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Ice mummy visits the dentist for the first time


A pre-historic mummy that was discovered in 1991 has been given a dental examination for the first time; over five thousand years after he lived and breathed. The mummified man, known as Otzi after the Otzal Alps between Austria and Italy where he was discovered, was found to have a huge amount of dental problems – suggesting to scientists that Neolithic man did not have a healthy diet, surviving mainly on bread and cereal porridge.

Researchers found several large cavities in Otzi’s teeth, as well as dental damage to the front teeth, possibly the result of an accident. It seems the man – who was around 45-years-old when he died – did not spend too much time cleaning his teeth and had an ‘astoundingly large’ number of oral diseases and dental problems that modern man is still dealing with in the present day.

Professor Frank Ruhli, head of the study, said that ‘Otzi suffered from heavy dental abrasions, had several carious lesions – some severe – and had mechanical trauma to one of his front teeth which was probably due to an accident.’

The problems with decay have been attributed to the amount of starchy food consumed, particularly bread, which was widely available in the Neolithic period due to the rise in agriculture; some food was also highly abrasive, leading to erosion of the mineral layers and an obvious change in the shape of the teeth. 

Studies show that Vitamin D could reduce tooth decay


Research published in the journal Nutrition Reviews has shown that Vitamin D could contribute to a 50% reduction in tooth decay. 3,000 children in several different countries were involved in trials that spanned the past nine decades; the results showed a significant drop in tooth decay in children who had their Vitamin D levels increased using supplements in their diet or through UV rays.

The countries involved were; Great Britain, Canada, Sweden, Austria, New Zealand, and the United States. The research was carried out mainly in schools and dental practices and the children who took part were between the ages of two and sixteen – with most of them around ten years old.

Professor of medicine at the Boston University Medical Center, Dr Michael Hollick, said that the findings reinforced the importance of Vitamin D in diets to maintain good dental health. He also added that ‘Children who are Vitamin D deficient have poor and delayed teeth eruption and are prone to dental caries. Whether this is more than just a coincidence is open to debate.’

Dr Philippe Hujoel of the University of Washington explained that increasing Vitamin D intake just to be on the safe side wouldn’t do any harm, particularly with pregnant women and young mothers; he added ‘Vitamin D does lead to teeth and bones that are better mineralised.’

Austrian police on the hunt for teeth thief


A grave robber in Vienna is currently wanted by Police for entering the tombs of composers Johann Strauss and Johannes Brahms to steal their teeth – whilst filming the entire event and giving a running commentary of the theft. In the video, that was posted online, the man – known only as ‘OJ’ by the Austrian media – can be seen removing a skull from the casket and pulling the teeth out with a pair of pliers, allegedly to place them in a museum.

‘OJ’ claims to have collected hundreds of skulls, dentures, and teeth from graves all over the Viennese Central Cemetery, and when detectives opened up the composers tombs, they found that they were indeed missing their natural teeth and synthetic replacements. When it came to light that other graves had been disturbed, and the video was made public, the Austrian authorities decided to act to prevent other invasive crimes occurring at the cemetery known by locals and tourists as ‘number 71’.

The Federal Criminal Police Office had chosen not to act until now, saying that the crime was outside the statute of limitations in Austria, but one local paper questioned this, commenting ‘The bottom line is that they just didn’t seem to feel that any damage had been done,’ when in fact, the perpetrator could face several charges and a lengthy prison sentence if found guilty of burglary and disturbing the peace of the dead.

Metal tongue studs ‘could cause infections and a need for emergency dentistry’


Could metal tongue studs cause illness and emergency dentistry?Wearing metal tongue studs could cause infections as well as a need for emergency dentistry, a new study has found.

According to scientists at the Innsbruck Medical University in Austria, steel piercings harbour more bacteria than plastic ones, which could cause serious illnesses.

In the study, to be published in the Journal of Adolescent Medicine, 67 of the 80 species of bacteria that caused disease were found on metal studs worn by participants.

A quarter of the subjects with piercings also had receding gum tissues behind their teeth where the stud had come into contact with them, while a number had chipped teeth.

Professor Stephen Porter, institute director at UCL Eastman Dental Institute, recently said piercings could crack off fillings and parts of the upper teeth, causing a need for emergency dentistry.

"I don't think it's the most sensible thing to do," he commented, adding that there is also a threat of blocked airways.

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