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Want Strong, Healthy Teeth? Chew on This!

In the beginning, humans mainly survived on plants, berries, and nuts they gathered from the land. Years later, they developed tools that enabled them to hunt for meat. Paleontologists have discovered that around the time we began to hunt, our teeth changed in shape and strength. Do we need to eat meat for strong and healthy teeth? It might be in our bones!

A Little History
How do we know when humans started hunting? Fossils of animal bones show cut marks that were not made by any predator. These bones tell scientists that the marks were made with handmade weapons from hunters. Anthropologists have discovered that it's around this same time that humans began to evolve.

Nuts and berries are very nutritious, but also very low in calories and fat. Scientists believe that humans were able to develop larger brains, grow stronger bones and teeth, and ultimately live longer thanks to the nutrition and fat from meat. The complex strands of proteins and fatty acids are a much more efficient source of fuel and are the building blocks of our body.

Once humans began to eat meat, this became the preferred dinner option over nuts and berries. Their meals were more satisfying, they felt full longer, and they had higher levels of energy to do more hunting.

Why is Meat Good for Bones?
These days, we cure and package our meats. The process adds sodium, acidity, and preservatives which eat away at the enamel of our teeth. Natural, unprocessed meat is not as acidic, making it less harmful to your mouth. Once it's digested, our bodies can go to work metabolizing the nutrients it contains.

  • Protein-the foundation for nutrition in our bodies. Protein helps us grow healthy skin, hair, muscles, organs, and yes-bones! Soybeans and legumes are a good source of protein for those who wish to avoid eating meat.
  • Calcium-the mineral that particularly goes to work to help build strong bones is found in meat. It is also in spin ach, turnips, kale, broccoli, and soy.
  • Vitamin B-12-this helps us produce red blood cells and fight anemia. This is a vitamin that is only found in animal products like meat, eggs, milk, and cheese. People who don't eat any animal products can get this from eating enriched foods like cereal, or by taking a multi-vitamin.
  • Iron-another necessary part of creating red blood cells. In order for the body to absorb iron, you need to have enough vitamin C in your system. Iron is also found in dark leafy green vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, and enriched cereals.
  • Zinc-an essential mineral that aids in healing your body and fighting off diseases. This mineral helps with cell division and helps to form protein. This can be found in nuts, wheat germ, and soy.

Meat is not the only source for healthy hair, skin, and bones. It takes eating a balanced diet full of protein, healthy fat, vitamins, and minerals. And don't forget the sunlight!

Foods for Strong Teeth and Bones
For strong teeth you need to eat a diet that is rich in calcium and vitamin D. In order for your body to absorb vitamin D properly, you must get exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) energy-also known as sunlight. You don't need a lot of exposure in order for this to happen.

You can avoid harmful rays during the hours of 10 a.m. -2 p.m. Wearing sunblock and clothing doesn't mean that you won't get exposure either. UVB rays can penetrate layers, and you only need about 10 minutes a day. Just enough to get out for a walk.

Now that you know what's good to eat and how to get vitamin D, let's start cooking! Here is a list of foods rich in calcium, vitamin D, and protein:

  • Beef, chicken, turkey and pork
  • Salmon, trout, sardines, and tuna
  • Milk, cheese, eggs and yogurt
  • Fortified cereals, whole grains, and wheat germ
  • Soy milk, soy beans, and legumes
  • Calcium-fortified orange juice
  • Broccoli, spinach, Chinese cabbage, kale, turnips, and bok choy
  • Avocados, almonds, and peanuts

For adults and women in particular, it's good to supplement your diet with a calcium pill. There are even options that offer calcium with vitamin D. This fights aging and osteoporosis, helping to keep your bones strong as you grow older.

What about Fluoride?
Fluoride is the element that helps fight tooth decay. It's naturally found in soil, water, foods, and several minerals. Most countries do not fluoridate their drinking water, but the United States still does. It is less of a concern to supplement fluoride in our diet now that we add it to the water. Doctors and dentists may still recommend it depending on different circumstances.

Be sure to eat a good diet and keep your teeth strong-so you can keep eating more healthy, bone building foods!