ARMED, R.: Calcutta Dental College and Hospital, Calcutta, India

Caries etiology is still unknown. Primitive people, living a natural life free from the stress and strain of modern civilization, and eating foods pro­duced locally, have much less caries than those living under modern conditions. The prophylactic measures outlined below are protective.

Caries is a chemico-parasitic process, polymicrobic in character. Heredity, diet, and secretions play important parts in its causation. Great variations in susceptibility occur, in persons of the same age-group having similar hygienic and dietetic habits, for reasons that are unknown. Normal cleansing of the teeth with any suitable material., and a balanced diet having a goodly proportion of foods requiring thorough mastication, are main desiderata. As to diet, no hard and fast rule can be stated for all. People living in a particular locality should eat foods —produced in that part of the country—having a balance of necessary ingredients, and also requiring thorough mastication. The people of the Maldive Islands live exclusively on fish and coconut products, grow no cereals and have no cattle as the soil of the islands is unsuitable ; yet, in the author’s examinations, their teeth are as good as those of the inhabitants of neighboring mainlands in Ceylon and India. These facts render the Tristan-de-Cunha and vitamin theories doubtful.

Reference: None submitted.

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