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November 10, 1975

Medical News

JAMA. 1975;234(6):577-585. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03260190005001

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Caries prevention treatment saves patients' teeth after radiotherapy  The director of dental research at the University of Rochester Medical Center thinks he may have found the way to prevent dental caries.He has seen his four-point preventive program work perfectly on the most difficult group of patients—persons receiving radiation therapy for cancers in the head and neck region—and so is satisfied that it will work for the general population, probably in modified form.Normally, says Erling Johansen, DMD, PhD, the teeth of patients undergoing radiation therapy decay badly within a matter of months. This is due principally to loss of saliva, as the radiation causes atrophy of the salivary glands. This condition may be permanent, especially when the total dose of radiation exceeds 5,000 rads.But 73 of 80 such patients (91%) who were put on the caries prevention program remain caries