Treating Teeth With Tenderness

A STRIKING statement made by a well-known, qualified man in the area of medical education brings to focus the importance of maintaining the health and integrity of the teeth, gums, and adjacent tissue. Charles Mayo, one of the founders of the medical center bearing his name, is quoted as saying, "Preventive dentistry can extend human life ten years."

-associate professor of oral surgery, School of Dentistry, Loma Linda University at the time this article was written

A STRIKING statement made by a well-known, qualified man in the area of medical education brings to focus the importance of maintaining the health and integrity of the teeth, gums, and adjacent tissue. Charles Mayo, one of the founders of the medical center bearing his name, is quoted as saying, "Preventive dentistry can extend human life ten years."

Without going into the less-frequent pathological conditions, and there are many, we find that nearly 100 percent of our population have experienced dental decay by the age of 20, and disease of the gums by the age of 40.

A report given in 1960 by the Commission on the Survey of Dentistry estimated that there were 700 million untreated cavities in the United States, and that 50 percent of the population had chronic destructive disease of the bone and gums by the age of 50.

The age-old method of solving dental problems by drilling, filling, and billing is becoming more and more inadequate to cope with the continual increase of decay and bone and gum disease. The growing concern of the general public with regard to how the laymen may cooperate to improve and maintain the health of his mouth is encouraging, however.

Dental disease can have many causes. Important among these are diet, hygiene, other systemic diseases, heredity, age, and ethnic influences.

In the area of preventive dentistry, however, emphasis is on ways to avoid disease rather than on how to treat it after it is established. The two chief ways of preventing oral disease are through proper nutrition and by good oral hygiene.

Diet Is a Factor

Diet is one of the most important means of effectively controlling dental caries. Points to bear in mind are (1) avoid between-meal snacks, (2) avoid refined carbohydrates, sticky foods, candies, and large amounts of sugar, and (3) eat a wholesome diet, which includes plenty of whole-grain breads and cereals.

Control Oral Environment

It is important to control lodgement of food particles around and on the teeth. This is particularly applicable to young children. For instance, after his teeth have erupted, a baby should not be put to bed with a bottle. The milk will lodge around the gum line of his teeth, giving ever-present bacteria the food they need to pursue their destructive job. Adults, too, should be sure their mouths are cleansed of food, especially at bedtime.

The control of dental plaque will contribute to the reduction of caries and to the prevention of gingivitis which, if untreated, leads to bone and gum disease and tooth loss. Plaque is a soft accumulation of food particles and multiplying bacteria in a sticky substance that adheres to the tooth surface. It should be removed daily by thorough brushing and flossing. Plaque control is the key to prevention of bone and gum diseases. Proper tooth-brushing methods and the use of other aids such as dental floss, rubber tips, wooden points, and water irrigation aid in this prevention.

Fluoridation Helps

In areas where the fluoride level of the public drinking water is adjusted to approximately one part per million, the protection thus afforded amount to about a 40 percent to 60 percent reduction in caries compared with the caries incidence in a similar community lacking any fluoridation. This adjustment can be made at a very low cost of approximately 15 cents per person per year and affords many dollars in savings,to say nothing of the possible discomfort that may come from visits to the dentist.

Topical application of fluoride is of value as a caries-preventive agent and is most strongly advised in areas lacking fluoride in the public water system. If fluoride is not in the water supply, it can be obtained through fluoride tablets, vitamin fluoride tablets, or bottled fluoridated drinking water, and is a great aid in increasing the resistance to decay.

Have Fissures Filled

Often when posterior teeth erupt, they have deep pits and fissures where the enamel failed to fuse adequately. For preventive measures, it is well to have these areas filled as soon as possible before they become decayed. The dentist can now do this with a tooth-colored material.

Visit Dentist Regularly

Regular visits to the dentist for routine examination, cleaning, and home-care instructions will complete the steps an individual can take to guide him to good dental health.

Advertisement - Ministry in Motion 300x250

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus
-associate professor of oral surgery, School of Dentistry, Loma Linda University at the time this article was written

October 1974

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

A Virtually Untapped Resource

THIS church has not yet taken full advantage of one of its great est resources. We have not learned to use effectively the growing number of retired ministers that live among us. These men have served well and long and desire to be relieved of the heavier burdens that they have formerly carried. It is right that they should do this, but many of them still would enjoy serving the church in a helpful and constructive way as their time and strength permit. . .

Bible Conferences

THIS editorial is being written as the last of the three Bible conferences is drawing to a close. Sitting here in the large church auditorium at Pacific Union College, I am led to reflect on what these Bible conferences have accomplished and the possible impact they might well have on the work of the church. . .

Are Adventist Evangelists Speaking in "Unknown Tongues"?

THE GOSPEL commission found in Matthew 28 has always been taken seriously by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Its efforts to evangelize the world, and in particular to make the world aware of the coming of Jesus, as taught in the three angels' messages of Revelation, have been met with increasing success in many quarters of the earth. In 1973 for the first time, more than 200,000 people were brought into the church. . .

How "Secular" Should Adventist Theology Be?

SECULARISM comes in two varieties. The first kind is the more sophisticated, and we may call it intentional secularism. This is a deliberate, well-thought-out view of things that often takes the form of naturalistic humanism. In response to the question of the reality of God, it answers either "No" (atheism) or "You really can't tell for sure" (agnosticism). But this thoroughgoing, intentional secularism does not necessarily imply an obsessive pursuit of pleasure (hedonism) or possessions (materialism). . .

A Strategy for Reaching Secular Man

EVERY so often I arm myself with the strong sword of the promises Cod gives, a fat billfold, and a secret pocket to keep all that cash safe, and infiltrate the citadel of the enemy they call New York. Fabulous, heartless city, capital of a secular, spiritually apathetic, materialistic culture. There Christianity orbits as distantly as in the scrabbling hovels of pagan lands. . .

Building a Biblical Cosmology

COSMOLOGY is the study of the structure of the universe. Particularly it is an attempt to understand how this structure is related to the past history of the universe and possibly to its future. Originally a branch of philosophy, cosmology has during the past century become a vigorous science in the Western world. . .

Arithmetic Proves Christianity True

Editor's Note: The fact that Dr. Ford is emphasizing a new application of verses 24-27 does not mean that he does not support the literal and chronological application of these verses to the events associated with the first coming of Christ. In response to a query from the editors on this point, he makes it very plain that he has no intention of teaching "dispensationalist futurism" and that the last-day application he makes of portions of these verses does not include the "chronology involved in the primary fulfillment of the prophecy."

Revelation and Interpretation in Daniel

THE BOOK of Daniel contains aspects of God's revelation that in several ways are unique. Nowhere else among the prophetic words of Scripture do we find such a care fully laid out overview of history beginning with the time of the author and closing with the time of the end . . .

The Imperative of Change

THE WORDS of the wise man Solomon, "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Prov. 29:18, K.J.V.), and the prediction of the prophet Joel, "Your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions" (Joel 2:28, K.J.V.), suggest that God's plan for the progress of His work includes an ever-changing flow of ideas and challenges. . .

Americans: Foods and Foibles

WHEN YOU look at an American under 25 years of age you see an individual almost unique in the history of mankind. He has spent his entire life in a society that has had a great excess of food. Few generations on earth have ever been in a similar situation, and it is interesting to view the ways in which this is influencing our nutritional health, our attitudes, and our behavior. . .

God Does Not Play Word Games

God does not play word games when He goes about saving men. The issue has always been faith that attitude on man's part that trusts God and acts accordingly. The opposite of faith is rebellion. The rebel does not trust God; consequently, he does not obey Him at least willingly and is forever looking for ways to justify himself when he chooses not to obey Him. . .

Protein--That Vital Ingredient (Part 2)

SINCE MANY Americans equate the word protein with meat and in its absence or insufficiency they feel health and vigor cannot be maintained, Seventh-day Adventist homemakers can share with their neighbors the advantages of a meatless diet. They can assure them of the complete adequacy of such a diet. After all, Seventh-day Adventists have had more than a hundred years of experience with the meatless diet!

Sabbath School Busing Ministry

SABBATH SCHOOL busing ministry, I believe, is one effective way to put the "go" in the great commission Jesus gave, "Co . . . into all the world." Busing ministry is not simply a convenience to bring our own member ship to church, but an evangelistic outreach in the hand of Cod to harvest entire neighborhoods for Jesus Christ. . .

Target 80--The Bold Adventure (Part 2)

AT THE annual Far Eastern Division council in Singapore in November, 1972, the following action was voted, which brought into being the eight-year strategy that has since been named Target 80. . .

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - Digital Discipleship (160x600)