Applied Trophology, Vol. 11, No. 5
(May 1967)

Cavity Reduction Through Nutrition

Contents in in this issue:

  • “Cavity Reduction Through Nutrition.”

The following is a transcription of the May 1967 issue of Dr. Royal Lee’s Applied Trophology newsletter, originally published by Standard Process Laboratories.

Cavity Reduction Through Nutrition

In March 1963, Dr. J.F. McClure reported in the Journal of Dental Research, the fact that phosphate compounds could reduce dental caries. This report has no doubt stimulated further similar research projects by scientists and industry.

Dr. Robert S. Harris, professor of nutrition and biochemistry in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been investigating the relationship of diet and nutrition to oral disease and has also made the study of phosphates his special area of interest.

Phosphate a Cariostatic

Based on several recent investigations in addition to his own, he believes the clinical outlook for phosphates as an anti-caries agent is very promising.

Referring to investigation by Dr. Sidney Finn at the University of Alabama, he said, “A recent study in children with phosphate gum showed a 50 percent reduction in caries development.”

With fellow researchers Professor J.M. Navia and Dr. Abraham Nizel, Dr. Harris is trying to determine if a nutritional defect causes the higher incidence of caries in the New England States. In feeding rodents, he found that milk and corn produced in New England caused more caries than milk and corn from Texas.

They are still looking for the caries accelerating so-called New England factor. “Soils may be involved although we have no proof at this time,” Dr. Harris stated. Also, “We are convinced that the nutrients in food are very important in oral health as some elements accelerated and others retarded development of dental caries.”

In feeding rodents, they discovered that when phosphates were added to diets that usually caused caries, development of the condition was prevented. This cariostatic action was also found in calcium, magnesium, iron, and the amino acids. Any deficiency of these or vitamins A, B6, B12, D, or E interfered with the production or maintenance of healthy mouth tissues.

An advocate of preventive dentistry, Melvin E. Page, DDS, has demonstrated many times that the proper proportions of calcium and phosphorus are necessary to maintain bone, teeth, and soft tissue.

Then too, Francis Pottenger, MD, in his experiment with cats over a period of years found that pasteurization of milk destroyed the enzyme phosphatase, thereby causing an alteration in the assimilation of the calcium in autoclaved milk.

Dr. Harris further observed that dental caries is presumed to be due to several causes. However, it is more common in “sophisticated populations” because the bran layers containing important amounts of phosphorus have been removed in the milling of cereals.

Phosphates in Human Nutrition

His observations in the feeding of rats and hamsters are now being verified by an experiment on humans in progress at Indiana University.

The researchers, Dr. George E. Stookey and Dr. Roger A. Carroll of the School of Dentistry, have been assisted by Dr. Joseph C. Muhler of the department of biochemistry. They reported that the study is being conducted among 500 children aged five to sixteen years.

In this experiment sodium phosphate has been added to regular sweetened dry commercial breakfast cereals supplied by General Foods Corp., under a licensing arrangement with the University. These cereals replace all dry cereals previously used in the children’s homes. The children, however, continue their usual cereal eating habits in that they consume as much as desired. The control groups eat the same cereals without the added phosphate.

The children have now been eating cereals and have been under observation for the past two years. To date the group of children eating the phosphate cereals have had from 20 percent to 40 percent fewer cavities.

The American Dental Association Journal currently reported a statement by the Indiana scientists as follows: “for the first time a phosphate has been added to a common dietary item and found to effect significant reduction in the incidence of dental caries under normal clinical testing procedures.”

Phosphorus an Essential Mineral

As stated previously, phosphorus and calcium must be assimilated in the proper ratio to form healthy bone and teeth. As Dr. A. Aslander of Norway stated in “Oral Disease: A Nutritional Deficiency,” in the February 1966 issue of Applied Trophology (Vol. 10, No. 2), “Complete tooth nutrition is bound by physical laws to produce teeth that are immune against dental caries.”

Also, and we quote, “The greater the part played by foods poor in minerals in the daily fare, the greater the mineral starvation. Nutrients either lacking or present in too small quantities, promote development of special deficiency disease.” His statements are quite pertinent when we consider that approximately 90 percent of the ash of the body consists of calcium and phosphorus.

Phosphorus Versatile in Function

Phosphorous is a factor in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Also, in brain and nerve metabolism and in normal blood chemistry. As an acid base regulator, it is concerned with the function of every cell in the body

A New Discovery

Until recently it was presumed that the mineral phosphorus in human dietary, like vitamin C, had to be supplied to the body daily. However, in recent studies of the so-called mysterious thymus gland researchers found among other surprises that this gland was rich in phosphorous containing compounds. Therefore, the thymus gland (often called the “useless gland”) is now considered by many of these scientists to be functionally important in the storage of phosphorous.

Source Necessary

It is natural to presume that in order to store anything, we must have a source of the element to be stored. Dr. Harris presumed that soils may be involved in a dietary shortage of phosphorous. Dr. Aslander stated his home farm soil caused him to have poor teeth. Dr. Harris also presumed that “sophisticated populations” lost important amounts of dietary phosphorous and other cariostatic organic compounds as a result of modern methods of milling the grain seeds of the cereal grasses. These statements are apparently verified by results from the return of some of the lost phosphates, to the commercial cereals being used in the present University of Indiana experiment. We are herewith reprinting an analytical chart entitled:

Constituents of Wheat and Wheat Products

This is a page listing of item sources from the various analytical tables to be found in the book of the same title by C.H. Bailey. Reinhold, 1944.


Item Wheat Wheat Germ


100 Albumin N. 3.1% 1.91%
161 Starch 50.13–52.08 To 76.20
167 Sugars:




185 Fat Contents (Lipid %) Bran 4.99 10.31% Patent (1.99)
Straight (0.00)
204 Ergosterol 1.20 mg 0.082 mg


291 Thiamine
(mg per lb.)
2.28 10.40 .31
303 Riboflavin
2.65 11.35 0.75–1.25
307 Nicotinic acid
(mg per lb.)
6.00 24.10 1.60
311 Pyridoxine
4.60 9.60 2.20
312 Pantothenic acid
9.1–17.00 15.30 5.70
313 Choline
1.01 4.36 0.57
316 Oil (%) 1.54 8.90 0.83
316 Tocopherol
(fertility factor, mg/per 100g)










(mg per 100g)

Potassium 460.00 135.00
Sodium 6.00 3.00
Calcium 138.00 20.00
Magnesium 176.00 28.00
Phosphorous 301.00 116.00
Sulphur 175.00 133.00
Arsenic .01 .001
Boron .28 .05
Chlorine 110.00 59.00
Cobalt .01 .008
Copper 1.70 .14
Manganese 3.70 .70
Titanium .08 0.00
Zinc 10.00 4.00
Silicon 6.00 0.50
Nickel 3.5 0.13

Observe that the removal of the bran portion and the germ has also removed the greater part of the minerals and vitamins and much of the protein.

Altered Nutrient Composition

The whole seeds of grasses commonly known as grains, either in their natural state or ground into meal or flour by various methods, have been used as a source of nutrients by the human race for centuries. Since 1880 the roller mill method of squeezing the seeds (instead of grinding) has come into favor with mill owners. With this method the unstable parts of the broken seed and the dark covering can be discarded to make a white flour that keeps almost indefinitely. The discarded portions of the grain, such as the bran, shorts, wheat germ and the wheat germ oil (a natural source of vitamin E) have mostly been lost or converted into cattle feed. Interested nutritional researchers have now brought some of them back into the human diet as protective health foods. Now, we find that modern researchers are discovering the loss of nutrients in popular commercial dry cereals, no doubt, also due to the so-called technological advanced methods of milling.

Early in World War II (1941), high United States army officials became alarmed about the quality of the American diet due to the 18 percent dental rejects in the first million draftees. As a result, the concerned government agencies conferred with scientists, flour mill operators, and baking industry officials in regard to the army complaint. Finally, a decision was made to enrich patent flour. It is in accordance with this decision that the bleached white flour now generally used contains added iron and some of the B-complex vitamins, namely vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 riboflavin, and niacin. These additions were made according to chemical standards. Apparently, the partial restoration of the lost nutrients has failed to entirely correct the disturbed natural balance of the grain.

In a grain feeding experiment with cattle at the university of Wisconsin farm laboratory from 1907 to 1913, Dr. E.V. McCollum and assistants determined that chemical analysis did not give the complete answer in regard to nutritive food values. Dr. McCollum is the originator of the phrase “The Protective Foods.”

Seed Content

We now quote from “Crops in Peace and War,” from The Yearbook of Agriculture for 1950–1951, pages 116–117:

“A grain of wheat, like all seeds, contains the nutriment needed for germination and growth of the seedling. Protein, minerals, B vitamins, fat, and carbohydrates are present in the right proportion for the new plant. Actual concentrations of the several nutrients may vary widely with the type and variety of wheat and other factors. The nutrients are distributed unequally in the three major parts of the kernel. The outer coating, or bran, contains most of the fiber and a large share of the minerals and vitamins. The germ, or embryo, although a very small part of the kernel by weight, contains most of the fat, a large proportion of the vitamins, and protein of superior quality. The endosperm, or starchy portion, provides most of the carbohydrate and some of the protein, but much lower concentration of the minerals and vitamins.

“White flour, as it is milled today, is largely the endosperm of the wheat. The removal of the bran portion and the germ has removed also the greater part of the minerals and vitamins and much of the protein.”

In regard to the mineral loss, it is well to consider calcium and phosphorous as well as iron. Calcium, like iron, is considered as “a protective food.” The fifth edition of Human Biochemistry, by Kleinert and Orten states: “Calcium and phosphorous are usually considered together, since disturbance of one usually results in disturbances of the other.” Both are of proportionate value if calcification is to occur. This brings us back to the subject of dental caries, a form of decalcification. Apparently, the present cereal milling method causing the phosphorous content of the bran to be lost in human nutrition is a disturbing factor in calcification. As Dr. Harris states, this is no doubt a cause of dental caries. The Indiana University experiment of adding phosphate to the children’s dry cereals seems to verify this contention. This also exemplifies the fact that a diet is not well balanced if any one of several needed food factors is absent.

Further verification is found in a quotation from The U.S. Yearbook of Agriculture 1965, entitled “Consumers All,” page 391:

“Science knows at least 50 nutrients, each of which has special jobs to do in the body, jobs no other nutrient can do. Most nutrients do their jobs best when teamed with other nutrients working in the body at the same time.”


Heather Wilkinson

Heather Wilkinson is Senior Editor at Selene River Press.

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