Thus, Howe agrees with the early Hygienists, except in the demand that the dentist look after the dental condition of thc expectant mother. Hygienists insist that the expectant mother look after her own nutritive condition by giving due attention to diet and other factors of health. For, if she does not do this, nature will tear down her teeth and other tissues to get materials with which to build the bones of the infant.
Dr. Howe says that:-- "Under favorable conditions, the child develops proper cranial and facial proportions and a broad dental arch, and at the proper age the deciduous arch voluntarily widens to form the anterior portion of a permanent dental arch" . . . . "under unfavorable conditions, facial development in the child may be retarded so that when it is time for the permanent teeth to erupt the arch may not be wide enough to accomodate them and they will be malposed. Such a physical deficiency may arise from any of many causes acting either singly or together, such as poor heredity, lack of sunlight, illness, a deficient diet, and perhaps others.
On a deficient diet (experimental), growing animals show such effects as the following--dental caries, cranial caries, mandible caries, caries of other bones, distortion and malformation of bones--such as shortened and small ribs, smallness and deformity of the cranium, chest, pelvis, etc.--rickets, distorted and malposed teeth, crooked nose, etc. Caries is the term for decay or ulcerous inflammation of bone.
Dr. Howe again says: "Any animal which is deprived of a sufficient quantity of vitamin C for a sufficient time will develop scurvy. You probably remember hearing about scurvy as something that afflicted sailors who were a long time at sea without fresh food. And you probably imagine that the disease has disappeared. It may astonish you to know that in the opinion of some very careful students a mild form of scurvy is common among people today, especially the rich and well-to-do. The symptoms are not sufficiently well marked to be recognized as survy, but they are of tremendous importance, because they may comprise retarded growth, warping of the body structure, lowered vitality and ready susceptibility to colds and more serious forms of illness. These students base their belief upon the symptoms which are produced in animals by a slight known deficiency of this anti-scurvy vitamin C, over a long period, and the astonishing similarity of the symptoms in many people. These symptoms can be produced in guinea-pigs and monkeys by continuous feeding of such a diet as is found in many well-to-do American homes.
"Many breakfasts for both adults and children consist of a cooked fruit, a refined cereal, pasteurized milk or cream, and perhaps bacon and eggs. There are many necessary food elements in such a meal, and you are not to understand that I decry them, but it lacks the foods that contain this antiscurvy vitamin C; and if you feed that diet long enough to a healthy monkey who lives in a clean, comfortable cage, he will develop scurvy. Of course, left to himself in the open, he would never think of such a diet. This meal can be corrected by substituting a sliced orange for the cooked fruit, especially if it is eaten half an hour before the rest of the breakfast."
"We have devised for our animals what we call a normal diet or balanced ration, and on this they grow, remain in health for long periods and reproduce normally. Then we change the diet of a group of animals and compare their condition with that of the animals on a normal diet. If we are to entirely remove this anti-scurvy vitamin C from the food, we can keep them alive no longer than four weeks, even if the diet is perfect in every other respect If to the otherwise perfect diet we add just enough of the Vitamin C to keep them alive, the most astonishing changes take place. Death does not come immediately or completely, as with entire deprivation, but it comes creeping on slowly, insiduously and progressively, until it involves all the bony tissues, including the teeth Even the enamel, which is the hardest and perhaps the most resistant tissue in the body, is affected.
"The particular form of starvation which is scurvy disolves the soft or organic parts of the bones and teeth. In bones and teeth there is an organic matrix or framework, and the mineral salts, which give stiffiness and hardness, are held in this organic material. Even the enamel has such a framework, and evidence which lies before me as I write indicates that there is more circulation in the enamel than we have supposed. When the body is deprived of enough Vitamin C for a long time something happens to this matrix, perhaps in tiny spots here and there through the body, and if the deprivation is sufficient, the matrix will break down."
If for the term vitamin C, we substitute the words fresh fruits and green raw vegetables, we have a practical working basis for the mother to feed herself and her child by. You can't feed "vitamins," but you can feed natural foods.
Howe further says: "We have seen that, under the influence of a Vitamin C deficiency which has not been sufficiently prolonged to cause recognizable signs of scurvy, the pulp of the tooth in a guinea-pig will undergo changes that are destructive for it and for the dentin. It will shrink forcibly enough to tear the odontoblastic processes out of the dental tubuli and, in the section, (a picture of a set of teeth is here shown) something appearing like broken processes may be seen on the outer margin of the pulp. This tearing out of the processes probably renders it impossible for the odontoblasts to continue the functions which may be essential to the metabolism of the dentin, and soon thereafter the dentin begins to liquify and may be extensively or completely destroyed. If similar changes occur in human teeth, is it not probable that dentin in which the functions of the odontoblasts have not been torn away, would offer less resistance to the agents of decay than the same dentin would when in good health? Our experiments show that a complete vitamin C deficiency will visibly affect the odontoblasts in about five to seven days.