The Dental Diet
The Surprising Link between Your Teeth,
Real Food, and Life-Changing Natural Health
Foreword by Mark Hyman
321 pages in hardcover
(201 pages narrative and diet overview,
with the remainder being recipes, cites and index)
Review edition: 2019-03-08
As is customary for my book reviews on The Undoctored Inner Circle site,
the read was undertaken to determine if this book might provide health
benefits (in this case dental) beyond what might be expected by
someone already following the latest program advice here
(Undoctored book, or 2014+ Wheat Belly Total Health).
In a nutshell, what the book advocates contained no major surprises, but what
it didn’t state was a bit shocking.
What It Is About
“Dental school had taught me how to treat these issues, not prevent them.”
“We’re effectively a species that has forgotten how to feed itself.”
The procedure mill was wearing on him, until discovering Weston A. Price on
a bookshelf while on vacation (and the book contains a concise
synopsis of WAP’s grand tour). While pondering that, his own health started
taking a concerning turn, despite being low- or no-added-sugar.
The diet shift began as self-experiment.
Much of what we take for granted in dental care needs to be seen as a
cautionary horror show, a warning that something is seriously awry,
and the solution is not oral surgery.
Lin dates the rise in tooth decay to 10-14K years BP, and malocclusion
and wisdom tooth impaction to much more recently; the 18th century.
Maxilla/mandible: Dr. Davis often shines some light on dental carries and gum
disease, but Lin further covers overall jaw mal-development, and its wider
consequences. A subtext here that opportunities for remediation in adults
may be limited. The information is crucial for parents and pre-parents.
If you or your child are mouth-breathers, do what you can to fix that,
and strategies are included.
A hint for other enlightened ancestral diets might be: favor foods that
require chewing — and chew them. Eschew the food processor and blender
insofar as possible.
Coverage of various micronutrients is spread throughout the book:
A, collagen, Ca, D3, K2 (MK-4, MK-7), Mg, ω3, Zn.
150-200mg MK-7 is suggested. Food sources are advocated, but other
than for the K2, no doses, marker tests or marker targets
are suggested. The Omega 3 discussion does not drill down to
DHA&EPA. He endorses cod liver oil, and consequently has to
caveat on Vitamin A overload. The K2 content appears to be
influenced by Masterjohn.
There’s coverage of the shift in oral microbiome over time,
dating to the dawn of the agricultural era, and to about 1850
(rise of food as an industry). He advocates probiotics and prebiotics
(and interestingly, by those terms) but no products or numbers, and
no specific recommendations on species and strains that might
comprise a suitable oral probiotic.
He recognizes that grains become sugars, but seems to think that soaking,
sprouting and fermenting makes them safer to consume.
He’s aware of Fasano’s work, but didn’t mention zonulin, WGA or even gliadin per se.
He warns about refined oils, but neglects to get into the key distinction
between his recommended oils, and the excess linoleic acid in the
industrial grain and legume oils (he instead tends to blame
the nutrients processed out).
He’s down on dairy, due to uncertain lactase status of humans,
pasteurization (which kills the lactobacs), and homogenization.
But he does advocate high fat, and laments the difficulty of
evangelizing that with low fat dogma still at large.
There’s a discussion about nutritional lipidology, but it’s
not even as deep as one of Dr. Davis’
He discusses human breast milk as a nearly perfect food (at least
for an infant), but no advice on duration, or formula if that
source is lost.
He recites the Ancel Keys 7-countries cherry-picking saga,
but doesn’t appear aware of the buried MCE data found in Ancel’s basement,
which amounted to concealment of the effects of ω6LA.
That, of course, was pretty recent, and might have escaped his notice.
A big chunk of the book is an overview of his proposed diet, tools and
ingredients you might need, recipes, and a 40-day meal plan.
He prohibits "white flour", allows "whole grain", and wants to limit
"sugar" to 5 grams per day. I’m wondering if he’s ever checked BG
in the wake of whole grain consumption.
The recipes look fine, and appear to include no problematic ingredients,
but no macronutrients are listed.
He’s not a fan of any sort of sweeteners, but I’m wondering if he’s dug
into the alternative-naturals beyond stevia. Anyway, if you were wondering about a
role for Xylitol in dental health, it’s not in the book.
Overall impression: dental diet, and diet only, release candidate, rev 0.9.
Before opening this book, I started a text file for keeping notes, and made a list
of dental hygiene topics on which I was curious to discover Dr. Lin’s opinion.
The list wasn’t terribly comprehensive, but included:
tooth brush, tooth paste, mouth wash, routine cleaning, fillings (amalgam vs.
composite), root canals, fluoride
The book discussed none of those topics, other
than to mention routine tooth brushing in terms that were not exactly ringing endorsements.
My impression is that this was not oversight, or out-of-scope
for a diet book. This looks to me like deliberate omission.
The subtext then might be:
optimal dental care consists of not needing any.
Perhaps the title of the book should have been:
Undented and Undonted
So beyond dietary advice that people already following an enlightened ancestral diet don’t need,
and a breathing tweak, the book was disappointing. If you were seeking
advice, in an Undoctored context, on any of…
- Is routine home dental care even needed, and if so,
how to optimize it, such as:
- How to pick a toothpaste.
- Picks, flossing, irrigation?
- Fluoride: benefit, null, hazard?
- Mouthwash, and heck, what about municipal water chemicals?
- Is routine professional cleaning even needed? If so, how often?
- What (if anything) to do about existing mercury amalgam fillings.
- What (if anything) to do about existing root canals.
- How to pick a dentist if one is needed.
- What to do about pre-existing cavities.
- What to do (if anything) about missing teeth.
- Natural alternatives to consider vs. periodontal surgery.
- Best practices if tooth crowding is already in situ.
- How to optimize oral microbiome.
…this is not the book you were looking for.