Most people take good care of their teeth by brushing and flossing on a regular basis. That said, a new study indicates our collective dental health isn’t nearly as good as it used to be.
While most people would equate better dental hygiene with better dental health; a recent study suggests otherwise. Conducted by Alan Cooper, the director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, the research compared the teeth of modern humans to those of their prehistoric ancestors. Surprisingly, the study found that our ancestors actually had better teeth and fewer dental problems.
According to Cooper, his research team determined that shifting dietary habits are to blame for diminishing oral health in human. Ultimately, as humans shifted from hunting gathering societies into farming-based ones, they began eating more sugars and grains which altered the types of bacteria that live their mouths.
Unfortunately, most American diets consist of many foods that promote cavities. Statistics suggest that more and more people are suffering from dental problems. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half of all Americans suffer from some form of periodontal disease, while around 20 percent are currently living with at least one untreated cavity.
These problems can have serious consequences, because they often go unnoticed for long periods of time. Eventually, however, they can lead to tooth loss, infections and uncomfortable restorative treatments that can prove costly.
To prevent potentially serious problems, it’s important to maintain good dental hygiene. That said, because significant dental issues can develop without warning; it’s also critical to schedule routine dental cleanings and checkups every six months.
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