Table Speech

Whole Body Diseases Triggered by Dental Caries --- Learning from the Great Works of Dr. W. A. Price

November 16, 2011

Mr. Motoyoshi Doi
The Chief Director of the Koushikai NPO
Dentist, Muromachi Dental Clinic

 Dr. W. A. Price, an American dentist, made two great achievements in his career: first he made research on dental infections that triggered various diseases, and second he studied how nutrition could trigger physical degeneration.

 Speaking about dental infections, a 4-year-old boy suffering from a severe rash over his back went to see a pediatrician, who could not solve his problem. The boy was then forwarded to a dermatologist and got hospitalized, where his condition did not improve at all. An oral surgeon happened to find the boy’s dental focal infection and treated his caries and root canal, which made his rash disappear in 20 days. In another case, a 55-year-old-female was hampered from walking, due to palmoplantar pustules. Steroid ointment gave only stopgap remedy, but she was fully recovered after receiving dental treatment.

 Dr. Price initially studied rheumatism, then other dental infections by using 5,000 rabbits, in collaboration with physicians, other dentists and 60 researchers over 25 years. His research results were compiled and published in 1923, entitled Dental Infections, Oral and Systemic (Vol. I) and Dental Infection and the Degenerative Diseases (Vol. II).

 My respected teacher Dr. Tsuneo Katayama tried to translate Dr. Price’s publications, yet he remained hesitant as their massive volume exceeded 1,100 pages. Just then, Dr. G. E. Meinig, an American oral therapist, published Root Canal Cover-Up (1993), which summarized Dr. Price’s significant findings. Dr. Katayama began to translate Dr. Meinig’s work, but passed away before accomplishing his goal. Our group, Koushikai, completed the task and published it in 2008 as Whole Body Diseases Triggered by Dental Caries.

 Dr. Price clarified that the dentin consists of hyperfine tubules (20,000 to 45,000 tubules per 1 sq mm). When the bacteria that trigger oral cavity attack the tubules, they can spread throughout the body and cause a vast number of degenerative diseases in internal organs. As such bacteria are anaerobic, they can survive without oxygen for many years and damage the immune system, even after the dentist has removed the nerve. Recent information refers to the correlation between oral caries and cerebral hemorrhage, and warns us to keep good oral hygiene to prevent us from having higher risk of cerebral hemorrhage.

 The mouth contains two types of oral bacteria: the cavity-causing bacterium and the periodontal pathogen. Although extensive research has been made on periodontal pathogen, not much was known on cavity-causing bacterium, and it is welcoming that more research works are being made these days.

 Much information on oral and whole body health is being accumulated today. It has become standard practice for hospital and nursing home staff to prevent aspiration pneumonia by oral cleaning. Influenza can also be prevented by doing so. Dr. Price’s transcendental research made us realize that a holistic approach combining oral and whole body health is required for the diagnosis and treatment of intractable illnesses. Medical faculty has long been separated from the department of dentistry in many universities, yet a joint research and treatment initiative is needed from now on.

 Dr. Price’s second major achievement was his comparative study on how dietary habits impact the primitive isolated groups and groups under the influence of modern civilization, conducted at 200 locations in 13 different countries over 9 years from 1933. His research results were published as Nutrition and Physical Degeneration—A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects. Dr. Katayama translated this book and published it at his own expenses in 1978.

 Dr. Price visited different isolated ethnicities living on native food, including the Swiss, the Inuit, Northern Indians, Melanesians, Polynesians and Africans. He found out that tooth decay and modern diseases were practically non-existent among them. For example, the Australian Aborigines and Maoris were blessed with robust health, excellent teeth alignment and beautiful facial contours. Dr. Price observed, however, a very disturbing increase in a number of problems, including tooth decay and higher susceptibility to illness and disease, when such isolated ethnicities switched to a modernized diet that included white flour, sugar and canned food. In addition, the first generation of offspring from such groups often had narrow jaws, overcrowded teeth and even foot malformation.

 Dr. Price conducted animal experiments to prove “physical degeneration is caused by the diet practices.” Pigs with Vitamin A deficiency gave birth to blind piglets. When such piglets were given well-balanced feed, they produced normal piglets. Dr. Price proved that abnormalities are triggered by food, not hereditary.

 It is no coincidence that our affluent lifestyle and dietary habits have triggered various lifestyle-related illnesses, including cancer, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension and periodontal disease.

 Today, we have come to realize the need for environmental preservation and biodiversity on a global level to sustain our life. We have to remember the warning Dr. Price has given us, as early as 80 years ago, through his research conducted in countries around the world: “Life in all its fullness is Mother Nature obeyed.”