December 20, 1930


JAMA. 1930;95(25):1915-1916. doi:10.1001/jama.1930.02720250037014

The conviction that defective teeth frequently act as foci of infection has served to stimulate further increasing interest in the care of the teeth, and attention is being centered with renewed vigor on the etiology of caries. The disease has long been known; paleopathologic studies of ancient Egyptian skulls bear evidence to its prevalence among the earliest races.1 Dental caries is far more common among the more highly civilized races than among peoples living under less favorable or, at least, simpler conditions. However, there is no evidence for believing that caries is an endemic disease or that it is contagious. That general health has a bearing on the appearance of caries is shown by the fact that this disorder frequently is observed after periods of sickness and especially during pregnancy. In view of the many attempts to account for development of dental caries on the basis of either experimental

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