Pat O. O'Day


Previous work with rats, hamsters and monkeys has shown a direct relationship between refined diets high in carbohydrates and caries susceptibility. Adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals have been shown to be necessary for proper tooth development and resistance to decay. The glycoprotein content of hamster teeth raised on a non-cariogenic Purina ration was reported to be lower than the amount found in the teeth of animals raised on a high sugar cariogenic diet.

In order to determine the caries susceptibility produced in Albino rats by different common carbohydrates, an artificial feeding technique was utilized in which the amount and type of carbohydrate could be varied. The rats were obtained from the Naval Dental Research Institute, Bethesda, Maryland.

A basal simulated rat milk diet was prepared which contained 3 per cent lactose. Different groups of rats were raised from 14 to 21 days of age on this basal diet to which different amounts and types of carbohydrates were added. All groups were then placed on a high sugar cariogenic diet for 13 weeks and the molars were scored for caries damage. When 1.85 percent lactose was added to the basal milk formula, a mean caries score of 5.2 resulted, while the same percentage of added sucrose resulted in a score of 9.6. By increasing the amount of either lactose or sucrose in the formula to 8.35 percent, the mean caries score increased nearly threefold. The mean caries score for the groups which had 5.35 percent dextromaltose or Karo added to the basal milk formula was 2.8 to 3.4 times higher, respectively, than the groups which received the same amount of lactose.

A reproducible technique was developed utilizing the anthrone reaction to determine quantitatively the amount of carbohydrate in the teeth of Albino rats. The technique was used to compare the total amount of carbohydrate in the teeth of rats on a high sugar cariogenic diet with the amount in the teeth of animals on stock Purina ration. The anthrone reagent, which contained 0.05 percent anthrone in 68 percent sulfuric acid, reacted with the carbohydrate in the tooth material to form a colored complex when heated for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. The absorbency of the colored complex determined the amount of carbohydrate when compared with a glucose standard. The carbohydrate content of the teeth of rat littermates raised on sugar and Purina diets was compared at 28, 35, 42, and 49 days of age. The teeth of the 28-day-old rats on Purina ration had a significantly greater carbohydrate content (18 percent greater) than the teeth of the rats on the sugar ration. No significant difference appeared between the carbohydrate content in the teeth of the rats on sugar and Purina rations in the 35, 42 and 49 day studies.

Injection of littermates with 0.05 ml. of a 20 percent glucose-fructose solution per 10 grams of body weight during the suckling period produced a mean caries score of 16.9. Littermates receiving 20 percent glucose-fructose injections which were supplemented with 2 mg. of vitamin C per ml. of solution had a mean caries score of 8.0, which showed a decrease in caries susceptibility. When the 20 percent glucose-fructose injections were supplemented with 2 mg. of vitamin B6 per ml. of solution, a mean caries score of 6.5 resulted, which showed a significant decrease in the caries susceptibility (P>99.9).


Graduate Studies

First Advisor

Melvin I. Haley

Second Advisor

U. D. Register

Third Advisor

Bryan Michaelis

Fourth Advisor

R. R. Steinman

Fifth Advisor

Robert W. Woods

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Dental Caries; Carbohydrates



Page Count

vi; 62

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website


Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives

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Biochemistry Commons