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Sir, In connection with the deplorable state of our teeth in this ''age of progress'' too little attention is given to what appears to me to be the prime cause of the trouble - viz., that we do not give our teeth enough work to do.
From youth upwards we feed on a lot of soft-cooked stuff which requires absolutely no effort to masticate. We are generally in a hurry over our meals; therefore, the softer the food the quicker it slides down, and the more time is saved!
Under those conditions, what can we expect but that our teeth will rot in our heads and our digestive organs lose their strength? And how can we possibly expect to cure the evil by scientific treatment while we keep on with the soft pap?
Children are brought up on new bread and scones, instead of on good crusty loaves three days old. Fond mothers see their darlings leave anything in the nature of crust on their plates (or the tablecloth), and instead of remonstrating with them actually encourage them in it.
They set them a shockingly bad example by carefully cutting off the crusts when they prepare sandwiches for consumption by their elders.
To a man with healthy teeth, a healthy appetite, and a healthy appreciation of the art of living it is positively painful to see this fashion so widespread in polite society.
An idea must have got abroad that it is ''bon ton'' to serve sandwiches with the crust trimmed off, and it is another instance of how prone women are to follow in the wake of fashion no matter how senseless and harmful it may be. The fact that this silly fashion entails a wicked waste - and a waste of the best and sweetest part of the bread - does not seem to concern the modern ''housewife'', if she deserves that honoured title.
That it, furthermore, undermines the health of our teeth, and consequently the health of the whole body, is either not realised or else ignored.
To the intelligent observer it is very noticeable that the whole tendency of this generation is towards softness and indulgence, and if that is not checked it will lead to degeneracy and decay.
Soft and luxurious living has brought down strong nations in the past, and the British race will have to keep its muscles firm and its teeth sharp if it wants to hold the lead.
I am, etc., O. Balk.
• All the mining claims in the Tuapeka district are in full swing, the water supply having been well maintained. The Golden Crescent Company, which is operating on the cement at Wetherstones, is engaged in constructing a dam, which, when completed, will give an assured supply, and considerably improve this mining property, which is regarded as one of the best in the district.
The Gabriel's Gully Sluicing Company, which recently acquired the Blue Spur Consolidated Company's property, is carrying on work vigorously on its new property, and also on its original claim in the gully, and from what can be gathered from the man in the street is well satisfied with the results of its operations. The Havelock Sluicing Company (Waitahuna), and the Sailor's Gully Company, and Thomson and party (Waitahuna Gully) are all reported as doing well.
- ODT, 21.12.1912
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