(From The Vegetarian News).
PYORRHOEA ALVEOLARIS is not a newly discovered complaint; it would appear to have existed as long as civilization itself. In the Ebers Papyrus (A record of medical practice in Egypt, 3500- 1500 B.C.), there are numerous remedies for “loose teeth”. During the Pre-Dynastic period (3400-a700 B.C.), and subsequently, every form of dental disease, including pyorrhoea alveolaris, was rampant amongst the wealthy classes, who lived on a luxurious and refined diet, whilst the poorer people who subsisted mainly on coarse uncooked food, were relatively immune from this disease.
As nations became more civilized, cooking and refining of foods became more highly developed specialities, with a consequent increasing prevalence of over-eating; concurrently, pyorrhoea became more general.
Pyorrhoea is probably more prevalent to-day than ever before in the worlds history; there is also a marked increase in the consumption of over-cooked and over-refined foods. This results in over-eating, especially of proteins and carbohydrates, and under-eating of foods containing vitamins, organic salts and roughage. From these facts, it would appear that there must exist a definite relationship between diet and pyorrhoea; modern research workers confirm this view.
Many years ago, I became very disheartened at continued failure to cure pyorrhoea solely by local treatment. I also regretted having to extract, in many cases, teeth which, had they been unaffected with pyorrhoea might have proved serviceable for many years. Further, I noted that, after extraction of pyorrhoeic teeth, there was a continual and prolonged absorption of the alveolar ridges. As a result of close observations, I became convinced that the vast majority of cases of pyorrhoea must be of systemic origin.
From experience and close observation, I am firmly convinced that the satisfactory results obtained in numerous cases were invariably due mainly to the reformed diets. Now, you may naturally ask, “How did the diet affect the teeth?” In this connection, I would remind you of the words of Hippocrates: “The standard of nutrition admits neither of exact measurement nor of calculation, therefore we must be guided by the effect of diet upon the body.”.
From my own observations, I firmly believe that pyorrhoea alveolaris is the result of the continued eating of a diet, in which there is an excess of refined and denaturalized foods (e.g. meat, and foods made from refined cereals and refined sugar), and a scarcity of natural foods (raw and properly cooked fresh vegetables, ripe fruit and fresh milk). Further, I believe that a diet of this nature induces constipation and auto-intoxication. I am also of opinion that, as constipation is a condition of bowel-unhealth, this unhealth spreads backwards to the mouth, where it presents itself as a furred tongue and gingivitis.
Further, I believe that stagnating food, per se, plays a very minor role in the causation of pyorrhoea, provided there is no constipation, no auto-intoxication and that the diet contains a sufficiency of the essential food elements. When chronic constipation manifests itself, the resistance of the oral tissues is lowered and stagnating food particles may then hasten the development of pyorrhoea.
I am firmly convinced that a proper diet, eaten by expectant and nursing mothers and by children, ensures a solid foundation being laid for bones and teeth, which, consequently, will offer a greater resistance to disease. Further, for many years I have believed that the condition of the oral tissues forms a delicate clinical barometer of the state of the general health.
Much suffering would be avoided, were these important facts more widely recognized. Regular dental inspection would reveal early pathological manifestations at that stage when successful treatment could easily be performed. Other factors which contribute to the development of pyorrhoea alveolaris, are the unhealthy lives which, nowadays, so many people lead. These faults include, improper breathing; insufficient exercise; too little fresh air; insufficient rest; as well as the hectic and worrying times in which we live.
(1) Pyorrhoea alveolaris is invariably accompanied by constipation; often also by such other symptoms as rheumatism, indigestion, unhealthy skin condition, etc. (2) In a large percentages of cases, pyorrhoea alveolaris results from a diet containing a preponderance of refined and de- naturalized foods (e.g. white flour and refined sugar), over- eating especially of protein, and a lack of foods containing roughage and organic mineral salts (fresh vegetables, fruit and milk).