That’s my son Isaac. He’s six years old today. And he’s sporting his Weston A. Price smile. Have you got one? Do your kids? Do you know what one is?
The characteristic Weston A. Price smile is on a wide face with high cheekbones, the dental arch is wide with plenty of room for all the teeth to grow, and the teeth are straight, perfect and clean. It’s THE sign of good nutrition. How do I know that, you ask?
In the early 1900s, Dentist and chairman of the research section of the American Dental Association (then called the National dental Association), Dr. Weston A Price, noticed an alarming trend: more and more kids were coming to him with cavities, crowded teeth, narrow dental arches and facial structures, gum disease, and a host of other problems. Because their parents had such healthy teeth and bones, Dr. Price wondered where the plague of unhealthy teeth came from.
Was it genetic? Not likely, since the parents and prior generations all had healthy teeth and gums. Was it related to hygiene? Probably not since the kids shared the same dental hygiene habits as their parents. Was it caused by diet? He thought so. Most of these children ate radically different diets than the ones their parents had been raised on thanks to the recent advent of industrialized food production & preservation methods.
In order to test his hypothesis, Dr. Price had to find people groups who did not eat a modern diet of white flours, refined sugars, canned vegetables, and processed vegetable oils. So, he traveled the world in search of people groups still shut out of modernized foods to see whether or not they, too, suffered from degenerative diseases and tooth decay.
They did not.
Over the course of many years, Dr. Price conducted a survey of isolated peoples from a wide range of places, including Alaska, Switzerland, Africa, South America, Ireland, and the south Pacific Islands.
What did he find?
These people had almost no cases of cavities, heart diseases, asthma, allergies, cancer, obesity, tuberculosis, or any of the other diseases that had recently started plaguing industrialized civilizations. And they had the Weston A. Price smile.
When they were introduced to industrialized food, sickness, disease, poor teeth, and dental deformities followed. Even siblings raised on different diets exhibited this radical difference in physical health and stamina, so Dr. Price knew it wasn’t merely genetic.
In the pictures above, the first pair are Seminole Indians. The girl on the left ate her native, “primitive” diet, and the boy on the right ate a modernized diet. The second pair are Samoans. Again, the girl on the left ate a diet of traditional foods, while the boy on the right ate a diet of industrialized food. Notice that those who ate their native, nutrient-rich foods have wide faces and straight teeth. Those eating modern foods have narrower faces, crowded teeth, and dental decay.
Dr. Price compared the native, traditional diets to each other to see what they had in common. First, we can note what the diets of healthy traditional peoples didn’t contain: refined sugar, white flour, canned foods, or refined or hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Next, all traditional cultures consumed some sort of animal food from wild or pastured animals. And the whole animal was consumed — muscle meat, organs, bones, and fat, with the organ meats and fats preferred. And, it’s important to note that most of the fats eaten were saturated and monunsaturated fats, with a nearly equal balance of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids. Their diets also contained significantly more vitamins, raw foods, and fermented, living foods. If eaten, seeds, grains, and nuts were pre-treated prior to cooking or eating with soaking, sprouting, or fermentation.
These factors form the backbone of a nutrient-dense diet — a diet responsible for that beautiful Weston A. Price smile.
That’s my second son Samuel. He’s got himself a big Weston A. Price smile, too. Don’t you think?
The Weston A. Price Foundation
Dr. Price’s research lives on in the Weston A. Price Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to teaching, spreading the word about nutrient-rich traditional foods, and supporting research. Each year, they host an AMAZING conference in which they bring together some of the leading thinkers in traditional foods, sustainable farming, and the healing arts.
This year’s is in King of Prussia, PA on November 12th-14th.
Guess who’s speaking? (I wish I could say yours truly, but my new little baby is keeping me at home this year.) But FOUR other Real Food Media bloggers will be there: Kelly of Kelly The Kitchen Kop, Kim Hartke of Hartke is Online, and Jenny of Nourished Kitchen!
Guess who else? It’s like a veritable who’s who:
- Sally Fallon Morrell, President of the Weston A. Price Foundation and author of Nourishing Traditions
- Joel Salatin, my hero and author of Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal
- Jeffrey Smith, leading anit-GMO activist and author of Seeds of Deception
- Dr. Kaayla Daniel, author of The Whole Soy Story
This is your chance to meet the Real Food Media bloggers in person!
Great post! Well done on a wonderful blog!
Julie D. says
My WAP eating boys had beautiful baby teeth smiles like yours (and never a cavity). But now at age 7 their big teeth (which are much bigger than then baby teeth) are crowded on the bottom so far. So I think the spaces between your younger guys teeth are a good sign. I honestly think dental issues (or none) are a combination of diet and genetics.
Dr. Allison Low says
Great smiles on handsome boys!
I have two boys also with the same names. Isaac Levi and Samuel Edward. Although
my boys are 19 yrs old and 17 yrs. old. Great smiles boys!
Aw. I love the name Levi! Mine are Isaac Alexander and Samuel Aidan.
My 3 children all have WAP smiles! You can see my middle child’s beautiful teeth at this link – just scroll down toward the end:
My youngest, now 4, has amazing teeth. Here’s her teeth (the last picture, scroll down):
I’m 31 weeks with baby #4 and my diet this time has been the best ever with cod liver oil, butter oil, raw dairy, etc. Can’t wait to see her teeth too!
Precious pictures! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
cute boy ya got, mama! my son’s 9th birthday is today as well!
The Table of Promise says
What a fascinating article. I am just now getting through Nourishing Traditions. It has changed my life. Price was going to be my next stop–so this is all new info to me.
My two older kids have nice, straight teeth, but, interestingly enough, my younger son’s teeth were not very straight when they came in. Since then we have changed our diets completely and eat real foods at least the vast majority of the time, and I’ve noticed that his teeth have straightened out almost completely. It’s particularly interesting because his teeth actually looked exactly like mine did when I was a toddler. After years of braces my teeth are straight, but I just assumed that he would be in for the same ordeal–that it was just genetic. I think I’m being proven wrong (which will hopefully save us lots of money on orthodontic bills : )
Oh, I hope you’re right!
Unfortunately, we came into the traditional food arena a bit late, when my son was about 4 or 5 yo, but better late than never, eh? It was a fairly easy transition for me as I’ve always been interested in food, nutrition, and cooking. It also helps that I have a somewhat contrary nature and don’t mind not following the herd ;-).
I, too, think traditional, nutrient-dense foods are a critical part of healthy dental and facial development, yet there is more to producing healthy teeth and proper occlusion than a good diet, as I’ve learned over the past few years.
Destructive oral habits including non-nutritive sucking, nighttime and chronic mouth breathing, improper resting oral posture, and bottle feeding can also contribute to underdeveloped jaws, dental crowding, and a host of other health problems secondary to poor bone development (myopia, allergies, TMJ, sleep apnea, speech impediments, etc.). Combine several of these factors and even a nutrient dense diet probably won’t override the forces that create problems later in childhood and adulthood.
In our case, my son was a 6 year thumbsucker (and a champion sleeper from age 7 weeks, so hey, what’s wrong with thumbsucking, right?), and he developed an overjet malocclusion. I went on a quest to find an orthodontic treatment protocol that didn’t involve tooth extraction or retracting the upper teeth (and narrowing the airway). I also didn’t want the end result to be an “orthodontic smile”.
Your post is rather timely, actually, as it reminds me to mention a Symposium on facial growth guidance later in October. There is a session open to the public that might be of interest to readers and WAPF members in So Cal (pre-registration is required, though). The speaker is Dr. Brian Palmer, a retired dentist, and he has a lot of knowledge to share about how breastfeeding and bottle feeding influence facial and oral development.
For anyone who can make it to Westlake Village, CA (off the 101 near Thousand Oaks, northwest of Los Angeles just inside the Ventura County line), I urge you to consider attending this session of the International Association of Facial Growth Guidance Symposium. More information is available at the symposium website, http://iafggsymposium.com/ as well as at http://www.facefocused.com (Dr. Hang’s website).
The host of the symposium is Dr. William Hang, and he is my son’s orthodontist, and he’s no stranger to WAP (or George Gatlin, for that matter). We travel 290 miles round-trip for our appts with Dr. Hang because I couldn’t find another orthodontist in the San Diego area who understood my goal to develope his dental arch into a WAP-type arch with ample airway, not simply making a smile with straight teeth that didn’t jet out. Dr. Hang knew immediately what I meant and shares the same goal – we were speaking the same language! Watch these You Tube videos of Dr. Hang and you’ll see what I mean:
Thank you Anna for sharing about this! You always have such thoughtful things to say. It sounds like a good conference and like I’d like Dr. Hang.
I know I *don’t* have a WAP smile. I’ve got pretty good facial structure, and never needed braces. BUT I definitely have a narrow dental arch (my tongue hardly fits!), had to have all my wisdom teeth extracted, and I’ve got quite the overbite going on. I wish it were easier to heal this in adults. Growing kids *almost* seem to have it easy.
I don’t have a WAP smile either (narrow arch, not enough room for my tongue, some malocclusion on the sides (esp on one side where the arch “buckles” a little), but my smile has never been a cosmetic bother to me. However, I had TMJ headaches throughout my 20s and eventually had all four impacted wisdom teeth removed. Orthodontic treatment was recommended for the TMJ, but I didn’t have the $, let alone dental insurance that would cover adult ortho at the time. In a way I’m probably better off, based on what I’ve learned about conventional ortho ;-).
Actually, I had a consult with Dr. Hang for myself, since I’m doing all that driving through LA for my son; he recommended one year in braces to improve my bite, correct some crowding, open my arches a bit (can’t guide jaw guidance at age 48 tho), and perhaps improve my airway space and sinus issues. I haven’t made a decision yet.
And what you said about growing children reminds me of another point. Most of the orthodontists I initially consulted said to wait until the early teens to start treatment. By that time the window for for guiding jaw and facial growth to create space for incoming teeth is largely gone. Dr. Hang (and other orthodontists with similar views) like to see kids very early for an assessment – age 3-7 or anytime something doesn’t look right or the poor oral habits I mentioned are creating problems. At age 11, my son was near the end of the window to start to start this type of treatment so I’m very thankful to have been pointed in this direction in time. Later on, it requires jaw surgery to make the same kind of correction.
There are other San Diego area WAPF members who drive or have driven their kids up to Dr. Hang’s office, too, so I’m not the only one willing to go the distance! I’ve met patients in the office who fly in from other states, even Vancouver, BC, too.
I love this response, and it is timely for me that you are sharing this info. I have been looking into having my dd treated by Dr. Hang. The issue of facial development is very complex, indeed, especially when the child has generations of bad genetics and diet behind him/her. These genetics cannot be cured in one generation.
I wanted to comment on this because I have one year old twin girls as well as a 13 year old daughter and a 16 year old son. with my first pregnancy, I was 20, ate like crap if I ate at all, gained the requisite 29 pounds and delivered a 7#6oz baby boy who grew like crazy on breastmilk only and was a happy chubby little guy. He’s now 16, has that beautiful wide face with more than enough room for all of his teeth, etc., although his diet as a kid was not that much better than what I ate when I was pregnant with him.
My second pregnancy, I went “crunchy,” drank skim milk only (ugh, I know), semi-vegetarian, didn’t shave my legs or use any “unnatural” products. Baby weighed basically the same as the first. She had the same looks of my son. In fact, they looked so much alike as toddlers that it took a long time for her to be able to tell her pictures from her brothers (I didn’t cut off his curls until he was older). Today, she has braces for crowded teeth. They really don’t look all that bad, just one tooth that didn’t completely come down but the 3 orthodontists I took her to said that she has really big teeth in a little mouth. No extractions were needed, they’re just moving them around a bit for the next year and a half.
Now, I have 1 year old twins. Although this is a second marriage, one of the twins looks just like her two older siblings. Wide pretty face, teeth nicely spaced with a cute gap in the front. The other twin has a much narrower face but she has the same little gap between her front teeth, although she only has 4 so far as opposed to her twin who has 8. The second twin is also 3 pounds lighter and an inch shorter although they were only 3 ounces different at birth.
To back up a bit, I wanted to mention that after my first pregnancy I developed lactose intolerance (which has come and gone over the years) as well as allergies to cats and dust. Years after my second I developed IBS. During this pregnancy with the twins I switched to full fats, ate more meat, seafood, etc., although I didn’t discover WAP until after they were born. I had a midwife and delivered my twins at home one day short of my “due date.” They were healthy babies not subjected to hospital “routine,” toxic sludge in their eyes and shots of vitamin K (they did get a dose of oral K which they actually seemed to enjoy!). But, regardless of their relatively peaceful bringing forth into the world, they were miserable babies for the first 3 months, crying until 5 am EVERY NIGHT and then being relatively cranky all day too.
So what I am saying/asking, is does all this stuff really make a difference? I love eating full fats now, although it took a little getting used to. I am making stock, soaking grains when I eat them, cooking with coconut oil and butter. I have chucked all the veg oil product from our house and am working on cleaning out the rest of the pantry. We canned our tomatoes and applesauce this year as well as beets (haven’t gotten to lactofermentation as it’s my hubby who does the canning, not me). We also have freezers full of raspberries and peaches from our yard and blueberries from a pesticide free u-pick operation. I am happy to avoid as many pesticides and chemicals, GMO’s etc that we can because of the carcinogenic properties as well as allergy issues. But I think that going so far as saying that this will guarantee your kid has beautiful teeth is going too far.
There’s enough to feel guilty about without having to think that you messed up your kids dental future with your diet. And when I look at my 4 kids and know that my diet was pretty bad when I had the first two and much better with the second two but it doesn’t seem to have made any difference in the way they look, it makes me wonder how valid some of this stuff is. I have been reading as much as I am able to while caring for my babies and I agree with most of it but I do think that genetics also has a lot to do with your kids teeth. I have big straight teeth that never needed braces and my kids have inherited that trait for the most part. The twin who has the narrower face is the spitting image of her daddy and he needed braces so I am anticipating that this may be the case with her also although I will pray it is not.
So how do you explain these types of differences? I think a case of twins like this sort of puts some doubt on some of this for me. I’d love to hear some feedback on this and maybe some more references. Just no “new agey” crap because I don’t believe in that. Thanks.
Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE says
The fact that you developed allergies and IBS and had very cranky twins seems to be connected. It sounds like a lack of good gut flora. You may want to try an elimination diet a la GAPS for a period of a few weeks to see if you all react. You may have food sensitivities and need to work on healing your gut a period of time — otherwise you will not absorb and utilize the nutrients you are eating (nor will your twins as they have inherited your gut flora).
It is also interesting to me that your second child had crooked teeth after you switched to skim milk. (What about your first? Did he have straight teeth? Or were they crooked too?)
You say that you yourself have straight teeth. Did you grow up on whole milk or did you drink skim? Did you eat butter, meat, fish growing up? How about your parents?
As far as your twins being different, remember, they are inheriting from both you and their father. But please know that there is PLENTY of time to help prevent braces. Raw milk, grass-fed butter, cod liver oil, plenty of liver and organ meats, lots of seafood especially mollusks — I believe that you can prevent braces in both of these kids regardless of where they are right now.
Interesting too — I had straight teeth as a kid with only slight crowding, did not need braces. Both my brother and sister did need braces.
But a couple things were different in my case. My mother ate grass-fed ice cream every day when I was in the womb. She did it b/c the La Leche League ladies told her to eat ice cream for her milk — she was nursing my sister at the time who is 13 months older than me. The cows back in the 60s were largely still grass-fed. She also ate lots of butter, eggs, meat, etc.
The other thing was — I used to LOVE liverwurst as a kid. I think I was the only kid in our family who ate it all the time. I preferred liverwurst to PB&J or any other sandwich. I really wonder if this, and the fact that my mom ate all that ice cream, spared me from braces.
I think it’s interesting to note that with my first son, Isaac, we didn’t start adopting WAP foods until he was about 6-9 months old. And even then, the transition was slow and building with each year. His teeth are straight and nicely spaced (even gaps), but the gaps are noticeably SMALLER than those on my second son Samuel. With Samuel, I drank raw milk through the entire pregnancy, took cod liver oil daily through the pregnancy, etc. Plus, his entire diet since birth has been WAP-friendly.
I guess it’s really good news that BOTH boys LOVE braunsweiger. We eat it as a snack daily, and sometimes it’s our lunch or dinner.
I have been wondering the same thing. When you look around, what you see doesn’t always line up with the WAFP theories. Some kids who eat crap and have parents who eat crap have wide faces and nicely spaced teeth.
Some kids, like mine, eat this way and still have small mouths and teeth too close together. My husband and I both have the same kinds of mouths, and so do our parents.
I don’t think there is any way our genetics can produce a child with a wide enough mouth, regardless of diet. We will do the best with what we have; no, they do not have a WAP smile, but they have love and security and a good diet.
This explains my “Tyrannosaurus Rex ” teeth. Wow, I did not think my childhood diet had anything to do with my teeth being crooked and overcrowded. I thought it was just that I didn’t get braces. A somewhat related question, do you believe getting mercury filling removals out is a wise thing to do? I’ve had some more holistic doctors tell me yes, (just get them out of there!) and other holistic doctors tell me that it could do more damage than good, as the mercury will be released into my system. What are your thoughts on this?
Juanita — I don’t really have an opinion on this since I haven’t researched it at all. What I do know is that one of my friends had bizarre medical problems until she had hers removed. Only then did she started to heal. So, she SWEARS by having them removed. I think that before and after the process of removal, she also did some pretty serious detoxing (of the sort that cancer patients seeking alternative treatments do) to help the process along.
Beautiful smiles on those sweet boys!
So far my boys’ teeth seem very straight with some gaps in them, but since they’re only 2 & 4, I’d say the jury’s still out on how their teeth will turn out. 🙂
Do you think switching from the SAD has much impact on adult teeth? I have always had straight teeth and a great bite (in spite of being raised on low-fat everything), but I do have a very small mouth and have always had a hard time flossing. Since switching to real, traditional foods a couple of years ago, I feel like my teeth have been changing and are not quite as crowded as they previously were. I wasn’t sure if that was due to diet changes, or just getting old!
very interesting. I think I need to check out dr. price.
My youngest son is 21 months and was born with cleft lip and palate. It was the final straw for me to embrace the WAPF lifestyle. My 5 year old has a pretty beautiful wide palate and face, and his teeth are straight and have space to grow.
But that younger clefty of mine I have worried about more. But let me tell you this: his teeth that have come in very crooked, one of which came in pointing backwards towards the back of his throat, have all been straightening out. I ABSOLUTELY attribute it to his daily cod liver oil and raw milk. The more natto and liver and grass-fed butter I throw his way the better. I’m very curious to see how his years of growth go with the proper nutrition to support his bones and teeth. Cleft kids almost always need dental work and are sometimes missing teeth. I think it would be amazing indeed if my little E managed to use nutrients to fight off his tooth and cleft problems.
For those who haven’t read it yet, Stephan Guyenet, PhD, has a series of posts on malocclusion on his blog, Whole Health Source. I highly recommend the series as it’s hard to find this information so well explained and in one place (actually the whole blog is recommended, as well as the reader comments). I discovered Stephan’s blog a couple years ago when he was a graduate student in neurobiology; he has a real knack for interpreting the scientific literature from a wide range of fields (both contemporary and classic research from the WAP/Mellanby era and earlier), which is rare in this era of extreme specialization, and he fills in the gaps in the research literature with observations of traditional populations. And if you haven’t heard of Edward Mellanby, his research, like WAP’s, is significant to this issue. I have a 1934 edition of his classic book, Nutrition and Disease.
Here’s a link to Stephan’s posts related to dental health; unfortunately the posts aren’t in chronological order:
I don’t claim to know everything about dental health and good dental formation, but wow, in my quest for information the past few years, I’ve been finding a lot of things that are well documented in the scientific literature, but don’t seem to be common knowledge even in the medical and dental profession professions. I guess it just doesn’t trickle down or is sometimes forgotten as new paradigms are adopted. Frankly, I don’t think most dentists know or understand some of this at all (doctors and dentists are trained to be practitioners, not scientists, and very few doctors and dentists probably read the scientific literature outside their specialty, and maybe not even much in their speciality). WAP’s curiosity and drive to learn more was exceptional.
So I have some thoughts after a couple issues were brought up in some of the comments after mine.
Despite what dentists and orthodontists say about “dad’s large teeth in mom’s small jaw”, etc., there is little evidence that most common dental issues are strictly genetic, though there may be trends in families as to which particular maladaption pattern occurs (my son, his father, and my son’s paternal grandmother all developed overjet malocclusion patterns; they were all longtime “suckers” (thumb or pacifier); and have tight lingual frenums (all were breastfed infants, too). I share the same slight overlap of the two central lower incisors with my father, many of his 7 siblings, and his mother (my mother’s siblings all tended to have reasonably good bites, despite growing up with shortening and margarine and many processed foods in the 40s and 50s). So we might see patterns of similar types malocclusions in our families, but so much evidence points more to multiple environmental factors than genetic.
Both of our families had poor resistance to cavities and both my husband and I (and our siblings) had lots of cavities, yet in my family we had twice yearly dental cleanings, triple fluoride exposure (water, dentist treatments, & toothpaste). Our son hasn’t had any fluoride since he was about 4 (and our water isn’t fluoridated), he has poor brushing habits (despite my efforts), yet at age 12 he has zero cavities (knock on wood).
However, even where there are some family traits that seem to be passed down in our family, I don’t think the patterns are strictly genetic (epigenetic, maybe). We all were breastfed, but as Dr. Brian Palmer shows in his collection of research, Western patterns of breastfeeding are quite different than in traditional societies (longevity, frequency, etc.). Furthermore, industrial diets in general tend to be softer and more refined, even when of high quality, and don’t require a lot of hard, long chewing of tough or fibrous foods. As I’ve mentioned in an earlier comment, bone modeling is significantly affected by the action of soft tissue forces (chewing, suckling on breast vs bottle, non-nutrative sucking, loose or tight frenums, tongue thrusting, oral resting posture, various other oral habits, etc.).
A longtime friend of mine (who is also vegetarian for her entire adult life and firmly in the low fat camp since I’ve known her) had her only child when she was in her mid-late 30s and the child was born with a cleft palate. I know my conscientious friend ate what she thought was an extremely healthy diet during the pregnancy – nothing like the SAD, with lots of veggies, legumes, and whole grains, but it was also probably too low in some of the nutrients found in animal fats, esp butterfat, yolks, etc. I also wonder if she might have some gluten issues, which also can contribute to reduced Vit A absorption, as can a low iron status. I certainly don’t have proof, but I wonder if she has been Vit A deficient a very long time and this may have contributed to the cleft palate in her child (please understand, I don’t mean this as a “blame the mom” thing; she is very a very conscientious mother and does as she thinks is best, as we all do). Furthermore, the high intake of whole grains in the vegetarian diet (not prepared WAP style) may have contributed to mineral deficiencies, which would also impact bone formation and development. She also was infertile for at least a decade before finally conceiving. Again, this is anecdotal, but perfectly illustrated a lot what I was finding in my “scientific library” explorations on this subject.
It’s my understanding that Vit A deficiency is a factor in cleft palate (spina bifida, too – and on a side note, my youngest sister recently learned after a spinal x-ray that she has spina bifida occulta). As Vit A is stored in the body’s fat tissues; if there isn’t enough in the diet then little or nothing goes into “reserve”. Some people (perhaps many) are poor converters of beta carotene to Vit A, too. A mother’s Vit A status prior to conception is probably a critical factor in the skeletal and dental development of offspring. Children born to younger mothers, even if the mother is on the SAD diet, perhaps draw on stored Vit A from the mother’s reserves, but children conceived later, even if the mother’s diet may have improved in many ways (but not enough to replenish Vit A reserves), may not have quite enough for optimal development. In no way do I mean to imply that this is a mother’s fault, for most mothers have little idea if they are vitamin deficient, and the conventional wisdom certainly asserts that outright nutritional deficiency, esp in Vit A, is rare in industrial countries because of fortified milk & margarine, etc.
However, there are a lot of females who adopt a vegetarian diet in adulthood and now we see many children and teens on vegetarian diets, and this is worrisome in terms of Vit A deficiency for future generations. Even omnivorous women and “older” mothers may be borderline Vit A deficient because they don’t consume enough Vit A-rich foods to keep their reserves filled (I mean Real Vit A from pastured animal fats, CLO, etc., NOT beta carotene from carrots and winter squash). I can imagine for many women their Vit A intake is like a checking account that is perhaps mostly adequate for daily expenses (their own body’s needs) but little is saved for future expenses (pregnancy); pregnancies draw from reserves and the reserves may not be replenished.
I think this context can shed light on why different kids in the same family can have different outcomes. Even fraternal twins with seemingly the same “environmental exposure”, each have their own placentas and cords, which may develop and function quite differently, as if the prenatal period for each is a unique pregnancy. One placenta or cord may be more or less efficient at its function than the other.
BTW, I am one of those “older mothers” with a single pregnancy at age 36, and I experienced infertility for several years both before and after my pregnancy. I certainly don’t mean “older mother” in any derogatory sense, and I know all too well that no matter how much I “got right”, there are regrets that I did some things wrong or didn’t do enough of the right things. Sometimes it’s hard to know what you don’t know. We do the best we can with our circumstances and knowledge, and that’s got to be enough, even when it isn’t optimal. I’m not into guilt trips. I’d rather put my energy into figuring how to go forward in a better direction.
Ooh. Thanks, Anna for the link. I remember reading that when Stephan wrote them. It doesn’t seem like it, but it’s already been a year!
Yet one more reason I’m thankful that my boys breastfed for 2+ years each.
I love that you drew a distinction between genetic and epigenetic traits. It’s so important! Sadly, most people aren’t even aware there’s a difference — that you can literally turn off and on genetic expression with diet & lifestyle influencing factors.
After I hit the send button I thought further on my comments regarding cleft palate. By no means do I suggest Vit A is the only factor or perhaps even the main factor in cleft palate, only a possible factor. I hope you and your son are doing well and that whatever surgical corrections he has needed have gone well or will go well, as I know from my friend’s experience, sometimes multiple surgeries are needed as the child grows.
No problem. I have already thought of what might have been with him numerous times since starting my commitment to WAPF-food about 9-months ago. I keep thinking “what if I have taken my CLO?”, etc. Oh well. All I can do now is give him everything I can and try and get his genes and cells repaired from the inside out. Better late than never. He’s doing well, better and better every day.
It’s obvious that nutrition is at play here. I have had a rough patch of health problems ever since before conceiving him to the present. Slowly but surely I am healing myself, healing him, and reminding myself that it takes time. We get daily raw milk, CLO, pastured eggs, water kefir, kvass. We get weekly liver, coconut oil, and other goodies like homemade sourdough. I keep waiting for a magical transformation, but truth be told it is happening bit by bit. I see the improvement, but I think it will take a few years to feel amazing again. I followed lowfat, low-meat diets for years, grew up on Saffola margarine, and ate out of vending machines for years in college. Doesn’t it make sense that my healing process might take awhile? That’s what I tell myself, in any case!
Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE says
Very interesting thread!
I just wanted to note that just because you do extended breastfeeding does not mean your kids will have a wide palate. Sally Fallon Morell recently noted that they’ve been seeing a lot of fully breastfed babies with teeth coming in rotten. In addition, they did a survey of WAPF mothers who bottle fed their babies with the raw milk formula — they had no cavities and had very wide palates.
My own daughter was only breastfed for 9 months — I had supply issues. However I made her the homemade raw milk formula for 2 years and also fed her eggs, cod liver oil, and beef or chicken liver pretty much daily from 6 months to about 18 months. At 3, she still gets eggs almost every day, raw milk and cod liver oil daily, and grass-fed cream, butter and cheese daily. Although I struggle getting her to eat meat or seafood (she ate a lot of it when she was younger), she will eat liverwurst occasionally now.
Anyway her face is very wide and she has a lot of space between her teeth. I’ve seen other kids her age whose teeth have no spaces in between. I’m going to keep plying her with raw milk and grass-fed dairy, cod liver oil, and liver as much as I can.
I really think the key is the fat-soluble activators A, D, and especially vitamin K2.
Maybe someone already mentioned this previously, but I wanted to point out that there is more to proper facial development than the teeth.
Baby teeth should have spaces all around them, so there is room for the adult teeth to come in.
My kids do not have proper spacing in their baby teeth; they are lined up side by side and touching, despite eating a WAPF diet (and me prenatally), breastfeeding, etc. So I am planning ahead and researching options for orthodontic appliances. Their smiles are fairly wide, but not wide enough, and certainly not deep enough.
The jaw also needs to be forward, as close to the tip of the nose as possible, and same with the upper mandible.
Very few people have his type of mouth nowadays, probably due to generations of genetic damage. I find it highly unlikely that with these genetics, any parent can repair the damage in one generation. It took many generations to make the damage; it would take many to correct. We can help our kids become the best selves that they can be, though, by feeding them nurturing foods and giving them a life of richness and love.