The Link Between Modern Diet and Wonky Teeth

This article explores the link between modern diet and wonky teeth. It’s long been the norm that we’ve accepted that our facial structure is largely down to our genetics. From when we’re tiny babies, people have been making comments about who we look like, mum’s nose and dad’s cheeks.

And while for sure lots of things about us are determined by genetics such as eye colour, hair colour, and height, there’s actually evidence supporting the claim that the structure to our face and the form of our teeth isn’t genetic but down to the type of food we consume. This was first studied by Dr. Kevin Boyd who’s a paediatric dentist from Chicago.

The Connection Between Modern Diet and Wonky Teeth

The Study

link between modern diet and wonky teethWhat Dr Kevin found is that dental cavities and malocclusions or misalignment/crooked teeth, though prevalent now, were actually very rare in pre-industrial skeletons and are also very rarely seen in lots of current non-western cultures.

This was supported by the work of Dr. Weston Price who travelled the globe examining oral health of both civilised groups who ate mainly a modern diet and isolated groups who ate a native diet. In his book he talks about those who eat a native diet having far fewer cases of badly aligned teeth.

Why Are Native Diets Better For Tooth Development?

Firstly food pre-industry was just far less processed than the foods we eat today. Native diets have lots of low-calorie plants and raw meats meaning the person has to chew more and engage their jaw and facial muscles.

The foods we buy from supermarkets are much softer, high in calories and super processed and so naturally we chew much less. It’s believed that this causes under-development in our jaw and consequently crooked teeth.

What We’ve Accepted

Socially we’ve come to the conclusion that wonky teeth are down to genetics and thumb sucking, but this needs to be challenged. We already know some of the harm poor diet can do to our teeth with more and more people opting to avoid the fizzy drink aisle, but there’s an argument that this just isn’t enough. The food and drinks we consume and the modern ultra processed diet is having catastrophic effects on our bodies. A health survey conducted in the UK in 2021 revealed that 25.9% of the population is now obese and a further 37.9% are overweight.

What Can We Do?

It’s so easy to sit back and say… eat a better diet, but what does this mean? Is a good diet eating your five fruits and vegetables and still having a coke a day? Or is a good diet eating whatever makes you happy? Each one of us is different and we all react differently to what we consume. Some people have a better relationship with protein than others with carbs, much of it is trial and error.

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A good guide to follow is to be eating a variety of thirty different plants a week, this will help you get all the vitamins and minerals you need as well as providing your teeth with a crunchy diet that needs a bit of chewing! Of course, cutting down on sugar and processed food is important but not to be cut out all together! Life is for living after all.

Final Thoughts

We hope you found this article about the link between modern diet and wonky teeth just as interesting and insightful as we did. If you want to find out more about a good dental diet contact your dentist Soho, your dentist will have all the information you need on what to avoid and what to add into your diet to make it as dental friendly as possible.


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