A recent study on the evolution of the human race’s dental health suggests that this modern society’s diet habits are adversely affecting our oral health and teeth. Scientists that have performed research on the history of our dental health over the period of 7500 years have found that the present global population’s dental health is significantly different in comparison to the dental health of our greatest ancestors- and not in a good way. Dr. Christina Adler, Lead author and University of Adelaide study representative states that research concludes: “Oral bacteria in modern man are markedly less diverse than historic populations and this is thought to contribute to chronic oral and other disease in post-industrial lifestyles.”
The notion may strike some people as surprising. After all we have elements that modern technology and science has provided us with that gives us an advantage over past generations of humans. There were no dentists, no fancy toothpastes with fluoride to fight cavities, teeth whitening strategies were non-existent, no gadgets that remove plaque from gums, and no information back then that could educate people to promote better dental health. The study was a collaborative effort involving a variety of researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, England, and the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Earlier this year, the journal Nature Genetics published information pertaining to the findings of the researchers. Alan Cooper, ACAD Director provided enlightenment on the basic premise of the study and explains that the study’s’ findings demonstrates that bad diet habits are contributing to adverse changes of dental health among humans in this generation.
“This is the first record of how our evolution over the last 7500 years has impacted the bacteria we carry with us, and the important health consequences. Analyzing the DNA of calcified bacteria on the teeth of humans throughout modern and ancient history has shed light on the health consequences of the evolving diet and behavior from the Stone Age to modern day”. Two important time periods which marked the most significant changes in dental health noted by the researchers:Were that of humans transitioning from the role the hunter-gatherer to the role of a farmerWhen the Industrial Revolution began and manufactured foods became the “norm’ source of nutrition Health experts are also adding their two cents hypothesis to the study’s conclusion.
Some experts are blaming the decline of dental health on the introduction of processed high fructose corn syrup and the increase of sugar in our diets . Other theories that experts have put forth in response to this study’s findings include: the reduction of natural fruits and vegetables in our diets, and exposure to chemicals and toxins in processed foods. No matter what has caused the large decline in dental health from yesterday to today, we can pretty much assume that by our track record that we will all be obese and toothless come the Year 3000. That is unless human’s make the effort to improve and significantly change our diet habits… We won’t hold our breath for that to happen, but where there is evolution in science and technology there is always hope that a cure for dental caries and obesity will be developed ;).