The endocrine glands, through their influence on calcium metabolism, are primary factors in creation and maintenance of the teeth, and in immunity or susceptibility to caries. The endocrine glands, which appear to be more unstable in populations of mixed nationalities than of ” pure ” nationalities, are not equally balanced in all individuals, and for different persons do not attain their ultimate balance at the same ages. Nervous persons are more apt to have carious teeth than persons who are not nervous, a condition indicating lack of normal calcium function. This view is supported by the fact that normal calcium metabolism is disturbed by trauma of the parathyroid, when a thyroid gland is subjected to surgical operation. Delayed eruption of teeth can be hastened by administration of parathyroid substance, which stimulates calcium metabolism. Although the parathyroid gland does not ordinarily control eruption of teeth, this process is retarded by weakening of the parathyroid function. In this community, since the beginning of administration of iodine to prevent goitre, children have less caries. Iodine seems to increase resistance to caries, retarding the process and reducing its incidence.
Two conditions mainly determine resistance or susceptibility to caries : normal calcium metabolism and bacterial disintegration. Diet adequate in calcium is not sufficient to maintain teeth free from disease unless the endocrine glands are in normal coordination. When they are, bacteria are powerless to cause caries. When the pregnant mother begins to create a child, her endocrine glands undergo activities that throw them out of balance, and she herself is the victim in most instances of decalcification of teeth. Bacteria are more active in the oral cavity of pregnant women than in the mouths of women who are not pregnant, because of the altered chemistry of the fluids of both body and oral cavity. In pregnancy there is instability of mineral elements normally used for construction of strong teeth. Some mothers, usually in pure strains of nationality, pass through pregnancy without great deterioration of teeth. Their daily habits, diet, and heredity, indicate that they have inherited strong, well-built teeth, and do not have periods of excitability, of caries, and of immunity. Viosterol and other vitamin products have not been effective for prevention of caries. The greatest preventive benefit can be derived by giving calcium lactate, five grains three times a day, for a period of twelve days ; stopping for fifteen days ; renewing for another twelve days ; and then alternating in this way for periods indicated by results. Iodine should be given, if the patient is not already taking iodine as a means of goitre prevention. The dose of iodine should be about the same as that administered for prevention of goitre.
References: J. Am. Den. Assoc., 1923, 1926, 1927, 1930, 1931, 1938.