MORREY, LON W.: Bureau of Public Relations, American Dental Association, Chicago, Ill. (May 23, 1939).

 

In prolonged study of a group of average American children, living under average conditions, sane and systematic dentistry stopped the progress of caries (Table 3). Until science develops a better method, it is the most efficient weapon with which to fight this disease.

TABLE 3
Data on influence of dental service on arrest of caries

Children
no.

Carious teeth

Children

Deciduous
no.

Permanent
no.

Total no. Total no.

Free from
caries
no.

Average no.
of carious
teeth

September, 1920

508

1705

716

2421

508

84

4.7

June, 1930

590

116

61

177

590

449

0.3

 

MILLS, CLARENCE A.: College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cin­cinnati, Ohio (Sep. 1, 1938).

Statistical analysis of data provided by a dental survey, by the U. S. Public Health Service, shows that incidence of caries, in school children, in­creases steadily throughout the United States, in both rural and urban popula­tions, as the distance from the tropics increases. The probable relation of sunlight intensity is supported by the presence of distinctly less caries in the northern-plains states, where sunlight is more plentiful than in other areas. There are indications of diminishing caries-incidence from the mouth of a river toward its headwaters, a phenomenon that may be related to soil leaching. There is an inverse relationship between drinking-water hardness and caries incidence, cities using river-water showing about 30 percent more caries than cities using well-water. There is direct relationship between caries incidence and amount of salt used in seasoning food. Negro school children in all areas show less caries than do the white, but the same regional relationships obtain. Purely local oral conditions seem inadequate to explain regional differences in caries incidence.

These findings on geographic distribution of caries, and its relation to drink­ing water and salt intake, afford suggestions as to basic causation. In geographic distribution, caries is similar to such metabolic diseases as diabetes mellitus, toxic goiter, pernicious anemia, leukemia, Addison’s disease, and the degenerative dis­eases (arteriosclerosis and cancer). In seasonal behavior, it shows further sim­ilarity, progressing most rapidly during the colder and more stormy portion of the year, when metabolic and arteriosclerotic troubles are greatest ; but all are at a minimum in summer warmth. Metabolic stress is greatest in stormy middle- temperate regions, and during the winter months when metabolic diseases and caries are most troublesome. Acute infections occur most frequently, under such conditions ; and it is possible that their induced tissue acidosis may augment caries progress. Further work is needed to establish the degree of dependence of caries on such metabolic factors as are here suggested.

References: U. S. Pub. Health Serv. Bull. 226, 1936; J. Den. Res., 1937; Internat. Clinics, 1936.

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