Dental Teeth Decay Cavities

Cavities are a sure sign that carbohydrates are being eaten in the diet. By tracking the tooth decay, one can see the relative rate of hypocarnivory.

Dental Teeth Decay Cavities

Recent History

January 1, 1870

John R. Mummery

On The Relations which Dental Caries May Be Supposed to Hold to Their Food and Social Condition.


Mummery thinks cavities are caused by eating carbohydrates

Mummery could not find cavities in the skulls of early Englishmen.

January 1, 1914

A Study of the Thlingets of Alaska


Tumors, cancers and toothache were unknown to [Thlinget natives] until within recent years. The white man's food, especially his sweetmeats, is, no doubt, largely the cause of this change.

According to Who's Who, Livingston French Jones, born in 1865, graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1891. From 1892 to 1914 he was a missionary and in 1914 he published at New York A Study of the Thlingets of Alaska, those woodland and shore Indians whom you pass soon after you reach Ketchikan when you come from Seattle, and all along from there to Juneau and almost to Anchorage. South of the Athapaskans, they are the most important forest Indians of Alaska. Jones says in his preface:

“The information imparted to the public in the following pages has been gleaned by the writer almost entirely from the natives themselves, either through their lips or by his own personal observation. Having lived and laboured among them more than twenty years, he has had exceptional opportunities ...” He goes on to say that he has also read widely, to compare the observations and views of others with his own.

As explained previously, it was common with northern missionaries of the late nineteenth century to name cancer as one of a group of diseases that were believed to be rare or absent. I quote from Jones the first paragraphs of his chapter on “Diseases,” and enough more to show the trend of his thinking:

“While certain diseases have always been found among the Thlingets, others that now afflict them are of recent introduction. Tumors, cancers and toothache were unknown to them until within recent years.

“The older ones have yet sound and excellent teeth while the rising generation experiences the white people's misfortune of cavities, toothache and dental torture ... The white man's food, especially his sweetmeats, which are now freely indulged in by the natives, is, no doubt, largely the cause of this change.

“While consumption is now the most prevalent disease among them, we are told by the natives themselves and by careful historians that it is an imported disease ...”

January 1, 1928

Julian D. Boyd

The Arrest of Dental Caries in Childhood


Dr Boyd prescribes a high fat diet for diabetic management and to curb dental cavities.

"The principle of diabetic management in this clinic represents an attempt to approximate normal metabolism. Insulin is prescribed in amounts sufficient to keep the blood sugar as nearly within normal limits as possible. The diet is designed to meet the requirements of a normal child for growth, activity, and health. It differs from the usual concept of an ideal diet for a normal child in that fat, rather than carbohydrate, is used as the chief source of energy, the fatty acid: dextrose ratio being 1.5:1. All these children were on the same ratio of protein: carbohydrate: fat, namely, 7:9:21. The total amounts prescribed varied according to each child’s degree of development.

In general, the same foodstuffs were used for all. To a large extent these consisted of milk, cream, butter, eggs, meat, cod liver oil, bulky vegetables and fruits. The menu was designed to include approximately a quart of milk and cream daily. The fat was furnished principally as cream, butter, and egg-yolk. Each child received calories sufficient for full activity; the energy value was higher than is frequently employed in diabetic diets. Adequacy of insulin dosage was verified by frequent blood sugar estimations. These values closely approximated normal concentrations. Glycosuria was different."

January 1, 1953

Elmer V. McCollum

Diet in Relation to Dental Caries


Dr McCollum thinks a strictly carnivorous diet will prevent dental caries, which are caused by a considerable amount of carbohydrate in the diet.


"Subsistence throughout life on a strictly carnivorous diet will prevent dental caries. This would be impractical in most parts of the world, and if practicable, would be less satisfying than is a mixed diet. The presence of considerable carbohydrate in the diet is necessary for the development of carious teeth. There seems to be good evidence in support of the view that the regular consumption of a diet in which all the essential nutrients are present in adequate amounts, and in which the ratio of fatty acids to total carbohydrates (including the sugar which may arise from protein and glycerol) is not less than 1.5:1, prevents dental caries. This is equivalent to saying that a diet suitable for the diabetic is so constituted as to afford protection against dental caries, and even makes possible the arrest of the carious process in open cavities. This protective action of excessive fat in the diet may possibly be due to greasing the tooth surface and the cavity surface, thus waterproofing it and preventing access of water-soluble acids (for example, lactic acid) to the enamel surface."

Ancient History




Earliest evidence for caries and exploitation of starchy plant foods in Pleistocene hunter-gatherers from Morocco

Systematic harvesting and processing of edible wild plants, including acorns and pine nuts.

Analysis of oral pathology reveals an exceptionally high prevalence of caries (51.2% of teeth in adult dentitions), comparable to modern industrialized populations with a diet high in refined sugars and processed cereals.

We present early evidence linking a high prevalence of caries to a reliance on highly cariogenic wild plant foods in Pleistocene hunter-gatherers from North Africa.

This evidence predates other high caries populations and the first signs of food production by several thousand years.

We infer that increased reliance on wild plants rich in fermentable carbohydrates caused an early shift toward a disease-associated oral microbiota.


The high prevalence of dental caries in recent humans is attributed to more frequent consumption of plant foods rich in fermentable carbohydrates in food-producing societies.


Here we present evidence linking a high prevalence of caries to reliance on highly cariogenic wild plant foods in Pleistocene hunter-gatherers from North Africa, predating other high caries populations and the first signs of food production by several thousand years.


Macrobotanical remains from occupational deposits dated between 15,000 and 13,700 cal B.P. provide evidence for systematic harvesting and processing of edible wild plants, including acorns and pine nuts.

Analysis of oral pathology reveals an exceptionally high prevalence of caries (51.2% of teeth in adult dentitions), comparable to modern industrialized populations with a diet high in refined sugars and processed cereals.



Evolutionary and Population Genomics of the Cavity Causing Bacteria Streptococcus mutans

S. Mutans, the bacteria involved in creating cavities likely evolved and expanded with the population growth 10,000 years ago as humans started relying more on starches and sugars.


Streptococcus mutans is widely recognized as one of the key etiological agents of human dental caries. Despite its role in this important disease, our present knowledge of gene content variability across the species and its relationship to adaptation is minimal. Estimates of its demographic history are not available. In this study, we generated genome sequences of 57 S. mutans isolates, as well as representative strains of the most closely related species to S. mutans (S. ratti, S. macaccae, and S. criceti), to identify the overall structure and potential adaptive features of the dispensable and core components of the genome. We also performed population genetic analyses on the core genome of the species aimed at understanding the demographic history, and impact of selection shaping its genetic variation. The maximum gene content divergence among strains was approximately 23%, with the majority of strains diverging by 5–15%. The core genome consisted of 1,490 genes and the pan-genome approximately 3,296. Maximum likelihood analysis of the synonymous site frequency spectrum (SFS) suggested that the S. mutans population started expanding exponentially approximately 10,000 years ago (95% confidence interval [CI]: 3,268–14,344 years ago), coincidental with the onset of human agriculture. Analysis of the replacement SFS indicated that a majority of these substitutions are under strong negative selection, and the remainder evolved neutrally. A set of 14 genes was identified as being under positive selection, most of which were involved in either sugar metabolism or acid tolerance. Analysis of the core genome suggested that among 73 genes present in all isolates of S. mutans but absent in other species of the mutans taxonomic group, the majority can be associated with metabolic processes that could have contributed to the successful adaptation of S. mutans to its new niche, the human mouth, and with the dietary changes that accompanied the origin of agriculture.

Undoubtedly, one of the major challenges that S. mutans had to overcome as the carbohydrate content of the human diet increased was surviving at low pH. Although S. mutans does not constitute a significant proportion of the oral flora colonizing healthy dentition, it can become numerically significant when there is repeated and sustained acidification of the biofilms associated with excess dietary carbohydrates or impaired salivary function (Burne 1998).

Portsmouth, OH 45662, USA



Nutrition and Health in Agriculturalists and Hunter-Gatherers: A Case Study of Two Populations.

A group of Native American agriculturists lived in Kentucky in 1500 AD but suffered from hypocarnivory, whereas hunter-gatherers from thousands of years before suffered far less disease and almost no cavities. - I highly recommend reading this blog to fully discover why this science article is so great - written by my friend Dr. Michael Eades of Protein Power. 

Writes Claire Cassidy, Ph.D., author of the study:

Available fauna and flora, water, and climate were so similar in the two areas that it may be assumed that whatever natural stresses existed at one site were probably existent at the other also, and therefore, in themselves, these should not affect the health and nutrition differently.

Population size and degree of sedentarism affect disease spread. In the cases of the Hardin Village and Indian Knoll, since both are sedentary or semisedentary, this variable should be negligible in explaining differences in disease experience between the sites.

Archeological-reconstructable variability in material culture is also fairly small (though Indian Knollers used the spear-thrower and spear, while Hardin Villagers had pottery, permanent houses, and the bow and arrow). Thus, in all probability the most significant difference between these two populations is in subsistence technique, with agriculture at the later site, and hunting-gathering at the earlier.

At Hardin Village, primary dependence was on corn, beans, and squash. Wild plants and animals (especially deer, elk, small mammals, wild turkey, box turtle) provided supplements to a largely agricultural diet. It is probable that deer was not a quantitatively important food source… At Hardin Village, remains of deer were sparse.

At Indian Knoll it is clear that very large quantities of river mussels and snails were consumed. Other meat was provided by deer, small mammals, wild turkey, box turtle and fish; dog was sometimes eaten ceremonially.

There are several other dietary differences. The Hardin Village diet was high in carbohydrates, while that at Indian Knoll was high in protein. In terms of quality, [some] believe that primitive agriculturalists got plenty of protein from grain diets, most recent [researchers] emphasize that the proportion of essential amino-acids is the significant factor in determining protein-quality of the diet, rather than simply the number of grams of protein eaten. It is much more difficult to achieve a good balance of amino-acids on a corn-beans diet than when protein is derived from meat or eggs. The lack of protein at the Hardin Village signaled by the archaeological data should prepare us for the possibility of finding evidence of protein deficiency in the skeletal material.

The most parsimonious interpretation of this information is that mild food shortages occurred at regular intervals at Indian Knoll; perhaps late winter was a time of danger. [Researchers] using growth arrest lines [Harris lines] and … archaeological data, have similarly concluded that in the hunter-gatherer populations they studied, food shortages occurred regularly, probably on a yearly basis. At Hardin Village growth arrest was caused by illnesses or crop failure which resulted in long-lasting, but randomly-occurring episodes of growth arrest.

Tooth decay was rampant at Hardin Village, but uncommon at Indian Knoll. Adult males at Hardin Village had an average of 6.74 carious teeth per mouth, while at Indian Knoll the corresponding frequency was 0.73 per mouth. For women the rates were 8.52 and 0.91 per mouth respectively. No Indian Knoll children under twelve years of age had caries, whereas some Hardin Village children already had developed caries in milk teeth in their second year of life. Tooth decay is closely associated with sugar content and consistency of food, occurring with higher frequency in sweet or high carbohydrate diets which are soft and sticky.

Cairo, Cairo Governorate, Egypt



Teeth and Bread in Ancient Egypt by F. Filce Leek

The most important food of the Egyptians was bread made of various cereals, wheat, barley, and possibly, as well from lotus seeds and dum-palm dates. The fondness of Egyptians for bread was so well known that they were nicknamed 'artophagoi', or 'eaters of bread'.

This choice was helped by a paragraph in Ruffer's book, Food in Egypt, which reads,

The most important food of the Egyptians was bread made of various cereals, wheat, barley, and possibly, as well from lotus seeds and dum-palm dates. The fondness of Egyptians for bread was so well known that they were nicknamed 'artophagoi', or 'eaters of bread'; it was the food par excellence, and the word was and has remained synonymous with food in this country. The most terrible curse was 'They shall hunger without bread and their bodies die.'

Later in the chapter, he wrote, 'Bread and oil formed the main food for the people. The troops and the King's messengers were given 20 deben (about 4 lbs.) of bread daily as rations, which was carried by numerous parties accompanying the march.'1

We were aided in this investigation, as indeed in many other inquiries that arise in Egyptology, by the scenes painted on the walls of a number of the tombs of the nobles at Thebes. Noteworthy examples are to be found in the tombs of Nakht, Menna, Sennedjem, and Rekhmirec, nobles who lived during the New Kingdom period c.

1567-1085 B.C. Methods of sowing the grain, and of reaping the corn with a sickle mounted with flint teeth are to be seen, as well as the subsequent beating, threshing, and winnowing of the harvested grain.

Examples of the ensuing processes in bread-making, that of grinding the corn, mixing the dough, and baking the bread, are even more realistically presented, by examples of three-dimensional sculpture and wooden models, showing precisely the methods used. These statuettes are to be seen in Cairo and other world museums. In the Louvre, Paris, and the Rijksmuseum, Leiden, are examples of Middle Kingdom (c. 2134-1786 B.C.) moveable wooden toys, illustrating actions involved in the preparation of dough. Only the string is not original, and this, when pulled, moves the hinged joints of the models. Garstang, who excavated at Beni Hasan in Middle Egypt for three

seasons from 1902, found a number of wooden models depicting methods of making bread and beer during the Twelfth Dynasty (c. 1991-1786 B . C . ) . 2 In the times of the earliest dynasties, ivory and clay were the materials used for the figurines, but by the time of the Fourth Dynasty these had been superseded by limestone, and many such figures are extant. During the First Intermediate Period and the Middle Kingdom many realistic wooden models of corporate scenes were made. The earlier limestone statuettes usually depicted a servant, man or woman, kneeling behind a stone slab with a bowl containing the grain resting between the legs. The servant is leaning forward grasping a hand-stone, and at the lower end of the saddle-stone is a groove into which the cereal falls as it is ground. The pose is both purposeful and efficient.

Since bread was so popular as food for the living Egyptian, it is not surprising that it was a common practice to place some in the grave of the departed to support life during the hereafter. It has been found in the graves of the common people, in the tombs of the nobles, and even in the tomb of the Pharaoh himself.