"Dental problems from poor dietary habits appear in a few weeks to a few years," Dr. Hujoel explains. "Dental improvement can be rapid when habits are corrected. For example, reducing sugar intake can often improve gingivitis scores (a measurement of gum disease) in a couple of weeks. Dental disease reveals very early on that eating habits are putting a person at risk for systemic disease. Because chronic medical disease takes decades to become severe enough to be detected in screening tests, dental diseases may provide plenty of lead-time to change harmful eating habits and thereby decrease the risk of developing the other diseases of civilization."
When Dr. Hujoel sent me a draft of his article at the beginning of the year, he told me the background. "My story started November 2007 at the San Antonio airport. I was in the bookstore and saw Gary Taubes's book, Good Calories, Bad Calories. I knew and respected him as a science reporter. I had no interest in diet whatsoever, but decided to buy and read his book nonetheless. At the same time I bought a huge bag of gummy bears and started reading the book on the airplane.
"I have never bought gummy bears since. After 46 years, the book cured me of a lifelong carbohydrate addiction. I loved and still love carbs, but I realize now that my increasing weight problem and maybe my high fasting blood glucose was due to my tremendously high carbohydrate intake. As a dentist, it is absolutely amazing to me that my teeth were rotting away in my jaw and that I never put two and two together."
Dr. Hujoel ended his message with this valediction: "All the best in a low-carb world."
He is a professor and a dentist, while I am just a journalist who has diabetes. But reading Taubes had the same impact on each of us.
You can do a big favor for your body by reading Good Calories, Bad Calories and Dr. Hujoel's new article. The Taubes book is now available in a paperback edition, and the free abstract of Dr. Hujoel's review is available online.