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Lessons Learned From Neanderthal Dental Plaque

Posted by: Dr. Sirakian     Categories: Uncategorized

Dentists, for good reason, care a lot about plaque. Brushing and flossing regularly is essential to reducing plaque and keeping your teeth and gums free from bacteria.

However, plaque can harbor plenty of information about an individual, as it is one of the most DNA rich areas of the human body.

Sticky plaque catches all kind of food remains, fibers, bacteria, and more.

Fossilized plaque has been one of the best resources that researchers have used in their quest to learn more about Neanderthals, the closest relative to the modern Homo sapiens.

For example, plaque has proved that Neanderthals had incredibly diverse diets. Some subsisted almost entirely on meat, while others were vegetarians. The image of the meat eating, club wielding “Caveman” isn’t so historically accurate.

Furthermore, plaque has shown that Neanderthal’s were using plants to medicate. Specifically, one Neanderthal found in Spain was using the mold that produces penicillin and a bark that produces a painkiller similar to aspirin.

Plaque can provide even more information about Neanderthals and ancient culture. Plaque DNA uncovered the first direct link to milk consumption in ancient cultures, and also showed that humans in the medieval era actually had very similar oral microorganisms to modern humans, despite vast changes in diet and lifestyle.

While plaque can certainly provide an interesting look at the lives of our ancestors, it’s still recommended that you brush and floss daily.

Source, Source 2

Mar
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A New Solution To Enamel Loss?

Researchers at the University of Southern California have made a major breakthrough in the investigation of tooth enamel regrowth procedures. Tooth enamel is a nonliving tissue; unlike bone, enamel does not regrow naturally in the human body. Lack of tooth enamel can cause sensitivity and even pain in the mouth, making the tooth much more […]

Mar
6

Breastfeeding and Cavities

Many pediatric health experts have confirmed that if a mother can manage it, “breast is best” when it comes to feeding their babies. While the American Pediatric Association recommends breastfeeding for up to a year, a recent study confirms that breastfeeding much longer than that can lead to dental problems for young children. In a […]

Feb
27

Canker Sores: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Ah, canker sores. These tiny, painful bumps are a nuisance at best and totally debilitating at worst. A nasty enough canker sore in a particularly inconvenient place can leave you eating nothing but mashed potatoes and milkshakes for a week. While that sounds pretty delicious in theory, the pain of the canker sore definitely is […]

Feb
20

Ice: A Crystal-Clear Hazard!

Ever have a bad habit that you just can’t break? Chewing on ice may be a habit that can break your teeth. Before you start crunching on the last bits of cubes left in your glass, or reaching for ice chips to busy your mouth, there are a few things you should know: Teeth need […]

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