I’ve been noticing issues with my teeth, so I’ve been doing some research on possible causes for the problems I’m seeing, and how they relate to a vegan diet (there’s no information online yet about entomophagy and teeth).
While there are various trains of thought on why a vegan diet may be harmful to teeth, those don’t make sense for me, because I’m getting plenty of calcium from eating insects, and I’m not overdoing it on the fruit sugar, my intake there has been similar for 10 years without problems (I’ve cut out all bananas and mangos though now just in case).
Only one thing I’ve found makes some sense, and that’s Phytic Acid, which seems like a paradoxical “anti-nutrient” found in healthy foods, but I’m learning something new every day.
When researching natural tooth healing remedies, the most common culprit is phytic acid. It’s found in grains, legumes, nuts, and raw vegetables. Basically, everything that I’m eating, other than insects, is high in phytic acid.
WHAT IS PHYTIC ACID
According to the Weston Price Foundation,
Phytic acid is an organic acid in which phosphorus is bound. It is mostly found in the bran or outer hull of seeds. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in improperly prepared whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
Up to 80 percent of the phosphorus—a vital mineral for bones and health—present in grains is locked into an unusable form as phytate.
Wait, what? That sounds terrible, so you mean that all the calcium and other minerals that I’m getting from my foods, I actually might not be getting from my foods, because of this phytic acid anti-nutrient robbing it? That’s depressing.
So why doesn’t that happen to people on a meat-eating diet?
Well, because healthy teeth need fat-soluble vitamins, which usually come from animal products, including cod liver oil, butter, milk, etc.
The best info I found is on the following links, they’re long and detailed, but if you’re looking for info on vegan tooth health or have cavities or other problems with your teeth on a vegan (or entovegan) diet, give them a read, they’re very thorough.
MY TEMPORARY DIETARY SOLUTIONS
I’m determined to stay Entovegan until at least the end of the year (and then evaluate), but I’m not really interested in sprouting my quinoa for 30 hours before I eat it. So in order to slow the damage to my teeth, here are the changes I’ve made thus far:
- Steaming my spinach, broccoli, and other veggies instead of eating them raw (my teeth are less green than before)
- Cutting out mangoes and bananas from my smoothies, cutting portion size in half, and using lower-sugar fruits
- Brushing my teeth immediately after every time I eat (yeah, literally 5 or 6 times per day…talk about anal retentive)
- Oil pulling using coconut oil, 2-3 times per day
- Increasing my intake of coconut oil and consumption of avocado
- Avoiding additional sugars (ie lowering my fruit intake considerably from what it normally is)
I’m also going to look for kelp oil, as it’s a source of omega-3’s, and cod liver oil / fish oil in general isn’t vegan. Insects are also a source of omega-3’s, but perhaps even with the amount of cricket powder I’m ingesting I’m still not getting enough.
And the final thing, I’m going to visit the dentist for the first time in literally like 25 years to get my teeth cleaned. Naysayers will say “well duh you moron, that’s why you are having tooth issues”, but that’s overly simplistic.
- I haven’t been to the dentist because I take good care of my teeth and haven’t had any problems, so haven’t seen the need
- I have been eating tons of fruits and quinoa etc in the tropics for more than a decade, with zero tooth problems.
Literally the only major change in the past decade or so has been cutting meat completely the past 7 months. And over the past 3-4 months I’ve started noticing changes in my teeth.
MOVING FORWARD AS AN ENTOVEGAN
The frustrating part for me is that my body feels GREAT, but my teeth are concerning. I lifted again with my buddy this morning and was telling him about my frustrations and confusion with this whole thing, because it doesn’t make sense to me that I’d be having mineral deficiency of some sort from phytic acid bonding with the minerals I need, when my muscles are getting stronger, recovery time is quick, and my energy is better than it has been in years.
So I’m still not totally sold on my tooth issues for sure being caused by phytic acid, or anything perhaps other than a coincidence of timing (maybe after 25 years my teeth decided I should go see a dentist finally), but one way or another I will get it figured out.
If nothing else, I have learned about sprouting grains and another reason for the importance of probiotics and proper gut health, so no complaints about the education! But I’m hoping I can find a long-term solution that works for both body and teeth.