When in America, Do as the Romans: A Diet for Stopping Tooth Decay
In 2015, archaeologists announced they had analyzed dozens of sets of remains excavated from the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. After performing CAT scans on 30 individuals, the archaeologists made some interesting medical findings – among them, that the ancient Romans had no signs of tooth decay. Even before Mt. Vesuvius erupted in AD 79, Pompeiians appeared to have no use for dentists, indicating diet was the primary factor in preventing tooth decay.
What can Edmond dentists learn from the Ancient Pompeiians?
- The ancient Romans ate almost no sugar.
- The only sugars eaten by ancient Romans were those naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables. By contrast, American diet is full of added sugar, which teams up with plaque to eat away at tooth enamel. Particularly harmful are sticky sweets, like gummies and caramels, and sugary drinks like sodas; both tend to coat the tooth’s surface and promote increased decay. Substitute healthy snacks and bottled water instead.
- Ancient Romans ate a great deal of fruits and vegetables.
- Leafy green vegetables are a good source of calcium, which is a key to preventing tooth decay. Other good sources are milks, cheeses, yogurts and other dairy products. Just be mindful of added sugars, which can have the opposite effect on teeth.
- Ancient Romans ate whole grains.
- Whole grains are fiber rich, and along with fruits and vegetables, stimulate saliva production, which can decrease tooth decay. Also, whole grains are high in B vitamins and iron, which can help keep gums healthy.
- Ancient Romans drank fluoridated water.
- Archaeologists found that the water that supplied Pompeii was likely high in fluoride. Modern day fluoride treatments help make teeth more resistant to the attacks of plaque, bacteria, and sugars in the mouth. Make sure you follow your dentist’s prescribed fluoride routine.
In general, Americans have a lot to learn from a healthy Roman or Mediterranean diet, and it can have a surprisingly positive effect on your oral health. Ballinger Family Dentistry is a family dentist in Edmond OK that is committed to helping your family maintain excellent oral health.