Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The recognition of focal infection as a factor in systemic disease in a recent development in medicine and dentistry, although it has long been known that a localized infection may give rise to general disease. The earlier idea of such a relation was limited to a wound as surgical sepsis. It was Benjamin Rush in 1818 who, reporting cases of systemic disease which he ascribed to dental infection, wrote -

"I have been made happy by discovering that I have only added to the observations of other physicians in pointing out a connection between the extraction of decayed and diseased teeth and the cure of general diseases."

He goes on the state how the teeth, when decayed, are subjected to irritation from hot cold drinks, pressure by mastication, and cold air, and how intimate the connection of the mouth is with the whole system, that it is easy to believe that the teeth are often the unsuspected causes of general and particularly nervous diseases.

Following Rush other clinicians, connected systemic disease with focal lesion, the teeth usually being considered the focus. Black mentions articles published as early as 1842. Garretson in 1890 describes various systemic derangements arising from dental disease. Miller, in 1891 reports examples of numerous diseases which have arisen fromdental infection. Numerous other writers and clinicians have written articles and made experiments in this field showing the relationship that exists between the oral cavity and the body. The works of these writers are too numerous to mention except the work of one. That one is Dr. Edward C. Rosenow who has made possible the acceptance of a new theory by his care and thoroughness exemplified in his experiments.



Restricted Access Item

Having trouble?