February 23, 2012

Dentist Used Fear of Tuberculosis to Attract Customers, 1910

I've had a request for more science and/or pseudo-science type articles, so here we go. This is a dentist's advertisement from the Tacoma Times of Tacoma, Washington on January 24, 1910:


TUBERCULOSIS

THE WHITE PLAGUE 

The war is on.  Are you in the fight? 
The scientists tell us that fresh air, pure food and rest are the most essential factors in combating this dread disease.  There can be no doubt but that the scientists are right, but there is something else that must be taken into consideration first.  It is a disease which affects ninety per cent of the population of the United States.  Caries, or decay of the teeth, is the disease referred to. 
The first step in digestion takes place in the mouth, and unless your teeth are in good condition the food will not be masticated properly, and no matter how pure it may be when it enters the mouth it will soon be contaminated; therefore, in order to get pure food into the stomach you must have a clean mouth.  Pure air! Would air be pure after passing through a sewer?  Hardly.  Look at your teeth.  Smell your own breath.  Some people would have to take air through a tube if they expected to get it into the lungs pure.
We must have rest.  Did you ever have an aching molar or an abscessed bicuspid?  Could you rest?  Not very long at a time.  If we are going to fight the white plague successfully we must also fight this most prevalent of diseases, decay of the teeth.  Children should be taken to the dentist as soon as the first teeth begin to erupt.  It is criminal negligence on the part of the parents to allow the baby teeth to decay.  On their proper care and attention depends the future health and happiness of the child. 
Yours for health and happiness, 

HUTCHINSON
Dentist

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