Implications of Dental Caries in Anatolia: From Hunting–Gathering to the Present
Source InformationAugust 2006, Volume21(Issue3-4) Page215To222
Teeth are considered one of the most informative and durable parts of the skeleton. In Dental Anthropology, they are used to obtain information on culture, health, diet, variability and evolutionary trends in dental morphology as well as development, eruption and dental pathologies in the past and modern populations. In this study, an attempt was made to evaluate the results of dental caries, which is the most common dental disease, in order to document changing patterns of health and diet ranging from the transitional period of hunting–gathering through agriculture to the present day in human history in Anatolia. From the total sample of 400 modern individuals, a total of 5,208 maxillary teeth and 5,153 mandibular teeth were studied. The percentage of the occurrence of dental caries based on the individuals was 77.8%, whereas the frequency of dental caries on tooth type and class was 17.1% (18.0% maxillary decay; 16.2% mandibular decay). A comparative study of the frequency of caries in certain periods indicates the following: in the hunting–gathering period it was 1%–2%, in the Early Neolithic it was 3%–5% (Catal Hoyuk), in the Neolithic (beginning of agriculture) it was 5.6% (Cayonu), in the Chalcolithic it was 11.7% (Norsuntepe), in the Roman period it was 11.1% (Panaztepe), and 16% (Datca), in the Late Byzantine it was 10.9% (Iznik) and in the Medieval it is 14.2% (Arslantepe). These findings contribute to understanding how dietary change and life conditions are interrelated with the changing patterns of dental diseases in Anatolian populations.