Have you ever wondered how the teeth of the prehistoric people looked like? If you have, the most likely notion that struck your mind is that these people had stained teeth, crooked teeth, or a poor oral hygiene. It is not hard to think so either, since these people had limited resources to improve their dental appearance; there were no toothpastes, toothbrushes, or advanced medical treatments that rectify dental appearance. But the truth is quite the opposite: the past generations had better teeth than the current generation. They had whiter, stronger teeth, and had fewer cases of gum diseases. So why is it that the people of the past generations (ancient people included) had better teeth given that they had limited resources to improve or rectify their oral health?
People of the Past Consumed Low-Sugar Diets
One secret is that people who lived in the past consumed low-sugar diets. Research conducted on the remains of ancient Romans reveals that the Romans had excellent teeth because of their diet, which consisted of food that contained low sugar. Instead of consuming sugar-rich foods, they consumed plenty of vegetables and fruits that boosted their oral health. Raw vegetables and crisp fruits like apples, celery, and carrots, help in cleaning plaque from teeth. Plaque is a soft substance that forms on teeth and encourages the growth of harmful bacteria.
Changes in Diet Over the Years Has Resulted in More Tooth Decay
A change in diet is another reason why the modern man has poorer teeth as compared to the early man. According to a research, the early man used to practice hunting, but as time passed, the early man shifted to farming. In doing so, there came a shift in the type of food consumption from meat to carbohydrates and sugar. In effect, this changed the bacteria composition in the human mouth; there was a development of disease-causing bacteria that specialized in using carbohydrates. These bacteria overshadowed the effects of the friendly bacteria in the mouth by producing acids that corrode the teeth.
People of the Past Consumed Antibacterial Weeds
According to research done on skeletons of people who lived in Sudan some 2000 years ago, the early man used to consume a weed known as the purple nutsedge, which is rated as one of the world's worst weeds. But despite its bad reputation, scientists found that the weed served the early man well due to its antibacterial properties. Of the people examined in the research, less than 1% had tooth decay, such as abscesses or cavities. Another research shows that extracts of the purple nutsedge hamper the growth of the bacteria associated with tooth decay.
Since it is impossible to live in the past, the one way you can prevent dental problems such as tooth decay is by emulating the lifestyle of the past. Of course you may not want to incorporate the purple nutsedge in your diet like the people in Sudan, or go back to hunting like the early man. However, you can reduce your intake of sugar and increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, just like the Romans.
For more information on what you can do to keep your teeth healthy, consider discussing your questions and concerns with local dentists.