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Your Teeth

Your Teeth: Their Past, Present, and Probable Future

Peter J. Brekhus
with a foreword by Irvine McQuarrie
Copyright Date: 1941
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 292
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  • Book Info
    Your Teeth
    Book Description:

    Are your teeth perfect? If they are, you are one in a hundred, for 99 per cent of the population suffers from some dental disease at some time or other. Caries and pyorrhea are the most widespread diseases of civilized man, more common than the common cold. Despite wide educational efforts, our teeth are worse than they have ever been before. In this popular book Dr. Brekhus reviews virtually all known facts and theories about the teeth of civilized man. Fish teeth five hundred million years old, Stone-Age human skulls, and the increasing number of people born without a complete set of teeth are analyzed. Public health programs of Scandinavia and New Zealand are described. Every dentist and his patients should read this book. A fascinating introduction for dental students; a helpful reference for practitioners with clear, readable answers to hundreds of patients’ questions.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-3631-4
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Irvine McQuarrie

    THE recent past has witnessed a prodigious growth of interest, both popular and professional, in all problems pertaining to dental health. If the future of a special field of interest or a profession may be prognosticated on the basis of such criteria as the current attitude of its leaders, the number and quality of scientific or literary contributions being made by its devotees, and the attention being accorded it by benevolent foundations and institutions of higher learning, dentistry would appear at present to be on the threshold of a veritable renaissance.

    This amazing resurgence of interest can be interpreted in...

  3. To the Reader
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    P. J. B.
  5. Table of Contents
    (pp. xv-2)
  6. Chapter 1 Is Civilization a Disease?
    (pp. 3-24)

    WE ARE sitting, let us say, in a theater. In front of us sits a man—just an average, fairly intelligent, moderately prosperous, middle-aged American. Since he is an example of modern civilized man, let us look at him a little more analytically.

    The first thing we notice is that the hair on top of his head is exceedingly thin. He may even have a bald spot. There is also a powdering of dandruff on his coat collar. From time to time he coughs explosively, usually just as the heroine of the play is in the midst of one of...

  7. Chapter 2 The Relation of Dental to General Health
    (pp. 25-54)

    IN 1929 we believed many things that subsequent experience has taught us to doubt. One cherished belief of that period was expressed by a prominent dental research worker in the words, “When an individual is in perfect health and normal in all his functions, the tissues of his oral cavity are normal and free from disease” (9). This might be merely a tautological assertion that when a person is in perfect health he is perfectly healthy, but what the statement obviously means is that when one is in perfect general or systemic health his oral tissues are also healthy.


  8. [Illustration]
    (pp. None)
  9. Chapter 3 Caries and Pyorrhea: The Search for Causes
    (pp. 55-89)

    THE average American citizen, going about his work and play with his quota of caries, fillings, gold crowns, fixed or removable bridges, partial or complete dentures, reads several popular magazines and listens to numerous radio programs. He is therefore constantly exposed to the clamor of tooth paste and tooth powder manufacturers. From his babyhood he has been trained to brush his teeth regularly. He has been told that “a clean tooth never decays” and that using So-and-So’s tooth paste for the daily brushing will prevent decay. He has brushed and scrubbed and rinsed assiduously, only to find that So-and-So’s product...

  10. Chapter 4 Malocclusion and Other Dental Abnormalities
    (pp. 90-101)

    A PERFECT mouth must by definition be free not only from all disease in its tissues but also from all malformation. That is, the occlusion of the upper and lower jaws must be such as to allow the maximum of mastication; all thirty-two teeth must be present and arranged in the proper order and position, each tooth being of a size and shape adapted to its own particular work; and no tooth or surrounding tissue must show evidence of disease or injury. The first picture in Plate 4 is a cast of a normal set of human teeth, but because...

  11. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  12. Chapter 5 Why We Lose Our Teeth
    (pp. 102-124)

    DEATH at an early age has always been considered sad, and in some cases perhaps a little romantic. There is much that is sad and nothing that is at all romantic about the early demise of teeth in civilized men and women. For millions of years and through thousands of lower forms, nature has been building up toward the perfect human dentition represented today only by a few very primitive races and the surviving skulls of prehistoric men. The process of tooth formation in each individual is itself a complex and marvelous affair. Yet we accept as a matter of...

  13. [Illustration]
    (pp. None)
  14. Chapter 6 From Witch Doctor to Modern Dentist
    (pp. 125-144)

    DENTAL disease has been found everywhere that men are found, and it is as old as the human race. Skulls dating back to remote prehistoric eras show teeth affected by caries, and jaws that in life suffered from pyorrhea alveolaris. But though we find in the jaws of prehistoric man evidence that he suffered from dental and oral diseases, we do not find by any means the sameamountof disease we note in modern times.

    In 1870 J. R. Mummery reported some interesting findings from his study of early British skulls. In 2.9 per cent of the jaws in...

  15. [Illustration]
    (pp. None)
  16. Chapter 7 The Teeth of Other Races
    (pp. 145-169)

    ONE of the most startling discoveries of the last half century has been the fact that uncivilized and semi-civilized races, living in all kinds of climates, subsisting on many different types of food, and for the most part practicing no dental hygiene, possess a much higher immunity to dental caries and much better shaped dental arches than the civilized races of mankind. This fact was noted by J. R. Mummery in the 1880’s (11). Figures gathered by him were later compiled by H. P. Pickerill and presented in a table (reproduced here as Table 4) to indicate the relative susceptibility...

  17. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  18. Chapter 8 Dental Disease and Dental Adaptation among Animals
    (pp. 170-194)

    MORE might be learned about certain human diseases, suggests Morley Roberts, “by studying ancient and modern animal forms in a good museum” than by the microscopic examination of tissues. We know that there are a good many human diseases that animals do not suffer from and that therefore the study of such diseases is very difficult, since they cannot be given to experimental animals. But animals may have dental caries, pyorrhea, and various other dental ills. We shall, then, consider the relative seriousness of such complaints among animals and among human beings.

    Since not every reader may have a museum...

  19. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  20. Chapter 9 The Development of Human Teeth
    (pp. 195-210)

    E. H. COLBERT draws attention to the fact that dental changes in the line of man’s ascent have been mainly a matter of reduction. Primate teeth have been growing progressively fewer in the course of evolution. In man there is an apparent tendency for the present dentition to be reduced still further. One molar and one of the incisors or one of the premolars, or perhaps one or more of each, seem to be disappearing from the human mouth.

    Figure 15 pictures the evolution of the skull and dentition from fish to man. From it we may conclude that this...

  21. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  22. Chapter 10 Some Biological Factors in Our Loss of Teeth
    (pp. 211-230)

    IN EARLIER chapters we considered at some length the three main types of dental deterioration found among civilized mankind—diseases that attack the dental tissues, chief among which are caries and pyorrhea, anomalies of structure such as malocclusion of the jaws and abnormal shape or arrangement of the teeth, and congenitally missing teeth.

    Although, as we have said, we cannot blame all these troubles on any single cause, certain elements in modern civilization appear to be responsible, if not for their initiation, at least for their continuance and recent increase. In the case of caries, no single theory of causation...

  23. Chapter 11 How We Can Save Our Teeth
    (pp. 231-248)

    WE HAVE before us several hopeful roads of investigation that may lead us in time to a feasible way of saving human teeth without recourse to what we now know as dentistry. It is unlikely, however, that such means will be discovered and made generally available within our lifetime or even within that of our children. For the present the only reliable way of saving teeth, especially teeth affected by caries, is to seek the help of a good dentist. And it is of great importance that such help be sought early in life and early in the course of...

  24. Index
    (pp. 249-255)