Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Iceman Cometh ... With Tooth Decay

If you think an occasional cavity is bad, consider the fate of Otzi, the 5,300-year-old mummified iceman discovered in 1991 in the Austrian Alps.  
When he was alive, poor Otzi suffered from extremely severe tooth and gum trouble, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Zurich’s Centre for Evolutionary Medicine.   
Until recently, scientists hadn’t systematically examined Otzi’s teeth.  But now that researchers have taken a close look, they were surprised to uncover an array of oral afflictions:  periodontal disease, tooth decay, severe abrasion, and dental trauma.
Otzi’s mouth was a dental nightmare.  
“He had everything," said study co-author Frank Rühli, head of the Swiss Mummy Project at the University of Zurich.  The researchers analyzed CT scans to identify Otzi's various ailments. Along with shedding light on the overall dental health of the iceman, these new findings could hold clues to the evolutionary history of oral conditions.
"The loss of the periodontium has always been a very common disease, as the discovery of Stone Age skulls and the examination of Egyptian mummies has shown," study co-author Roger Seiler, a dentist at the University of Zurich, said in a written statement. "Otzi allows us an especially good insight into such an early stage of this disease."
The study was published in the April 2013 issue of European Journal of Oral Sciences.
Had Wilmette Dental been around in Otzi’s time, regular cleanings and exams would likely have prevented many of his dental problems -- and alleviated much of the pain that poor Otzi must have endured. (Taken from The Huffington Post)

If you are looking for a dentist in the Chicago area, please consider Wilmette Dental, a North Shore tradition in family dentistry for more than 30 years.  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online at www.wilmettedental.com.