JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer
Reiling, Assistant Editor.
In an article published not long since in one of our British contemporaries,
Dr. Harry Campbell designated the period in which we live as the "age of pap,"
referring by this to the growing tendency to the omission from our diet of
foods which require mastication. The teeth are becoming—to a certain
extent at least—more and more functus officio organs.
The result is that, as a United States official, Dr. Wiley, is lately reported
as saying, the human race is becoming toothless. Wiley also includes hair
in the cutaneous outgrowths which we are losing, but we trust that, if only
for esthetic reasons, it will be a long time before the result he prophesies
will be fully brought about. There is no doubt, however, that degeneration
of the jaws and teeth, which has been progressing ever since man became an
intellectual animal and depended less on them for raptorial purposes, is going
about as far as is required with our present idea of convenience and beauty.
Let us hope that there will be still some people who will chew their food,
not only for health reasons, but also for good looks. An English writer has
seen some good in the American habit of chewing gum in the exercise it gives
the jaws. We are glad there is some virtue in it.
THE FALLIBILITY OF SCIENTIFIC DICTA.. JAMA. 2003;290(14):1930. doi:10.1001/jama.290.14.1930-a