Common Health Facts That Just Aren’t True
A clean tooth never decays was the slogan devised by the pioneers in dental hygiene, nearly a generation ago. It sounded well and was a great encouragement to tooth-brush drills and such efforts toward cleaner teeth. Unfortunately, perhaps, the idea was seized upon by the producers of pastes, powders, brushes, and other things for sale with the result that the statement is still frequently offered to us as the whole truth.
Were it possible to keep the teeth perfectly clean, decay would probably be very slight, but since they must stay in our mouths, which are always crowded with germs, “bacteriological cleanliness” is out of the question.
We need to start far ahead of the tooth brush and, to tell more nearly the real story, must revise our slogan to something like this: “Plenty of tooth-building foods for mothers and babies will do the most to prevent dental decay.”
For centuries the Chinese have paid their doctors to keep them well rather than to cure them when they were sick. Many an effort has been made by inquisitive visitors to China to check up this well-known bit of scientific information. The results have been discouraging, however, showing that until recently the Chinese have had no doctors worthy of the name to practice preventive medicine, or any other kind. Evidently the old theory, that since China was on the bottom of the world everything there must be topsy-turvy, was adapted to his uses by some skilful health publicity agent who invented this interesting idea.
Even though the Chinese doctor story is evidently a myth, it carries a valuable suggestion. Positive health, periodic medical examination, early diagnosis, prevention of disease make up the message that is beginning to avoid much suffering and save many lives.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away possesses nothing of merit except the rhyme. Many a green apple has sent for the doctor in a hurry.
A good, medium-size, ripe apple contains about 96 calories and will digest in an hour and a half. It supplies sugar, calcium, phosphorus, and iron. These facts indicate that it is suitable for human food. The apple also contains a considerable amount of vitamin C and some vitamins A and B. It has no special curative or disease preventive qualities but is a desirable part of an average diet.
What to Tell the Public About Health. New York: American Public Health Association, 1933. Print.
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