Scientists have found food particles trapped in plaque on the teeth of 1,000-year-old skeletons.
Scientists have found food particles trapped in plaque on the teeth of 1 thousand year-old skeletons.
Their study subjects came from a German cemetery that dates back to medieval times, and in examining it, they learned that calcified plaque is an excellent time capsule.
Not only did it trap both food-based and environmental matter, it preserved them over all this time.
The researchers also gained knowledge about several matters concerning both the diets of the past and oral health in general.
One is that German cuisine hasn’t changed much over the past millennium. Among the tiny food bits they uncovered were lamb, pork, wheat, and cabbage.
They also discovered that back then, people didn’t brush their teeth very often. Some may have never done it.
A few of the specimens found had reasonably healthy choppers, but most of the mouths they studied didn’t have any at all.
Despite modern efforts to improve oral health, one thing better hygiene hasn’t changed is how periodontal disease develops.
The same bacteria that triggered it back then continues to plague us now.