Researchers from the University of Adelaide this week revealed in the journal Nature Genetics that shows declining oral health aligns with major changes in the way humans lived and ate, with the start of farming in the Neolithic age and the industrial revolution being key turning points. The researchers concluded that modern food has decreased the amount of good bacteria in the human mouth, allowing bad bacteria to take over, which results in tooth decay and gum disease. That means the human mouth is in “a permanent state of disease”, Professor Alan Cooper, director of the University of Adelaide Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD), told newspapers.
A team led by Prof Cooper’s centre studied teeth from prehistoric northern European human skeletons and found oral bacteria in modern man are much less diverse than historic populations.
“We tend not think of ourselves from a bacterial perspective, but 90 per cent of our cells are bacteria,” Prof Cooper told AAP on Tuesday.
The loss of diversity of bacteria “is nearly always associated with disease” and has been linked to obesity, autism and diabetes.
The best things humans can do is reduce processed sugars and carbohydrates in their diet.
The researchers extracted DNA from tartar from 34 prehistoric northern European human skeletons and traced changes in the nature of oral bacteria from the last hunter-gatherers, through the first farmers to the Bronze Age and medieval times.
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