Bronze age dental discovery unveils origins of cavities and gum disease


Research links changes in human diet to the evolution of tooth-causing bacteria. — CNN News Network
Research links changes in human diet to the evolution of tooth-causing bacteria. — CNN News Network

A recent study delving into ancient dental remains has uncovered intriguing insights into the evolution of oral bacteria and their impact on modern oral health, CNN reported.

These two Bronze Age teeth, about 4,000 years ago, are the earliest traces of tooth decay bacteria recently discovered, illustrating the fact that bacteria that cause dental caries existed in ancient societies.

They said the power of the findings, published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution, drew attention to the abundance of Proteobacteria, bacteria commonly associated with tooth decay, in one of the teeth.

Therefore, the suggestions of P. gingivalis and T. forsythia presented in this study point to the likely diet of ancient humans and their diverse bacterial species.

According to the paper by Lara Cassidy, the study's senior researcher, an in-depth exploration of ancient Streptococcus mutans points to some very strange evolutionary history related to changes in human eating habits, particularly the presence of sugar and grains. The contrasting dietary changes between ancient and modern times have led to greater concern about the impact of oral health.

Likewise, this study also provides insights into the modern oral microbiome biodiversity loss compared to its much-anticipated segmentation. As research leader at the Center for the Study of Human Evolution, Louise Humphrey focuses on using ancient teeth to identify and decay and their resident microbes to have wider implications for human health and disease.



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