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December 9, 1922


JAMA. 1922;79(24):2003-2004. doi:10.1001/jama.1922.02640240037016

The development and maintenance of good teeth are not the professional concern of the dentist alone; they are of equal moment to the physician. For the lack of more adequate or sympathetic consideration of dental problems on our part, the current points of view of our dental colleagues may be, in some measure, responsible. They have mainly, of late, regarded dental decay as a purely local affair, and have placed emphasis on the environment of the teeth far more than on their structure and nutrition. Hence the widespread emphasis on oral hygiene. In essence, it is taught that films forming on the tooth surfaces enclose bacteria and particles of carbohydrate food, which undergo fermentation, resulting in the formation of lactic acid. The latter, it is alleged, may then dissolve the lime salts on the surface of the teeth, leaving the organic matter to be attacked by putrefactive bacteria. Presently a

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