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Studies Find Ancient People had Healthier Smiles

Studies have found that the Roman-British population from nearly 1,600 years ago had a surprising lack of gum disease than today’s British population. Studies at the Natural History Museum headed by King’s College Longer periodontists confirm that modern habits are more damaging to oral health, despite the advancements in dental care.

Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, happens when dental plaque builds up and causes inflammation within the gums. Mild periodontitis affects a large percentage of the population, but other factors such as smoking and diabetes can trigger more chronic cases, ultimately leading to tooth loss.
303 Romano-British skulls were examined for evidence of dental diseases. In the end, only 5% of the skulls had indicators of moderate to severe gum disease. Comparatively, 15-30% of today’s adults have signs and symptoms of the disease.

However, these skulls did show a higher percentage of dental infections, dental abscesses, and tooth decay. They also had significant dental wear at earlier ages, indicating that these people thrived on a diet of coarser grains and cereals.

The population of skulls studied came from a group of countryside dwellers with similar genetic makeup to modern European populations. They were also less likely to be tobacco users and had fewer cases of diabetes mellitus, which have been proven to increase the cases of periodontitis in today’s population. The scientists behind the study were surprised to find that gum disease was less frequent in the past, considering their lack of brushing and tooth care.

The study goes on to prove that smoking tobacco is a probable cause of today’s periodontitis crisis and that the disease can be avoided. Scientists look forward to the future as the trend of smoking declines in today’s populations, hopefully decreasing the trend of periodontists.

If you have concerns about gum disease or want to know the benefits of kicking the habit, talk to your friendly Valencia dentist. Together, you can work out a plan to put out that cigarette and move towards a healthier smile.