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   Prehistoric humans didn't have toothbrushes. They didn't have floss or toothpaste, and they certainly didn't have Listerine. Yet, their mouths were a lot healthier than ours are today

24 Feb 2013 05:17 PM   |   11509 clicks   |   NPR
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Raharu     
This is largely bullshiat.

24 Feb 2013 01:34 PM
The My Little Pony Killer    [TotalFark]  
They didn't eat nearly as much sugar as we gorge ourselves with these days. It usually came from fruit, and only when they could find plants that were in season, and only until they had picked them dry.

24 Feb 2013 01:35 PM
the801     
 "[But] as soon as you get to farming populations, you see this massive change. Huge amounts of gum disease. And cavities start cropping up."

when you process grains into meal / flour using rocks, little chunks of rocks get into your food. little chunks of rocks are bad for your teeth.

24 Feb 2013 01:39 PM
teto85    [TotalFark]  

the801: "[But] as soon as you get to farming populations, you see this massive change. Huge amounts of gum disease. And cavities start cropping up."

when you process grains into meal / flour using rocks, little chunks of rocks get into your food. little chunks of rocks are bad for your teeth.


Flour is a carbohydrate, a sugar.  More harm from the sugar in the wheat than the rocks.

24 Feb 2013 01:47 PM
whither_apophis     
If their teeth were in such good shape, how come all the skulls we find only have like four teeth in them?

/check
//and mate

24 Feb 2013 02:03 PM
oldernell    [TotalFark]  
They also died by the time they hit 30.

24 Feb 2013 02:10 PM
basemetal    [TotalFark]  
They didn't have refined sugar either.

/and refined grains
//and sodas and sports drinks.
///and repeats

24 Feb 2013 02:18 PM
johnryan51    [TotalFark]  
I blame Obama.

24 Feb 2013 02:19 PM
calbert    [TotalFark]  
the whole concept of teeth just creeps me the f*ck out, and then you have skulls like this out there:

img.gawkerassets.comView Full Size


click for hi-res

/it makes me nauseous staring at that picture
//plus I've always had recurring dreams about my teeth falling out (which is a common dream theme)

24 Feb 2013 02:27 PM
ultraholland     
calbert: the whole concept of teeth just creeps me the f*ck out, and then you have skulls like this out there:

Sharkman.

24 Feb 2013 02:34 PM
FloydA     

calbert: the whole concept of teeth just creeps me the f*ck out, and then you have skulls like this out there:

[img.gawkerassets.com image 300x400]

click for hi-res

/it makes me nauseous staring at that picture
//plus I've always had recurring dreams about my teeth falling out (which is a common dream theme)


That's the skull of a child whose permanent teeth have formed but not yet erupted, so the deciduous teeth are still in place.  The anterior surfaces of the mandible and maxilae have been cut away to show how the teeth grow.  It only looks abnormal because of the post-mortem carving.

24 Feb 2013 03:59 PM
ecmoRandomNumbers    [TotalFark]  

oldernell: They also died by the time they hit 30.


This is what I was thinking.

24 Feb 2013 04:01 PM
calbert    [TotalFark]  

FloydA: calbert: the whole concept of teeth just creeps me the f*ck out, and then you have skulls like this out there:

[img.gawkerassets.com image 300x400]

click for hi-res

/it makes me nauseous staring at that picture
//plus I've always had recurring dreams about my teeth falling out (which is a common dream theme)

That's the skull of a child whose permanent teeth have formed but not yet erupted, so the deciduous teeth are still in place.  The anterior surfaces of the mandible and maxilae have been cut away to show how the teeth grow.  It only looks abnormal because of the post-mortem carving.


I think it's a fascinating phenomenon yet it still creeps me out to actually see it.

however it does make me feel a little less queasy knowing that all of that carving was done post-mortem.

24 Feb 2013 04:11 PM
namatad    [TotalFark]  
soda
sugar + acid = bad for teeth

24 Feb 2013 04:49 PM
halB     
To be fair, the British are really bringing our average down.

24 Feb 2013 05:21 PM
vodka     

oldernell: They also died by the time they hit 30.


That's not how averages work.

24 Feb 2013 05:24 PM
Smoking GNU    [TotalFark]  
I blame sugar frosted, sugar coated bits of sugar (NOW WITH MORE SUGARY GOODNESS) for breakfast. Also sodas. And prob more alcohol.
All they had were vegetables and MAYBE some meat that they could find. A diet of that would not put wear and tear on teeth. Much.

24 Feb 2013 05:24 PM
Bonzo_1116     
I wonder if the French were on to something with the idea of salad after the main meal... maybe the fiber in the lettuces scrubbed the starches off the teeth.

24 Feb 2013 05:25 PM
James F. Campbell     

Raharu: This is largely bullshiat.


Hmm...

"Hunter-gatherers had really good teeth," says Alan Cooper, 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."

. . .

In a study published in the latest Nature Genetics, Cooper and his research team looked at calcified plaque on ancient teeth from 34 prehistoric human skeletons. What they found was that as our diets changed over time - shifting from meat, vegetables and nuts to carbohydrates and sugar - so too did the composition of bacteria in our mouths.


Who should I believe? Some random asshole on the Internet, or a peer-reviewed study conducted by experts? Tough one.

24 Feb 2013 05:26 PM
bump     
Somewhat on topic:

I've always loathed the various tv/soap/movie scenarios wherein the couple wakes amidst a close snuggle, smootch a bit and then things escalate. I'm sorry - but as non-romantic as it may be, there's something I can't get into. Now, if you're both up all night, shagging the night away and the sun comes up - then that's one thing. Save for that specific setting, I'm not one for slurping up a woman's fermented morning saliva - call me old fashioned.

/2 cents

24 Feb 2013 05:26 PM
Rozinante     
They died at 30. I've held stone age skulls. The teeth are ground down to nubs from clay pots and unprocessed grain.

24 Feb 2013 05:28 PM
Abe Vigoda's Ghost    [TotalFark]  
i48.tinypic.comView Full Size


"This skull may have better teeth than you."

Perhaps. But I'm still able to use mine.

24 Feb 2013 05:29 PM
Lurk sober post drunk     

calbert: the whole concept of teeth just creeps me the f*ck out, and then you have skulls like this out there:



click for hi-res

/it makes me nauseous staring at that picture
//plus I've always had recurring dreams about my teeth falling out (which is a common dream theme)


Me too, and also that I have to walk like 5 million miles but about 100 miles in my knees lock up and quit working. ):

24 Feb 2013 05:30 PM
Jacobin     
Very little sugar and 40 was old age. No tooth problems

24 Feb 2013 05:30 PM
dittybopper    [TotalFark]  
Without even looking, it's because of grains and other farmed carbohydrates.

[reads article]

Yep.

Eat like a caveman.  It's healthier for you.

24 Feb 2013 05:32 PM
swahnhennessy     
Chew, chew, chew.

24 Feb 2013 05:38 PM
LordOfThePings     
www.almightydad.comView Full Size


Can't chew much of that sugar crisp, sugar crisp, sugar crisp, anymore.

24 Feb 2013 05:39 PM
ausfahrk     

Abe Vigoda's Ghost: "This skull may have better teeth than you."

Perhaps. But I'm still able to use mine.


Mine are half titanium and cost more than a new BMW. His look like they just "grew" there.

24 Feb 2013 05:42 PM
everlastinggobstopper     

Rozinante: They died at 30. I've held stone age skulls. The teeth are ground down to nubs from clay pots and unprocessed grain.


The teeth of people living in preindustrial agricultural societies were worn down (primarily) because they were using stone tools to process their grain, not because it was unprocessed. Little bits of the stone gets mixed in the with flour, and when teeth grind on rock, the cusps get worn down.

24 Feb 2013 05:42 PM
swahnhennessy     

swahnhennessy: Chew, chew, chew.


I wrote that being an ass, thinking this thread had it covered and then some. Mostly I just saw replies about life-span and sugar, not about what those teeth were working with and how they were working with it.

Fark, don't be lame.

24 Feb 2013 05:42 PM
fusillade762    [TotalFark]  
i45.tinypic.comView Full Size

24 Feb 2013 05:45 PM
Rozinante     

everlastinggobstopper: Rozinante: They died at 30. I've held stone age skulls. The teeth are ground down to nubs from clay pots and unprocessed grain.

The teeth of people living in preindustrial agricultural societies were worn down (primarily) because they were using stone tools to process their grain, not because it was unprocessed. Little bits of the stone gets mixed in the with flour, and when teeth grind on rock, the cusps get worn down.


Yeah, I worded that poorly. Little bits of grit in the mush.

24 Feb 2013 05:46 PM
FizixJunkee     

everlastinggobstopper: Rozinante: They died at 30. I've held stone age skulls. The teeth are ground down to nubs from clay pots and unprocessed grain.

The teeth of people living in preindustrial agricultural societies were worn down (primarily) because they were using stone tools to process their grain, not because it was unprocessed. Little bits of the stone gets mixed in the with flour, and when teeth grind on rock, the cusps get worn down.


The scientists in this study looked at plaque on their teeth, not damage due to tiny rocks.  Here, let me quote part of the article fer ya:

In a published in the latest  Nature Genetics, Cooper and his research team looked at calcified plaque on ancient teeth from 34 prehistoric human skeletons. What they found was that as our diets changed over time - shifting from meat, vegetables and nuts to carbohydrates and sugar - so too did the composition of bacteria in our mouths.

24 Feb 2013 05:46 PM
laulaja    [TotalFark]  
As typed in ree-peatedly above,
1) no sugar except natural in fruit,
2) Died young.
no grafix to insert

24 Feb 2013 05:49 PM
kosumi     
Several posters have mentioned the myth that "30 was old age".  This is totally, completely, utterly wrong, and emerges from a misunderstanding of what "life expectancy at birth" measures.

Here's a paper by two anthropologists who looked at several 20th-century hunter-gatherer and forager-horticulturalist populations, comparing them with and without access to modern medicine and to premodern European agricultural populations. Figure 4 tells you what you want to know:

- for individuals over age 15, the modal age at death among forager-horticulturalists is around age 65, and for foragers is around age 70.
- among forager-horticulturalists with access to some modern medicine (called "acculturated"), the modal age at death rises about ten years to age 75.

For comparison, the modal age at death in 18th century Sweden is around 72, and in the modern US, it's around 85 years old (for those who made it to 15).  So, the most common fate for those who live through childhood is to make it into their 70s in pretty much every known small-scale human society, and there's no reason to think our hunter-gatherer ancestors were much different for several tens of thousands of years. The hard part, of course, is living through childhood.

24 Feb 2013 05:52 PM
Anenu     
I can't think of a reason, maybe if I eat these salty potato chips and then wash them down with my flavored sugar water soda I can come up with something.

24 Feb 2013 05:52 PM
bump     
To all the "white sugar" haters out there...

In earlier times, added sweeteners were refereed as 'mayhe' and YES - primitive sapiens would purposefully add it atop their fruits, berries, etc. once these crops were gathered after being previously sewed as crops, specifically for this reason. So they did, in fact, pour some sugar on mayhe - despite what you may have heard.

24 Feb 2013 05:55 PM
Saberus Terras     
Hmm, lack of processed sugar and grains?  *clicks link*

Yep.

24 Feb 2013 05:56 PM
nickerj1     
http://www.livescience.com/4024-yeeow ww-prehistoric-dentists-stone-dr i lls.html

I love these studies that make claims about the entire human race based on a sample size of 34.  And not a sample size of 34 at a particular point in time to draw a conclusion about human-beings at that particular time.  34 samples across the span of thousands of years.

So they found Joe from 9000 BC had less plaque than Elroy from 6000 BC.  Must be because of the human diet! Nothing else could possibly cause Elroy to have less plaque.

24 Feb 2013 05:58 PM
Bastard Toadflax     
FTA: "According to Cooper, bacteria make up approximately 90 percent of the cells in our bodies."

This cannot possibly be true.

24 Feb 2013 05:59 PM
albuquerquehalsey     
I think i'll take agriculture and civilization over good teeff.

24 Feb 2013 06:00 PM
SpdrJay     
The History Channel taught me that the ancient aliens had a really good DENTAL PLAN.

24 Feb 2013 06:02 PM
kosumi     

Bastard Toadflax: FTA: "According to Cooper, bacteria make up approximately 90 percent of the cells in our bodies."

This cannot possibly be true.


Believe it or not, it's true.  Gut bacteria are small and plentiful, and vastly outnumber the human cells within our bodies.

24 Feb 2013 06:02 PM
Sheseala     
There was a study on the teeth of folks in one of the early US colonies, was on display at the Smithsonian, the rich had crappy teeth, poor had good teeth.  Presumably due to the access to sugar.

Rich were a bit more likely to survive childhood.

24 Feb 2013 06:05 PM
Saberus Terras     

kosumi: Bastard Toadflax: FTA: "According to Cooper, bacteria make up approximately 90 percent of the cells in our bodies."

This cannot possibly be true.

Believe it or not, it's true.  Gut bacteria are small and plentiful, and vastly outnumber the human cells within our bodies.


But in terms of total mass of our bodies, we still win.  We're still more human than bacteria by mass and volume.

24 Feb 2013 06:07 PM
Bastard Toadflax     

Bastard Toadflax: FTA: "According to Cooper, bacteria make up approximately 90 percent of the cells in our bodies."

This cannot possibly be true.



From Scientific American:

All the bacteria living inside you would fill a half-gallon jug; there are 10 times more bacterial cells in your body than human cells, according to Carolyn Bohach, a microbiologist at the University of Idaho (U.I.), along with other estimates from scientific studies. (Despite their vast numbers, bacteria don't take up that much space because bacteria are far smaller than human cells.)Link

So: technically true but very misleading. Also, the E. coli in my gut aren't technically *in* my body. The gut is epidermis. From a topological stance, the conents of my gut are outside my body.

/grasping at straws...

24 Feb 2013 06:07 PM
ExperianScaresCthulhu     
They didn't have corn syrup.

24 Feb 2013 06:07 PM
Smoking GNU    [TotalFark]  

Bastard Toadflax: FTA: "According to Cooper, bacteria make up approximately 90 percent of the cells in our bodies."

This cannot possibly be true.


In cell NUMBERS, sure. in cell MASS, it's more like 20%. Remember, bacteria are a LOT smaller than normal animal cells.

24 Feb 2013 06:08 PM
GoldSpider     

Saberus Terras: But in terms of total mass of our bodies, we still win. We're still more human than bacteria by mass and volume.


For now.  The battle rages on...

24 Feb 2013 06:10 PM
Quantum Apostrophe     

oldernell: They also died by the time they hit 30.


Nope. No one lives longer today than we did 3000 years ago. Also, there has been no medical progress since then. This is why life extension is wrong.

24 Feb 2013 06:12 PM
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