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January 4, 1941


Author Affiliations

New York University College of Dentistry

JAMA. 1941;116(1):70. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820010072027

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To the Editor:—  W. D. Miller (Arch. f. exper. Path. u. Pharmakol.16:291, 1882; The Micro-Organisms of the Human Mouth, Philadelphia, S. S. White Company, 1890) enunciated his chemicoparasitic theory of dental caries more than fifty years ago. He related dental decay to the production of acids resulting from the action of micro-organisms on carbohydrates. One of the acids stressed in this connection was lactic acid.While Miller and many others have made numerous in vitro experiments showing the production of acids by oral micro-organisms, it is only recently that such in vivo experiments have been performed. Miller and Neuwirth (Dental Cosmos77:453 [May] 1935) showed that the continual sucking of hard candies resulted in tooth decalcification. They found that the hard candies were composed of practically pure sucrose. They postulated that the tooth decalcification resulted from the action of organic acids on the tooth, the organic acids

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