during a change to more healthful eating practices are signs of a body that was overly acidic, and the mouth needs to be rinsed frequently with water and properly cleansed during this period.

Some raw foodists say eating fresh fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries and celery, naturally cleanse the teeth. I once attended a raw food support group meeting where dental cleaning was discussed. We were told fresh raw fruit would clean the teeth and there was no reason to brush and floss, which could actually be harmful to the dentition. Perhaps this can work for some people who live in chemically-free environments and have been raised on pure raw foods, but I would not recommend it to the majority.

Some claim their damaged teeth were able to remineralize on raw foods, but I have found this to be rare. All areas of a healthy lifestyle, including food, air, sun, emotional poise, sleep, exercise, etc. must be at a high level and in balance. A holistic dentist once told me the only time he had ever seen teeth remineralize was in a patient who switched to a healthy diet, practiced yoga and meditation regularly, left an unsupportive spouse, and significantly increased his rest and sleep – a total lifestyle change, allowing the remineralization of his teeth. This was the only time this holistic dentist had ever observed a patient to have remineralized dental structure and enamel. Other reports of remineralization exist.

Canker sores and other oral detox symptoms can result during a change to more healthful eating..

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If your children are away from home and eat decay-causing sweets, such as dried fruits, but their toothbrushes are not available, have them rinse with water to wash away debris from their teeth. A good habit to adopt is to swish the teeth with water frequently after eating. Make sure to have your child brush at least twice a day, morning and evening, with a soft or extra soft toothbrush. When the child is old enough, buy the dental floss simplest to use and demonstrate flossing.

Good Oral Care

Unfortunately, too many raw foodists have experienced tooth decay and gum disease, especially after having abandoned dental hygiene while embracing the mindset: “If it’s raw, how can it hurt my teeth?” But dried fruits do just that. Tooth-destroying bacteria feed on fruit sugars and make their home in the mouth, and only a dramatic dietary change toward alkaline-forming foods can stop the erosion. Many experienced raw foodists have reformed their ways after mistakenly believing themselves impervious to fruit sugars. They ate dried fruits, nuts and seeds to excess, not to mention sweet unripe fruits, dates and honey, without regularly brushing, flossing or rinsing. This resulted in painful and expensive dental problems.

After eating, the pH in the mouth drops to a more acid level, and it takes up to two hours for it to return to its ideal alkalinity. Frequent snacking keeps the mouth pH acidic, providing just the right setting for bacteria to thrive and create tooth decay. Additionally, avoid regularly eating dried fruits, dehydrated cookies and crackers, nut and dried fruit combinations, and dehydrated patties.

Important vitamins and minerals must be present in the diet. Particularly important are calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, boron, and vitamins C, D and E complexes. Leafy greens are highest in the minerals, and organic fruits and vegetables are highest in the vitamins.

I recommend the Waterpik to remove bits of food neither brushing nor dental floss can reach. Whoever has the discipline to do it for two minutes every day, in the long run stands to save thousands in dental work. A thorough brushing with a soft brush takes two minutes to reach every area of the mouth. One or two such complete brushings, especially at night, plus flossing, should suffice to prevent problems.

Cavities are caused by acid-forming carbohydrates, especially bread and rice. Carbohydrate abuse, especially the refined variety, causes cavities and keeps dentists in business. When it comes to packaged cereals, the dean of raw foodists, Dr. Fred Bisci, says, “You’d be better off eating the box!”

Carbohydrate abuse, especially the refined variety, causes cavities and keeps dentists in business.

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A longtime raw foodist friend was thrilled when after years of gum and loose teeth problems, his gums healed and teeth became strong after switching from a high fruit diet to one still low in fat but high in green vegetables and sprouts.

Karen Ranzi (7 Posts)

"Karen Ranzi has been a leading expert in the field of nutrition and child development for over two decades. She healed her son of asthma, chronic ear infections and multiple food allergies 20 years ago through green juicing and raw living plant foods. She is the author of the ground-breaking book Creating Healthy Children: Through Attachment Parenting and Raw Foods, and her new book Raw Vegan Recipe Fun for Families. To find out more and to learn about the books, visit http://SuperHealthyChildren.com. Karen has been living the raw vegan lifestyle for 20 years, and teaches raw food coaching programs based on her research and experience. She shares her articles and tips through her Blog and her monthly newsletter at www.SuperHealthyChildren.com. She can be contacted at karen@superhealthychildren.com. Her youtube channel is also Super Healthy Children, and her facebook fan page is www.facebook.com/CreatingHealthyChildren."