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Preface

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 August 2010

Peter W. Lucas
Affiliation:
The University of Hong Kong
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Summary

Teeth cause such dreadful problems in humans that interest in them by non-dentists would seem both unlikely and unhealthy. Who could get excited about tooth decay and gum disease? The physical reality of such apparently moribund structures is paralleled in our cultural perception of them. Diseased or not, the whole mouth is viewed as an unclean region of the body in most parts of the world, especially when it is crammed full of food. Parents, particularly in Western countries, often train children to keep their lips sealed when they are eating even though this is difficult to follow exactly and, indeed, little food seems to re-emerge if the instruction is disobeyed. It is debatable if this training is necessary. While it is possible to sit next to someone at a banquet and get sprayed with seafood, for example, from his or her mouth, the nutritive loss to the diner, represented by the sum of those fine particles, seems negligible compared to what is obviously going down their throat. This is a clear sign of the efficiency of the chewing process. The main reason, in fact, that food particles are expelled is that the person is talking while chewing. Talking involves the expiration of air and that is what pushes food particles forwards. This may seem a strange example but it makes a strong point: the thought of even catching sight of food that was, a moment previously, decorating a plate evokes visceral feelings (of a somewhat inside-out kind) rather than artistic ones.

Type
Chapter
Information
Dental Functional Morphology
How Teeth Work
, pp. ix - xiv
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2004

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  • Preface
  • Peter W. Lucas, The University of Hong Kong
  • Book: Dental Functional Morphology
  • Online publication: 04 August 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511735011.001
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  • Preface
  • Peter W. Lucas, The University of Hong Kong
  • Book: Dental Functional Morphology
  • Online publication: 04 August 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511735011.001
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Preface
  • Peter W. Lucas, The University of Hong Kong
  • Book: Dental Functional Morphology
  • Online publication: 04 August 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511735011.001
Available formats
×