Zombies & Paleos: Preventing Tooth Decay Through Diet

Although most zombies on television and in popular movies are shown to have decaying teeth that match their rotting bodies, the zombie diet actually inhibits tooth decay and gum disease. This is because their diet consists solely of flesh.

The lack of carbohydrates in the zombie diet mirrors aspects of the diet of the hunter-gatherers of the human Paleolithic period, before the advent of agriculture. These hunter-gatherers had very few instances of tooth decay or gum disease. It is because of dental and other health benefits of the hunter-gatherer diet that the Paleo diet is gaining in popularity.

The Paleo diet seeks to emulate the diet of the Paleolithic period. It limits food consumption to meat, nuts, seeds, fruit, and other foods that are found in nature. Exhumations of the remains of the hunter-gatherers of this period were found to have very few incidences of tooth decay, compared to the remains of individuals after the development of agriculture.

How do the zombie and Paleo diets improve dental health?

Tooth decay and gum disease are caused by bacteria that feed on sugars in the mouth to form plaque, a sticky film that coats the teeth. This plaque combines with more bacteria and uses sugars to tartar. 

Tartar is a hard shell-like substance that will accumulate on teeth if it is not removed. When it forms above the gum line, it attacks tooth enamel and causes tooth decay. Tartar that is formed under the gum line can cause the gums to recede from the teeth, forming pockets in which bacteria can thrive. Gum disease is the result, and if it goes unchallenged, tooth loss is likely.

The primary reason that both the zombie and Paleo diets help to preserve dental health is that there are very few sugars on which bacteria in the mouth can feed. Sugars can only be found in grains, starches, and dairy, all of which are the products of agriculture. 

Although the zombie diet may inhibit tooth decay and gum disease, it is not nutritionally sound for the living. However, the Paleo diet, with its emphasis on fresh meat, fruits, vegetables, and nuts, and its avoidance of processed foods, may prove to be a healthier alternative to the modern diet.

Dentists will applaud its positive effects on dental health, while the minimal consumption of carbohydrates may also help with the growing epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Learn more about how your diet can affect your oral health by consulting resources like Dr. Chen & Associates.