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Have Human Teeth Become Stronger over Time?

Prehistoric humans didn't need toothpaste, or floss, or even sonic toothbrushes. They lived on a grain-free diet made up of meat, vegetables and nuts, and they had really nice teeth. It wasn’t until early man started farming that gum disease-associated bacteria began to be a problem. A 2013 genetic study of ancient dental plaque by a group at the University of Adelaide charted the course of oral bacteria, starting with strong-jawed Neolithic hunter-gatherers, and documented when higher carb diets brought plaque to our mouths.

Nice smile, caveman:

  • The researchers took DNA from calcified plaque from 34 prehistoric northern European human skeletons, and traced the introduction of certain types of oral bacteria.

  • The researchers found that bacteria associated with dental cavities, such as S. mutans, became dominant around the time of the Industrial Revolution.

  • The study also found that the frequency of bacteria associated with periodontal diseases, such as gingivitis, has not changed much since farming began.

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More Info: Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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