Hello! Are you among those who have wondered who penned some of the ideas currently being touted by dental professionals for good oral hygiene? Has the thought that some of those dental hygiene recommendations that your dental professional encourages you to include in your daily oral hygiene routine seem “out there”? Well, to be truthful, I have had these thoughts but today, I would like to talk a little bit about some of the history of flossing your teeth your teeth.
First, a little background
I recently read an article that piqued my interest. I love getting into the history of things and why they are as they are. This has always helped me to learn and to incorporate what I learn into my life repertoire of life experiences. So, since inquiring minds need to know, into it I dove and this is what I found out about flossing and its history. It seems that approximately 2.8 to 1.5 million years ago, during the Pleistocene period of human development, a species of the tribe Hominini lived. Fossils of these early people were uncovered by Louis and Mary Leakey in the early 1960’s at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. At that time, the speculation held that these fossils were from a new species whom they called them Homo habilis (meaning “handy man”). It was speculated that this slightly larger-brained species of early man was responsible for creating the thousands of stone tools that were also found at Olduvai Gorge.
Dental Microwear-texture Analysis Reveals Diet
Part of the evaluation of these fossils included dental microwear-texture analysis that was performed to determine a number of things, one of which was that their diet did not consist of primarily rough-textured foods. This texture analysis seemed to point to the fact that their diet consisted of a foods that placed them somewhere between various species utilizing tough-textured foods and leaf-textured foods. In this analysis, they lookedv at the percentages of the tooth surface structure that contained “pits”, which is defined as the frequency and depth of dental damage that results from the consumption of certain foods across the species. This is a widely used and accepted measurement for reliability.
Fossils of Neanderthals
The Leakey’s findings were collaborated by some other researchers who examined the Cova Forada Neanderthal fossil with the belief that these species of homids did in fact utilize toothpicks made of various materials to ease the pain of periodontal disease. These fossils and findings are believed to be the earliest evidences found that document cases of palliative care in the primitive treatment of dental disease! Marina Lozano, co-author of the study as well as a professor at the Universitat Autoonoma de Barcelona says, “this disease usually causes bloody and inflamed gums, so the systemic use of toothpicks could mitigate sore gums. However, in the case of Cova Forada, the toothpick was not only used as a primitive method of dental hygiene, but it is associated with a dental disease and with the clear intention to alleviate the pain, and that makes it unique”.
Next time, we will conclude this discussion on the ancient history of flossing. But, in the meantime, remember to brush and floss your teeth at least twice daily and keep up with those vitally important dental evaluations and treatments. Dr. Scharf wants to be your Periodontist on Long Island so call him at (631)661-6633 or visit him online at http://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.