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If we are to do our duty to humanity, we must carry to them the message which will make the loss of the dental pulp an impossibility. It is our duty to carry that message, and in the light of the knowledge at hand we can do no less than carry it to the public.
To Dr. Oakman, I believe, belongs the credit of mentioning or bringing to the attention of our profession first the influence of the oral cavity upon the food of the child of the prospective mother or of the nursing mother. I am not positive that statement is true, but I believe that is the first correct reference made to the effect produced. Dr. John P. Corley some years ago prepared a thesis upon the subject of mouth hygiene in connection with pregnancy. I wish to thank you and to congratulate this audience upon having presented to it such an excellent paper. Dr. Oakman has solved the problem. If you can follow in his footsteps and can fight as those men have fought for what they have accomplished, you will solve the problem also. I thank you.
DR. TRUMAN W, BROPHY, Chicago, Ill. There is a custom in Germany that we might imitate to advantage in America. If the mayor of a city succeeds in giving to that city an administration marked by economy, efficiency and satisfaction to the community, the people of some other city, perhaps far distant, may petition this mayor to come over to their city and be mayor. They ask him to come over to them and establish a government such as he established in the first city. If we were to carry out that plan, if the cities of America were able to persuade Dr. Oakman to go to every city and establish a condition of things such as he has established in Detroit, it would redound very generally to the benefit of the communities. It was my good fortune to visit Detroit when he was raising funds for further carrying on his work, and he applied himself so
faithfully, and those people had so much confidence in him that they voted him $20,000 with which to continue the work in the department of oral hygiene and in the care of the children in the public schools.
In the City of Chicago we started in a small way. In the first school I succeeded in getting the manufacturers to contribute outfits for two chairs, and equipped the place fully for the carrying on of the work of caring for the children. Six young practitioners volunteered, skillful young fellows, to alternate in the care of these children. After a time the Chicago Dental Society took up the work and extended it to other schools, so we established ten different places where this work was carried on. It was done by subscription. By and by Mr. Julius Rosenwald, who is the head of the SearsRoebuck Company, announced that he would be willing to pay $1000 a month for ten men to continue this work. Ultimately, about two and a half years after the work began, the City government accepted the charge, and today the care of the children in the public schools of Chicago is looked after by the municipality itself. I have been over this country considerably to the different cities. There are many cities where this work has never been attempted. I want to suggest that the members of the profession in those cities should meet and devise a plant for the carrying on of this work, and they must do that as it has been done elsewhere. In the City of Detroit the work was begun by contribution. Dr. Oakman succeeded in getting people to contribute funds to start it; but when the people learn the great benefits accruing to the children, those who are not able to compensate the dentist for his services, they will demand of their alderman or city council the recognition that its importance requires. I am satisfied that the work which Dr. Ebersole tells us began in this City, and
which has spread thruout the country, may go to every city and town in the whole United States.
Before taking my seat, I feel I would do an injustice to myself and to that great man whose friend I am, if I were not to tell you, those of you who may not know this, that the first work in oral hygiene, in oral prophylaxis as practised among the school children, was begun by that great German, Ernst Jessen, in the City of Strassburg, Germany. Prof. Jessen is a noble man, who has given his life work to humanity. (Applause). DR. WALKER, New Orleans:
I would like to announce that the Charity Hospital of Louisiana, located in New Orleans, now has an Oral Hygiene clinic, equipped by subscription from the dentists and by two of the manufacturers. The State furnishes the supplies, gas, electricity, etc.
DR. J. P. CORLEY, Sewanee, Tennessee. I rise to ask two questions, which seem to me to be vital. In Detroit we seem to have an ideal condition of affairs. How can we bring about such a condition in other cities of this country?
A MEMBER: Get Oakman.
DR. CORLEY: I will come to that. It has been stated from the platform that there was no political influence brought to bear in securing this contribution. I am glad to hear that, and would like to have Dr. Oakman verify it.
DR. OAKMAN: I shall tell about it later.
DR. CORLEY: We will then assume that there has been no political influence brought to bear. That is encouraging. Then there is only one other thing which could have happened, and that is those people in political authority there, who are responsible for that contribution, must have been educated up to the necessity for the contribution, and not only that, but they must have had the backing
of their constituents, and those constituents must have been educated up to the same degree of appreciation, or else they were dominated by political bosses. How can we bring that condition about in other places? I am not willing to accept the statement of Dr. Ebersole that it was due wholly and entirely to the educational activity in Detroit. I would like to believe that, but I cannot, because 1 have visited several hundred cities of different population in the United States in the last fifteen years, interested in working on this proposition, and I have seen activity which did merit such appreciation. Now whether or not Detroit has been so far above the average in dentists and the dental profession, I cannot say. Perhaps that is true, but I do not like to believe it because it would be discouraging. We cannot have one Oakman all over the country; we cannot transplant the dentists from Detroit all over the country to promote this educational propoganda, and it is for us to develop it from our rank and file. As a matter of fact we have been trying for the last fifteen years, ever since the immortal Jessen pronounced to the world the possibilities of Oral Hygiene, to do that, to bring about this oral education. A few inspired fools in America have been undertaking to bring about this condition. With what success? Out of approximately forty thousand dentists in the United States today, how many Oakmans have we? How many Belchers have we? We can count those men with three fingers. If we have made this marvelous progress in fifteen years, you can easily calculate how long it will take us to educate one-half of the forty-thousand dentists in the United States, and I maintain today that the crux of the situation lies with the profession themselves. But how educate them up to it? We appeared before the Association of Dental Colleges in Denver, and besought them to naugurate definite courses in
their curriculi, so as to produce Oral Hygiene teachers among the students, but that body did not do it. And that is the only way to do it. You can't take an old practitioner and make a teacher of him. It is too expensive. It takes time, and time is money. The most important consideration of all is money. Dr. Hunt, in discussing this paper, said we must educate the people back home, the taxpayers, up to the point where they would stand for a thing like this. How are we going to educate the people, if we cannot educate the dentists we have in our schools, under our thumbs, holding over them the probability of their not getting a diploma? If our schools cannot educate them, if we cannot educate our dentists who get together from year to year and discuss these subjects, then how, in the name of God and logic, can we educate the people? (Applause). Where is the money coming from? The dentists won't subscribe it. That is a settled fact (laughter). They are not able to, in the first place, if they were willing to. We have some conspicuous examples of men who have crippled their fortunes because they have been fools enough to give too much of their time and of themselves to the work, and we cannot get the rank and file of the dental profession to pay the freight. The people won't. How are you going to raise the money? (Applause).
DR. EMANUEL MUNTZ, Buffalo, N. Y. I regret that I arrived too late to hear Dr. Oakman's paper and not having had the pleasure of reading it prior to its presentation here, am ignorant of its contents and therefore unable to discuss it; but inasmuch as announcements from various sections of the country, of progress in Oral Hygiene and free oral treatment for poor children seem to be in order, and as general ignorance of the purport of this work is so greatly deplored and education of the general public therein so strongly urged, I desire to report
what we have been and are doing in Buffalo and how we set about to educate our city fathers to a just appreciation of the necessity for such work in our city in order to obtain the necessary appropriation for its execution.
Four or five years ago a committee from the Buffalo Dental Association proposed to the Board of Aldermen that if they would equip two or three dental dispensaries, the Association would furnish dentists free of charge to do the work. The proposition passed the Aldermen but when it reached the Board of Councilmen, as was afterward alleged, one of their number said, "That is all right. Those dentists will come and work for nothing, but in a year or two they will want to be paid for it," and the matter was voted down.
Subsequently the Health Commissioner became deeply interested in the project and with the co-operation of the Dental Society of the Eighth Judicial District of the State of New York the problem was approached in a somewhat different manner. The influence of the public press was enlisted and last fall a public agitation was started and the December meeting of the aforesaid society was devoted to the subject of Oral Hygiene and thrown open to the public. Among the speakers were the Health Commissioner and Superintendent of Education of Rochester, N. Y., Wm. A. White, D. D. S., from the New York State Dep't of Health, the proprietor-editor of one of our city dailies and our Own Health Commissioner and Superintendent of Education. The proposition then placed before the city fathers was, to have them appropriate funds and authorize the Health Commissioner to establish two dental dispensaries and employ dentists and assistants to do the work, also to employ two dentists as school dental inspectors. This time it past and we have established within the past month two dental dispensaries among the poor
in two remote sections of the city and are as busy as we can be during the time they are are open, four hours a day. The employees are paid out of public funds and we expect to extend the work. The Health Commissioner stated in a recent meeting of the Advisory Board that within five years he expects to have ten dispensaries in operation. It took us four or five years to get two. (Applause). DR. H. DeW. CROSS, Boston, Mass:
I have been much interested in this discussion. The subject is one which I do not know very much about, but expect to learn much of during the next few years, as I shall enter into the work this coming fall when the Forsyth Dental Infirmary for Children is opened during the first week of October. I extend to you all the cordial invitation of the trustees to be present at that dedication, and assure you all of a hearty welcome and feel sure you will see and hear many things which will be of interest to every one who attends.
DR. R. N. HARWOOD, Dyersburg, Ten
My friend, Dr. Corley, from my State, says he wants to know how this can be done, I hope he won't have up in the mountainous section the same experience we have had down here in the western section. I am only eighteen miles from the Mississippi River. About a year ago I received from Dr. Ebersole, thru the kindness and courtesy of my friend, Dr. Hunt, of Memphis, a solicitation to join the Mouth Hygiene Association, which I did. About that time there was an epidemic raging in our city, with a population of only seven thousand people, of the disease known as cerebro spinal meningitis. We were entirely quarantined from the outside world. Any one could come to us, but no one else would dare take them if they touched the city limits of our town. The ambulance was busy all the time. There
were many deaths, among the school children and adults both. I hope no other town will have that experience. then set about, thru the president of our City Board of Health, who happens to be an M. D. You know they claim this cerebro-spinal meningitis starts in the throat and air passages-and they were very willing that I should take up this subject of Oral Hygiene in the school. I did that, made a number of talks to the pupils. I had no trouble at all in getting things going. They had no money or I think I might have gotten an appropriation for the work. Thru the kindness of a manufacturer in Philadelphia, I was furnished a suitable amount of tooth powder, and I purchased a gross of brushes, and all of those school children who didn't have a brush, I gave one with the powder. On the last day of school my telephone rang, and one of the teachers said she was in trouble, that she had offered a prize-the teacher herself had lost an eighteen year old daughter from meningitis-to the child that would show the cleanest mouth at the close of school, and she wanted me to come up and help her decide who had the cleanest mouth. It was embarrassing for me to appear before those children, from whom I later expected some patronage, and choose the winner of the prize without giving them each a prize, so I picked up a railroad conductor from Georgia who was visiting in town, and had him say who was to get the prize (laughter). There were 39 pupils in that class. I didn't make an examination so far as cavities were concerned, except at a glance, but I don't think you can pick 39 dentists out of this crowd and find 39 cleaner mouths than they had. In that way the entire primary department was made very enthusiastic over mouth hygiene, and the good done has been in. estimable. I thank you (applause).
DR. EBERSOLE: I just want to answer Dr. Corley with reference to state
ment I made. I said Dr. Oakman did not obtain his appointment on the City Board of Health due to a political pull. I didn't say that politics were not used-I don't know with regard to that-in bringing about results they obtained in mouth hygiene. I asked a former president of their board of health, "How did Oakman secure this appointment? Was it a political pull"? And the president who preceded Dr. Oakman made the statement that it was not.
DR. CORLEY: I want to say to Dr. Oakman that I know nothing about politics, especially municipal politics, because I don't live in a municipality. I live in the country, and my question was asked in absolute innocence and sincerity.
DR. OAKMAN: An appointment to any Board or Commission in the municipality or state is usually made by the mayor of the city or governor of the state.
Should you receive a position on one of these Commissions, you may call the process of getting it "pull" or whatever you wish, but the fact still remains that friends count in this as well as all things.
I said to a friend that I would like to receive an appointment to the Detroit Board of Health as I thought there were greater opportunities as a Commissioner on the Health Board of a large city than as a member of the State Dental Board. In due time my request was granted. I received the appointment as one of the Commissioners of Health. I then withdrew from the Michigan State Board of Dental Examiners, sending my resignation to the Governor.
Up to this time no municipal appropriation had been made for free dental clinics. The first appropriation was five thousand dollars, the second eight thousand, and the last year, twenty thousand.
Before we asked for an appropriation we secured the names of twenty thousand
citizens. We then interviewed the editors of the daily and weekly papers, including those of foreign languages. They knew little of Oral Hygiene and had to be shown. We spoke of the Forsyth Dental Infirmary for Children which was to be built for the dental care of the poor children of Boston. A lengthy telegram was sent by the editor of one of our leading papers to its Boston correspondent, asking for full information relative to the Forsyth Memorial. In due time a favorable report of the Institution was received and a half page article appeared setting forth the aim and object of this enterprise.
After the publication of this article, editorials followed. Our missionary work continued with the papers until we won them all to our cause and it was largely thru the co-operation of the press that our largest appropriation was obtained.
Let it not be forgotten that previous to the first municipal appropriation for dental clinics, much had been done gratis by Detroit dentists. It was the efforts of these pioneers that appealed to many in aiding our cause.
During the campaign for the twenty thousand dollar appropriation some of our dental friends would ask "How is the appropriation coming?" We made answer, "Very good." "You will never get it," would be the rejoinder. These little thrusts helped spur us on to the greater effort. We consulted the Aldermen, the Estimators, business men and professional men. Had them write letters to their respective Aldermen and Estimators asking them to do all in their power to further the cause of Oral Hygiene.
In the furtherance of this work we were as careful as a general would be in laying out plans for a battle. We interviewed Democrats and Republicans alike and proved to them conclusively that the work we had planned was for the benefit of humanity. The chairman pro tem of