Weston A Price (under construction)
“The most universal disease in the world is the decay of the teeth and unfortunately we have not known the cause until we have gone to the ‘primitive’ peoples to find how they prevent tooth decay. Our difficulty is that we are adding too much white flour and sugar and do not get enough of the foods that carry the minerals and vitamins. When the ‘primitive’ people adopt the food of modern civilisation their teeth decay just as as ours do . . . I have spent several years studying the ‘primitive’ people in parts of the world and I have come as a missionary from them to the people of modern civilization and I beg of you to learn of their accumulated wisdom, and if you do you too can have strong healthy bodies without so much disease as we suffer from these days“
(Dr Weston A Price – quote from him on Movie Tone Footage – Weston A Price Foundation – view here)
Nutrition and Degeneration .
Weston Price a dentist can also be heard speaking the first part of these words below in a contemporary documentary about his work. The video is of its day, and reminiscent of harsher school regimes of days gone by, but it is very clear from his books that terms such as ‘primitive’ as juxtaposed with ‘civilized’ were not in anyway meant by Price to be derogatory.
In Chapter 9 this thought provoking quote is to be found 🙂
“It must also be remembered that the “blessings of civilization” are not in practice by any means as obvious as some simple-minded folk would like to believe. It can be said with fair accuracy that among the tribes with which we have been dealing there is, in their uncontaminated society, no pauperism, no paid prostitution, very little serious drunkenness, and on the whole astonishingly little crime; while practically everyone has enough to eat, sufficient clothing, and an adequate dwelling, according to the primitive native standard.
Of what civilized community can as much be said?”
Weston A Price Foundation – Biography by Sally Fallon here
Weston Price was a great humanitarian and highly motivated having lost his only child through focal sepsis possibly due to a root canal treatment presumably at his own hand.
He finished his technical book (below) which poignantly was dedicated to his wife and deceased child, with a plea for more research. The final paragraph was:
“Last, because it is first, a board of trustees with a love for humanity, which makes possible the consummation of this great work, and in whose hearts must come a joy that is known only by the world’s greatest benefactors and is that one quality which makes man a superman because he becomes a coworker with his Creator.”
The scope and detail of Weston Price’s comparative observations of the dental health of equivalent groups with and without access to western refined foods is unique, and forms another key piece of the jig of observations by a group of visionaries in the early 1900s who connected food quality to health.
A focus on dental hygiene was emerging during the time when he was practicing. His view point seems to have been dental hygiene good, nutrition absolutely fundamental, an observation which time has arguably borne out.
He very carefully selected population groups that were as near matched as possible and went to lengths to find groups who had not been influenced almost at all by western food, and compared them to comparable groups who included western foods in their diets.
Other reports on comparative health are less precise as to whether non-westernised groups had access to western introduced foods.
He was also hugely ahead of his time in identifying in the early 1920s in his more technical work on dental infections (see below) that bacteria of oral origin likely facilitated by dental or periodontal disease could spread more widely in the body with very significant health consequences including endocarditis.
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price, 1939, Paul B. Hoeber, Inc, New York, London
The book is out of copyright in some countries, and an early ‘partial’ copy is available on Small Farms here.
(Copyright of online books is complex and guidance is helpfully set out on the Small Farms web site here)
The Price Pottinger Foundation who hold much of Weston Price’s original work have produced several updated and much improved versions with very useful additional material.
Dental Infections Oral and Systemic, Volume 1. Dental Infections and the Degenerative Diseases, Volume 2
Published in 1923 “Volume I presents researches on fundamentals of oral and systemic expressions of dental infections; volume II presents researches on clinical expressions of dental infections.”
The book almost 100 years ago includes significant and highly though provoking research into and consideration of the spread of oral including dental infections and their potential wider impact on the body.
He also urges the better interlinking of medical professions including doctors and dentists.
Today in 2016 there is growing acceptance, as postulated by Price and others in the 1920s that orally derived bacterial infections may have roles in some cardiac related conditions. “There are over 1,000 case reports associating dental procedures or disease with the onset of endocarditis (32).”
At the time the idea did not receive much support, but modern technology and ability to identify and track unique oral bacteria has confirmed oral bacteria can be a source of wider body infections. A paper “Systemic Diseases Caused by Oral Infection” (Link) states:
“Recent progress in classification and identification of oral microorganisms and the realization that certain microorganisms are normally found only in the oral cavity have opened the way for a more realistic assessment of the importance of oral focal infection. It has become increasingly clear that the oral cavity can act as the site of origin for dissemination of pathogenic organisms to distant body sites, especially in immunocompromised hosts such as patients suffering from malignancies, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis or having corticosteroid or other immunosuppressive treatment. A number of epidemiological studies have suggested that oral infection, especially marginal and apical periodontitis, may be a risk factor for systemic diseases.
The teeth are the only nonshedding surfaces in the body, and bacterial levels can reach more than 1011 microorganisms per mg of dental plaque. Human endodontal and periodontal infections are associated with complex microfloras in which approximately 200 species (in apical periodontitis) (140) and more than 500 species (in marginal periodontitis) (97) have been encountered. These infections are predominantly anaerobic, with gram-negative rods being the most common isolates. The anatomic closeness of these microfloras to the bloodstream can facilitate bacteremia and systemic spread of bacterial products, components, and immunocomplexes.”
“one or more periodontal pathogens have been found in 42% of the atheromas studied in patients with severe periodontal disease“
Recent research has identified that a significant proportion of brain abscesses may have their origins in oral including dental infections. “Dental infections have been implicated as the cause in multiple cases of brain abscesses and the recent death of a child in Boston. Reported dental sources of brain abscesses have included dental abscess, cellulitis, periodontitis, extractions, root-canal therapy, periodontitis, application of braces and osteomyelitis. (Link) (Link)
Everything is interconnected and oral and dental health is a marker of wider health including inflammation status, and a factor in its determination, with fundamental ramifications including in pregnancy;
“Mothers of preterm low-birth-weight infants and primiparous mothers of preterm low-birth-weight infants (n = 93) had significantly worse periodontal disease than the respective mothers of normal-birth-weight infants (controls). “(107)
All this brings us back to the central focus of Western Price’s later research how to minimise dental decay and optimise dental formation in the first place.
Societies celebrating the work of Weston Price
The Weston A Price Foundation WAPF “for wise traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts” is a global organisation of significant size and income, which has a mission;
“dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism. It supports a number of movements that contribute to this objective including accurate nutrition instruction, organic and biodynamic farming, pasture-feeding of livestock, community-supported farms, honest and informative labeling, prepared parenting and nurturing therapies. Specific goals include establishment of universal access to clean, certified raw milk and a ban on the use of soy formula for infants.“
It has a significant amount of useful dietary information on its site as well as hosting blogs and videos. It also holds conferences and events often organised by members with particular areas of interest.
The Price Pottenger Foundation as well as publishing three important highly thought provoking works also provide nutritional education products and courses.
Diet and Aggression
Price also observed, as did McCarrison and Pottenger that animals fed a refined flour diet that additionally had been subject to nutrient damage in storage, resulted in significant health detriment, and arguably of even greater concern, considerable unprovoked aggression.
Short abstract from Nutrition and Physical Degeneration p248 – Price Pottinger Foundation 8th Edn. available at Price Pottenger Foundation