Caries is caused by perverted functions related chiefly to the nature of ” civilized diet.” The food of primitive man consisted of raw fruit, grains and small quantities of raw meat. The food of modern man is characterized by increase in quantity of meat, addition of much salt, cooking, and decrease in amounts of fruits and vegetables, resulting in increased intake of sodium (salt and meat), decreased intake of potassium (vegetables), and impaired absorption of calcium (cooking-boiling). Normal metabolism of P ions depends upon correct exchange of Ca. In food of primitive man, the relation
between antagonistic ions—on one side, —K ; on the other, C Na a+ Mg favored
normal growth processes in bones and teeth. ” Civilized diets ” unfavorably modify these balances, and osseous and dental deteriorations ensue.
Experiments on rats for four months, with adequate controls and routine histological study of incisors, yielded the following findings in accord with the foregoing conclusions : There were highly destructive processes in dentin in young animals that received salted meat ; or when sodium oxalate was injected; or when salt was added to the food. Less severely destructive processes occurred when the food included meat that was not salted. In mature animals having strong teeth there were destructive processes in dentin when the diet included meat or salted meat. In pregnancy or during lactation there was considerable degeneration in dentin when the diet included salted meat. Destruction was greatest in the animals that were pregnant oftenest. Young offspring of such mothers manifested degenerative changes in dentin. Young animals fed salted meat and much cheese (prepared without addition of salt) developed normal teeth, the Ca of the cheese having neutralized the action of Na of the meat and salt. In pregnancy and lactation there were no pathologic changes in dentin when the food included, besides salted meat, much fresh cheese from unboiled milk that had not been salted or fermented. Boiled milk was not preventive of the changes in dentin, boiling having caused reactions that reduced absorption of Ca and compensatory action of Na.
References: Ann. Physico-math. Fac., Univ. Sofia, 1936-37 ; Z. Stom., 1937.