Dr Mellanby’s Travels

In the annals of popular dental research, Dr Weston Price is revered for his globe-trotting adventures chronically the general and dental health of peoples living free of dental decay. He wasn’t alone, and many distinguished researchers, including Dr May Mellanby, made similar trips.

Dr Mellanby included in her 3-volume report, Diet and the teeth: an experimental study, a final chapter which described the geographic and racial distribution of caries (dental decay).  She visited or reviewed literature on inhabtants of tropical and subtropical regions, temperate zones and the high arctic, and concluded that the main conditions responsible for immunity from dental decay are:

  • Prolonged breast-feeding often for 3 or even 6 years;
  • A high intake of fat soluble vitamins, especially vitamin D, and a sufficiency of calcium and phosphorus attained either by consuming much milk, eggs, or, as far as vitamin D is concerned, by exposing the body to prolonged sunshine.

A high carbohydrate diet is compatible with the production of good teeth, immune to decay as long as the vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus intake is sufficiently high, particularly in early life.

On the other hand, decay and defectively formed teeth are common in communities where:

  • Breast-feeding is short or perfunctory or where milk intake is small;
  • Few eggs and little animal fats are eaten;
  • Sunshine is negligible or, if plentiful, is rendered ineffective by clothing, so as to exclude the production in the body of vitamin D.

In addition to these, where cereals form a large part of the diet, especially in childhood, dental decay becomes rampant.

Dr Mellanby concluded that geographical distribution of dental caries does not suggest that oral hygiene, including the eating of hard food, the use of toothbrushes, toothpastes and other dentrifices, is essential for the prevention of tooth decay.  Many of the decay-free communities used no artificial methods for cleaning their teeth, while in her country (Britain), where oral hygiene was extensively practised, cavities and dental defects were common.

There is indeed evidence that hygiene practices are of little importance in preventing or arresting tooth decay, although the esthetic value of the toothbrush cannot be denied.

This entry was posted in Breast Feeding, May Mellanby, Nursing, nutrition, remineralize teeth, tooth decay, vitamin d. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Dr Mellanby’s Travels

  1. Awesome, I need to get my hands on this! I bought “A Survey of the Literature of Dental Caries” because of this blog, and I’m finding it to be excellent so far.

  2. Stephan says:

    I plan to! I’m at the University of Washington.

  3. slowsmile says:

    Although the article is very good at uncovering both the reasons for healthy and unhealthy teeth from a demographic point of view, the article does not really make any notable points about the modern, western processed food diet.

    A famous dental researcher — Dr Gerard Judd, Phd — very accurately determined the causes of both tooth decay and gum disease. Dr Judd, a professor of chemistry, spent 33 years in research — and for 18 of those years he was involved in researching fluoro-organics. He promoted various simple methods for re-mineralizing teeth, simple methods to remove and avoid bacterial plaque, and promoted complete avoidance of fluoride and also advised the use of simple organic soap as a form of toothpaste.

    And here is a letter of complaint that Dr Judd sent to the US Government in the 1960s questioning the sheer idiocy of the current dental approach — including the wide use of fluoride in toothpaste — in dental advice. He described his own much simpler((and cheaper) solution in this letter:


    It is quite notable that the majority of Americans, eating their junk and processed food diets, all lose the majority of their teeth by the time they reach 50 y o, whereas in both the communities in Polynesian islands and in Alaska, Weston Price research proved that — due to their naturally alkaline non-processed food diets — these communities were able to maintain their dental health with no cavities and very little gum disease even into their 60s and 70s.

    I started using Dr Judds approach when my teeth suddenly started to come loose and fall out 5 years ago. I lost 4 back teeth in quick succession and I was worried. So I started using Dr Judd’s advice and approach. I mainly used the organic soap for brushing my teeth. I also used Sodium Bicarbonate(Arm & Hammer brand) with the soap and used 3% Hydrogen Peroxide as a mouthwash. I also completely stopped drinking acid drinks like Coke and Pepsi — this is what causes dental cavities(not bacteria).

    From the most current research, dental plaque is now known to form from bio-films which occur between the gums and the base of the teeth. Bio-films are essentially like interconnected micro-slime where the bacteria can hide safely. Bio-films are made from lipid proteins which are easily dispersed and destroyed using soap(emulsifier) — then, using a Hydrogen Peroxide or an Iodine-based mouthwash afterwards will kill all the now exposed bacteria quickly. Fats and oils as well as glycine in toothpaste tends to cover the teeth and prevent re-mineralization. Soap toothpaste removes this fat covering from the teeth allowing more efficient re-mineralization..

    Needless to say, Dr Judd’s research was heavily suppressed and ignored — no dentists I know are aware of his work. Blame Colgate.

    I am 61 y o and my teeth are healthy and strong now.

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