Should we be eating like our ancestors?

Research claims absence of chewing raw meat, vegetables and grains in our modern diets, could be the cause of the most common popular dental problems in our society.

The suggestion emerged from the recent conference ‘Evolution of Human Teeth & Jaws: Implications for Dentistry & Orthodontics’ in the US. Experts at the conference, including food scientists and dental researchers, gathered together to present their findings concluded by their various studies.

You would think with all of our technological and scientific advancements, we’d have the advantage of healthier teeth, yet this conference suggests our ancestor’s, in many ways, had healthier teeth than us modern folk. The conclusions led experts to believe that our teeth are suffering from the food we eat nowadays, which is far softer, full of sugar and highly processed, having a great impact on our oral health and development of our jaws.

The 4 most common problems relating to our cavemen past include:

1. Overbite (Malocclusion) – A common problem, often found in children and leads to orthodontic work being needed from an early age. A study of 94 skeletons from ancient Egypt showed this problem was rare, due to humans having to chew their food for longer, leading to the development of strong and properly aligned jaws amongst children.

2. Overcrowded Teeth – There should be a total of 32 adult teeth in a human mouth, including wisdom teeth. However, according to the Department of Health there is only an average of 25.7 teeth in an adult mouth. One of the reasons for this may be due to the lack of Mother’s breast feeding in modern society, meaning babies are not developing the correct hard palate shape.

3. Gum Disease – One of the most common problems in the UK, yet studies show it was rare in the prehistoric man. As Dr Nigel Carter states: “A lack of coarse grains, tough meat and stringy vegetables are again the reason why gum disease is more prevalent nowadays”. Such foods act as a natural toothbrush for the mouth, therefore a lack of these foods can lead to high levels of bacteria developing in the mouth.

4. Cavities – Researchers found cavities were visible in our ancestor’s teeth, but this was mainly due to old age, in comparison to nowadays whereby young children are showing signs of cavities. The reason for this is largely due to our high consumption of carbohydrates, which create more bacteria in the mouth and our high sugar intake.

So what can be done?

By following the footsteps of our ancestor’s and improving our diets, we can all help prevent common dental problems. Eating a wide variety of vegetables, meat and grains and cutting out sugar where possible, will help reduce the dental problems our generation suffers. Regular dental appointments should also be part of our dental routine.

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2 Responses to “Should we be eating like our ancestors?”


  1. 1 Reliable Dental Care November 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    That’s true…Eating more greens and cutting on sugars will keep our pearly whites staying long for our use. If you do not know how or where to start for the personal care of your gums and teeth, go ahead and visit a dentist in your locality.


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