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).
For thousands of years, chocolate was as desirable as gold. Records of chocolate consumption date the food back to circa 1500 BCE to around 400 BCE. Archaeologists have found proof of cacao growing and use in Puerto Escondido, Honduras, from around 1100 to 1400 BC. During those time periods the cacao bean was typically converted to beverage form and that primitive drink helped kick of the chocolate industry of today. Now, chocolate is one of the nation's favorite treats and estimates suggest that ever American eats 10 to 12 pounds of the treat annually and individuals who go for dark chocolate may be helping their oral health.
Research has shown that dark chocolate featuring 60 to 80 percent cocoa content packs a powerful dental health punch. One study conducted by a Tulane University doctoral candidate found that pure cocoa extract has a similar structure to caffeine. Caffeine can strengthen tooth enamel and lower the chances of developing tooth decay. (Foxnews.com). Other studies have found that the tannins and cocoa butter in chocolate can prevent the formation of cavities as those ingredients will coat teeth with a protective layer.
Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world and also one of the oldest. Rumor has it that the first batch was brewed by accident; the suggestion is that grains were harvested in early Neolithic or 9500 BC, got moist and then naturally fermented and left unchecked. People tested the concoction, liked the taste and results and voila!
While drinking too much of the stuff can lead to dental problems, women can boost their dental health and prevent osteoporosis with a pint of ale. Professor Jonathan Powell of Cambridge University found that ethanol, a psychoactive drug (and the compound that gives beer its' kick), prevents bone loss as it is a great source of dietary silicon. That silicon is present in beer as absorbable orthosilicic acid and can encourage new bone growth. It is the structure of beer that can help women "battle the falling oestrogen levels and bone deterioration that accompany the aging process," (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/18/beer-women-osteoporosis-study-_n_1018387.html).
Individuals looking to get the best dental health benefits associated with the ancient foods are encouraged to use moderation as while eating a diet of popcorn, chocolate and beer can be fun, it is not enough. Aside from incorporating other nutritious, natural foods making a commitment to oral hygiene is a must. Individuals who want to find a dentist to make sure everything is on the up-and-up can call 1-800-Dentist, 24/7 to get the name of a great dental care provider.