Causes of Dental Caries. A Symposium

On page 18 of the July issue of Nutrition and Dental Heath, under Causes of Dental Caries, we asked the question, “Do you consider that the physical or chemical make-up of the saliva influences the presence or absence of dental caries?”

Oliver T. Osborne, M.D., F.A.C.P., Professor of Therapeutics, Emeritus, Yale School of Medicine, and Dr. John R. Ricker, Houston, Texas, have sent their answers to the question, and they are presented herewith.

 

DO YOU CONSIDER THAT THE PHYSICAL OR CHEMICAL MAKE-UP OF THE SALIVA INFLUENCES THE PRESENCE OR ABSENCE OF DENTAL CARIES?

 

Oliver T. Osborne,

Yale School of Medicine,

New Haven, Connecticut.

It seems to me that the most important factor in this question is as to how much can mouth infection injure normal saliva. While proper food, in other words, good nutrition and good healthy saliva, must of necessity cause healthy teeth, caries is really the result of bacteria. Of course malocclusion and traumatism are large factors.

Your splendid magazine on dental health cannot help but take note of the seriousness of pathologic bacteria in the mouth, tonsils, and adjacent sinuses.

John R. Ricker,

Houston, Texas.

 

The presence of (KCNS) potassium sulphocyanide confers an antiseptic action on the saliva.

The sulphocyanides are not constant in the saliva and in those cases where not found caries is present. Can be detected by acidifying the saliva with HCL, and treating with a very dilute solution of ferric chloride, as a control, especially in the presence of very small quantities, it is best to compare the test with another test tube containing an equal amount of acidulated water and ferric chloride.