Talk Between Appointments

Dental-Editorial Shop Conversation; Endocrine Glands Receive Some of the

Attention Due Them; Ideas on Caries; Letter from a Long Distance.


                When in the October issue of this journal the editors suggested to dentists that they sit down and write their ideas and findings in the fields to be covered, they meant exactly what they said. Many letters expressing a general opinion of the magazine have been received. For these, the editors are extremely grateful.

But what they would like to receive also are letters of individual comment and ideas on specific portions of Nutrition and Dental Health, or divergent ideas from those presented in its columns.

So they were gratified to receive one such on dental caries, from Dr. Edwin Niederhofer, of 1 Findlay Street, Cincinnati, Ohio.

But before reproducing it here, they wish to change the subject for a moment to call attention to an article in this issue and to tell of another article, to be printed in a forthcoming issue.

Both concern the endocrine glands. Dr. A. Budner Lewis, on other pages of this issue, makes a succinct but very clear presentation of the exact identity, characteristics, functions, requirements and dysfunctions of the endocrine glands of the body. That most of his material is presented in outline form does not make it the less valuable.

In the February issue, another article on the endocrines will follow. In contrast to Dr. Lewis’ presentation, Dr. M. Francis Wielage, of Miami, Fla., and Ada M. Wielage, a pharmacist, go into great detail regarding the part that the endocrines may play in dental well-being or illness. Their article is so comprehensive that it may be necessary to divide it for presentation in more than one issue. However, the editors urge their readers to consider both the Lewis and the Wielage articles closely. Not only do they point out important known facts, but they call attention to gaps in existing information which should stimulate thinking and research.

But to get back to Dr. Niederhofer’s letter.

“in these days of sandwich eaters,” he writes, “much bread is consumed along with pastries and flour gravies.

“Observation of the average individual’s mouth reveals food deposits of a white, pasty and glutinous character remaining upon and between the teeth. These deposits adhere due to the adhesiveness of the wheat gluten.

“Colored foods such as greens, beets, carrots and others are seldom, if ever, found, because they have fine enough to be lost between the teeth, so they cannot produce caries.

“However, there are many who consume large quantities of wheat products and who seldom cleanse their teeth, yet are free from caries. This may be accounted for by the fact that they also consume large quantities of greasy foods, butter, oils and meat fats. These greasy substances form a film upon the tooth which prevents pasty substances from adhering.

“Then there are others who consume plenty of fruits and fruit juices as well as vinegar. These fruit acids have a tendency to dissolve glutinous substances, rendering them inert.

“Wheat as well as other cereals are composed chiefly of carbohydrates and proteins.

“Wheat flour contains about 30 per cent gluten, which is composed of two distinct proteins, glutenin and gliadin.

“Gliadin, which is soluble in 70 per cent alcohol as well as dilute acids and alkalies, may be converted into glutamic acid, C5 H9 NO4, by hydrolysis. Gliadin yields about 43 per cent of this dibasic acid.

“While hydrolysis is taking place within the gliadin, the protein substance of the enamel is also changed, the inorganic matrix being released and dissolved in the glutamic acid, caries resulting.”

This is an interesting theory, supported by a line of reasoning that appears to follow logically. The editors will be interested to hear comments from others on Dr. Niederhofer’s theory or to hear from any person who may have done research along the lines he indicates.

From Mr. B.F.S. Popham, Hayes Lane, Alderley Edge, Manchester, England, comes this note:

“As a dental student at the Manchester Dental hospital, and having seen a notice about your magazine in an English dental journal, I was considering subscribing to it, as I consider that it is most important to advance this aspect of dental science. I therefore should feel very much obliged if you would be kind enough to forward me a specimen copy to the above address.”

Such a conviction deserves immediate attention, and the copy was sent.