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Wesley Clark
05-01-2006, 10:26 PM
I was watching a documentary about farming today and they mentioned how milling wheat was why the early farmers teeth didn't wear down to nothing. So do modern whole grain breads do any damage to teeth?

Exapno Mapcase
05-01-2006, 10:54 PM
Modern whole grains are still ground as fine as possible. They merely retain the bran and germ that is removed to make white flour. The truly tough, tooth-wearing material has been broken down.

Shagnasty
05-01-2006, 11:04 PM
Early agricultural societies had better teeth than the late middle age and early industrial societies. That problem lasted up through the 1930's when toothbrushes became widespread. The grain and associated grit did grind the teeth down but it also polished small holes that might have become dental caries. The life-span tended to be short by modern standards so this wasn't much of a problem. It is a modern diet that requires us to brush daily because we don't have abrasion from our diet. Our teeth are better than ever before but the people that lived between the time that modern type diets became mainstream and modern dental practices like daily brushing had it much worse dentally than more primitive societies.

elelle
05-01-2006, 11:23 PM
I'm pretty confused about the OP. When eating whole grains, the basic method of cooking is to boil them with water, making them soft and edible. This has been done for thousands of years. Wheat, rice, lentils, mung beans, what-have-you; most cultures soften them with water; I can't fathom why it would be an issue for people grinding their teeth to a nub on uncooked raw grains. That's not the way grains are traditionally eaten. Precisely because they are hard to eat in a raw state.

And, as said, whole grain bread is from ground flour, so extremely digestible. No damage at all to teeth. That would be the point of grinding it to a rather fine powder.

StarvingButStrong
05-02-2006, 01:07 AM
In societies where women (usually) grind grain between two stone surfaces, you end up with a bit of stone grit 'contamination' in the result. You've got to think that biting down on even a small amount of stone dust will do damage to your teeth as the years go by.

I know some modern flours as labelled 'stone ground', but I bet we have more exacting standards for getting stone dust out of the flour before selling it.

Quartz
05-02-2006, 03:26 AM
I have a friend who's a dentist and he's had many patients who have broken their teeth on whole grains.

mks57
05-02-2006, 10:03 AM
When I took a class in physical anthropology, I examined some skulls of people who had subsisted largely on stone-ground flour. Most of them had moderate to severe wear on their teeth.

Lissa
05-02-2006, 03:52 PM
In societies where women (usually) grind grain between two stone surfaces, you end up with a bit of stone grit 'contamination' in the result. You've got to think that biting down on even a small amount of stone dust will do damage to your teeth as the years go by.

When I took a class in physical anthropology, I examined some skulls of people who had subsisted largely on stone-ground flour. Most of them had moderate to severe wear on their teeth.

As I understand, the teeth of ancient Egyptians show the worst of this "grit-wear" because of sand which is not only created when flour is stone-ground, but from tiny particles which blows into food when it's prepared out in the open or in homes without window screens.

You see a lot of wear on the teeth of ancient Native American women, not only from stone-ground grains but from the pratice of chewing hides to help soften them.

pravnik
05-02-2006, 05:26 PM
I also remember from anthropology (undergrad major) that societies using the traditional mano-metate (mortar and pestle) method of grinding grains have always had the problems of stone powder ending up in the flour, sometimes wearing teeth all the way down to the gumline. Pehaps the advantage of the mill is that it's the weight of the turning wheels crushing the grains rather than two rocks scraped together by hand, so that less stone ends up in the meal.

pravnik
05-02-2006, 05:31 PM
That is, the advantage of the early stone wheel windmill or water mill; I know they don't use stone rollers anymore.

Well, one advantage, the other being "not having to do it by hand."

Accidental Yuppie
05-02-2006, 05:40 PM
I have a friend who's a dentist and he's had many patients who have broken their teeth on whole grains.

My dentist believes the opposite....that teeth break because there is something wrong with them and the person with the broken tooth blames the last "hard" food they ate.

Not necessarily my opinion but I actually had this discussion with my dentist

Barbara

dre2xl
05-02-2006, 08:12 PM
I think you're confusing unprocessed grains with whole grains. I'm sure if you chewed unprocessed wheat berries, you'd harm your teeth.

The whole grain products today are just as processed & harmless to the teeth as regular white flour. Well, the texture might be slightly more chewy, but for all practical purposes, yeah. Farmers back then probably weren't able to grind all of the wheat germ into flour like we can today.

spingears
05-02-2006, 10:16 PM
When I took a class in physical anthropology, I examined some skulls of people who had subsisted largely on stone-ground flour. Most of them had moderate to severe wear on their teeth.In the Egypt of the Pharaohs wheat was ground with hand grinding stones.

It was the desert sand in the flour that caused the premature wearing down of teeth.

Johanna
05-02-2006, 11:55 PM
My dentist believes the opposite....that teeth break because there is something wrong with them and the person with the broken tooth blames the last "hard" food they ate.

Not necessarily my opinion but I actually had this discussion with my dentist

BarbaraMy experience corroborates this. Once I got root canal and my tooth was a hollow shell, but before I had a chance to get a crown on it, I was eating whole grain granola and my tooth broke. Getting all the shards and the root out made for a difficult two-hour long extraction. The granola happened to be tough textured, but your dentist is right, if my tooth hadn't been in a badly weakened state, the whole grain would not have harmed it.

A lot of the bread I get at Whole Foods has cracked grains (teeny little hard pieces) or entire wheatberries (very tough chewing). But they don't bother my teeth.