Dr Weston Price studied dentistry. Dr Price was a genius in the true sense of the word.
William James tells us that genius “means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way,” while Ezra Pound says that it is “the capacity to see ten things where the ordinary man sees one.” Einstein adds that “Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.”
Practicing in Cleveland, Ohio in the 1930s, Dr Price saw what all the dentists of his time saw, but his conclusions, in the form of questions, were far beyond the scope of dentistry. They were genius.
He asked himself why it was that the healthier (overall health) the individual, the healthier the individual’s jaw, teeth, and gums. He knew that the foundation of true health is nutrition (we are what we eat) and he asked himself what was it in our diets that was causing so many unhealthy beings to land in his dental chair. His first answer was an even brighter question: “Could it be our processed foods?”
Every theory stays a theory unless the theorist acts upon it. Thomas Edison told us, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Dr Price was a genius.
Dr Price left his practice and traveled around the world looking for indigenous people who were untouched by processed foods, to examine their teeth. His work, his findings, and his genius have today landed him the title The Charles Darwin of Nutrition. I like to call him the Father of Preventive Dentistry, though he is commonly referred to as a Dietary Anthropologist.
Dr Weston Price studied fourteen different cultures. From tribes in Africa to the Eskimos in Alaska, from the Polynesian Islands to the Swiss Alps, Dr Price sought out isolated primitives looking for those factors responsible for healthy teeth.
His first discovery was that the further away from civilization, the fewer cavities he found. He had to look in three or four mouths to find a single cavity. Yes, he found some very green teeth, almost moss covered (as it were), but beneath this coat was a fine, strong tooth, planted firmly in a strong, full jaw.
He found straight teeth, little decay, healthy bodies, and resistance to disease. The further he got away from civilization, the healthier the peoples. He found cultures in which cancer and heart disease were unknown. Also unknown to these cultures was crime. The had no terms for words such as “jail” or “prison.”
The diets he uncovered were widely varied, but all of them provided at least four times the amounts of water soluble vitamins and minerals (especially calcium) and at least ten times the amounts of fat soluble vitamins as the diets of so called civilized peoples.
Pregnant mothers and fathers both practiced premarital and pre-conception nutritional programs. The mother’s health was maintained to produce healthy off spring, and children were spaced apart far enough to give the mother time to recuperate and regain her health. All of these civilizations had special foods for pregnant or lactating mothers, as well as special diets for growing children.
Sadly, Price also discovered that just one generation of separation from these practices brought a host of health problems: narrowed faces, crowded teeth, reduction in immunity, and degenerative disease. Just take a look at the Native Americans today, full of our American foods, to see how nations of great, healthy hunters have degenerated into obese, disease filled shadows, suffering from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and alcoholism.
Dr Price wrote up his findings, along with many pictures that show the striking contrasts between healthy individuals and those just one generation away from their roots, in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Later he published his research on root canals and the extensive problems associated with them in Oral & Systemic and Dental Infections & the Degenerative Diseases.
Yes, we must agree with old Abe Lincoln when he says that, “Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored,” but sadly, as my favorite Russian author Dostoyevsky adds: “Innovators and men of genius have almost always been regarded as fools…. ”
Fifty years after his death, a few within the bastions of the orthodox dental establishment began to look at his work. Dental amalgams and root canals are now being questioned. Holistic Dentistry is on the rise, for as Price discovered, the health of the individual determines the health of one’s teeth. If you have a cavity, it’s not because of your toothpaste; it’s your diet. Dr Price preached a nutrient-dense, whole foods, organic diet till the day he died.
Will you listen to this genius?
We want to thank the The Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation for the use of Dr Price’s picture.
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