The relationship of the teeth to general health and efficacy was valued in an overall 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 prospective purchases before buying. But only in recent times has attention been given to the preservation and care of the teeth.
There is now general agreement that diet likely is the most important single factor in the maintenance of sound, healthy teeth, which an adequate diet is most crucial during the period of most rapid expansion. McCullum and Simmonds complete in an experimental study that rats which are stored on a deficient diet during a part of their growing period have poor teeth and early decay, although an adequate diet is supplied later. In the days before viosterol had been developed and earlier cod-liver oil had been widely used, McCullum also reported that in the time of entering faculty 9 per cent of children who were breastfed for at least 6 months had dental caries, 22 percent of children who were fed on cow’s milk or on milk mixtures, and 27 percent who had been fed oatmeal water and other prepared foods. This would indicate that the foundation of dental health is laid very early in life, but it now appears that the prenatal period can also be of fantastic value in this aspect. Consequently, the emphasis is currently being put upon the right diet while pregnant.
Significant though diet is, there does not seem to be any single dietary factor that’s responsible for dental caries. Calcium and phosphorus, the two minerals found in bones and teeth, and vitamin D, which regulates the use of those minerals by the body, are clearly essential. Of these, calcium and Vitamin D have been thought to be of greatest significance: but the more recent work seems to indicate that phosphorus is of as good if not greater importance than calcium.
Children have been denied candy due to the belief that sugar is related to dental decay, and certain studies completed in institutions for orphans where the diet is rigorously controlled suggest that the prevalence of dental caries is directly associated with the amount of carbohydrate in the diet. Cereals where the hull of the grain was removed seem to have a negative influence upon the evolution of the teeth, and several investigators think that oatmeal contributes directly to the formation of caries. Apparently, no one dietary factor accounts for resistance to caries, but various elements are necessary for the correct growth and continuing soundness of the teeth. For practical purposes, a well-rounded diet, comprising liberal amounts of milk, orange juice, fresh fruits, vegetables, as well as for children cod-liver oil or some other form of vitamin D, might be depended on to provide the nutritional requirements of the teeth. See this Home | Antigonish Family Dentistry
It is frequently said that”a sterile tooth .” If cleanliness implies freedom from bacteria, the announcement probably is correct. However, with germs constantly present in the mouth and at the food we eat, it’s not possible to get the teeth bacteriologically clean.
The mechanism of corrosion is through the activity of acids produced by bacterial decomposition of food, first upon the tooth and then upon the softer dentine of the tooth. The activity of this acid upon the tooth structure may start in any crevice, irregularity, or fracture in the enamel. The amount of decomposition and acid formation is greatest when there are gross accumulations of food substances. In fact, it’s between the teeth, in which it’s hard to prevent accumulations of meals that rust most frequently begins. Hence, although cleanliness of the teeth is hot the only element in the prevention of dental decay, or even the most important one it’s not without significance.
Some clarification of the aspect of the problem was given by recent studies of the bacteria within the mouth. If a specific germ known as Lactobacillus acidophilus happens in quantity caries develop with great rapidity. This is because these bacteria act upon carbohydrates, particularly sugars, on and about the teeth to form acids that dissolve the enamel and the dentine. These studies have also shown that if persons have too much of lactobacilli in their mouths, then the amount of caries can be reduced from the elimination of sugars and other readily fermentable carbohydrates from the diet.
It currently seems that certain chemicals applied to the teeth may neutralize the acids generated by the activity of bacteria on carbohydrates and so reduce caries. Some of these chemicals are now being included in so”ammoniated” toothpaste.
During the past several years analyses have taken another turn. It had been determined that the only chemical distinction between carious and non-carious teeth is that carious teeth contain less fluorine, a chemical component that’s present in minute amounts in the bones and teeth. This was followed by an evaluation, of the fluorine content of their drinking water in areas in which dental caries are infrequent and areas in which they’re prevalent. Here again, a difference in fluorine content has been found. From these studies, it’s been reasoned that the presence of approximately 1 part of fluorine per 1,000,000 parts of drinking water causes a decreased prevalence of caries. Incidentally, fluorine inside this amount causes some mottling of the teeth.
Proceeding on the basis of the information, several researchers have experimented with the application of fluorine into the face of the teeth of the children. Within this study, Knutson and Armstrong reported the application of 2 percent sodium fluoride solution to the teeth resulted in 40 percent fewer caries within a period of a year in 289 kids than developed in 326 untreated controls. No therapeutic effect was mentioned on teeth where caries existed. This usage of fluorine for the prevention of dental caries is a promising line of investigation but it’s still in the experimental phase.
Other exceedingly important studies are the ones where sodium fluoride in minute quantities has been added to the water supplies of many cities that have low fluoride content. If this should prove effective in preventing caries, it will be a great forward step in the hands of this most widespread of human ailments.