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As discussed in the previous post, a healthy mouth supported by good dentistry and proper diet are key to disease prevention. The precept “Let your food be your medicine and let your medicine be your food” is usually attributed to either Hippocrates, a fifth century B.C. Greek physician, or to Galen, a 2nd century B.C. Roman physician.  So, although the idea is far from new, it took ‘pioneers’ in the ‘health food’ movement to influence consumers with the idea that food should, in fact, offer healthy nutrition. Dr. Bieler, creator of the well known Bieler broth recipe,  Jethro Kloss, author of Back to Eden, and  Bernard Jensen, the well-known nutritionist  began to steer people back to that way of thinking.    Other influential writers who have been thought leaders in this area include Paavo Airola, Adele Davis and Jeraldine Saunders.

In dentistry, the most influential person regarding the impact of diet and nutrition on dental health and disease was Dr. Weston Price, who founded the National Dental Association and was its President from 1914 to 1928.  The NDA became the research department of the American Dental Association, which is the modern day educational and regulatory body of the dental profession.   In 1939, Dr. Price published Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, which assessed the impact of diet on the various cultures he found on his travels.  In his encounters with Aborigines, Native Americans and Polynesians, he found that wherever processed foods replaced the traditional diet, there was a corresponding increase in dental problems and in disease.

These observations lead to his conclusion that the staples of the modern Western diet like sugar, flour and processed vegetable fats, were an underlying cause of many dental and health issues due to a deficiency of minerals, lack of fiber and other nutritive factors.