Jul 01 2013

If we ate like cavemen, would our teeth be happier?

New study finds that our current diets may be rotting our teeth.

In a recent study published by Nature Genetics, researchers have found that the  modern diet is making our teeth deteriorate faster.

To conduct their research, scientists used 34 prehistoric human skeletons, whose tartar had helped to preserve DNA throughout the years. The results? Apparently as hunter-gatherers who ate mostly meat and no grains, our ancestors had dramatically healthier mouths.

Advances in farming have led to decreases in dental health. 

The main problems occurred as humans transitioned into farming, and also with the industrial revolution. Both of these events increased the number of carbohydrates and sugars that humans ate, which led to a rise in the type of bacteria that causes holes in the teeth.

Believe it or not, there is also such a thing as good bacteria in your mouth. As humans evolved their eating habits, the diversity of bacteria found in the DNA went down. That meant there was less “good” bacteria, and more “bad” bacteria.

The final verdict…

After conducting all his research, one of the professors involved with the study came to an unfortunate conclusion: “The modern mouth basically exists in a permanent disease state.”

The researchers hope to expand their study to include humans from different parts of the word, as well as other species.


Jeff Schechter has been practicing general and cosmetic dentistry since 1983. His passion for art is demonstrated through his creativity and attention to detail in creating beautiful smiles. He believes quality dentistry should be affordable and available.

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