Gentle Dental of Blue Bell
790 Pennlyn Pike Blue, PA, 19422, Suite 103, Blue Bell, PA 19422

Did prehistoric humans have better teeth than us?

Did-prehistoric-humans-have-better-teeth-than-us1

Today, humans have access to dental floss, toothpaste and toothbrushes, but back in prehistoric times, men and women had little to rely on when it comes to oral hygiene.

According to a recent study published in Nature Genetics, ancient hunter-gatherer clans had better teeth than we do today.  This finding has been linked to changes in human diets over time.

Prehistoric teeth
“Hunter-gatherers had really good teeth,” says Alan Cooper, Ph.D., director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA. “[But] as soon as you get to farming populations, you see this massive change. Huge amounts of gum disease. And cavities start cropping up.”

According to Cooper and his team, the gradual shift in human diets from meat, nuts and vegetables to carbohydrates and sugar effectively altered the makeup of bacteria in the mouths of modern men and women, National Public Radio reported.

Researchers examined the teeth found in 34 prehistoric skulls and determined that, specifically as ancient man took to tilling the fields and focusing on agriculture in favor of hunting, particular forms of harmful bacteria began to infiltrate human mouths.

Disease-causing pathogens specializing in devouring carbohydrates helped deteriorate human teeth.  The introduction of pre-processed sugar and flour in the late 19th century during the Industrial Revolution hastened the decline of teeth.

“What you’ve really created is an ecosystem which is very low in diversity and full of opportunistic pathogens that have jumped in to utilize the resources which are now free,” added Cooper.

Techniques from ancient dentistry
While Cooper’s study suggests that prehistoric man enjoyed greater oral health due to diet, another report published in PLoS One has revealed more information about possible early dentistry techniques.

Led by Federico Bernardini and Claudio Tuniz, of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Italy, researchers in Italy and Australia made remarkable discoveries while examining the remains of a 6,500-year-old human jawbone, Medical News Today reported.

Specifically, a tooth found with the jaw near Trieste in Slovenia hints at possible methods used to fill cavities by dentists during earlier times. The tooth, which is a left canine, was found to have traces of beeswax in the crown.

“This finding is perhaps the most ancient evidence of prehistoric dentistry in Europe and the earliest known direct example of therapeutic-palliative dental filling so far,” said Bernardini.

Bernardini and Tuniz used a variety of tools, including synchrotron radiation computed micro-tomography, accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon dating, infrared spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy to prod more deeply into the tooth.

Due to the condition of the tooth, researchers believe the person who received the filling may have been near-death or perhaps already dead by the time the procedure was completed.

“If the filling was done when the person was still alive, the intervention was likely aimed to relieve tooth sensitivity derived from either exposed dentine and/or the pain resulting from chewing on a cracked tooth,” wrote the study’s authors.

When it comes to having a set of sparkling chompers, there’s no need to live in the past!  While prehistoric man might have had an advantage due to a diet rich in hearty meats, legumes and nuts, there are plenty of ways that the men and women of today can improve their oral hygiene.

One of the first and most effective ways to counteract a poor diet, along with regular brushing and flossing, is to visit the dentist regularly. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

Read What Our Patients Say
Patient Reviews
The staff is very professional and courteous.
Erwin A.
The care and the staff
Elizabeth C.
The staff at this office is friendly and professional. I have been going here for 3 years or so and I have only had good experiences.
Brian R.
Patient comfort is prioritized, high competence and professionalism.
Heather B.
Jackie is the best!
Gala G.
I’ve been going to this practice for years. They’re all nice people. Professional. And they get me in at a monent’s notice when needed.
Jennifer P.
Every single person I met was kind and courteous. Most importantly Dr. Amrut is a very nice and caring man who makes me feel more comfortable.
Jacqueline G.
Fern was excellent.
David S.
I’ve been going there for many years. They always fit me right in. They take good care of me. Everyone is friendly. Including my Dentist.
Jennifer P.
They do a great job
Colin M.
Excellent care and service
Daniel R.
I’ve been coming to Gentle Dental for several years and the staff and service are fantastic.
Lynda S.
I recommended Gentle Dental to my friend. She is as happy with the staff and service as I am!!
Diana R.
Dr. Amrut is fast, skilled and painless! I detest going to the dentist, so my review really counts. He helped me in an emergency – my boss recommended him. He’s very, very nice and […]
Amy W.
Thorough cleaning by friendly, competent hygienist……In house plan makes for a very fair price.
Ann B.
The staff is very understanding and compassionate. The dentists are so pleasant and really take every care to make sure you are comfortable and work very quickly and efficiently.
Jennifer F.
Char just cleaned my teeth and she was awesome! My teeth looked amazing after and she was so sweet and funny! I hope she cleans my teeth next time too:)
Rebecca S.
Facilities are clean and inviting. Staff is pleasant and thorough. Dr. Amrut is a pleasure!
Wendy B.
Office staff is very pleasant. Office is conveniently located. They keep to the appointment schedule.
Bethann H.
Very patient oriented
Christopher B.
We Accept Most Insurance Plans!
Learn More

We accept most insurance plans and will be happy to help you understand the coverage that you have. We will do our best to see that you receive your maximum insurance benefits for all covered services.

No Insurance? No Worries! See our discounts and offers here

Office Hours
  • Monday 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
  • Tuesday 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Thursday 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Friday 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Get in touch:
  • Phone: (267) 439-4912
Our Location