Prevention of Oral Pathology Through Nutrition

By Frederick J. Farrington, D.D.S.
Rahway, N. J.
Many in the dental profession are coming to recognize the fact that the only constructive method of prevention of oral disease is through nutrition.
Oral disease being but a local expression of systemic imbalance; this imbalance must first be corrected to create evidences in the mouth of systemic health.
The article, “Nutrition –and Your Dental Practice,” by H. F. Hawkins, D.D.S., of Los Angeles, California, appearing in the April, 1938, issue of “Nutrition and Dental Health,” deserves attention. It corroborates known possibilities and encourages future interest in the application of nutrition in our everyday service to patients.
The average man gives little thought about what can be done to prevent the pathological conditions of the mouth, of which we see so much.
There seems hardly a bona fide excuse for failure to become acquainted with some of the possibilities of prevention of oral disease through the field of nutrition.
The subject of food and nutrition becomes very intricate if one delves deeply into its chemistry.
The physical properties of a good silver alloy meet physical requirement, even though we may lack knowledge of the exact chemical content. In this manner the acme of health may be attained without knowing the specific chemistry of foods or of the metabolic change.
Anyone who has followed a simple plan which proves itself to be clinically successful finds it strange how difficult it is to convince the average practitioner of the importance, in the prevention of disease, of nutrition and its application.
Caries and diseases of the mouth –in fact, all pathological conditions throughout the body –are effects for which there is a cause.
To lessen the incidence of disease, we must direct our efforts toward the removal of the causes of pathology and allow nature to build tissues of resistance.
When we come to realize that all diseases of the oral cavity, including caries, gingivitis, Vincent’s infection, pyorrhea, and catarrhal conditions, are but local expressions of systemic imbalance, the tissues having been deprived of natural resistance and immunity, we may then come to the conclusion that we must look largely to the source of supply for the cause of these various effects.
It will be the purpose of this article to interest the general practitioner and to present to him a simplified plan in the field of nutrition.
Good Nourishment, Good Health
Improvement in general health will convince anyone of the efficacy of the system herein outlined, after a few weeks of selecting only good foods and combining these to allow them to digest completely.
The elements, of which our bodies are made, and the vitamins, the activators of function, should be contained in the foods we consume daily. At the same time we must take these foods in a manner which will prevent interference with the metabolic process, and avoid discomfort and harmful effects.
We must aid nature in her attempt to build resistance through replacement materials, fuels, activators of function, and processes of normal metabolism.
East only good food, as near the natural state as possible, and do not forget that retained waste stands always between us and health.
You may feel tired on rising in the morning, drowsy after eating, or sluggish most of the time. These are evidences of a systemic pathological condition. Have you ever considered that the foods that you eat, heterogeneous mixture of these, and retained waste may be possible causes?
We must not expect to stop decay in a month, or even in a year, but we may note a marked improvement in our physical feelings. When we have made this dietary plan a daily habit, we will become convinced that nature is progressively building resistance to disease.
It is generally accepted that there are specific requisites and amounts of nutritive material necessary for repair, refueling, and function; but, to simplify the subject, we wish to lay aside, as much as possible, the intricacies of nutrition in the plan which follows.
Food, as this word is commonly used, appears to mean anything we may eat. We either misunderstand the meaning of the word food, of from habit, simply fail to realize the importance of the true meaning and its application.

Maintaining Vital Processes
Food, according to the Webster Merriam International Dictionary, is “nutritive material absorbed or taken into the body of an organism for purposes of growth or repair and for maintenance of vital processes.”
Much of the which is taken by mouth is in no sense food. It is quite foreign to this definition.
Sunshine is of course indispensable. It is essential to our metabolic processes, and without it all life would cease to exist.
It is generally recognized that deficiency of any one or more of the essential nutritive materials or vitamins, or excesses of certain types of foods, is cause for systemic imbalance.
Natural, vital foods for man are those edible things which grow out of the ground –any vegetation which bears see, whether we call it vegetable, fruit, or nut. If these are taken in their natural state, we will come close to providing the necessary nutritive elements required by man for growth, repair, and maintenance of vital processes.
When man changes the chemistry of these natural foods, he is interfering with nature and resorting to a devitalizing process.
The manner of preparing and cooking foods is important in the prevention of deficiencies.
High temperatures in cooking destroy much of the water-soluble vitamins. When boiling vegetables in water and draining them, much of the mineral content is lost. Another cause for loss of elements essential to our vital processes is peeling fruits and vegetables. We also throw away the green tops of vegetables, which could well be used in salads and soups.
Steaming or baking vegetables in their skins, when possible, helps to conserve some of these essentials and preserves taste.
We realize that fresh-grown vegetables and fruits of this day and age may be deficient in certain minerals, through depletion of the soil from rains and erosion for thousand of years.
To meet these deficiencies in our diets it would be well to take a teaspoonful of powdered kelp three times a day, either in a little water, tomato juice, sprinkled on salads or vegetables. This grows from the bottom of the ocean, and is rich in minerals lacking in common foods; and, if taken as directed, would do much to meet deficiencies.
Habitual use of refined grain products and sugars also adds to our deficiencies and imbalance.
When grain is ground, bolted, and refined, or when the juice of the sugar cane or beet is heated, reheated, and refined, we know that practically all nutritive material has been lost. White bread, cake, and any other products made with refined white flour or sugar are in no sense food are decidedly not inducive to systemic health or good teeth. They should be omitted from any system of attempted correct nutrition.
The unrefined grain products, also the unrefined sugars, do have food value and are a good source of heat and energy, but even these may be used to excess.
The concentrated proteins, such as meats, animal sea food, fowl, game, wholemilk cheese, and eggs, are acid-producing. Also acid-producing are the concentrated carbohydrates, which include train products, sugars, potatoes, and possibly bananas.
In the alkaline-producing group we have the acid fruits, green vegetables, and roots.
Acid Base Balance
Much imbalance is due to an improper ratio between these alkaline and acid-forming foods.
The average diet contains an excess of the concentrated, restorative foods, which create little ash; and an insufficiency of the alkaline-producing foods of bulky cellulose ash, which have much vitamin content.
Our acid-base balance may be controlled considerably if we will approach a proer ratio between the foods which produce these opposing reactions.
Some of the essentials in the base-forming foods are not long retained or stored by the body, but pass out quickly through the various avenues of elimination. Thus it is necessary that we consume much of these every day.
As long as life lasts our blood must be decidedly alkaline in reaction, ranging in pH, or hydrogen ion content, between 7.1 and 7.5. It should appear evident, to maintain this alkalinity of the blood, the ratio of the alkaline or base-forming fods should be considerably higher than the acid-forming.
It has been estimated that four parts of alkaline-producing fruits and vegetables to one of acid-forming proteins and carbohydrates is approximately the right proportion to create balance.
The nearer our blood approaches a pH of 7.5 through decreasing the amount of concentrated acid-forming foods and taking more of the acid fruits, green vegetables, and their juices; the more alkaline reserve will we create and the greater will be our degree of health and efficiency. Meats and other forms of concentrated proteins in excess reduce this alkaline reserve and add to imbalance.
Some years ago Chittenden of Yale placed our daily requirement of protein at two ounces. This did not necessarily mean anima proteins. The average consumption if this form probably far exceeds this amount, over and above the vegetable protein obtained in other foods.
We wish to caution against excessive amounts of meats, sea food, eggs, and whole milk cheeses.
Incomplete digestion of certain foods is another very important cause for imbalance, even though all the nutritive elements may be taken daily.
Many seem to think that a stomach can digest all foods at one time, and we will admit that this organ is very much punished.
The stomach is the first important digestive organ after deglutition of foods. If this organ fails to perform its function, complete digestion of certain foods in the small intestine is impossible. The result is deficiency through actual loss, fermentation, defective metabolism, retarded elimination, autointoxication, and imbalance.
Failure of digestion in this early stage renders some of the food mass useless. Even though the bulk may be sufficient and consist of good food, this interference with function adds to nutritive deficiency.
This is hardly inefficiency on the part of the stomach. Man lacks consideration for a very efficient organ, or perhaps he fails to recognize the impossibility of the task imposed.
Incomplete digestion of the concentrated starches and sugars may be caused by failure to mix these thoroughly with the alkaline saliva and its ferment, ptyalin. Any acid taken at the same time would neutralized this alkalinity and interrupt the digestion of the starches and sugars.
These foods are subject to fermentation, and when this first step in their digestion is incomplete, fermentation occurs almost immediately; and we have added much to acid formation.
The concentrated protein group of foods is subject to putrefactive change. When these are taken in excess of our body requirements, and digestion is incomplete and elimination is delayed, much toxic material is formed and absorbed. Incomplete digestion of this class of foods in excessive amount, with failure to reach the normal ash, urea, does much to clutter the blood stream with the products of suboxidation. These are not easily eliminated by the kidneys. Continued over a period of years, the viscosity of the blood gradually increases. A compensatory action on the part of the heart and blood vessels develops, with high pulse pressure and still further failing kidneys.
Dentists Can Detect Early Signs
We, of the dental profession, might note early signs in the mouth of this failing function, such as gingivitis, accumulations of serumal calculus, pyorrhea, arthritis, and rheumatic tendencies.
Due to retained waste and the acid end-products of digestion and metabolism, partially through failure of initial preparation of foods for assimilation and lack of complete oxidation, the blood supply to all organs and tissues of the body is below normal.
This impells failure of function of vitally important organs; and this, in turn, interferes with the normal process of metabolism, and adds to our deficiencies and imbalances. In like manner the various avenues of elimination fail to keep the body clear of waste matter.
There are four avenues for the elimination of waste from the body: through the lungs, skin, kidneys, and colon.
Complete oxidation is essential to normal function. The products of suboxidation deposit themselves in the organs, joints, and tissues of the body and obstruct normal circulation. These are eliminated with difficulty.
We must have plenty of fresh air in order that our waste residues may oxidize to their final stage of ash, easy to eliminate.
We need sufficient physical exercise every day, best taken in the sun, the force deep breathing and cerate sweating.
We eliminate carbon dioxide waste from the tissues through the lungs. Waste of a different character passes out through the pores of the skin. Frequent baths should be taken to remove this waste from the skin and to keep the pores clean.
The kidneys are usually very much overworked, due to the waste from an excess of concentrated foods. To relieve this organ we can lighten its load. Eat less of concentrated animal proteins and of starches and sugars, omit gravies and soups with meat stock, and use less white mineral table salt.
Retention of waste through failure of elimination by the kidneys, even though slow, adds gradually to deplete our power of resistance to disease.
Signs of acidity show in the mouth long before other symptoms of this failure become evident.
Local treatment alone may give temporary relief, but this is dealing with an effect and fails as a preventive measure.
An attempt has been made to state some of the causes of interference with normal function. If these are corrected, we will have done something constructive for the discontinuance of the cause of pathology.
The fourth of the avenues of elimination is through the colon.
Retarded action of the colon is partial failure in function. We absorb through the colon wall much toxic material from putrefactive waste, which contaminates our blood supply.
Removal of this waste is a simple procedure, and will give an almost immediate feeling of relief.
Remember, when we were children, when we were sluggish, didn’t feel well, and had a coated tongue, we were given a dose of castor oil. In a day or two we felt better, and the coating of the tongue disappeared after the colon was cleared of putrid matter, and we took practically no food from lack of appetite. It shows the direct connection between removal of waste and conditions in the mouth. We will do well to remember the principle involved.
The obstruction to normal function was removed, and little food was taken at the time, to cause further obstruction. The effect in the mouth was relieved through removal of the cause. This shows how the partial failure of function of one organ may give evidence of pathology in some distant tissue, and how relief to this failing organ does away with the distant pathological effect.
Retention of waste evidently was the cause of the pathological condition, and its removal made quick recovery possible. Such being the case, would it not be reasonable to suppose that if all waste removal were normal and complete, we would prevent much which is pathological?
Retention of waste allows much time for the absorption of the toxic products of excessive fermentation and putrefaction. These enter the circulation and impair function of both the organs and the tissues of the body.
Such signs in the mouth as a coated, flabby, fissured tongue; inflamed, bleeding gums; calculus pyorrhea; inflamed pharynx; enlarged, infected tonsils; caries; and erosions of the teeth; are all evidences of systemic imbalance and retention of waste. These are but local expressions of systemic disfunction, not so much to be treated as to be prevented.
Corrected nutrition tends to create tissues of natural resistance to, and to prevent, local infection. This has been proved to be a fact in plant life.
In former years traumatic injury to the writer’s tongue, cheek, or lip always resulted in a canker sore. For the last four years injuries of this sort have had no such painful termination.
For the last four years the writer has had but one cold –and this a case of pleurisy. He, from boyhood, had two bad colds practically every winter previous to that time. During this case of pleurisy, the chest on the right side was so sore that he could turn in bed only with extreme discomfort. This was an acute attack caused by overstepping the Chittenden standard of protein for four days and by failure to eliminate bodily waste normally and completely. At least, colonic elimination was known to be insufficient.
Nature indicated the toxic state of the writer in a catarrhal inflammation of the pleural sack, which, in the writer’s case, often seems to be the tissue most susceptible.
The procedure for relief followed here was practically the same as that in the child, except that in place of castor oil a simple two quart cool water enema was taken the first two days. This cleared the colon of putrefying waste. No solid food was taken to tax the digestive mechanism. Nothing but the unsweetened juices of oranges, grapefruit, and pineapple were drunk, when desired, these for the purpose of both satisfying thirst and raising the alkalinity of the blood. Profuse sweating started the second day, the temperature subsided, and there was complete recovery in four days. The fifth day the writer did some work at the chair.
Many cases of correction of both acute and chronic ailments could be cited as clinical demonstration of nature’s ability to heal quickly when obstacles to her work are removed.
The most important thing we can do in an attempt to prevent oral disease is to discontinue doing the things which interfere with the processes of nature –in other words, follow nature’s laws more closely.
The plan of food selection which follows will assist nature and will create a far better effect than the conventional habit of eating. It will lighten the load of the very much over-worked kidneys, liver, and colon.
If one feels sluggish and the colon is inactive, an enema gives an almost magic feeling of relief. When properly taken, it is harmless and very beneficial.
That the enema may not do harm, it is well to remember three things:
1. Do not have the water warm.
2. Do not inject more than two quarts of water into the colon at one time, as a general rule.
3. Do not have the water fall more than three and one-half feet.
In planning meals, it is well to consider the energy required to digest certain foods.
We advise that the heavy meal of the day be taken at evening, when the work of the day is completed. It is better that the breakfast and lunch consist of the lighter foods, which are less taxing on our energy in the process of digestion during working hours.
Meal Plans
To facilitate further reference, we will number the different meal plans as follows:
Meals #1 and #2, both breakfasts.
The light vegetable and acid fruit meal, #3.
Two meals which will include one of the heavier protein or carbohydrate foods, which we will designate as #4 and #5.
Meal #1 (Breakfast):
This may consist of any unsweetened acid fruit juice or the unsweetened fruit itself. With this may be taken a glass of raw sweet milk or buttermilk. If one would prefer a cup of coffee, take it with no sugar and omit the milk. Cream may be added to the coffee.
Meal #2 (Breakfast):
This may consist of two or three slices of whole grain bread (better toasted), crisp fat bacon, and a few soaked dates or figs with a little cream; or steel- cut oatmeal with a little honey and raisins. With breakfast #2, coffee may be taken with dark brown sugar, or honey, and cream.
Breakfast #1 is best for the average individual, and creates a much lighter feeling than the heavier starches and sugars.
Breakfast #2 is heavy and energy-producing and should be taken only by one who is very active, even though the energy from this breakfast is not ready for use until the following day.
Meal #3:
This meal consists of unsweetened acid fruit juices, raw green vegetable and root salads, acid fruit salads, cooked green vegetables and roots, and all the unsweetened acid fruits desired. Raw sweet milk or buttermilk may be added to this meal.
Meal #4:
A small serving of either liver, beef, lamb, fowl, game, animal sea food, eggs, or whole milk cheese. With this have a glass of unsweetened orange, grapefruit, or pineapple juice, or tomato fruit salad, the cooked green vegetables desired, and a dessert of unsweetened acid fruit.
Meal #5:
Whole grain bread (two or three slices, not too fresh), any grain product (unrefined), baked potato, or banana are best taken with raw vegetable and root salads and cooked vegetables. With these may be taken the sweets, such as honey, dark brown sugar or syrup, and dates or figs.
Vegetable salads may be dressed with a celery salt and olive oil.
A teaspoonful of kelp sprinkled of the salads and vegetables three times a day will be beneficial.
After one becomes accustomed to eating meals of the above type particularly having the breakfast #1, #3 for lunch, and either #4 or #5 in the evening, it soon becomes evident how drowsy and heavy one feels after eating meals of the conventional type.
Many are becoming food conscious today and many are attempting to eat correctly.
Eating to satisfy an appetite is one thing; eating to properly nourish the body is quite another.
Improvement in Pyorrhea
The writer finds that in all cases of gingivitis, serumal calculus, and pyorrhea, improvement is much more pronounced and quicker if all animal proteins and white table salt are excluded from the diet for a time. The diet should be confined to plenty of unsweetened acid fruit juices and acid fruits, and also fresh green vegetables, both the raw salads and the lightly cooked. With these may be taken such oily nuts as pecans and Brazil nuts.
Whole grain breads and cereals, potato, or banana are allowed sparingly, but are not to be taken with the acid fruits or their juices. Dates, figs, or raisins may be taken with the starches in place of the acid variety of fruits.
Raw sweet milk or buttermilk may be taken alone or with acid fruits or their juices (unsweetened), and with green vegetables and roots, if desired.
Sufficient vegetable protein to meet all requirement in body building materials may be obtained from the vegetable foods. These are the foods of the vegetarian and his physical and mental condition may act as clinical proof of this fact.
Meal #5 may be taken, in the above mentioned cases, in the evening, when you feel the need of heavier foods. After a time, when improvement is noted, meal #4 is allowed once or twice a week.
Do not use salt excessively. Celery or some other vegetable salt should replace the usual white table salt.
Bacterial invasion of body tissues has been held largely responsible for caries, diseases of the oral cavity, and disease in general, but normal, resistant tissue is not susceptible and will not succumb to the effects of invasion by such organisms.
If the general plan herein outlined, is followed, we will have removed much obstruction to nature in her attempt to correct our body chemistry, and will have permitted her to rebuild normal, healthy tissues, in which the incidence of disease will gradually grow less.
The many pathological conditions which we see in the mouth originate in faulty nutrition and in the inability of the body to function normally.
We wish to stress the importance of the essential minerals in their colloidal state, and the vitamins, those activators of function which are so intangible and still so vitally important in effecting normal assimilation and metabolism of our food elements.
All of these essentials are found in the kingdom of vegetation, the products of the sun, soil, and sea: vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
Eat only of those foods which contain nutritive material for the maintenance of our vital processes, and we will have done the one thing which is most constructive in the field of Prevention of Oral Pathology.
Let this be the cue to cure.