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mother to evade and delegate her first great duty to mankind permits a second almost equal social and racial crime. The weaned child too often is left to the care of hirelings throughout childhood; its personal cleanliness and its food are left to the tender mercies of nurses drawn from a lower class, who may or may not be conscientious; and later on the matron of the school takes on the charge. At no stage in the child's life, from first to last, does it possess a mother in the true sense, and Nature is swift to revenge herself.

Of course such women should not bear children (indeed, frequently they evade even this duty), for in the maternal instinct they are inferior to any other female animals, past or present.

The after-feeding of the children of the poor in these artificial times is as bad, from want of power or want of sense, as that of the rich from want of interest. The 'silencer' between the baby lips, the diet of ' a bit of what we have,' largely gin, tell their own tale.

As things stand we must expect an ever-increasing degeneracy of the teeth, together with much other degeneracy, unless some mighty campaign of a far-reaching character can be organised to bring mothers back to perform the duties of motherhood as faithfully as the females in the rest of the animal world.

There remain to be considered the practical steps which can be taken to protect what is left to us of teeth as a race.

Foremost I would place certain easily prescribed forms of cleanliness. This protection, although not necessary where the tooth formation is comparatively perfect, as in the wild animals and uncivilised man, is absolutely essential where, as at present, it is very generally imperfect.

This cleanliness I would divide into three forms:

The removal of centres of bacterial activity from the mouth, such as incurably septic and unfillable teeth at all ages, and septic roots, imperfect crowns and bridges, and other fixed substitutes in adult life.

The practice from early childhood of washing and rinsing the teeth after every meal, so that particles of food may not be able to lodge in the interspaces of the teeth.

The choice of such foods and methods of preparation as may be least likely to lodge, and may by their consistency themselves exercise a cleansing influence, by stimulating a flow of alkaline saliva.

THE REMOVAL OF SEPTIC FOCI AND CLEANSING THE TEETH

Bacterial energy is dependent upon the existence of convenient centres where proliferation may continue undisturbed, and whence a constant supply of micro-organisms may be continuously outpoured.

The presence of cavities of decay in the neighbourhood of sound teeth affords efficient centres. Thus the presence in a child's mouth of decaying and food-holding temporary teeth favours the commencement of decay in the remaining teeth. untreated approximal cavity in one tooth is invariably followed by decay in the neighbouring surface. It is therefore essential to the health of the teeth (and incidentally that of the child) that the temporary teeth should be cleaned after meals and at night, and any incipient cavities treated and filled.

The idea prevalent in many nurseries that the milk teeth do not matter, because they will soon be lost, should be generally stamped out. They are, for some years, all the child has to masticate with, and disease in one is apt to lead to disease in all the rest.

The treatment need be neither painful nor tedious. If the little cavity is lightly cleared, treated with an antiseptic, and filled with an amalgam, the bacterial centre is broken up.

When the permanent series begin to show themselves the benefit of this early care becomes increasingly obvious. A few foci of bacterial mischief may form the starting-point of disease in the first, or six-year-old molars, and the premolars. The immense preponderance of caries in the four first molars is partly traceable to this cause.

It is a curious fact in this connexion that in all the skulls of primitive races that I have examined (and my experience in this matter is fully endorsed by Professor Elliot Smith), where decay does exist in the molar region it is generally in the third molar (or wisdom tooth), but in civilised races the first, or sixyear-old molar, is by far the most affected tooth.

In a case of perfect calcification and regular development in man the wisdom tooth suffers from a severe natural handicap in this respect when compared with any other member of the series, even the first molar. Because in man the third molar has already commenced the series of changes which are supposed to end in its eventual loss, its eruption is slower and later than is the case, for instance, in the great apes. During this slow period of eruption, as I have already pointed out, the anterior part of the crown is exposed, while the posterior part is buried under an ill-fitting hood of gum. In the space so formed anything small may collect and an advantageous nidus for bacteria exists. No other tooth suffers from a similar disadvantage, unless perhaps the upper laterals, which many naturalists have doomed to a similar fate (and which, by the way, are very liable to decay). Therefore in early races this tooth is most liable to disease. When, with the spread of civilisation, caries becomes increasingly common, from the many eauses enumerated above, the first molar is exposed to all the risks attendant upon the presence of decay

ing and untreated milk teeth in its immediate neighbourhood, and soon assumes the unenviable distinction of being by far the most frequent victim to disease.

The first step in prevention of caries is, therefore, scrupulous care by mothers and nurses of the temporary set, constant supervision and cleaning, especially after meals and at night, and regular and frequent inspection by a competent dentist.

When the permanent set appears similar precautions must be rigorously adopted. Everyone should clean his or her teeth and rinse the mouth carefully every night, and if possible, as the Kaffir, the native Indian, and the Chinese, rinse out the mouth after each meal. I know of a case of an elderly lady with perfect teeth who considered this so important that if she could not rinse her mouth afterwards she did not take the meal.

Incurably septic and unfillable teeth, temporary or permanent, should be removed.

In adult life foci are often afforded by gold crowns and fixed bridges which are not microscopically accurate in their adjustment. It must not be forgotten that the enemy is microscopic, and that the tiniest crack or crevice is all he needs.

Few dentists have not bad occasion to remove apparently satisfactory bridgework to reveal, in the hidden surfaces now laid bare, areas of septic putridity sufficient to account for the gravest consequences.

SUMMARY

Dental caries is more prevalent among English-speaking and other civilised races at the present time than it has ever been in the world's history.

It is at least ten times as common in England and America to-day as it was even 150 years ago.

Its prevalence is in direct proportion to the degree of civilisation, and has always been so at all times of the world's history.

Its prevalence is increasing rapidly, and, unless something is done to check its progress, is likely to increase in what might almost be called geometrical progression.

It is due principally to the widespread and spreading system of artificial feeding of infants, rendered possible by the contrivances of civilised ingenuity and favoured by the decay of the maternal instinct and the mammary function, resulting in imperfect infant tissue formation and, consequently, poorly formed teeth.

It might be arrested by a return to the simpler life in the relations of mother and child.

It may be largely checked, and even prevented, by :

1. Scrupulous cleanliness, as indicated above, during the milk

dentition. 2. Scrupulous cleanliness during adult life, both in the matter

of cleansing the healthy parts after meals and in the matter of removal of unhealthy and septic parts which

defy cleansing. 3. By the wise selection of foodstuffs 3 which modern science

has shown to favour a cleanly state. The return to the simpler life on the part of the modern mother is unlikely on any useful scale. It is certainly impossible to reform the unnatural mother; neither is it possible to confine the divine right of motherhood to natural mothers.

Probably generation after generation will present a larger proportion of female human beings who have thrown off the glorious responsibilities and divine rights of the mother-sex in a vain endeavour to live a male life. Evolution has decided that progress lies in the direction of greater divergency of sexual attributes. Any attempt on the part of males or females to return to a condition of hermaphroditism, via the obliteration of sexual distinctions, will, happily for the world's future, be answered by the simple but complete reply of extinction.

To hope for the elimination of worry and anxiety from modern life is, of course, unpractical and useless Utopianism. This is, as Disraeli said, an age which has mistaken comfort for civilisation.'

The only remedy lies, therefore (in the event of the failure of an appeal to modern mothers), in a full, complete obedience to the laws of the gospel of cleanliness, as I have endeavoured to suggest above.

Should this be possible and successful it will be an additional proof that, after all, cleanliness is next to godliness.

ARTHUR S. UNDERWOOD.

• The length to which this article has already run renders a discussion of this side of the matter out of the question. It must suffice to point out that the dietary of primitive and wild races always possessed the following qualities. It was not too easy of mastication, it was sapid or tasty, and it was accompanied by raw vegetables and fruit, in brief it provoked a free flow of saliva and thus provided a potent alkaline Auid capable of neutralising the destructivo acids, it was always taken to satisfy hunger. This question has been very completely dealt with in a recent work by Prof. Pickerill, of Otago.

OLYMPIC ATHLETES

Plato was a man of the world to his finger-tips as well as a poet and a philosopher, and I have no doubt whatever that he was always ready to discuss the Olympic games with his disciples whenever the celebration of a new Olympiad became the topic of the day and the chances of the local team of athletes were being discussed at every street-corner. The pose of the modern artist, who wishes to be regarded as a personage apart from his fellow-creatures, and for that reason holds aloof from all such crowd-compelling affairs as a Test match, a championship contest at the National Sporting Club, or a meeting of the London Athletic Club, would certainly have kindled Plato's smile of urbane contempt—the same with which he so often confuted the hasty generalisation of a popular sophist. The Greeks had all the redeeming vices of modernity; for example, they were great gamblers, and there must have been a prodigious deal of betting on the Olympic Games. Tons of money, to use a modern expression, would be lost on the type of runner mentioned in a Greek epigram, who ran in a race with five others and came in seventh, the sixth place being taken by his trainer, whose making and cries of 'Keep it up!' were labour wasted. In all probability Plato refrained from betting himself (he knew that wagers are the arguments of fools), but I am sure he would not have frowned on a well-born pupil who had 'made a book' on

the games.

The notion that the Greek philosophers were rather like certain modern headmasters, whose morals stick out all over them like the candy-peel in a cake, is part and parcel of the classical myth which has done so much to dehumanise the most human of the peoples of antiquity. The ancient Greeks were rich in all the social vices; I cordially agree with Mr. Hilaire Belloc's assertion that no race has ever produced such an infinite variety of exuberant blackguardism. But they were incapable of the hypocrisies, half intellectual and half emotional, which vex the modern world. It is impossible, to take specific instances, to translate the terms 'priggishness' and 'artistic temperament into the language of Hellas. Plato was a great artist and he

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