General Feeding vs. Local Cleaning

As We Eat We Are and as We Have Eaten Our Teeth Have Become,

by Herbert Ely Williams, D.D.S.

            Alone, Nutrition and Dental Health are meaningless. Together they stand for every phase of bodily welfare and oral comfort. Nutrition nourishes as a whole, while dental health is a result of right feeding doing to the right place. Nourishing is a general term and dental health sounds local. Anything designated as local seems less important, which accounts for the local interpretation from which dentistry has too long suffered. The local train is less important than the Chicago express except for way station passengers. Teeth have too often been designated as way passengers. Every tooth being directly connected with the brain, dispels any impressions of localization.

All Agree That Prevention is Necessary

Prevention is the absolute solution of dental health upon which both the Prices and Hyatts are agreed but disagreement creeps in as to preventive procedure. Dr. Price tries to head off caries before it gets here. Dr. Hyatt believes in taking care of nature’s masticators after they arrive. Systemic naturalness has the proper sound of soundness with Dr. Price and Mrs. Price in their “primitivization pursuits.” They get away from too much local to more of the body as a whole and put their slides, pictures, experiences and personalities into their contentions.

Their claims dim the luster of local things. Dr. Price’s observation and research trips to every foods make the physical perfection of primitive man. Dr. Price’s observation and research trips to everywhere every summer have given him the edge –perhaps. But after all, walking on top of the ground with fair fitting dentures is much better than lying under ground with thirty-two fine teeth.

Primitive people challenge caries and win, but who is especially desirous of being an Eskimo, far off Indian, African or anything else too far from the United States, just for the sake of sound teeth. As good as a good body is, a mentality, and must be considered too. Unfortunately many specimens of Herculean strength and bodily soundness are steered about with a thimbleful of brains. Primitive man had primitive brains –or less, and toll must be paid for civilization, intelligence, mentality or just good old-fashioned brains.

Primitive man would have agreed with Josh Billings who said, “A good set of bowels is better than a good set of brains.” “Weaker and wiser” have become “truer and truer” as on we go. The tide of today shows that sciences has distinctly helped but not definitely solved everything and never will. With only five senses, men and science cannot go very far or be expected to know too much. When humanity’s senses are stepped up to eight or ten then, “some day we may understand.”

The Hyatt clan has promoted cleanliness carrying an inestimably favoring psychology, for “cleanliness is next to Godliness” and far ahead with some people, The writer believes in and partakes of natural, neutral uncooked foods most of the time except at dental conventions. Cooking has put on nutrition in food –so far.

Denture wearing investigators observe adhering foods and tartar to their replacement. Foods remain all night, and tartar deposits before morning. The sticky, staying soft foods of civilization consistency, stick and stay tenaciously to teeth natural or synthetic. If the lower animals ate foods of human consistency, their teeth would also become film coated and subject to fermenting food environments.

Abuse of Bodies Comes with Civilization

Then as decay would come, their teeth might go, just like ours. Many abuses consist chiefly of neglect and neglect to keep teeth clean is a violation of the numberless advantages of oral sanitation, regardless of any scientific angle whatever. Teeth should be helped to help themselves and semi-scientific doctrines which are plentifully preached and scantily practiced.

The higher the state of civilization becomes, the more we abuse our bodies. Aborigines or the low animals, are more particular what they eat, what they do and how they do it. Any time is not bed time with nature livers who generally retire at night. One must adapt himself to the trend of the times and the pace we are traveling. Such adaptation means proper living with one hundred years as the goal sought and reached by over five thousand centenarians now in the United States.

A recent essayist stated that operative dentistry was the “bread and butter” of the general practitioner. Dr. Hyatt took exception to such a crude interpretation, probably because of the carbohydrate content, “country-side” expression.

The essayist agree to substitute the words “ham and eggs,” popular protein potentialities. It was learned later that Dr. Hyatt believed that proteins were not quite so likely to make a clean tooth decay so fast.



Select Foods for Nutritive Value

Prejudice prompts wrong doing in food  consumption and in selection of dentists. “I don’t like it or I don’t like him” are words that spell one’s self out of the best foods and out of a good dentist.

The sense of taste, one of the lusts of the sense, carrying prejudice galore is probably next to smelling, of least importance. If one sense of taste were less acute scientific foods might be partaken and assimilated in spite of the fussiness of prejudice. If one were devoid of sense of taste entirely the span of life might actually be stretched. Taste is just as irrelevant to the chemistry of foods as odor is to the nutritive properties of Limburger cheese.

Advising patients of proper food chemistry has too often been mellowed by the professional sentimentality coming from a traditional skilled trade hangover. Filling a cavity with something else at once has blinded our vision to something greater and more important.

Dental duties consist of advising as well as filling. The dentist sees more tonsils upset and pathological unrest than the physician, simply because he gazes into more mouths more often. Nutrition and dental health are about as important as any of life’s phases.

The carbohydrates of civilization have overshadowed the natural neutral foods of other days. Dr. Hay in his writing may be not be far off after all when he advocates the separation of starches and proteins at the same meal. Excessive carbohydrates are digested in the mouth –if at all, while the acids of the stomach take care of proteins. Both forms of the stomach take care of proteins. Both forms of food or a scandalous mixture at one meal even would seem unwise to the layman. Chemistry is a definite science –but as a conglomeration as the American takes is a contra indication of scientific phases.

Teeth wrecking foods may become body wrecking chemicals. Health is the greatest beauty asset which music, art and literature fall lamentably short in equalling. The real beauty of health cannot play in the back yard of disease. Real beauty is more permanent than the skin deep beauty of the superficially tinted facial adornment or the permanently waved hair.

The woman of civilization is much smaller and weaker than the man. One often wonders whether through the rolling ages diet short of calcium and phosphorus and other essential elements has not been responsible.

There seems to be too great a variance between the weight and strength of woman and man. Maude S., a famous mare, held the mile trotting record for years. Male and female horses work side by side at the plow as beasts of burden.

Water fowl of each sex migrate for thousands of miles at one flight and at equal speed. Female golfers, tennis players, swimmers or in any athletic endeavor fall sadly behind in competition with the male.

“The clean tooth does not decay” slogan fits nicely with unerupted 3rd molar teeth. Whether this troublesome crowded late comer of civilization is getting its share of the chemicals of nutrition makes little difference until it peeps out into a cruel cold world –then trouble begins. If no teeth erupted dental caries would require no dictionary space.

Possible preventive procedures seem practical in frequent office appointments. Brushing, flossing, nitrating and watching are the four watch words of prevention. But while watching, praying and keeping tooth crowns sound the “penalty of civilization” creeps in and bone shrinks and gums recede and looseness comes along with heavy tolls of tooth losses.

Modern Feeding Inadequate

It has been shown by Dr. Price that modern feeding not only robs the teeth of their nutritive needs but the whole body as well, under development of bones of the face becoming distinctly apparent.

Denture fullness should then be slightly overdone in order to be full enough or too full. Pushing the features out as nature intended man must restore artificially and build up when nature falls down lamentably.

The church hymn “Let the blessed sunshine in” sings duet sermons of health. The vitamin charged rays of sunshine and the sunshine of happiness keeps the blood pressure down and the spirits up. Excessive joy as well as extreme sorrow and anger boost up the blood pressure –but joy and happiness are logical winners. Life is taken too seriously replete with money worries and fretting when there are only two things to worry about –those we can help and those we cannot help.

Tooth destroying foods are likely to become body destroying factors, when the teeth and body happen to belong to the same man. Variously estimated about 18% of persons are tooth conscious –better by far to consider, convince and corner the 82% dental unconscious persons than to worry about those who are already coming.


Since unscientific feeling is playing havoc with human teeth, something must be done about it. Filling the faults with filling material must intercept ravaging caries. Inasmuch as caries is different in nature, filling material must be different in character.

Amalgam seems destined to continue as commander-in-chief of filling materials. It is about as good as filling as the dentist chooses to make it. It is about as bad as abuse, neglect and indifference destines it to be. So-called amalgam edge strength is somewhat of a fallacy. The writer in doing a little “home talent” research found amalgam surprisingly brittle when ironed out in thin sheets and allowed to harden. The mix continued to solidify for a week or two.

Claims that cubic inch will withstand the crushing power of a steam roller is fantastically impracticable. The test is in the mouth, not on the highway. Bulk strength, not edge strength is amalgam strength. Writers must write about filling shortcomings only to encourage technical improvement. Periodicals should reject contributors who write disparagingly of a single phase of the dental profession.

Encouragement and improvement in the best we have is better than always looking for something we may never get. Standardized cavity form is best, when fees fit the filling. Some dentists are good mixers and are sympathetic to the environments of every practitioner. Dental periodicals should also be good mixers, liberal in their views and democratic in their policies. Catering to the practice of every organized dentist, big or little, large or small, who subscribe for magazines and pay for them. The practice of most dentists does not warrant scientific preparation of cavities. The writer has carried unorthodox, unscientific amalgam fillings in his teeth for forty-five years. He also can show many amalgam fillings in good conditions, which he made thirty-eight years ago. Dental schools must teach an orthodox definite, standardized technique. Everything must be taught subservient to certain standards. That is common sense.

When unorthodox procedures are necessary, copper amalgam should serve as a “safety first” cavity lining. Copper amalgam neither shrinks nor expands but stays just where it is placed, preserving almost perpetually. Copper amalgam can be squeezed out almost bone dry. Excesses of mercury from standardized amalgam covering the copper amalgam naturally migrates to the dry copper amalgam, where it does no harm whatever. Amalgam is a great material when the dentist’s head and instruments synchronize.

Those who doubt silicate perfection are unable to offer something better. Any kind of filling that preserves is a good preserver. The longer it preserves the better it is. Silicates have saved millions of teeth from five years up, mostly down. Matched silicates look like real tooth structure for a while, until nicotine and food stains begin to tell their stories of discoloration. Many dentists contend that silicates offer no contact points. All kinds of filling lose contact points quickly when they are recklessly cut away.

Silicate contact points are logical victims of absent-minded dentists and coarse strips and discs. Class 3 cavities left fuller by omitting sand paper strips entirely and trimming with a gold knife or lancet, leave more silicate bulk requiring more time to wash out and waste away. Silicate fillings left fuller at present are much better two years hence. Silicates have a more permanent influence when placed in a metallic cavity. The objection of metallic visibility of amalgam, gold foil or inlays is nicely overcome by cutting a window cavity and covering the glittering metal with tooth-like silicate.

Porcelain Inlays and Jacket Crowns are geographically prevalent in the middle west, just as gold foil reigns supreme farther west. Porcelain restorations, the deluxe, most closely approximate that which is lost. Within the passing century 1862 found the porcelain in lay being ground and crudely fitted while 1936 finds it a thing of beauty. Since tooth vitality has been recognized as a health measure, the jacket crown has become an indispensable factor especially in anterior teeth. Where the bite is not too severe the dentist must remember to relieve occlusion. The writer records a few of his own placed jacket drowns which are still going along after twenty-two years’ service. Where jacket crowns belong nothing else seems so sensibly serviceable.


As far back as 1857 enamel inlay fillings were described by A. P. Volck. Later inlay research came and went until Taggart in 1907 worked them into practical popularity. Today, inlays play a minor role in casting possibilities. If inlay fillings were entirely excluded, casting would still fill a wide field in prosthetic usefulness. Casting is bible old while gold inlays are quite modern. Inlays like all other filling materials are about as efficient as the dentist’s efficiency. The trend to compare materials that are only adjuncts is a violation of good judgment and common sense.

Class two or M.O.D. cavities are logical candidates for the casting art. With slice preparation cervical uncertainties are greatly lessened. Inlays for occlusial cavities in bicuspids and molars or for accessible, gingival cavities are time squandering misfits. They are trespassers on gold foil territory. The endless details of inlay work with its many variables, lead many dentists astray regarding completion time. Like grocer’s profitless sugar, many inlays are actually finished at a loss. Moderate or small for dentist will find that gold foil and amalgam will better fit the patient’s purse and the dentist’s profit.

Gold Foil

Gold foil is the “star” filling where indications are sensible. Other fillings are “understudies” and good ones. Some understudies sometimes out-number the star. If amalgam endures half as long as gold foil, it must be classed as a worthy substitute even with its countless variables, its deluge of compressed mercury and its temperamentality. Gold foil has longevity records of 85 years, which is long enough. If amalgam remains half that long, it is good enough, and better than nature did with lime salts and imperfectly fused enamel rods.

Studying histology started the dental student’s about enamel rods. The more he learned about them the faster he went away from gold foil. The margin less preparation made with stones rather than cutting instruments, is a “fool proof” technique and a fear dispelling procedure. Fear that gold foil will rock, scale off or refuse to weld are the routine chairside nightmares of the beginner.

Starring points made with round burs followed by a wheel bur will wedge the first pieces of unanncaled fail securely. Undercut grooves retain the filling and after the convenience points are filled the foil is annested to a bright red to drive off objectionable deposits. The Bunsen flame, open alcohol flame miles held over either flame or electric annesters all have merit and are subject to the dentist’s choice. With condenser points freshly serrated with a jeweler file and foil annested to bright redness , no man can actually prevent the welding of gold foil.

To stick and solidify is nature’s plan. Gold foil is not the ticklish, sensitive substance that the timid soul has termed it. Gold foil may be condensed under pure water, while saliva spells poison and disaster. Gold foil may be welded to a twenty-two carat crown of bridge, becoming a part of it as a repairing feature, after the part has been brightly seraped This is cited only to dispel fear and inspire confidence. Automatic mallets doubtless are most extensively used, the blow of which is regulated not only by mechanical adjustments but the grip of the fingers. The grip of Joe Louis could produce a tremendous mallet blow, while the weak undeveloped hand of a dentist might produce an extremely light blow.

Dental salesmen report that gold-foil sales have tripled within the last year, which is convincing evidence of a definite “homeward bound” trend, with sane, sensible, selective application. Gold foil may become a distinct asset to the patient’s welfare and a “stepping up” of the dentist’s income more than a little.

Red Bank, New Jersey.