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Cavemen and Cavities

Mar 20, 2018


Jevan Pradas is the author of The Awakened Ape and creator of the blog The Tribal Way. He uses evolutionary psychology to hack the human mind and body and combat the society he deems bored, fatigued and overweight. In his book, he argues how a unique synthesis of a Palaeolithic lifestyle and Buddhist meditation can teach you how to achieve a deep bliss and shape your body into the fit and healthy animal millions of years of evolution programmed us to be. Here, he explains why cavemen never visited the dentist.


When I was younger, I would always wonder how our ancestors survived without toothbrushes and toothpaste. How didn't they lose all their teeth by the time they hit adolescence? I brushed my teeth twice a day, visited the dentist every six months, and I still got cavities. 

The truth is that our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn't get cavities.

And as soon as I transitioned to a paleo diet two years ago, I stopped getting cavities too. I didn't visit the dentist for the two years, but when I showed up I had zero cavities. I had cut out all processed sugars, and I was sure that this was what was damaging my teeth and gums. But the truth is that the reason our ancestors enjoyed such fine oral health was a little more complex.

In a study published in the journal Nature Genetics, a team of Australian scientists attempted to understand what ruined our teeth. They discovered that yes, processed sugar does ruin your teeth, but our ancestors' teeth went bad long before Coca-Cola. It all began with the introduction of agriculture and the transition of our diet from purely meat and vegetables to carbohydrate-rich foods like wheat and barley.

This caused harmful bacteria, especially adept at feeding off the aforementioned carbohydrates, to flourish in our mouths and defeat the friendly bacteria that were its original inhabitants. This lead to drum disease, cavities, and the conditions to create diabetes and heart disease. The result of commissioning your body to be in a constant state of immune response, perpetually fighting bad bacteria, creates problems elsewhere in the body.

Another reason to ditch grains and being eating paleo. Avoid that harmful bacteria.


The Tribal Maori's Teeth before adopting a western diet.


Their teeth after adopting a western diet.


By Jevan Pradas.

Read this blog in its original home here and purchase a copy of The Awakened Ape here.

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