Looking Back: What We Can Learn From Ancient Teeth

Just because we live in a time that boasts technology superior to any other time in history does not mean that we trump the ancients in everything.

For instance…

According to some very interesting finds in the remains of Mt. Vesuvius’s victim’s teeth, residents of Pompeii experienced healthier teeth than we do today – nearly 2,000 years ago!

How in the world did an ancient civilization without toothbrushes, toothpaste, whitening strips, or bi-annual dental check-ups manage to maintain such stellar dental health??

This Roman civilization did something that Americans could not even dream of doing…they consumed no sugar.

The Pompeians lived on what we would consider to be a Mediterranean diet.  Basically, they ate primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Instead of butter, they used olive oil. Herbs and spices were used instead of salt to flavor foods. And red meats and sugars were rarely consumed.

The dental longevity that these people experienced was due to a very simple – yet difficult for Amercians! – aspect of their diet…they ate very little sugar, if any at all.  The discovery of beautiful and healthy teeth that are nearly 2,000 years old truly underscores the importance of maintaining a low-sugar lifestyle.

When you take in sugary foods, the germs in your mouth sent to destroy the sugar secrete acid.  It is this acid that does the damage to your teeth….damage that leads to decay.  And if your teeth are softer, they are even more prone to decay.  No sugar = no acid = no decay.

But fortunately, for all of us sugar lovers out there, we do live in a time when toothpaste and toothbrushes are readily available.  And access to fantastic dental care is nothing more than an appointment away.  Here at Montgomery Dentistry, we hope that you capitalize on all of the resources that are at your fingertips.  Please give us a call if it is time for your next dental check-up, or if you have any questions regarding your own dental health.


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Dr. Amy Anderson


Dr. Amy Morrison Anderson joined our practice in July 2005. She is a lifelong resident of Montgomery, and a graduate of Jefferson Davis High School, Auburn University, and the University of Alabama, Birmingham School of Dentistry. She is a member of the American Dental Association, the Alabama Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. When not spending time with her family, Dr. Anderson enjoys being an active member of the Junior League of Montgomery where she can give back to the community through volunteerism.