We all have germs in our mouths, no matter how hard or how much we brush and floss. When the germs in our mouths encounter PROCESSED FERMENTABLE CARBOHYDRATES, they begin to produce acids and toxins which cause mineral loss in teeth and inflammation in the gums. When these conditions progress, the result is cavities, gingivitis and gum disease. For a bit more information on the subject, see my article here.
So, We can obviously see that a diet containing no processed fermentable carbohydrates is key to avoiding cavities. But wait, there’s more. Just eliminating one type of food without regard to our overall nutritional status can be dangerous. As an example, vitamin B12 can only be obtained by ingesting animal products. For that reason, many vegans can become B12 deficient in time if not supplementing with artificial B12. In the context of preserving tooth enamel, it is essential to have healthy saliva. I have written about those nutrients here.
So what diet eliminates processed carbohydrates and contains all of the nutrients to establish healthy saliva? As you can guess, the Paleo Diet can work, but only if done properly. The version that is including paleo cookies and the like is not going to work for those of us who want to avoid decay.
Most of my patients who are “dieting” lately are doing a version of paleo that has been around a long time, but has of late been seized upon by the masses. It is called the ketogenic diet, or keto for short. The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that offers many health benefits. Since it is low carb, and fats and proteins don’t contribute to tooth decay, it is a winner in my book. Rudy Mawer does a fine job of explaining the diet in his article here. This diet can be done within the contextual framework of the paleo diet for those leaning that way. It is most similar to The Atkins Diet when not done with paleo in mind.
In summary, I am not suggesting anyone needs to run out and do keto now or any time. I try to stay away from recommending specific diets in my practice (yes it is true!) I recommend including specific nutrients and avoiding certain dietary elements. The keto diet when done correctly is a great choice for those ready willing and able.