Diogenes had no greater difficulty in his search for an honest man than the dentist would have in searching for a perfect set of teeth in the United States of America today. Though food in this country is plentiful and care of the teeth is not lacking, we are led to believe that the dentist would have an easier task if he searched in certain other countries. We are led to believe that he might have found many such sets if he had gone among the American Indians before their habits were contaminated by those of civilized man.
What is the significance of these facts? Simply that man has strayed from the use of natural foods and is living upon an incorrect diet. We are not informed that the American Indian was a user of tooth brushes, or that he had any method of care which could have been responsible for his good teeth. Perfect teeth, regular, well formed, free from the tendency to decay, to pyorrhea and abscesses), are normal, right, and naturally the prerogative of mankind.
One of the early signs of scurvy is bleeding gums. Rickets is a disease with a tendency to affect the development of the teeth. These are both diseases due to faulty diet.
The following is culled from the book of Robert McCarrison: “Zilva and Wells, experimenting with guinea pigs, concluded that the tooth was one of the first parts, if not the first part, of the system to be affected by deficiency of antiscorbutic vitamine within the diet and, even when scorbutic symptoms during life were so slight as to be almost unrecognizable, profound changes in the teeth may have occurred.”
May Mellanby has established a similar relation between rickets and defective teeth. Associated with the lack of vitamine is failure of the development of bone, cartilage and teeth.
It is from food taken into the body that its tissues are formed. The necessary elements must all be present in the food and they must be present in abundance. As soon as the baby is able to chew, he must be given food in a form which will require chewing. The teeth must be used and the muscles of the jaws must be given a chance to develop through exercise. Milk, greens, coarse vegetables, and fruits are needed. Animals which live on meat must have bones to furnish them with lime. Since man does not get his lime from bone, he must have other sources from which to obtain it. Milk, cheese, and eggs furnish this element in greater quantity than any others. Next are fruits and green vegetables. Whole grains contain more than white flour and white cereals.
An examination of a large majority of the twenty million school children in the United States, has shown that fifty to seventy-five per cent have defective teeth, and fifteen to twenty-five per cent suffer from malnutrition. If these defects were confined to the poor, it would not be such a reflection upon our conception of how to nourish the nation, but the rich suffer about the same as the poor. Though their purses are well filled, their neglect, ignorance, or unwillingness to follow correct eating prevents their reaping, in this respect, the advantage of their position in life.
The teeth are about eighty-five per cent earthy matter chiefly phosphate and carbonate of lime. This is similar to the composition of bone. During pregnancy a mother must eat more lime than at other times, in order to furnish enough for the child’s bones; otherwise the lime would be drawn from her own tissues. Frequently the mother’s teeth suffer very much at such a time.
It has been shown that the blood will draw upon the lime of bones and teeth, if too small an amount is supplied in their food. The right remedy is a dietary abundant in lime, vitamines, and minerals. One glass of milk daily, along with a salad and some raw fruit, in addition to a diet which was correct before conception took place, is all that is necessary in a dietary way to carry the mother through without change in the teeth.
The proper development of the teeth and their maintenance in good condition is, therefore, like the development and maintenance of other parts of the body, dependent upon correct eating. Pyorrhea is not generally (if at all) curable through mechanical measures alone.