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>Archaeologists were shocked to discover 2,000 year old skeletons with teeth that were more or less okay. That find was surprising, given that Americans and people all over the world have cavities, tooth rot, and severely inflamed gums today. Globally, 60 to 90% of young children and almost 100% of adults have cavities. Three-quarters of American adults suffer from mild to severe periodontal disease to boot. So how did local dentists (if they were even called that back then) keep patients’ teeth whiter and healthier?

This Noxious Weed May Be The Secret
“When scientists looked at the teeth of people buried roughly 2,000 years ago in an ancient cemetery called Al Khiday 2, they found that fewer than one percent of the teeth had cavities, abscesses, or other signs of tooth decay,” National Geographic News writes. And the people were probably farmers, too! Why does this matter? Some of the very first people (i.e. hunter-gatherers) didn’t have to worry about dental and oral health quite as much, because their diets largely consisted of plants and animals. Farming, and more specifically carbohydrates and grains, took their toll on human teeth, once invented.

How did these people stave off cavities and keep their teeth generally healthy? Simple; they ate tubers of the purple nutsedge. The weed fought cavity-causing bacteria, researchers conclude. Whether they did this on purpose — and whether the tubers were eaten as a meal or as a medicine — is still unknown.

How Can You Improve Your Dental Health?
It’s pretty sad that people who lived over 2,000 years ago — and had access only to rudimentary technologies — had better teeth. But we can do something about it! Really simple things, like regularly brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, regularly flossing, and finding a dentist and visiting that general or cosmetic dentist once every six months can make an incredible difference.

Don’t set yourself up for things like visits to emergency dentists, high cosmetic dentistry costs, and a mouthful of teeth that are in shamefully poor shape (especially when compared to cultures 2,000 years ago!). Take care of your teeth!