The relationship of the teeth to general health and efficiency was valued in a general way long before vitamins or focal infections had been heard of. Toothaches used to be as inevitable as colds, and servant buyers and horse traders inspected the teeth of the potential purchases before purchasing. But just in recent times has attention been given to the care and preservation of their teeth.
Early studies of the cause and prevention of dental caries indicated that there may be a single causative factor but further results reveal that the problem is a complicated one, with diet, heredity, internal secretions, mechanical aspects, and oral hygiene of greatest importance.
Diet and Dental Caries
There’s now general agreement that diet probably is the most significant single element in the maintenance of sound, healthy teeth, which a decent diet is the most essential during the period of most rapid expansion. McCullum and Simmonds conclude in an experimental study that rats which are kept to a deficient diet during a part of their growing period have poor teeth and early decay, although an adequate diet is provided afterwards. In the days before viosterol was developed and before cod-liver oil was widely used, McCullum reported that at the age of entering faculty 9 per cent of children who had been breastfed for at least 6 weeks had dental caries, 22 per cent of children who were fed on cow’s milk or on milk combinations, and 27 percent who had been fed on oatmeal water and other prepared foods. This would indicate that the foundation of dental health is laid quite early in life, but it now appears that the prenatal period is also of amazing importance in this aspect. Consequently, the emphasis is now being put upon the right diet during pregnancy.
Significant though diet admittedly is, there doesn’t seem to be some single dietary component that’s responsible for dental caries. Calcium and phosphorus, both minerals found in teeth and bones, and vitamin D, which regulates the use of those minerals by the body, are clearly crucial. Of these, calcium and vitamin D were thought to be of greatest importance: but the more recent work seems to imply that magnesium is of as great if not greater importance than calcium. Milk, certain vegetables, and fish foods are rich sources of both calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D is very likely to be deficient in organic foods throughout winter months but is readily administered in the form of cod-liver oil, vitamin D milk, or viosterol.
Kids have been denied candy because of the belief that sugar is connected to dental decay, and certain studies carried out in institutions for orphans where the diet is strictly controlled imply the prevalence of dental caries is directly related to the amount of carbohydrate from the diet. Cereals from which the hull of the grain has been removed appear to have a negative influence upon the development of the teeth, and many investigators think that oatmeal leads directly to the formation of caries.
Divergent opinions concerning the terms of diet to dental health leave one rather perplexed. Seemingly, no one dietary factor is responsible for resistance to caries, but various elements are essential for the correct growth and ongoing soundness of tooth. For practical purposes, a well-rounded diet, containing liberal quantities of milk, orange juice, fresh fruits, vegetables, as well as for children cod-liver oil another form of vitamin D, which may be depended upon to provide the nutritional demands of tooth.
It is often said that”a sterile tooth never decays.” Whether this is accurate depends upon the definition of cleanliness. If cleanliness suggests freedom from germs, the statement probably is accurate. But with bacteria constantly present in the mouth and at the food we eat, it is impossible to have the teeth bacteriologically clean.
The mechanism of decay is via the action of acids made by bacterial decomposition of meals, first on the tooth and then upon the softer dentine of the tooth. The activity of the acid upon the tooth arrangement may start in any crevice, irregularity, or fracture in tooth. The amount of decomposition and acid formation is best when there are gross accumulations of food substances. In fact, it’s between the teeth, where it is difficult to prevent accumulations of food that decay most frequently starts. Hence, although cleanliness of their teeth is alluring the only factor in the prevention of dental decay, or even the most important one it is not without importance.
Some clarification of the aspect of the problem has been given by recent studies of these bacteria found in the mouth. If a specific germ called Lactobacillus acidophilus happens in quantity caries develop with fantastic rapidity. This is only because those bacteria act upon carbohydrates, particularly sugars, on and about the teeth to produce acids which dissolve the enamel and the dentine. These studies have also shown that when persons have too much of lactobacilli in their mouths, then the number of caries can be reduced by the elimination of sugars and other readily fermentable carbohydrates in the diet. Antigonish Family Dentistry
It currently seems that certain compounds applied to the teeth may neutralize the acids generated by the action of bacteria on carbohydrates and therefore decrease caries. Some of the chemicals are currently being included in so”ammoniated” toothpaste.