A pragmatic primer ... lessons from natural science for the profession of dentistry.

  • David A. Nash
  • Published 1996 in Journal of public health dentistry


Artificially supplementing our community water supplies with optimal amounts of fluoride to gain the benefits of a significant reduction in dental caries is a lesson we have learned from natural science, a lesson from nature we have appropriated for culture- and a very pragmatic lesson. Today, we have discovered through science additional principles of nature that can be instructive and that can be appropriated for the profession of dentistry's benefit. This paper reviews five principles of natural science and derives lessons for the profession from these principles. The principles include natural selection, environmental change, form follows function, symbiosis, and entropy. Lessons derived from these principles of natural science are, respectively: survival and thriving of the profession are dependent upon the environment; the status quo will not be maintained-the profession must acknowledge, encourage, and celebrate change; the form the profession assumes must be consistent with its function of serving society; the profession must acknowledge the interdependence and reciprocity existing in its relationship with society; and the profession must continuously, energetically, and creatively reconstruct and renew itself. The challenge before us is to transform dentistry into a profession that continuously anticipates environmental changes by energetically creating new forms or structures that will result in more effective fulfillment of our function: gaining the benefits of oral health for society.

Cite this paper

@article{Nash1996APP, title={A pragmatic primer ... lessons from natural science for the profession of dentistry.}, author={David A. Nash}, journal={Journal of public health dentistry}, year={1996}, volume={56 5 Spec No}, pages={291-300} }