National Geographic : 1958 May
The strange case of the shark's teeth ... and some important facts about yours Had Mother Nature made the same provisions for our teeth as she did for the shark's, good dental health would be no problem at all. For when a shark loses a tooth, a new one soon grows in its place. Once we lose a tooth, however, it is gone for good. Yet, the second set of teeth which Mother Nature gives us is strong and durable enough to last a lifetime . . . if given proper care. Un fortunately, too few of us do so. Proof of our neglect comes from the American Dental Association. It reports that only 40 per cent of all Americans get reasonably adequate and regular dental care. The rest get emergency care or none and one out of 7 adults has never been to a dentist. Moreover, the number of cav ities in children's teeth is unbelievably high. There is more to be gained from regular dental care than simply keeping the teeth clean, bright and healthy. For when decay strikes, when gums become diseased, when abscesses form at the roots of the teeth ... a center of infection is established from which germs may enter the blood stream and cause disease in other parts of the body. Even the smallest break in the enamel can pave the way for infection in the interior of a tooth. The dentist can usually detect such trouble by X-ray examination and check it be fore serious damage occurs. If you see your dentist regularly, eat a well balanced diet, and keep your teeth clean; your chances will be far better to keep most of your teeth most of your life.