Public Dental Health Education

Prominent Speakers Explain Dental Problems to Laymen at Minnesota State Dental Convention

More than 800 people met in the St. Paul Municipal Auditorium to learn about the care of the mouth and teeth.

                That dentistry is taking its place as a true health profession was demonstrated by the recent Public Dental Health Meeting held in conjunction with the Minnesota State Dental Association Convention in St. Paul, February 27. Dr. H. B. Washburn serving as chairman of the movement deserves great credit for the success of the meeting.

Thursday February 27 was designated as Public Dental Health Day in St. Paul, where the meeting was held. Advance publicity emphasized the importance of dental treatment in its relation to systemic disease. A question coupon was inserted in the newspapers so that the public might present their problems and show their interest in dental health. The response was most gratifying. In addition to St. Paul and Minneapolis returns were received from suburban and rural communities.

Dr. Lon W. Morrey, Supervisors of Public Relations Bureau, American Dental Association, answered many of the questions at the open forum on dentistry at the St. Paul Auditorium, others were answered personally by mail. More than eight hundred keenly interested people braved inclement weather to hear of the progress made in dentistry during the past year. Nationally prominent speakers were engaged, and a new, more intelligent relationship between the dentist and the public was accomplished.

Dr. H. B. Washburn, of St. Paul, a dental educator of long standing, studied the problem of public dental health education for the past year, and it is through his intelligent leadership that, we believe, a model public dental health program has been established.

With the success of the St. Paul Meeting, it is hoped that a public dental health meeting will become a permanent part of the annual state meeting.

Dr. Washburn presided over the meeting. An address of welcome was given by Dr. M. H. Thornton, President of the Minnesota State Dental Association; and Mr. Gerhard J. Bundlie, prominent attorney and former mayor of the city. Dr. Thornton expressed his appreciation for the enthusiastic response which the public had given this movement and welcomed the audience on the part of the State Dental Association.

Mr. Bundlie stressed the ever increasing health phases of dentistry, and pointed out that the dental profession has progressed through the sacrifice of its members. He urged the public to understand the problems of dental practice because in the end they were their problems also, and that because of the dentists’ eagerness to keep abreast of new developments they are constantly gathering together for the betterment of the health of mankind.

Among the health speakers were: Drs. Arthur C. Wherry, Salt Lake City, Charles W. Mayo, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Bert L. Hooper, University of Nebraska, and Lon W. Morrey, Chicago, Ill.

Dr. Wherry described the organization of the American Dental Health Association, its ramifications into State and local societies. He told of the benefits of organized dentistry and how it has advanced the profession to an important place as a health serving group. Dr. Wherry stressed particularly that dentistry is constantly trying to improve health conditions for the public and that it is disseminating knowledge to the public to protect them from being victimized by quackery.

Dr. Charles W. Mayo made an interesting discussion of comparative anatomy. He pointed out that the teeth of man makes him particularly adapted to both a carnivorous and herbivorous diet. How man’s intestinal tract has made it possible for him to properly assimilate varied types of food. Dr. Mayo described the teeth and intestinal tract of wild beasts, domesticated animals, and the proverbial ancestor of man, the monkey. He drew a comparison between the natural habits of various animals, and how civilization and domestication has changed both animals and man.

Dr. Bert L. Hooper, University of Nebraska, demonstrated by colored motion pictures how oral restorations may be made, and how through dentists’ artistry, little change in facial features is necessary. Dr. Hooper explained that the dentist in addition to being a scientist, is an engineer, an architect, and an artist. Through his motion picture demonstration he showed how dentists plan their work, carve facial features in restorations and rebuild faulty occlusion.

Dr. Lon w. Morrey, of Chicago, discussed the dental problems of the public and cleared up many of the common dental misapprehensions that confront the average person. Dr. Washburn read questions asked by the audience and Dr. Morrey answered them. Dr. Morrey spoke particularly to parents of young children, describing the eruption of deciduous teeth, when they are lost and the importance of their preservation. He emphasized that deciduous teeth should be given equal care to permanent teeth, and x-ray examination is of utmost importance in determining the position of the permanent teeth. A few of the questions answered by Dr. Morrey are as follows:

Q. Can one decayed tooth cause pain in a different side of the jaw?

A. sometimes on the same side, due to “crossed wires” in the nervous system, but rarely, if ever, on the other side.

Q. what causes receding gums and what is the cure?

A. Many causes, both local and general. Anything which may irritate the gums – large accumulation of tartar on the teeth, ill-fitting crowns, particles of food wedged between the teeth, too harsh or unwise toothbrushing, such as the old-fashioned cross-brushing, trench month, lack of vitamin C and D. most systemic diseases reflect in the mouth.

The cure is to correct the trouble by restoring general health, by proper diet and removing causes for irritation.

Q. Why has my 13-year old son poor teeth? His diet is good and both his parents’ teeth good.

A. Many possibilities. Among them: Improper diet in infancy when permanent teeth begin to form, some childhood disease which prevented proper calcification, lack of vitamins, glandular disturbances due to adolescence.

Q. What causes loosened teeth?

A. Same as receding gums.

The meeting ended with two descriptive motion pictures, “Nature, Builder of Teeth,” and “Clara Brushes Her Teeth.” These pictures demonstrated the eruption of teeth, loss of deciduous teeth and the development of permanent dentition. They also described proper and improper methods of oral hygiene. Tooth brushing was stressed and proper methods described.

During the two and one-half hour program the public manifested intense interest, and comments heard through the lobbies indicated that dental health education is appreciated and desired by the majority of the people.

July 16, 2017 · jagdish1 · No Comments