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Bad breath in pre-historic times

OtziIt is interesting to know that oral disease has been around for thousands of years. What is even more interesting is the fact that in those times there were no soda beverages full of the sugars that cause bad breath today.

Scientists have proved that pre-historic people who had a diet of processed foods like bread had very unhealthy effects on their mouth compared to the meat and berry diet of others. So don’t feel you are the only person fighting that bad breath, even pre-historic people suffered from bad breath, tooth decay and periodontal disease.

The study of Otzi the Iceman
Otzi the iceman was found to have horrible teeth due to bad oral health. Researchers at the University of Zurich in Switzerland did several computed tomography (CT) scans in 1991 and discovered that due to the lack of proper oral health care and a diet full of starch-heavy foods it played a big role in the 5300 year old man’s poor oral hygiene.

The body of Otzi was found in 1991 in the Oetz Valley. He was a middle aged man that had died from an arrow wound and had bled to death on a glacier in the Alps which is now considered Austria and Italy. It was discovered that Otzi had chronic bad breath, severe wear of the tooth enamel and he had a heavy build up of dental plaque. It was found that Otzi lived in the era when agriculture was on the rise, and is suspected that he was a farmer. Because of the bad state of Otzi’s teeth it is thought that the cause is because he had access to processed foods and not the usual diet for a hunter of meat and berries.

Otzi was living off of processed food, whereas the hunter-gatherers lived of off meat and berries. Even though Otzi had a wider variety of food to eat, it affected the quality of his teeth. His mouth was found to be full of severe dental abrasions as well as cavities. It was found through looking at the CT scans that Otzi was a naughty boy that hardly cleaned his teeth. The hard minerals that Otzi consumed acted like sandpaper on his teeth, and had he lived for another five to ten years he would have lost his teeth.

What can we learn from Otzi today?
Even though he did not have a toothbrush, his diet of cereals, bread and other starchy foods were big culprits of his unhealthy mouth. It is not necessary to cut bread out of your diet totally, just limit your intake of it during meal times. Eating other foods with bread helps to rinse down the starchy remnants that normally would get stuck in the crevices of your teeth. If you do eat toast for breakfast try to drink water and floss afterwards.

To help prevent the build-up of dental plaque brush your teeth twice a day, as well as flossing and rinsing your mouth with alcohol-free mouth wash.

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Please send us a message or call us on 010 492 7370 or 076 422 5456 in an emergency.

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