THE important consideration in the selection of a diet is not the variety of foods consume but the variety of elements consumed. For example, a diet derived solely from the cereal grains, oats, wheat, barley and corn, and legume seeds, such as the potato and fleshy roots, radishes, turnips. carrots and the like, will not prove satisfactory. Even the addition of meat to this diet is inadequate.

WHENEVER there is a discussion of diet and nutrition among dentists there is some one who will say that, “All there is to nutrition and diet is the addition of fresh vegetables, and milk.” Of course this is just gunshot therapy. The study of nutrition and dietetics is a most important subject and cannot be dispensed, with the above statement.

IN THIS issue of Nutrition and Dental health, in the Dentist’s Dietetic Department, there is published a diet of a patient that is typical of the many sent to us by dentists. It shows that the people are not eating properly, they are not consuming foods conducive to general and dental health. It is only through the correction of these imbalances that there can be any hope of controlling the greatest scourge of all mankind, DENTAL CARIES.

IT MUST be remembered that diet is not the sole cause of dental disease. Oral hygiene, personal cleanliness is of first consideration as it always has been, probably not stressed enough by the average practitioner because he assumes that his patients are interested in keeping their bodies clean, however, we have all seen that many patients, other wise fastidious, do not pay enough attention to oral cleanliness. Possibly because their dentists have not insisted upon it.

HOWEVER, if the body is not in a healthy condition, it is difficult to control disease, dental or otherwise. Therefore too much consideration in general physical tone cannot give given in the fight against oral ill health. McCollum states, “A surprising contrast can be made by feeding one group a cereal, tuber, and root diet, and another the same food with liberal daily allowance of whole milk. The milk-fed animals will grow rapidly, develop to a large size, have fine coats, bright eyes and present every evidence of health and great muscular power, in contrast to runtiness and inferiority in the group fed the same food but lacking milk.

THIS is merely an experiment with animals on different diets, but clearly shows that nutrition and diet have an important bearing on growth and health. Man can eat anything an animal can eat and a lot more. Curator Fattig of Emory University has eaten over 1,000 bugs, and other foreign substances, including bits of glass, to convince magistrates that foreign matter in soft drinks is no cause for a damage suit, but not matter how we tolerate these things, they are not contributing to our physical or dental health.

ALMOST no one among the lay takes the trouble to find out what food is, or even what the human digestive system is. For example, the stomach is generally thought of as the main eating organ, and its well-being the object of all diets. Actually it is a minor piece in the digestive apparatus and has been cut out of both mans and beasts without affecting their eating efficiency. Some people choose their food solely for the pleasure it gives their palates, while others seem to make a national art of dreary cooking.

THE only intelligent course for dentists to pursue is to make a study of foods, food habits, nutrition and diet, as it pertains to dental problems, and apply this knowledge to their practice. Nutrition and Dental Health through the Dentists’ Dietetic Service will give all help possible to all who want to gain a more comprehensive knowledge of this subject.