Patients frequently ask the doctors and hygienists at Stoner Periodontic Specialists what caused their receding gums or periodontal disease. As a leader in the field of the treatment of periodontal disease and dental implant therapy in Columbus, Ohio, we explain that the answer to this questions is dependant on multiple factors, and is unique to each patient’s situation. A recent study looks at one of the possible causes of receding gums, tooth decay and tooth loss – changes in human diet over the last 10,000 years. In the study conducted by the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, researchers examined skeletons of prehistoric humans, and the health of their pearly whites. When you consider the advanced oral care in today’s society, it would seem logical to conclude that today’s teeth are healthier than that of our prehistoric ancestors, but research seems to suggest something different.
The skulls studied were those of hunters and gatherers from about 10,000 years ago. Those skulls showed an interesting commonality – good teeth! With the absence of toothbrushes, mouthwash, and floss, how did our hunter-gatherer ancestors achieve good oral health? The study points to their diet, which consisted mainly of meat, eggs, some nuts, fruits, and root vegetables. About 10,000 years ago, a shift in the human diet occurred with the development of agriculture. It was at this time that humans started producing foods such as grains – subsequently, becoming a staple of many diets. With this shift in diet, researchers also noted a shift in the bacterial composition of the human mouth. The bacteria needed for the breakdown of the carbohydrate-rich foods, including Streptococcus mutans and Porphyromonas gingivalis, became more prevalent. These bacteria are known disease causing bacteria, and are more specifically linked to tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Our bodies are made up of multiple microbial communities (comprised of both disease fighting and disease causing bacteria); one of these communities exists in the human mouth. Before the introduction of grains, sugars, and salts to the human diet, it appears that oral bacteria existed in a state of balance, conducive to a healthy mouth. With the introduction of carbohydrate-rich, vitamin-deficient foods, the dominance of bad bacteria began to emerge. Even more detrimental to the balance of bacteria in the oral cavity was the introduction of sugary foods during the time of the Industrial Revolution.
The increase of the bad bacteria in our mouths can belinked to oral diseases, including periodontal disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines periodontal (gum) disease as an infection caused by bacteria that gets under the gum tissue and begins to destroy the gums and bone. Teeth become loose, chewing becomes difficult, and teeth may have to be extracted. According to the CDC, advanced gum disease affects 4%–12% of U.S. adults and one-fourth of U.S. adults aged 65 or older have lost all of their teeth.
Stoner Periodontic Specialists is a leader in the treatment of periodontal disease and dental implant therapy in Columbus, Ohio. We strive to help each and every patient reach a level of complete health and wellness. Our doctors are here to answer your questions and address concerns you may have related to the health of your gums. Click here for information on contacting Stoner Periodontal Specialists today.