Ancient Teeth

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I read an interesting article this evening about archaeologists studying ancient teeth and comparing them to modern teeth.  This is of extra interest to me because I’ve always had problems with my teeth.  I had cavities galore as a kid and still get cavities as an adult..

According to this study, ancient teeth used to have significantly more bacteria growing on them.  Not all bacteria causes cavities, only a few of the strains that grow in our mouth.  Our mouth is like a giant battlefield where bacteria fight it out to the death.  They compete with each other and this keeps the population of each bacteria strain lower.  The more “good” bacteria there is in your mouth, the less of the cavity causing bacteria there are.

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So what causes this?  Yea, you got it.  Diet.  Turns out that sugars and all the various junk we eat, added with the lack of good food, makes our mouth into a bad environment for the bacteria we want to be in there.  And of course it makes it a great environment for the bacteria we don’t want.  Figures.

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Turns out that when people really began to farm, their main diet turned to wheats, barley and a few more sugary foods.  These fermentable foods and sugary foods are heaven for cavity causing bacteria and hell for good bacteria.  When the industrial revolution hit, people were even more able to eat sugary foods and cut down on veggies.  This resulted in a further decrease of good bacteria.

Now 60 to 90% of all children in industrialized nations have tooth decay.  Even worse, experts say that this happens beyond the mouth and we are seeing effects of the drop in diversity such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes and more.

 

So what’s the solution?  You already know.  More veggies, more grass fed meats, less junk, more exercise.

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