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Book Review: Steven Lin “The Dental Diet”

Inner Circle Member Forum >> Food and Diet >> Book Review: Steven Lin “The Dental Diet”

Bob Niland

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Posted: 3/8/2019 7:50:56 PM
Edited: 9/28/2019 5:04:58 PM (3)
 

The Dental Diet
The Surprising Link between Your Teeth, Real Food, and Life-Changing Natural Health

Steven Lin
Foreword by Mark Hyman
Published: 2018-01-09
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’ blog posts.

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.

Conspicuously Absent

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.
___________
Bob Niland [disclosures] [topics] [abbreviations]

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JenB

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Posted: 3/14/2019 4:54:39 PM
 
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JannyLite

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Posted: 5/2/2019 5:22:53 AM
 
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Dr. Davis

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Posted: 5/2/2019 11:47:39 AM
 
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GreenEyedWoman

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Posted: 5/2/2019 12:25:04 PM
 
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JenB

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Posted: 5/11/2019 1:25:21 PM
 
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GreenEyedWoman

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Posted: 5/11/2019 4:36:14 PM
 
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Tags: dental care, oral health,Shanahan

Boo

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Posted: 5/12/2019 11:37:26 AM
 
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ramand

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Posted: 5/13/2019 8:45:36 AM
 
Boo, 
Thanks for that info. 
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