Native Alaskan Children Have High Rates of Tooth Decay
A new study has found that children who live in native Alaskan villages have much higher rates of tooth decay than the national average. This government study showed that the children in remote villages of Alaska: “…have rates of tooth decay about four times the national average...” (Reuters)
While this study prefers to put the blame on sugary foods and lack of fluoridation, this is misleading. The basic reason why the children in the area have four times the rate of decay than other children can be fully explained by another quote from the article,
“…the introduction of food laden with sugar has left its mark…” (Reuters)
There are reasons why this high rate of tooth decay has nothing to do with fluoridation.
To determine why the children in the native areas of Alaska most likely once had optimum dental health, and now have very poor dental health, we need to look at what has changed. Has fluoridation always been a part of their life and now it is gone? No, people had strong, healthy teeth long before fluoride was used, so having optimum dental health has nothing to do with fluoride.
What we can see is a change in their diets. Alaskans most likely consumed a diet high in meats and fish. Depending on the area they lived in, they ate seal, whale, walrus, fish, birds, some types of root-like vegetables cooked in stews or soups, and berries. Fats and oils were an important part of their diet. Modern foods, including sugary snacks and pop, have now been introduced into their diet. The introduction of these foods into their diet caused groups who were once free from decay, to now have severe tooth decay and cavities. To be free from decay, the body needs fat-soluble vitamins, calcium, phosphorus and other nutrients to build strong teeth. These nutrients are found in the foods similar to the ones Alaskans used to eat. Tooth decay can only be prevented through a
Reuters. Sep. 23 2011. Study Finds Tooth Decay Prevalent Among Alaska Native Children. Retrieved from: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/09/23/study-finds-tooth-decay-prevalent-among-alaska-native-children/
Alaskan foods. Retrieved from: http://www.alaskawildberryproducts.com/education/alaskan-foods.html