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High frequency of dental caries and calculus in dentitions from a British medieval town

Towle, I, Davenport, C, Irish, JD and De Groote, I (2023) High frequency of dental caries and calculus in dentitions from a British medieval town. Archives of Oral Biology, 155. ISSN 0003-9969

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Dental pathology and tooth wear data can offer valuable insights into the diet and behaviour of past populations. This study aimed to investigate the presence of dietary continuity by examining different types of dental pathology and tooth wear in a medieval sample from the United Kingdom, comparing them to earlier and later samples from the same location.

A comprehensive examination was conducted on 41 individuals (comprising 914 permanent teeth) retrieved from the medieval cemetery of St. Owens Church in Southgate Street, Gloucester, UK. The research focused on documenting and analysing various types of dental pathology and tooth wear, such as dental caries, calculus, and tooth chipping. The frequency of these specific pathologies and wear patterns was then compared to existing literature. Additionally, non-masticatory tooth wear was also evaluated as part of the study.

The sample exhibits high levels of carious lesions and calculus (24 % and 74 % of teeth respectively). Anterior teeth also show an elevated chipping frequency, and along with occlusal notches on the maxillary central incisors suggest teeth were regularly used for non-masticatory purposes.

Caries frequency is similar to sites from later periods and may relate to the early adoption of consuming refined carbohydrates. However, remains from the same area, but the earlier Roman period, also shows high rates of caries and calculus, suggesting a continuation of consuming certain cariogenic foods, or certain behavioural/environmental factors, may instead be responsible for these pathology and wear patterns.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0608 Zoology; 1105 Dentistry; Dentistry
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
R Medicine > RK Dentistry
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Elsevier BV
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2023 12:16
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2023 12:30
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.archoralbio.2023.105777
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/20696
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