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February 3, 1951


JAMA. 1951;145(5):321-322. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.02920230045014

The concept that acid erosion is the fundamental cause of dental caries was advanced more than half a century ago. Further experimental evidence supporting this hypothesis was recently presented. From a microbiologic point of view, the demonstration1 of the high acidophilus count in carious mouths was of great significance, since it revealed a mechanism for the production of acid food residues. Another important observation was that in a group of children the only significant difference between the composition of the saliva of caries-free and of carious mouths was the strikingly higher buffer capacity of the former.2 In line with this finding was the demonstration3 that removal of the salivary glands in rats resulted in severe hypertrophic gingivitis and caries on the exposed surfaces of the molars in less than three weeks.

Improved technics for experimental study of caries have been introduced recently. The Syrian hamster has been