Concerning the Etiology (Cause) of Dental Caries
Dr. Miller is the person who supposedly "created" the acidogenic theory of tooth decay, the modern tooth decay theory that is believed today. I say "created" in quotes because it appears he did not attempt to create a new theory, but simply that he was able to demonstrate one way in which a tooth can dissolve through acid-fermentation. This is not a conclusive theory, but rather an interesting experiment according to dentist C. F. Bodecker from Germany.
He quotes a Lancet article written October 21, 1905, regarding the cause of dental caries. This quote discusses the orignal dental caries theory by Dr. Miller. (Quote is being used for educational purposes and was cited in Dental Cosmos [Volume 56, Issue 6, June, 1914, pp. 718-721]
"There seemed to be a general belief, at any rate among those practicing dentistry, that the cause of caries had been found, and what was lost sight of was the fact that all that Dr. Miller had done was to demonstrate the phenomena of caries, and although his research had shown the channels in which further investigation should be pursued, the actual cause of caries was still unknown, and is to the present day unknown."
More About the Cause of Dental Caries
Again, Dr. Miller showed one method of teeth decaying, through acid-fermentation, and this was not considered a conclusive theory at the time.
"If we wish to deal with dental disease we must first of all possess a correct knowledge of its cause. Do we possess that knowledge? It is now more than fifteen years since Dr. W. D. Miller's excellent work on the 'Micro-organisms of the Mouth' appeared, in which he clearly demonstrated that caries of the teeth was due to the abstraction of the lime salts by acid, followed by the peptonizing action of bacteria, the acids being formed from the fermentation of carbohydrate food."
Even in 1905, dentists didn't think we possed the correct knowledge as to the true cause of dental disease. Also note the abstraction (removal) of lime salts (minerals) always preceded the decay said to be caused by bacteria.
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