Section1-2. Are teeth necessary or unnecessary?

Mr. Y was a junior fellow in Karate Club during my university days. Mr. Y was studying in the postgraduate school, Kyushu University and lived in the same apartment with me. He was a Karate player but at the same time, he was so much interested in “Kiko (A traditional Chinese health-maintenance method)”. One day, he asked me “Why do not you come with me to go to Osaka where a famous Kiko player will visit there? Shall we learn Kiko from him?”. I promptly agreed with him and went to Osaka with him. After Kiko lesson, we decided to drink alcohol with my friends who went to Osaka together with me. At that occasion, an associate professor of Health Science Center, Kyushu University happened to be with us in a drink bar. This associate professor, an internal physician, was a leader of “the Survey on healthy degrees of vivid elderly persons” to be cooperatively performed by the Health Science Center of Kyushu University and Kasuga city. At that time, I heard about this study project for the first time. I was so much interested in the quite new approach and comprehensive view of this project.Automatically, I asked a question. “Although dental fields should be included as a natural consequence because this is characterized as the comprehensive study on humans, who is responsible for this?”To my surprise, he muttered shortly “What?” I said once again, “Are dental studies not included? As far as this study is aimed at the comprehensive survey on humans and most of University has Faculty of Dentistry, I am sure that the dental study is indispensable for this study project.”He said “You are correct. Do you join us to do such a dental study? And, I was suddenly requested to participate in this project.Initially, the original plan about “the Survey on healthy degrees of vivid elderly persons” did not include dental investigations. We might say that such a negligence of dental fields clearly represents the blank point of the (theoretical framework) of the modern medical paradigm. Even a most advanced health scientist and internal physician characterized with possessing high degrees of specific knowledge forgets about presence of teeth upon planning the comprehensive survey project on humans. Probably, he might have thought that loss of teeth provides us with inconvenience but does not affect the systemic health.It is conceivable that since isolation and independence of Faculty of Dentistry from Faculty of Medicine, incorrect recognition about teeth has been augmented more and more. In other words, there is a kind of territorial imperative, indicating creation of habitat segregation. Accordingly, the concept “Everything about teeth should be entrusted to dentist.” has been entrenched, while the subjects related to teeth and oral cavity have been disregarded in the teachings for medical students and the state-sanctioned examination for providing medical license. As the result, physicians who are responsible for recognition of the whole body have little information about teeth. In parallel with removal of dental department offices from hospitals detached to universities, concepts about “teeth” have been dropped from considerations about possible causes of systemic disorders.On the other hands, dentists insist that systemic diseases should be treated by physicians, resulting in limiting their interest to local abnormalities in oral cavity including treatment of dental caries and alleviation of alveolar pyorrhea. Human bodies are not the mere aggregation of respective parts but are regarded as a small universe in which all the organs in bodies beautifully cooperate each other and are harmonized. No one is permitted to separate teeth and oral cavity from the systemic recognition based on extremely selfish speculation of humans. Worst-hit victims are the patients because diseases which are totally curable cannot be cured. These situations represent the most important drawback for the modern medicine whereby lots of diseases with their causes unknown still remain untouched despite of such a striking advance of modern medicine. It might be devils in human form that removed dental recognition from the systemic systems for the first time and implanted the seed of structural defects in progress of medicine on the earth. The objective of this book is to clarify such a defect by means of scientific and clinical approaches while the afore-mentioned survey project included the serious drawbacks therein unselfconsciously.
In a drink bar, I was asked to join the project “Survey on healthy degrees of vivid elderly persons” in by its project leader whom I have not met before. Promptly, I thought “This survey might provide me a certain answer to my pending question “Doctor Muratsu, I can bite any food” declared by that old woman; in more details, I felt an expectation that the eternal theme in the dental medicine “Are teeth indispensable or not?” could be answered to some extent. If there are any evidence that the elderly persons who spend vivid daily lives have adequate number of teeth is obtained in the survey, there is a possibility that teeth are actually involved in maintaining health of the aged persons. On the contrary, however, unless there remain any teeth, we must conclude that teeth are not indispensable for longevity, and vivid daily lives of them even if we anticipate ideally necessity of teeth. In such cases, we can say that substitution of the lost teeth with artificial teeth can regain systemic health and vivid daily lives, even if we lose own teeth unfortunately. As the extension of this consideration, all we need to do is to perform dental prevention if time is permitted, besides our precious time being used for other hobbies and the like.I intuitively recognized the possibility that this “Survey on healthy degrees of vivid elderly persons” will give us precious indication and orientation for both dental medicine and preventive dental medicine. Frankly speaking, immediately after I met an old woman of the English teacher, I started literature surveys on significance of teeth on our whole body. However, there was no description about significance of teeth particularly toward systemic functions except for description about chewing functions. Few literatures were available but they were not written systematically. In other words, the issue I was pursuing was of complete darkness. Among the limited literatures, a certain report depicted the findings that following ingestion of rice either without chewing or with chewing, its digestion and absorption was not different, indicating that this report completely ruled out significance of teeth. Of course, teeth have their own roles in eating, talking and cosmetic significance. These features are well understood even by primary school children.Under the canopy, “Are teeth necessary or unnecessary?”At that occasion, I made myself a promise that if these vivid elderly persons had teeth, I would continue preventive dental medication. I believed that some not-yet clarified significance might exist in such facts. However, unless vivid elderly persons had any teeth, I should overcome my regret to preventive dental medicine and focus my future efforts on prosthetic restoration to prepare well-designed artificial teeth. Simultaneously, I must recommend people to pay attention to your whole bodies rather than to make teeth care. This really implies an EBM (Evidence-based medicine). I started my own study after such a commitment to myself. In other words, “Survey on healthy degrees of vivid elderly persons” was the study to mark a watershed for my life-long decision. Now looking back upon the unexpected encounter of me with “Survey on healthy degrees of vivid elderly persons”, it seemed to me that this happened by coincidence but I was still wondering if the inevitable features of this encounter might be led by unusual turn of destiny.

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