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October 7, 1933


JAMA. 1933;101(15):1157. doi:10.1001/jama.1933.02740400043017

Current knowledge of dental caries and particularly the etiologic factors involved are still the subject of profound confusion.1 This is true not only as it applies to the public and to physicians who observe caries incidentally, but even with respect to current interpretations by the dental profession. One reason for the existing confusion is that many persons fail to distinguish properly between caries and other dental maladies—an error that no dentist should commit. It would sometimes seem that each group of investigators is more intent on securing evidence for its own pet hypothesis than on establishing certain indisputable facts regardless of their immediate bearing.

The appealing aphorism that "a clean tooth never decays" has lost some of its pristine popularity. According to the White House Conference on Child Health and Protection,2 studies more specifically directed toward the control of dental caries have recently emphasized that active caries should

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