According to this Nature article, our hunter-gatherer ancestors have better teeth than we do. Why? Changing diet. In the study, Alan Cooper (director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA) and his research team looked at calcified plaque on the teeth of 34 ancient human skeletons. They found that as our diets shifted from meat, vegetables, and nuts to carbohydrates and sugar, the bacteria in our mouth also changed. Certain disease-causing bacteria love carbohydrates. These bacteria beat out our “friendly” mouth bacteria, and now our mouths are basically in “a constant state of disease.”

Oral disease not only causes cavities, but also diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. For now, Director Cooper suggests to cut out processed carbs from our diets and “eat like our ancestors.”

Jasmine Yan, AME

Image credit: npr.org

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