Why do our teeth decay so fast

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Why do our teeth decay so fast  (1889) 
From Popular Science Monthly Volume 32, April 1893 Popular Miscellany


Why do our Teeth decay so fast?—To this question Dr. Julius Pohlman answers, because we do not use them enough—showing that as a rule "those people who are least acquainted with the so-called hygiene of the teeth are the happy possessors of the soundest dentition"—like the negroes who chew sugar-cane, the German peasants, who are famous for their brilliant "Schwartz-brot-Zähne," or "rye-meal-bread teeth," polished but not worn out by daily mastication of dry, hard, black loaves, and the few old people left among us who persist in eating bread-crusts. Our weak and effeminate teeth are not used to hard work, and, like other organs that are not exercised, tend to atrophy. "The foundation for bad teeth," says this author, "is generally laid in early childhood; for numberless mothers and nurses very carefully soften the food or remove the crust from the bread before giving it to the little folks, because it may otherwise 'hurt their teeth,' and so the child grows up with a set of unused organs in its mouth; and when we have finally succeeded by the creation of artificial conditions in producing weak organs, then we wonder why the poor child has such bad teeth, and why it is so often suffering with toothache, and why the dentist's bill is so high. Teeth are organs specialized to perform the work of mastication; they are subject to the same laws that govern other organs, and their strength is determined by their use. Understanding this, we are obliged to admit that, if we ever become a toothless race, it will be our own fault."