Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Iceman's Teeth

"Although the Iceman did not lose a single tooth until the his death at an age of about 40 years, he had an advanced abrasion of his teeth, profound carious lesions, and a moderate to severe periodontitis," the researchers said.
In particular, the molars of the upper jaw showed loss of alveolar bone as a sign of periodontitis (inflammation of the ligaments and bones that support the teeth), while evidence of "mechanical trauma" was found on two teeth.
According to Seiler and colleagues, the most surprising find is the high frequency of cavities.
"These dental pathologies are a sign of change in the Neolithic diet," Albert Zink, head of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman at EURAC in Bolzano, told Discovery News.
Zink hopes to find further clues for Ötzi's teeth problems as he conducts molecular analyses of the mummy's stomach material.
"We already know that he was eating grains, such as einkorn or emmer. The contained carbohydrates clearly increased the risk of developing dental diseases," Zink said.
Why cavities from the wheat intake?  First, there's the phytates, which may block mineral absorption.  Then, there's the potential lack of minerals, and other nutrients such as vitamin K, in a neolithic diet.  Then, there's the potential gut irritation and even gut permeability from the gluten.  Lastly, there's the combination of all these factors leading to the misapplication of minerals within the body so that the arteries calcify but the bones and teeth do not.

Why did Neoman have bad teeth while many or most paleo men have remarkably good teeth?  It's not the difference in dental hygiene!  It's the food.

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