Using Dental Plaque To Examine The Diet Of Ancient Peoples
Scientists from the University of Nevada have examined plaque build-up taken from remains found at the Cathedral of Santa Maria in Northern Spain.
These remains came from a period dating between the 11th and 19th centuries. The plaque deposits present on the teeth of the remains were removed and sent to a laboratory, where the tiny samples were crushed and examined using a device known as a mass spectrometer.
As knowledge and interest in matters of dental hygiene has grown and spread, so the amount of time which people spend cleaning and looking after their teeth has increased. These days, almost every person brushes twice a day and many floss and use mouth wash as well, and one of the main aims behind this kind of regime is the removal of plaque.
Plaque, also known as tartar or dental calculus, is a yellowish film, composed of bacteria, which builds up on the surface of the teeth over time. If left unchecked, it not only looks unattractive, but can also lead to the formation of cavities as well as conditions such as gingivitis. Fortunately, a strict cleaning regime, coupled with regular visits to the dentist to have any build up removed, will prevent too much plaque forming.
If you’re uncertain as to how well you’re dealing with your own plaque build-up, then it is possible to utilise disclosing tablets. Since plaque is actually either clear, or a similar colour to the teeth, it can be difficult to spot bits that you’ve missed when cleaning. Disclosing tablets contain a harmless dye, usually pink, which colours the plaque you’ve missed, thus making it easy to spot and remove.
Although modern people go to great lengths to make sure their teeth have as little plaque on them as possible, ancient peoples were often not quite so diligent, and this fact is something which is being used by scientists to investigate and monitor the diets which these people used to eat. Ancient remains have been found to contain a build-up of plaque which, unlike many other remains, has managed to survive for many thousands of years. When removed and analysed correctly, this plaque can reveal clues as to the balance of the diet which was consumed by our ancient ancestors.
Scientists from the University of Nevada have examined plaque build-up taken from remains found at the Cathedral of Santa Maria in Northern Spain. These remains came from a period dating between the 11th and 19th centuries. The plaque deposits present on the teeth of the remains were removed and sent to a laboratory, where the tiny samples were crushed and examined using a device known as a mass spectrometer. This device revealed the amounts of nitrogen and carbon which could then be used as indicators of the food consumed in the past. Nitrogen is produced by the protein present in animal based products, thus indicating the consumption of meat, whereas the type of carbon present would provide clues as to the plant life consumed.
The fact that plaque has the capability to survive long after material such as hair and nails have broken down means that, as the research methods develop, it could provide an invaluable insight into the lives which our ancient ancestors led.
Whilst our forefathers clearly faced the same struggles over dental hygiene that we face, we are in the fortunate position of being able to make use of the modern technology which is available to completely transform the appearance of our teeth. Treatments such as dental braces and cheap dental implants can take even the most unsatisfactory smile and turn it into something which you’d be proud to show anyone.
The cosmetic dental world has changed massively from the days when it was seen mainly as a means of relieving pain or preventing decay. It’s now possible to completely transform your appearance and with it your levels of confidence using a wide range of different treatments like Invisalign braces, laser whitening teeth combined by your orthodontist into a single unified plan.
At Perfect Smile we believe that your smile is one of your most valuable assets which is why our modern dental clinics are fitted with the latest and safest equipment, enabling us to provide you with the very best in service.
All our Clinics are designed with patient comfort and convenience in mind, from early and late evening appointment times available (including weekends) to the range of simple membership plans; from very highly qualified and experienced clinicians to state-of-the-art technology that reduces treatment times and the number of visits required.
We offer hassle free dentistry through easy access to any of our 13 London based Clinics and also offer a wide range of specialists within our group reducing the need to be referred to any other specialist dentist.
Our aim is to provide all our patients the best dental health and the most brilliant smile we can. After all, these are your teeth; we´re just here to help you make them look their best, and keep them that way.
Book an Appointment or pop in to any of our Clinics to find out more on how we can help you look after your smile.