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Weston Andrew Valleau Price, DDS

Weston Andrew Valleau Price was a dental pioneer and nutritional researcher who has been called the “Charles Darwin of Nutrition.” He is primarily known for his theories on the relationship between nutrition, dental health, and physical health. He founded the research institute National Dental Association, which became the research section of the American Dental Association and was the NDA's chairman from 1914 to 1928. 


Early Years

Weston was born September 6, 1870, in Newburgh, Ontario, Canada. His father was Andrew Valleau Price, a farmer of English descent (1830-1910), and his mother was Adelaide DeMille, of French descent, (died July 6, 1904). His parents were married on September 24, 1855. Weston was the ninth child in a family of 13. 

His siblings were: Minetta Emily (1856-1943), Ella Catherine (1857-1919), Anna Maria (1859-1916), Albert Melancthon (1860-1937), William (1862-deceased), Emma May Florence (1864-1941), Frank Demille (1866-1937), Norman Wellington (1868-deceased), Milton (1871-deceased), Thomas (1873-1933), Reginald Burrows (1875-1924), Peter (1877-1877). Weston grew up on a farm in Newburg, Canada. 

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University of Michigan

He graduated from the dental college of the University of Michigan in 1893 (DDS) and received his master’s in science (MS) from the University of Michigan in 1913.

Dr. Price opened his first office in Grand Forks, North Dakota, but he contracted typhoid fever. His older brother Albert nursed him back to health, but during his illness, his teeth had decayed alarmingly. He went back to the family farm to convalesce where not only did his health improve, but his dental deterioration was arrested. The following spring, he and his uncle William Delmage camped for an extended period in the backcountry of Canada, living on salmon, small game, and berries. Delmage was a man of great intuitive wisdom who understood the role of natural food sources for refurbishing and sustaining the body. The backwoods diet worked wonders for Weston Price. All this led Dr. Price to consider diet as a prime factor in the cause of tooth decay.

The University of Michigan

Graduating From Dental School

After fully recuperating from his illness, Dr. Price met and married Florence Anthony on October 14, 1897, in Brampton, Peel Ontario. Florence was born on April 14, 1870, the same year as Dr. Price, in Brampton, Peel. The next year they had their only son Donald Weston Andrew Valleau Price born on September 15, 1898.

In 1899, Weston Price and his wife Florence built the Bon Echo Inn on the shores of Mazinaw Lake in southeast Ontario. Florence suggested the name Bon Echo because of the marvelous echo that rebounded from the face of the granite cliff on the opposite shore. The remote site presented an incredible challenge and building the 28-room inn was “a feat which never could have been accomplished without the indomitable persistence of Dr. Price and his sublime indifference to the almost incredible difficulties that beset him at every turn,” according to Merrill Denison, a later owner of the Inn. Dr. Price and his wife operated the Inn during the summers until they sold it in 1910. The site later became Bon Echo Provincial Park.

Bon Echo, Canada
Bon Echo Lake, Ontario, Canada

Married Life

Weston Price

After selling the Inn, they emigrated to Cleveland, Ohio on Oct 5th, 1890. Dr. Price established a dental practice in a house at 8926 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. (He lived several blocks away on Lamont Street.) At the height of his career, the practice included several dentists on the first floor and a laboratory on the second floor where Mr. Howdy, a chemist of German origin, performed analyses for fat-soluble activators in hundreds of samples of butter and other foods sent to Dr. Price from all over the world. 

Price's First Dental Clinic

Weston A. Price, DDS

From the beginning, Dr. Price exhibited a keen interest in research and innovative techniques within his dental profession. He observed that many of his patients suffered from poor health, a decline that coincided with the advent of modernization and the mass production of processed foods. During this period, agribusinesses were rapidly outcompeting and overtaking small farms across the country. These small farms were replaced with vast monocrop fields, predominantly of wheat, soybeans, and corn, which were heavily treated with chemical fertilizers, pesticides (such as DDT), and herbicides.

Processed food products, manufactured in factories, were distributed through chain grocery stores. These products included white flour, sugar, salt, and industrialized vegetable oils (such as cottonseed, canola, safflower, soybean, and corn oil) that were extracted at high temperatures using hexane gas. This situation heightened Dr. Price's interest in nutrition, leading him to research various topics related to nutrition and dental health.

Dr. Price's Interest in Nutrition

 Small Farms Replaced With...
corn field monculture
Agribusinesses & Monocrops

Dr. Price was a devout Methodist who taught Sunday school at his neighborhood church. However, later in life, he expressed dismay over the fact that Christian missionaries were so often the vector for the corrupted introduction of modernized foods into native populations.

Their son Donald died July 11, 1914, at the age of 15 and was buried at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. Donald died from complications of an infected root canal-treated tooth, which Dr. Price himself had put in. This tragic event led Dr. Price to the discovery of Focal Disease Theory.

donald Price death certificate

Death of son, Donald

Dr. Price initially did dental research on the relationship between endodontic therapy and its effect on systemic disease. This is now known as focal infection theory. Ultimately, he discovered that bacterial toxins trapped in dentinal tubules of root canal-treated teeth could cause and or contribute to many types of degenerative and systemic diseases. 


Thus, he and his team of researchers investigated the effect of root canal-treated teeth from patients implanted in rabbits. Their studies involved about 2000 patients and experimentation with at least 60,000 rabbits. His experiments involved implanting root canal-treated teeth under the skin of rabbits. As a control, he also implanted coins, glass, and other foreign objects. The control group developed a “cyst-like covering” around each object. Over the course of 100 tests, this covering was always found to be sterile.

Next, he implanted samples of vital healthy teeth that had been removed from orthodontic patients. Again, the response was the same: the formation of a cyst-like covering around the tooth. It was the same whether the tooth was implanted just under the skin or embedded in muscle tissue. No reaction was observed, no matter how long the teeth remained embedded. The rabbits lived full, healthy lives.

Focal Disease Theory

Experimentation on Rabbits

The Problem with Root Canals...

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However, things went very differently when samples of endodontic-root canal-treated teeth were implanted. He found that often, a fibrous capsule would form around the sample. When this did not occur, Dr. Price typically found deposits of inflamed exudate and/or pus around the embedded tooth, along with white blood cells and often more than 10 different strains of streptococcus. (Exudate is fluid containing solutes, proteins, cells, or cellular debris that is discharged into nearby tissues.)


In those cases – when no capsule formed – the rabbits usually died within a day to a few weeks. Most died within just 6 days. When a capsule did develop, the rabbits generally lived for several months to a year, however, they unfortunately developed degenerative diseases, usually of the heart or kidneys. Dr. Price also observed that, invariably, the capsule would begin to absorb the tooth, as if to get rid of it.


Whenever one of the rabbits died, Dr. Price would retrieve the tooth, wash it with pumice, and implant it into another rabbit. In some experiments, he would repeat the process 30 times with the same tooth, and the lab rabbit died 30 times.

These deaths cast light on a critical point. It was first assumed that the bacterial load would be reduced with each cleaning and transplant. As the bacteria was reduced with each cleaning, Dr. Price theorized, the next rabbit would live longer than the ones before it. Yet, most all still died within 6 days. He then concluded it was not the microbes (bacteria) that caused the rabbits to die, rather, it was their toxic byproducts (endotoxins) produced by the endodontic-treated tooth that caused disease and death.

Endotoxins are small bacterially derived hydrophobic lipopolysaccharide molecules that are very toxic to cells. Bacteria shed endotoxin in large amounts upon cell death and when they are actively growing and dividing.


In other experiments, he took tooth fragments that had been implanted in several rabbits in succession and autoclaved them at 60 pounds of pressure for one hour before implanting them in a rabbit. Those rabbits lived 35 days. Then he tried autoclaving infected fragments at 300 pounds for two hours. The next rabbits which were implanted with the autoclaved teeth all developed encapsulations but did not survive. This disproved the hypothesis that sterilization would make the teeth as safe as healthy ones. Repeatedly, his tests showed that the endotoxins generated by the microbiota were much more lethal than any direct action of the microbes.

Regarding focal infection alone, Dr. Price published twenty-five reports including two printed volumes that totaled 1170 pages entitled Dental Infections Oral and Systemic and a text entitled The Pathology of Dental Infections.

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Dr. Price's Published Work
Weston A. Price, DDS

His conclusions were ignored by the orthodox dental establishment for over 50 years. Focal disease theory received much criticism at that time and over the years, even to the present day. However, it has now been validated that gum disease and root canal-treated teeth can cause severe illness. Thus, endodontic causes of systemic disease are gaining renewed acceptance with ongoing research. 

Clinicians and dentists are discovering that the first step to recovery from the degenerative disease often involves the removal of root canal-treated teeth from the patient’s mouth. Cone Beam Computer Tomography (CBCT) has allowed better imagery of bone osteonecrosis and osteitis resulting from endodontic treated teeth. There are now numerous research reviews available arguing the associations of apical periodontitis with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and autoimmune disorders. There is emerging evidence that bacteremia and low-grade systemic inflammation associated with apical periodontitis may negatively impact systemic health, e.g., the development of cardiovascular diseases, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and diabetic metabolic dyscontrol. 

The Link Between Dental Infections & Systemic Diseases

The Pathology Of Dental Infections, Weston Price
Dr. Price's book, First Published in 1916

American Dental Association Research Institute

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In 1915, at the age of 45, Dr. Price became the first director of the American Dental Association’s Research Institute. By that time, he had been administering his extensive research program for over fifteen years and had already published over one hundred fifty papers in scientific journals. As director of the ADA Research Institute, he led a team of sixty scientists and had at his disposal an advisory board of eighteen of the leading scientists in a variety of disciplines, including Victor Vaughn, then president of the American Medical Association, and Charles Mayo, a founder of the Mayo Clinic.

Weston Price, Director of the ADA Research Institute

Dr. Price continued his avid interest in nutrition and was convinced that it would be better to study why healthy people were healthy than to study disease. He and his first wife, Florence Anthony Price traveled to remote areas of the earth searching for primitive peoples untouched by civilization. Often traveling with interpreters, Dr. Price and Florence earned the trust of the indigenous people everywhere they went. He conducted dental examinations of each individual and was informed as to what their diet consisted of and how they prepared their food. 

His expeditions investigated remote people in the Swiss Alps, the Gaelics of the Outer Hebrides, Eskimos, Native American tribes of the plains and coastal, South American Indians in Peru and the High Andes, the Amazon Indians, Melanesians, Polynesians, the Malaysians, Australian Aborigines, the New Zealand Maori, and numerous African tribes.

Dr. Price found that the indigenous people he studied who exclusively ate their traditional foods had high immunity to disease and degeneration. Their immunity not only protected their teeth but their health overall. Interestingly, the Loetschential Valley Swiss villagers had nearly complete immunity to dental caries, and tuberculosis was absent from the Loetschential Valley Village, while it was the most prevalent disease in the rest of Switzerland.

When Dr. Price analyzed the foods used by isolated peoples, he found that, in comparison to the American diet of his day, they provided at least four times the water-soluble vitamins, calcium, and other minerals, and at least ten times the fat-soluble vitamins, from animal foods such as butter, fish eggs, shellfish, organ meats, eggs, and animal fats. The very cholesterol-rich foods that are now shunned by the American public as unhealthful. 

Dr. Price unearthed a groundbreaking fat-soluble nutrient, which he dubbed “Activator X,” abundantly found in fish livers, shellfish, as well as in organ meats and butter sourced from cows grazing on lush, rapidly growing green grass during the seasons of Spring and Fall. It's worth noting that all primitive groups had a reliable source of Activator X in their diets, a component modern research now identifies as likely vitamin K2.

Nutrition Research - World Travels

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Weston and Florence Analyzed the Diets of Indigenous Peoples Around the World 

Primitive Diets & Healthy Teeth

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Dr. Price extensively photographed numerous natives and their teeth. The photographs and research material acquired on these trips covered more than one hundred thousand miles. Wherever he went, Dr. Price found beautiful straight teeth, freedom from decay, strong healthy bodies that were resistant to disease, and fine healthy characteristics all typical of native peoples on their traditional diets. During these expeditions, Dr. Price made between 18 and 20 thousand original negatives and developed most of his photographs onsite.


When evaluating this material, it becomes clear that such isolated primitive groups will never be found again. The global war has introduced civilized influences to even the most remote parts of the world, undoubtedly disrupting the primitive dietary patterns that Dr. Price was studying.

Dr. Price Took Over 18,000 Photographs 

Good dental health begins with the diet of the parents. The Samoan boy on the left was born to parents who ate nutrient-rich native foods. The Samoan boy on the right was born to parents who had abandoned their traditional diet. He has crowded dental arches and will be more susceptible to dental decay.

The world became his laboratory. As he traveled, his findings led him to believe that dental caries and deformed dental arches, resulting in crowded, crooked teeth, were signs of physical degeneration caused by nutritional deficiencies. Concerned by their well-being, he cautioned them of the degenerative consequences of the modern diet, evident in his research. Dr. Price’s investigations were detailed and comprehensive.

The World Was His Laboratory

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The Relationship of Good Nutrition and Dental Health

Dr. Price provided a summary of the traditional diets he studied, outlined here: 

  • Switzerland alpine valleys – exceptionally high-vitamin dairy products and sourdough rye bread; meat about once a week; vegetables as available, chiefly in the summer. 

  • Outer Hebrides on the coast of Scotland – seafoods; oat cake and oat porridge with limited vegetables in season; marine plants.  

  • Alaskan and the Far North Eskimos and Indians – sea and land animals, including organs; limited vegetables; very limited seeds; green foods. 

  • Polynesian, Melanesian, and Micronesian South Sea islanders – sea animal foods, marine and land plants, limited seeds, lily roots, or taro.  

  • African cattle tribes – milk, blood, and meat supplemented by plant foods. 

  • African agricultural tribes – domestic animals, including their organs, freshwater animal life, insects, and a variety of plants. 

  • Australian aborigines – large and small wild animal life, wild plants, and where available, freshwater or marine sea life, large and small. 

  • New Zealand Maori – sea animal life, marine plants, marine birds, and their eggs, land birds, seeds of trees, and plants and vegetables, particularly fern root. 

  • North and South American plains Indians – organs and tissues of wild animal life, a large variety of plant foods, and fresh and saltwater animal life. 

  • North and South American coastal tribes – sea animal and plant life. 

  • Amazon Jungle tribes – freshwater animal life, small land animals and birds, and wild plants (Price, 2019, p. 433).

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In 1939, at the age of 69, he completed his text Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Now in its seventh edition, the volume has been an inspiration to many thousands of people working in the field of nutrition. 

Florence died on April 25, 1942 (at 70) in Cleveland, Ohio from retroperitoneal sarcoma. Dr. Price married her friend, Monica Alexia Scott Salter, also a Canadian. She was born on August 3, 1882, and died in 1980. Monica greatly helped with the task of republishing his book at a time when republication had become almost impossible. Through her efforts, the tremendous accumulation of research material Dr. Price possessed was made available to the Academy of Applied Nutrition.

The book concludes that aspects of a modern Western diet (particularly flour, sugar, and modern processed vegetable fats) cause nutritional deficiencies that are a cause of many dental issues and health problems. The dental issues he observed include the proper development of the facial structure (to avoid overcrowding of the teeth) in addition to dental caries. This work received mixed reviews and continues to be cited today by proponents of many different theories, including controversial dental and nutritional theories.

An Inspirational Book on Nutrition

Published in 1939

Dr. Price developed a nutritional program to restore teeth with incipient dental decay, concentrating on improving the chemistry of the saliva so that harmful acids and pathogenic bacteria no longer dissolve the tooth enamel. Eliminating the food products of the modern diet was imperative to improving saliva chemistry. Once corrected, the saliva nourished the teeth rather than damaged them. Dr. Price’s restorative diet encompassed very high-vitamin butter from cows that were pastured on early summer grasses and very high-vitamin cod liver oil, seafood, the organs and bone marrow of animal foods, vegetables, and raw milk. 

Based on all the traditional diets he studied, Dr. Price placed particular emphasis on the importance of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K which he discovered and called a “vitamin-like activator” or “factor X,” later named vitamin K2.

A Restorative Diet

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The Importance of Fat-Soluble
Vitamins A, D, E, and K

Later Years

Dr. Price retired from his dental practice in 1943 at the age of 73. In May 1947, he presented the Academy with his entire scientific collection. This included over 15,000 original photographs, 4,000 bound 3-1/4″ x 4″ lantern slides (half of them hand colored), a library of film strip lectures (portions of which illustrate these pages), cameras, enlarging equipment, and several slide projectors. 

Dr. Price lived at 224 18th Street Santa Monica, California for 5 years before his death.


He died in Los Angeles, California on January 23, 1948.  Although his obituary cites cardiac failure as the cause of death, his death certificate reveals malnutrition as the primary cause, with senility as a contributing factor. It's essential to refrain from drawing conclusions about the irony of his demise without further context. Additionally, this does not diminish the remarkable contributions he made in understanding the correlation between diet and dental health.

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Weston A. Price's Death Certificate

Price showed us that throughout the world, wherever indigenous and traditional people were consuming unadulterated, whole foods, their health was markedly better than that of modernized Westerners consuming an increasingly industrialized diet (what he called “the foods of modern commerce”). Nowadays, to counter the health problems associated with processed foods, far too much attention is given to “fruits and vegetables” as being of centralized importance. Price showed unequivocally that the healthiest people in the world invariably consumed the greatest variety of quality animal-source foods and fats. And in some of these cultures showing undeniably radiant heath, plant foods were at times not even available or consumed. Try as he might, he was entirely unable to find a vegetarian/vegan culture anywhere in the world (much to his disappointment). Animal-sourced foods and fats were very much pivotal to what he discovered as the foods most central to human health.


The Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation (PPNF), a non-profit organization established in 1952, with a membership of 28 dentists as of 2008, maintains an archive of Price's manuscripts and photographs and espouses principles of holistic medicine.


The Weston A. Price Foundation was co-founded in 1999 by Sally Fallon and nutritionist Mary G. Enig to disseminate his research. They have local chapters around the world and advocate for small traditional farms. The Weston A. Price Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charity founded in 1999 to disseminate the research of nutrition pioneer Dr. Weston Price, whose studies of isolated non-industrialized peoples established the parameters of human health and determined the optimum characteristics of human diets. Dr. Price’s research demonstrated that humans achieve perfect physical form and perfect health generation after generation only when they consume nutrient-dense whole foods and the vital fat-soluble activators found exclusively in animal fats.


The Foundation is dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research, and activism. It supports several 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 the establishment of universal access to clean, certified raw milk and a ban on the use of soy formula for infants. The Foundation’s quarterly journal, Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts, is dedicated to exploring the scientific validation of dietary, agricultural, and medical traditions throughout the world. It features illuminating and thought-provoking articles on current scientific research; human diets; non-toxic agriculture; and holistic therapies. 

Weston A. Price's Legacy

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References and Useful Links

Price, WA. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: Sixth Edition (16th Printing). La Mesa, CA: Price- Pottenger Nutrition Foundation (2004). All page numbers given in the text refer to this edition.


Information on Dr. Price’s endodontic research is derived from George Meinig’s preface to his own Root Canal Cover Up (Lemon Grove, CA: Price Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, 2004) and Meinig’s introduction, written with S. Hale Shakman, to Price’s Dental Infections, Oral and Systemic (Lemon Grove, CA: Price Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, 2008). Some confusion may be avoided by noting that the American Dental Association had styled itself the National Dental Association from 1897 to 1922, which covers the early period of Price’s tenure.


Price WA. Milk Samples Desired for Chemical and Vitamin Determinations. J Heredity. 1929;20(6):302.


Masterjohn C. Understanding Weston Price on Primitive Wisdom: Ancient Doesn’t Cut It. Wise Traditions. Fall, 2011; 18-23.


Wallace, AFC. “Mental Illness, Biology and Culture.” In: Hsu, FLK. Psychological Anthropology. Cambridge, MA: Schenkman Publishing, 1972, pp 363-402.


Rejnmark L, Jorgensen ME, Pedersen MB, Hansen JC, Heickendorff L, Lauridsen AL, Mulvad G, Siggaard C, Skjoldborg H, Sorensen TB, Pedersen EB, Mosekilde L. Vitamin D insufficiency in Greenlanders on a westernized fare: ethnic differences in calcitropic hormones between Greenlanders and Danes. Calcif Tissue Int. 2004;74(3):255-63.


Forristal, J. L. (2004, 12, 22). A visit to Switzerland’s Loetschental in the Footsteps of Weston A. Price. Washington, D.C.: The Weston A. Price Foundation. 


Price Pottenger Nutrition Foundation. (1948). The classic studies of Weston A. Price, D.D.S. devitalized foods and physical degeneration, Dental Items of Interest, 70, 426.

Price, W.A. (2019). Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. (8th edition). Lemon Grove, CA: Price Pottenger.


Nienhiser, J. (2000). Characteristics of Traditional Diets. Washington, D.C.: The Weston A. Price Foundation.


WAPF. (2017). The dangers of industrial fats & oils. Washington, D.C.: The Weston A. Price Foundation.


The principles of holistic (Bioregulatory Dentistry) dentistry, based on the research of Weston Price and Francis Pottenger, are as follows:

  • Eat nutrient-dense whole foods, organically grown.

  • Avoid root canal treatments (endodontics). If you have root canals that you suspect are causing disease, have them removed by a knowledgeable dentist so that cavitations do not occur.

  • Extract teeth only when necessary, and then in such a way as to avoid leaving the jawbone with cavitations, which can be focal points of infection.

  • Avoid mercury (amalgam) fillings. If you have amalgam fillings, have them removed by an “IAOMT Smart Certified” dentist who specializes in mercury filling removal.

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