For thousands of years humans have been fascinated with teeth, dental care and tooth decay (originally thought to be caused by tooth worms). This curiosity helped take dentistry out of the Dark Ages and allowed it to evolve into the science driven industry it is today. Despite the major technological and knowledge-based advancements in the field, some of the world's oldest foods are still the best for dental health.
Along with the scientific evolution, societies also changed from hunting and gathering to simply buying foods from sellers. Food processing actually can be traced back to the prehistoric ages and at that time primitive man fermented, dried foods in the sun, salt cured and cooked to the best of his abilities. Then, with the advent of canning in the early 1800s and other technologies born out of the Industrial Revolution, man became quite adept at food manufacturing.
At first, there was no arguing the benefits of the food industry. Processed foods made it easier for individuals to get nutrients from fruits and vegetables off-season, allowed for the transportation of exotic foods and to help alleviate food shortages. However, overtime the food processing industry has gotten so good at its' job that while prepared foods are a part of nearly American diet, those items are no longer providing the vitamins and minerals needed.
As a result, America is now known for having the most obese population of any industrialization and despite the extra weight, those folks are also the most nutrition deficient (Gillis L, Gillis A. Nutrient inadequacy in obese and non-obese youth. Can J Diet Pract Res. 2005 Winter;66(4):237-42.). According to doctor Mark Hyman, there are several reasons for why the crop of foods for sale are devoid of nutrients including that contemporary American farming soil is not as rich with minerals as previous generations. Additionally the fact that processed foods are typically stripped of the most nutritional elements and instead on fillers such as corn syrup, salt, sugar and chemicals.
Despite the shortcomings in the food processing industry, individuals can gain control over their nutrition by eating a diet less reliant on processed foods and more aligned with the government's nutrition plate guidelines. Aside from eating whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and lean proteins, individuals who incorporate three specific ancient foods into their diets will not only love the options but also get incredible dental health benefits!
Popcorn is a popular snack food; estimates suggest that America produces 498,000 tons of popcorn each and every year. Our country's taste for the whole grain can be traced to the original inhabitants. Excavations have found evidence that Native Americans noshed on the food in 3600 B.C. in New Mexico. Older proof of the food was found in Peru and dated further to 4700 BC. This ancient food is one of the best for dental health.
A popped kernel of corn contains cereal germ, endosperm and bran, the nutritional components that make up whole grain. As a result popcorn delivers dietary fiber (fiber rich foods can help lower levels of dental plaque and reduce the odds of dental problems including tooth decay, cavities, gum disease and tooth loss) and 300 milligrams of polyphenols (that can help control inflammation for gum disease sufferers).