Did you know the average person living in Britain has worse oral health now than during Roman times?
It seems like an insane statement, considering the toothpaste, toothbrushes and mouth wash that weren’t available in the past, although this statement is based on studies conducted by dentists.
A study published in the British Dental Journal last week looked at 303 skulls held at the Natural History Museum from the years 200 to 400 AD. Amazingly, researchers found that only 5 per cent showed signs of moderate to severe gum disease (periodontitis), while around 15 to 30 per cent of adults in Britain currently suffer with gum disease.
These are shocking statistics.
Mild gum disease is very common, and can be caused by factors such as poor diet and smoking. However, severe gum disease is becoming increasingly common and can result in the loss of teeth. According to Professor Francis Hughes, the study’s lead author, of King’s College London (KCL) Dental Institute, “We were very struck by the finding that severe gum disease appeared to be much less common in the Roman British population than in modern humans, despite the fact that they did not use toothbrushes or visit dentists as we do today”.
The health of your teeth and gums has an enormous bearing on your overall state of health, and it is also a reflection of your general health. Far too often, we see patients who are extremely careful over choosing only the healthiest foods to eat, yet they are incredibly blasé about dental health.
Our mouths are just teeming with bacteria, and that’s how it’s supposed to be. Problems occur when too much of the wrong bacteria are allowed to flourish. This can be a consequence of poor diet choices, or poor oral hygiene practices. Far too many people think they can eat anything they like, and good brushing will undo the damage. This is simply not the case.