By William A. Albrecht, PhD
Summary: Today, the standard explanation for tooth decay goes something like this: a carbohydrate-rich film develops on the teeth; bacteria in the mouth feed on that carbohydrate; acid produced by the bacteria attack and degrade the teeth. Yet this explanation fails to account for numerous observations regarding cavity development, which, as many nutritionists of the early twentieth century showed, appears to have more to do with systemic nutritional deficiency in the body than a localized pathogenic assault. In this fascinating 1947 article, renowned agronomist Dr. William Albrecht adds weight to the malnutrition theory of tooth decay, correlating regional differences between soil fertility, plant constitution, and dental health in America. In short, he concludes, the more fertile a soil, the fewer cavities in people who eat food grown in that soil. With tooth decay the most common and widespread degenerative disease in the United States—just as it was in Dr. Albrecht’s day—it seems obvious that brushing carbohydrates off of our teeth is not enough to prevent cavities. We need nutrient rich foods, produced by fertile soils, to thwart oral bacteria from proliferating in the first place. From the Annals of Dentistry, 1947. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 37.