THE INFLUENCE of the food variable on the incidence of dental caries is suggested by many different kinds of evidence. Studies of dental decay at different times, in different population groups, and of the intraoral distribution of decay are particularly illuminating.
The relative indestructibility of teeth enables investigators to trace the occurrence of caries through the ages, and to show that changes in caries-activity are clearly related to cultural changes. In ancient Egypt, a marked caries-increase in the fourth dynasty can be associated with the introduction of wheat as a principal source of carbohydrate. In early Greece and England, parallels can be drawn between caries-activity and cultural and dietary changes. In later years, particularly in England and West European countries, there was a sharp increase in caries activity after the development of sugar trade with the New World. More recently, in both the first and second World