Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 75.djvu/55

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A REVOLUTION IN DENTISTRY 51 before they could be swallowed, our children now are fed on "pre- viously cooked " breakfast foods, infant foods and other starchy viands, which may differ in name and flavor; but agree in two characteristics, viz., that they pander to lazy housekeeping, by requiring very little preparation for the table, and, secondly, require little or no mastication, before swallowing. Wetted with milk or cream they " slip down " very easily, and are landed in a stomach not prepared for a deluge of unchewed and non-insalivated starchy food. Hence the common cry of "starch indigestion." This is not wonderful because the proper digestion of starchy food must begin in the mouth, and is impossible without complete mastication. We are told in Science that in feeding meal to calves, " it must be spread" thinly upon the bottom of the troughs so that it will be eaten slowly and insalivated." This is only one instance out of many where man's commercial instinct has taught him an invaluable truth in regard to the rearing of stock, that has a market value, but which it never seems to have occurred to him is just as important in connection with the rearing of his own children. So far as the improper development or non-development of our teeth, jaws, tongues and lips is concerned, the trouble begins with the nursing bottle from which the infant gets its nourishment too easily and too rapidly, so that these important structures are all more or less undeveloped, and this non-development is a continuous performance up to adult life. Of course removal of adenoids, regulation of the teeth, boring out the nasal cavities and so on, are resorted to with great benefit, to obviate defects that should have been prevented by mothers nursing their babies and then making the children chew their food as nature intended them to do. If a child will not chew its food, the despised habit of chewing gum, now known to have prevailed among the Indians, should be encouraged. Dr. Bobinson, an English writer, calls attention to the development of the jaws of English boys who were taken out of the streets of London and sent into the British navy. He says "undoubtedly the most noticeable improvement in them, next to their superior stature and healthy appearance, was the total change in the shape and expression of their faces. On analyzing this, one found that it was to be mainly accounted for by the increased growth and improved angle of the lower jaw." This change was due to the rations of " hard tack " and " salt junk" upon which these lads had subsisted. A very satisfactory diet from an orthodontological point of view at least. It is plain enough that ninety per cent, of dental work might have been avoided ; just as ninety per cent, of the sickness and premature death in the world is needless and could be prevented. The dentists have made the aston- ishing discovery that they can alter and enlarge the jaws of any child by simple means and they have found out, moreover, that the teeth