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Ancient Teeth Bacteria Record Disease Evolution

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the you-are-what-you-eat dept.

Science 97

An anonymous reader writes "DNA preserved in calcified bacteria on the teeth of ancient human skeletons has shed light on the health consequences of the evolving diet and behavior from the Stone Age to the modern day. The ancient genetic record reveals the negative changes in oral bacteria brought about by the dietary shifts as humans became farmers, and later with the introduction of food manufacturing in the Industrial Revolution."

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humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933223)

why do humans have more oral problems compared to other species in nature?

Re:humans (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933235)

We eat sugar and complex carbs more than most animals and these tend to cause tooth decay. When you're a wolf who only eats protein it isn't a problem.

Re:humans (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933245)

It would be interesting to study dental health across humans with various diets i.e. vegetarians, vegans, etc.

Re:humans (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933371)

My dad developed a vertical hairline crack in his front left tooth in his mid 40's, my own front left tooth did exactly the same thing. As for diet my 80yo dad was a war baby, a UK war baby's diet was peculiar, for example he still loves lard* sandwiches if anyone will let him have lard (Yuck!!). Thing is I was raised in Australia on a combination of traditional northern English "cuisine" and burnt offerings in tomato sauce from the backyard barbie. I ate the same as my parents, dad smoked like a chimney into his late 50's. As an ex-taxi driver I'm confident when I say they are both very healthy and active for their vintage, one indication is both of them can still drive, another is that they are still spending my inheritance on annual holidays to exotic lands.

*lard = solidified fat from the bottom of the roasting pan

Disclaimer: I realize diet is important but I think people get a little too OCD about it. For example, my ex-wife spent most of the 80's and 90's counting calories, she became that proficient she no longer needed the book. Alas it's now a redundant skill since everything is labeled, and measured in KJ.

Re:humans (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933579)

My dad developed a vertical hairline crack in his front left tooth in his mid 40's, my own front left tooth did exactly the same thing. As for diet my 80yo dad was a war baby, a UK war baby's diet was peculiar, for example he still loves lard* sandwiches if anyone will let him have lard (Yuck!!).

In Poland they call it smalec and its absolutely delicious on bread with some sour gherkins. The best smalec has crunchy bits of pork scratchings too. Fat with embedded fat. Totally delicious.

Re:humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42934087)

Think of lard as just a more concentrated version of gravy :-)

Re:humans (1)

Spugglefink (1041680) | about a year and a half ago | (#42934213)

I think people get a little too OCD about it.

The most healthy man I've ever known ate fatback, lard, butter and scrambled pig brains like they were going out of style. He lived to be 102.

The most sickly man I've ever known ate wheat testicles, oat scrotums, tofu ice cream, and tons of herbal supplements. He's always sick. Maybe it's the oat scrotums.

Re:humans (1)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#42936035)

That's because the idea that fat is bad for you is bullshit. Google the Seven Countries Study that was carried out by Ancel Keys. He cherry picked the data to fit his hypothesis, rather than doing any actual science.

Re:humans (3, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#42936115)

I should point out that transfats (in some types of processed food) and hydrogenated fats (margarine) have been scientifically proven to be bad for you. But saturated fat hasn't.

Transfats do exist in nature, but we mostly get them from processed foods. From the wikipedia article: "They can only be made by cooking with a very high heat, at temperatures impossible in a household kitchen." So frying isn't bad for you either.

Re:humans (2)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year and a half ago | (#42937949)

I should point out that transfats (in some types of processed food) and hydrogenated fats (margarine) have been scientifically proven to be bad for you. But saturated fat hasn't.

You might be interested in these two videos (they're both 1.5 hours long, but really informative):

Re:humans (1)

Patent Lover (779809) | about a year and a half ago | (#42936999)

That's because the first man ate whole natural foods. The second man ate processed man made foods. It's not rocket science, really.

Re:humans (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year and a half ago | (#42937941)

The most healthy man I've ever known ate fatback, lard, butter and scrambled pig brains like they were going out of style. He lived to be 102.

The most sickly man I've ever known ate wheat testicles, oat scrotum, tofu ice cream, and tons of herbal supplements.

You might be interested in these two videos (they're both 1.5 hours long, but really informative):

Re:humans (1)

smugfunt (8972) | about a year and a half ago | (#42938369)

*lard = solidified fat from the bottom of the roasting pan

That's dripping. It still has a lot of meat flavour in it. Lard is the purified fat, never heard of anyone enjoying a sandwich of that.

Re:humans (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42938743)

Depending on what part of the pig it's from, lard can retain a certain delicious porky flavor. I wouldn't eat a sandwich of it, but spreading it on bread like butter? Sure, I could do that.

Re:humans (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year and a half ago | (#42939837)

Your right, I used "lard" because I thought a "dripping butty" was something only Northern Englishmen had heard of. :)

Re:humans (1)

smugfunt (8972) | about a year and a half ago | (#42941059)

Ah well, by some definitions I am a Northern Englishman :-) My Dad is from the South though, and he too has fond memories of dripping butties. Considering the post-war diet it probably was quite a treat.

Re:humans (1)

eionmac (949755) | about a year and a half ago | (#42946977)

we still like lard butties in the north (of england)

Re:humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933613)

It's already been done, except across time by archaeologists. Humans, before we starting eating grains, didn't have tooth problems.

Re: humans (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933915)

Weston A. Price already did. Check out 'Nutrition and Physical Degeneration' for a first hand account of what happens when previously 'primitive' societies are introduced to refined flour and sugar.

Re: humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42937555)

Weston A. Price already did. Check out 'Nutrition and Physical Degeneration' for a first hand account of what happens when previously 'primitive' societies are introduced to refined flour and sugar.

This. Price was a practicing dentist in the US during the early 20th century. He was alarmed by the increase in tooth decay he saw in young people. He travelled the world studying indigenous diets and the effect on not only dental health, but skeletal development in the first and second generations of those people after the introduction of modern processed foods. If you thought the Nova series 'Dogs' was fascinating in regards to how quickly wild canines evolved into what we call domestic dogs, Prices' studies will blow your mind. It may, in one reviewers' words "Change the way you perceive beauty in a human face." I followed the advice in Prices' work and in weeks was able to save two teeth that had been scheduled for removal.

Re:humans (1)

1u3hr (530656) | about a year and a half ago | (#42934045)

Dogs and cats have tooth decay too, ask any vet. Even if they haven't been given sweets by foolish owners. Wild animals with serious tooth problems are soon dead.

Re:humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42934555)

Dogs are omnivores while cats are carnivores. As they have said on commercial, most of the pet food are not 100% meat. They have corn fillers etc. so our pets are eating a lot more carbo than their wild life counterparts.

The teeth of big cats on nature shows look bad.

Re:humans (5, Insightful)

sFurbo (1361249) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933417)

What sibling post said about sugar, plus we stopped eating really coarse food. Eating hard roots will scrub bacterial plaque off your teeth. When we stopped eating as many raw, hard roots, we had to substitute that function with brushing, but it seems to be less efficient. Additionally, our jaws are far too short for the number for teeth we have, thus the problems of wisdom teeth, which also pushes the other teeth together, making the room between them harder to clean.

Re:humans (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933591)

Bah, my teeth aren't too bad. Except every time I go to a new dentist, he offers to pull my wisdom teeth. I'm 40 and have 32 teeth. Zero cavities, zero dental work.

Re:humans (1)

pjt33 (739471) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933701)

Depends on the coarse food. I've seen some people with absolutely destroyed teeth due to chewing tough sugar cane. (The sugar probably doesn't help, but by itself I don't think it accounts for incisors which are as pointed as canines).

Re:humans (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#42936675)

You do know some of us are just born with incisors like that right? Well, at least lateral ones.

Re:humans (1)

Yaotzin (827566) | about a year and a half ago | (#42935815)

TFA doesn't really say anything about efficiency of oral hygiene, just that oral flora has become less diverse. I doubt eating coarse roots is more efficient than electric toothbrushes and chewing gum and all the other marvels of the modern age. If my assertion is correct and as you postulate that biodiversity is somehow affected by hygiene practices, this should have resulted in an increased biodiversity of the mouth, but that is apparently not the case (unless we are too effective these days).

Re:humans (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#42936651)

That's why I like to save a carrot for after meals.

Re:humans (4, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933463)

Plants and animals generally have a lifespan long enough to procreate - then they are a waste.

Human animals are pretty well designed to live to age 30 or 40, maybe 50, then they are a waste. Teeth, bones, whatever, are just not designed to last a whole lot longer. Women show this even more than men. They spend the first ten to fifteen years growing into sexual maturity, they spend the next twenty years or so reproducing, then they face the onset of osteoporosis and a multitude of hormonal problems. Nature simply didn't design us to live forever.

Specifically, on topic, not only do we live longer today, but we don't eat the way nature intended. We put sugar in everything, for starters. Corn syrup, mushy processed foods, foods without their natural enzymes, foods with little if any fiber, foods bleached of their primary nutritional content, foods with artificial junk in them, foods filled with useless and possibly detrimental colorings - the list goes on.

Want to beat the problems we have with our teeth? Get closer to nature. Eat your meats fresh and rare. Eat your veggies raw. Don't eat processed foods. Don't eat sugars and corn syrups. DON'T SLURP ON SWEETENED AND FLAVORED DRINKS ALL DAY LONG!! Those damned drinks are probably the single leading cause of dental problems. Drink your 6 to 12 cups of water throughout the day, and MAYBE have a single flavored drink with your meals, whether that be coffee, a soda, or whatever.

In short, we've outsmarted Mother Nature, we outlive our intended lifetimes, and we fail to care for our teeth properly. It's a wonder that we are keeping our teeth for as long as we do!

And, no, I really don't think that we are going to "evolve" better teeth. We will only keep what we have, for so long as we keep outsmarting Mother Nature. If we lose our edge with technology and modern medicine, then we are going to lose our current life spans, and we'll lose our teeth even sooner.

Now - do you want to compare oral problems with other animals? Read the story of the man eating lions, in the story of 'The Spirit and The Ghost'. As I recall, the elder lion had a broken canine, which was extremely painful. Because it hurt so damned bad to bite through the tough hides of almost any animal, he resorted to killing soft skinned people. Apparently, people aren't the tastiest game available to lions, but they are among the easiest to kill. One quick chomp on a leg, and they are down, ready to be killed and consumed at leisure. An entire region was terrorized for months because of a lion's dental problems. The younger lion? I think he just followed the elder lion's lead, or something like that. Maybe he was just lazy.

Animals have dental problems, but we generally don't hear them complaining about their teeth.

Re:humans (4, Interesting)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933551)

...nice guess, but RTFA and learn a bit of actual dental hygiene. What you eat isn't the problem, it's what it attracts. With the exception of extremely acidic beverages, the food we eat does not directly damage our teeth. Getting lots of calcium is certainly important for preventing osteoporosis, in teeth and elsewhere, but that's the whole story. You can eat as much sugar as you want if you're in a completely sterile environment. It won't hurt you. (Not that such a place exists.)

Every exposed surface both inside and out of the human body is its own little bacterial world. The flora in the intestines have been in the news a lot lately because it's become apparent that some diabetes and obesity cases are tightly linked to disruptions in the compositions of these communities—the wrong bacteria get in and cause trouble.

The big discovery of the story is that the bacteria in the mouth used to be a lot more diverse. Just like the intestines of the obese, agriculture has put our mouths (with very few exceptions like the bushmen and uncontacted peoples) into bad shape. It's not natural for us to even need to brush our teeth—note no other animal doing this.

I also think you've misrepresented life expectancy a little by componentizing things... as well as being a tiny bit low numerically. The wealthy in ancient Greece averaged about 70 years, without anything resembling sanitation, and the average Roman commoner made it to 45. It's true that some components stop functioning earlier, but that doesn't mean Mother Nature would disapprove of us pushing past it. Many of the changes the occur in middle age can have positive outcomes [washingtonpost.com] on the social group by encouraging the individual to focus on other aspects of life, primarily looking after the family or tribe.

Re:humans (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933585)

We don't "evolve" or "are designed", if increased our odds to survive and procreate, then it probably is there. But is too close in time when we developed farming to make a difference in population, and for refined sugar diet, it even coincided with our increased lifespan because other factors, so won't become an evolutionary factor unless civilization falls and then refined sugar won't matter anyway (unless we improve our own genetic code, we are in the right moment for that).

In the other hand, what can evolve to adapt to our new diet is our bacterial associates, and did, for the worse, as said the linked article. And we probably are adding more negative factors to that evolution with oral antibiotics and antibacterial toothpastes. If ever those bacterias had a positive action in our health (i.e. preprocessing food that we can't, or stopping others) we are making sure that it won't be there anymore, and whatever remains, will be hard to kill.

Re:humans (1)

nbert (785663) | about a year and a half ago | (#42934003)

Plants and animals generally have a lifespan long enough to procreate - then they are a waste.

Not necessarily. Being alive (and relatively fit) when your grandchildren are born might increase their chances of survival and therefore the probability of your genes being passed on to the next generations. After all you are the only backup plan in case something happens to the parents.

However, I totally agree on your views regarding the human diet. I try to eat paleo [wikipedia.org] whenever I can.

Re:humans (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#42936743)

Do you have citation for us living longer or are you just spreading nonsense that you've never bothered to check? Try reading some aristotle and find out how wrong you are.

Re:humans (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42937159)

Aristotle was contemporary with cavemen, and their ancestors? Really? I had always suspected that Aristotle was a "modern man". Geez - maybe you have a citation to offer, of your own?

Re:humans (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#42937685)

You said humans not cavemen.

Hormonal problems in women are diet related, don't extrapolate western data(i.e., US centric) to other pops.

Re:humans (1)

Vegan Cyclist (1650427) | about a year and a half ago | (#42937401)

Life tip for ya: generally, it's more helpful to present your evidence, rather than just question something with a vague notion.

Re:humans (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#42937593)

Aristotle. grep age.

Life tip for ya: don't be a whiny ape that wants everything handed to them on a silver platter, you'll learn more that way.

Re:humans (1)

eionmac (949755) | about a year and a half ago | (#42946999)

"Animals have dental problems, but we generally don't hear them complaining about their teeth."
You can speak to them! Your skills are wasted on /.

Re:humans (1)

azalin (67640) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933829)

Aside from dietary difference, we live longer than our teeth evolved to last. Old pets (dogs for example) have similar problems.
But of course eating to much starch or sugar isn't helpful either.

Re:humans (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42934333)

why do humans have more oral problems compared to other species in nature?

What evidence do you have that this is true? Wild animals with significant problems with their teeth/mouth die in short order, humans get it treated and live on.

Re:humans (1)

pdclarry (175918) | about a year and a half ago | (#42946549)

why do humans have more oral problems compared to other species in nature?

Could it be because we live longer than other species? By the time I had my first cavity my dog was dead.

It's not even clear that we have more oral problems than other species. My current cat has serious dental disease. And elephants, if they aren't killed by us or disease, usually die indirectly of dental deterioration; their teeth wear out, then can no longer chew, and they die of starvation. Usually around the age of 60.

Re:humans (1)

Common Joe (2807741) | about a year and a half ago | (#42954137)

Interesting fact: Elephants have six sets of teeth in their lifetime. I believe I once read that once elephants teeth are done being produced, they generally starve to death. That would make you correct when you say that they die when their teeth wear out.

Re:humans (1)

pdclarry (175918) | about a year and a half ago | (#42955503)

Correct; In the wild each set of teeth lasts about 10 years, because there's a lot of silica in the grasses that are an elephant's primary diet. Elephants in captivity can live longer because their diet is less abrasive to their teeth.

the evolution of tryanny (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933227)

Unfortunately nothing can erase the evolution of Ubuntu £inux. This disease has been evolving into a parasite on the computer industry. First they put spyware on desktops under the guise of a free OS (amazon search results for desktop searches and lord knows what else) and then they bribe Valve into making the linux steam client ubuntu only. Then they add Ubuntu phones which have black specs NSA tracking devices and send your files to your overlords. Microsoft has done their best to beat the Ubuntu parasite but it may be too late. I wanted to play the hit release Aliens: Colonial Marines but Ubuntu doesn't run it, who could run such shitty programs!. I installed Windows 8 and never looked back.

Re:the evolution of tryanny (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933269)

Appl€ Micro$oft £inux

the unholy trinity

Re:the evolution of tryanny (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933491)

How can they make Valve for Ubuntu only? How does that work? If there is a .deb installer, it can be made to work in just about any Linux distro. I can probably download it, and install on my Debian without any effort at all, since Ubuntu is Debian based. It's possible that I'll have to go to a Ubuntu repository to find some obscure dependancy, but that's really not very likely.

There are tools, readily available, to convert installers form one distro into an installer for another distro.

You don't like Ubuntu? Fine - don't use it. Don't like Apple? Don't use that. Don't like Microsoft? Don't use that either. Why don't you find a copy of an original Bell Lab's Unix distro, install that, and be happy.

Hygiene. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933329)

When I read about studies with humans and teeth from hundreds or thousands of years ago, I can't help but wonder if a much simpler device might skew the results just a little bit.

Toothbrushes are likely the #1 reason we don't run around with a mouthful of dentures anymore, and that's just going back a generation or two.

Oh, the captcha irony meter is pegged today. ("prevents")

Re:Hygiene. (2)

Barsteward (969998) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933475)

"Toothbrushes are likely the #1 reason we don't run around with a mouthful of dentures anymore, and that's just going back a generation or two."

Before sugar we didn't need dentures as our teeth did not rot

Nice try, Marketing! (2)

kur0saki (2781151) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933333)

Just another way of McDonalds to tell us to eat more meat and less salad.

Re:Nice try, Marketing! (1)

frootcakeuk (638517) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933389)

I would not be at all surprised if that is the healthier option from Maccy D's!

Re:Nice try, Marketing! (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933559)

Bread. Bread is the enemy. Not salad. Good old high-density carbs. Low-density ones (sugars), aren't great either.

To me that doesn't sound much like something the fast food industry would want to encourage. Definitely more of an expensive restaurant agenda.

enemy of what? (1)

fantomas (94850) | about a year and a half ago | (#42934659)

Just curious, "enemy" of what? Keeping slim? Keeping healthy? Dental health? other?

Re:enemy of what? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42936805)

Keeping your teeth clean of cavity-causing bacteria. TFA is pretty confident that agriculture was responsible for the death of the normal human oral bacterial environment.

Re:enemy of what? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42937527)

All of the above. Not necessarily for everyone, but for a lot of people.

But We're Living a Lot Longer (1)

BBCWatcher (900486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933393)

We may have some researchers getting way ahead of their results. The same plentiful, storable food is probably a big reason so many more of today's humans even survive long enough to "suffer" having a less bacteriologically diverse oral ecosystem. (And we also have fluoridated water, which really works quite well.) I would be more careful making comparative value judgments about what is still an interesting finding.

Re:But We're Living a Lot Longer (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933453)

. (And we also have fluoridated water, which really works quite well.) .

Tell that to Dr Strangelove ;-)

Re:But We're Living a Lot Longer (4, Interesting)

deimtee (762122) | about a year and a half ago | (#42934157)

I recently read a lot of stuff on fluoride, from both sides of the debate. Taking the admitted negatives from the pro side and the admitted positives from the anti side, and following links to actual articles when i could, my conclusions were:
1/ Small amounts of topical fluoride have a beneficial effect on teeth
2/ Large amounts of ingested fluoride weaken both your bones and teeth.
3/ Ingested fluoride accumulates in the body, mostly in the bones. 50% of what is ingested is never excreted.
4/ There is a slight correlation between water fluoridation and dental health.
5/ The possible benfits of water fluoridation are hard to quantiry because they are swamped by the effects of fluoride toothpaste
6/ There is at least as strong a correlation between water fluoridation and hip breakage in the elderly.
7/ Both sides are pushing an agenda, everything reads like propaganda unless you read the actual journal articles.

Re:But We're Living a Lot Longer (0)

Sabathius (566108) | about a year and a half ago | (#42935401)

My take on Flouride: There is a warning on the back of toothpaste that says "If ingested, seek IMMEDIATE medical assistance." Toothpaste with out Flouride? No such warning. Also, realize that Flouride is a byproduct of Phosphate mining--essentially hazardous waste.

Re:But We're Living a Lot Longer (2)

sFurbo (1361249) | about a year and a half ago | (#42935877)

My take on Flouride: There is a warning on the back of toothpaste that says "If ingested, seek IMMEDIATE medical assistance." Toothpaste with out Flouride? No such warning.

Toothpaste contains a lot more fluoride then water. The acute toxicity is certainly not a problem with drinking water, so the warning on toothpaste has very little relevance to fluoridated drinking water.

Also, realize that Flouride is a byproduct of Phosphate mining

How is this at all relevant?

Re:But We're Living a Lot Longer (0)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#42936801)

This is relevant because if you have no experience with USian capitalistic companies they basically try to take all waste products and put them into other products, regardless of their health and safety value.

It accumulates in the body so it is NOT safe in drinking water nor has it been scientifically proven to be effective in any other manner but topical.

Re:But We're Living a Lot Longer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42941599)

Or maybe it is irrelevant because it's a scare tactic that is used to get the fear part of the brain to shut down the thinking part. Most people are absolutely horrible at science to begin with.

"What if I told you that citric acid in your food actually comes from mold? And that they get it by using lye and then sulfuric acid? [wikipedia.org]

All modern processes are like this. It makes things cheaper and prevents us from destroying the environment. Europe got deforested trying to make baking soda FFS. Now we make it chemically through a somewhat nasty process that would freak out most people if the knew.

And that's exactly what this anti fluoride argument is: willful ignorance and fear. There's a reason we monetize by-products. And it's not because the oil industry owns you. It's because all of it is necessary for modern life. Deal with it.

Re:But We're Living a Lot Longer (1)

deimtee (762122) | about a year and a half ago | (#42939139)

Here are examples of the propaganda from both sides.

Also, realize that Flouride is a byproduct of Phosphate mining

How is this at all relevant?

The source of the fluoride isn't relevent, but it is an emotive anti-fluoride point.
(The amount of contaminants in the fluoride is relevent, but both sides avoid quantifying them.)

Toothpaste contains a lot more fluoride then water. The acute toxicity is certainly not a problem with drinking water, so the warning on toothpaste has very little relevance to fluoridated drinking water.

Acute toxicity is a concern with toothpaste. Cumulative toxicity is a concern with drinking fluoridated water. The pro-fluoride group conflate the two constantly.

One thing I forgot to put in the GGP list was that both sides seem to be cherry picking their data.
Personal views:
Pragmatically, the benefits are minor and slightly dubious, the detriments are serious but unproven, and that we should err on the side of caution and not fluoridate the water.
From an ethical point of view, if you want fluoride in your water, that shouldn't give you the right to impose it on everyone else.

Re:But We're Living a Lot Longer (2)

g253 (855070) | about a year and a half ago | (#42937117)

It is a misconception that we live (much) longer, people think that because they hear of a life expectancy of 40 years or something like that, but that's the life expectancy _at birth_ . If you lived to be twenty, you could reasonably hope to live to be seventy. What we have now is less infant mortality, not longer lives.

Kissability? (4, Funny)

BBCWatcher (900486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933419)

If you had a choice, would you kiss a cave woman (or man) with her/his supposedly lovely oral biodiversity, or a member of the Scope, Colgate, and Oral-B generation? I would bet a lot that, if someone had those oral inventions 7,500 years ago, he/she would have passed on a lot more DNA to future generations.

Re:Kissability? (1)

Buchenskjoll (762354) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933605)

Blackadder: I would rather french-kiss a skunk. Baldrick: Ay, so would I, sir.

Re:Kissability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933627)

If I never had to brush my teeth again and would never get cavities, I would kiss that cave women and/or man all day long.

Re:Kissability? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933655)

When you was a baby, your mother passed you a good load of healthy bacterias [discovery.com] while feeding you. And not sure if were just intestinal ones.

Even later in life, kissing increases immunity and reduce allergies, probably because of that passed biodiversity. But with our generation addicted to antibacterial toothpastes and antibiotics, most that will be passed will be antibiotic/antibacterial resistant bacteries, good luck with that.

Re:Kissability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42934055)

I wouldn't give a fuck. "Disgust" is mostly nurture.

Re:Kissability? (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#42936853)

Cave woman. If your diet and health is so bad that you require all those products plus teeth whiteners to be attractive, you aren't.

Same reason I prefer a woman without deodarant. If you stink you aren't feeding your body properly, coffee, cigarettes, nitrates and phosphates being the big offenders.

Re:Kissability? (1)

operagost (62405) | about a year and a half ago | (#42936983)

Uhh... no. I've shopped in the whole foods store and trust me, bacteria still grow in the sweaty pits of the vegetarian folks.

Re:Kissability? (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#42937095)

Who says that the majority of vegetarians are healthy? Western ones certainly aren't. Nor does it speak to their hygiene routine or their stress levels or their ability to wash their clothes regularly. In the west they're usually as clueless as the carnivores.

Re:Kissability? (1)

operagost (62405) | about a year and a half ago | (#42936967)

I wouldn't kiss a cave woman, basically because of the mustache.

Re:Kissability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42939493)

Except that kissing isn't what passes on your DNA, so the cavemen probably did the same thing any of us would do - turn her over and get busy with the parts that really matter.

The New Fad (1)

ixarux (1652631) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933741)

shall be to return to the ways of the past. Stop the brushing. Lets get out our raw meat and vegetables, and slowly revive those bacteria populations ...
I shall call it the Bacteriophilic Trials of the 22nd Century.

The Missing Link ! (2)

TTL0 (546351) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933801)

Maybe they will now find that mysterious 5th dentist that would not reccomend Trident Sugarless Gum.

Just wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933921)

..until the toe-shoe-wearing Paleo Diet hippies get wind of this.

It'll be more annoying than when vegans got the China Study

"anonymous reader" = blog spammer (5, Informative)

1u3hr (530656) | about a year and a half ago | (#42934017)

The source, not linked in TFA, is Adelaide University: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/news/news59301.html [adelaide.edu.au]

Link to the source, not some asshole plagiarising it to get ad hits.

Re:"anonymous reader" = blog spammer (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42934931)

With a 6-digit ID, it's hard to believe you're so new here.

Re:"anonymous reader" = blog spammer (1)

1u3hr (530656) | about a year and a half ago | (#42935031)

I didn't say I was surprised at it. Just expressing my disgust.

Paleotrash (1)

ferrisoxide.com (1935296) | about a year and a half ago | (#42934159)

I find the current obsession with Paleolithic Diet and all that it implies disturbing.. so much so I'm keen to smack some of its adherents in the head with a club.. or at least a large animal bone.

Re:Paleotrash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42934197)

From Libertarianism to Marxism to Anorexia to Diet Fads, all quasi-religions are bunkum.

Life's complex, and there's no silver bullet to any sufficiently complex problem. Only the dullards think otherwise.

Re:Paleotrash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42935163)

Paleo and primal diets work. Many practitioners’ improved health is simply self-evident. So why don’t you post a pic of you and your club? I highly doubt your likely flabby body can stand up to my rock-hard paleo-carved physique, club or no club!

Re:Paleotrash (1)

ferrisoxide.com (1935296) | about a year and a half ago | (#42937701)

Paleo and primal diets work. Many practitioners’ improved health is simply self-evident. So why don’t you post a pic of you and your club? I highly doubt your likely flabby body can stand up to my rock-hard paleo-carved physique, club or no club!

I don't know what's more ironic.. my joke or yours.. :) I guess we're all cavemen still.

Re:Paleotrash (1)

pluther (647209) | about a year and a half ago | (#42938501)

Paleo and primal diets work.

Any diet will "work", in as much as it forces you to pay attention to what you're eating.

Whether you're just counting calories, avoiding bread or all carbs, or trying to recreate some mythical "pre-historic" diet doesn't really matter. The important part is limiting junk food, not over-eating. Basically, pay constant attention to what you're intaking and you'll be healthier and likely to lose weight.

Re:Paleotrash (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42937621)

all that it implies

Oh, do tell. I'm more concerned with cutting carbohydrate than being properly paleo, but the overlap is huge, so I often end up poring over paleo sites for recipes. I've lost 80 lbs/ 35 kg in the past year with no other intervention. Is it right for you? Don't know. It's sure as hell right for me.

Not directed at ferrisoxide: if you are tempted to say "just eat less", then you are not the person who needs to hear this message. The experience of those who have never had difficulty losing weight is as relevant to the average overweight person as the experience of professional athletes is to those who cannot gain muscle.

Re:Paleotrash (1)

ferrisoxide.com (1935296) | about a year and a half ago | (#42938161)

I actually wasn't trying to take a stab at the Paleo diet - it was just a feeble attempt at humour in the vein of responding to like with like.

The Paleo diet makes a lot of sense, and I'm glad you've had such an excellent experience with it. More power to you.

What I take umbrage at is the idea that "everything was better in the old days" kind of mentality, implied in the original article. Enough said, I'll go back to my cave now. :)

Re:Paleotrash (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42938455)

I figured it might be a joke, but you never know when you might learn something ;)

Re:Paleotrash (1)

PraiseBob (1923958) | about a year and a half ago | (#42940009)

The "problem" with the paleo diet is that it excludes whole grains. Grains account for somewhere in the neighborhood of 60-70% of the worlds calories, and is the foundation of the human diet. Paleo is at the very top of the food chain. If the entire world was forced to switch to such a diet (for whatever made up reason), it would mean starvation for roughly 80% of the worlds population. It is healthy and fine for the 1% of people that can afford the diet, but advocating for widespread conversion to the diet is the same as advocating widespread starvation. The math simply does not work.

Aside from that, since every fad diet would be unworkable on a grand scale, every single civilization in the history of the world has been founded on agriculture and grain. Can you name a single successful modern hunter-gatherer society? What about going back 1000 years? 50,000 years? If paleo diets are so successful and healthy, look at any society or tribe that has been practising it for centuries, and how are they doing when compared to other humans? For an individual human, it can work. For a group of humans, it makes a weaker society than agriculture.

But I'm biased because of a farming background, congrats on it working for you.

Re:Paleotrash (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42940497)

Paleo need not be hunter-gatherer; pastoralists like the Masai eat an essentially all-animal diet.

You are of course correct that grain-eaters will outnumber and thus conquer most H-G people, but that doesn't make any statement either way about the health properties of the diets. A real whole-grain diet doesn't look anything like what most Americans eat, for starters.

Evolutionary Advantage of Human Longevity (4, Informative)

InterGuru (50986) | about a year and a half ago | (#42934719)

Most mammals live for a billion (10^9) heartbeats, humans live about 60 years, twice as long. One theory is the Grandmother Effect [theatlantic.com] . That is having older women share the burden of childrearing aided in the children's survival.

In the 1980s, Kristen Hawkes and James O'Connell spent time with Hadza hunter-gatherers. They noticed that the older women in the society spent their days collecting tubers and other food for their grandchildren. That was the proverbial fallen apple that sparked Hawkes' interest in the Grandmother Theory, which says that humans evolved to live so long because grandmothers were around to help take care of the young'uns.

Re:Evolutionary Advantage of Human Longevity (1)

eionmac (949755) | about a year and a half ago | (#42947043)

That is why I have Grandfather duties alongside my wife.

Engineered oral hygiene (1)

smugfunt (8972) | about a year and a half ago | (#42938443)

Many years ago (maybe 15) I read in New Scientist about a group in Sweden that had genetically engineered some mouth bacteria to hunt down and exterminate the bad bugs that cause tooth decay. One rinse of their mouthwash and you could kiss goodbye to the dentist forever.
I've never heard any more about it though, and I don't have access to the New Scientist archives, sadly.

Re:Engineered oral hygiene (1)

MickLinux (579158) | about a year and a half ago | (#42940069)

In response to this, I googled " Sweden that had genetically engineered some mouth bacteria", straight from your post.

The first entry was Wikipedia. The second entry, from ABC news, was as follows:

"A Bacteria That Could Keep Your Mouth Clean for Good - ABC News" [go.com]

Google is your friend. Enjoy your mouthwash.

Re:Engineered oral hygiene (1)

smugfunt (8972) | about a year and a half ago | (#42941177)

Good find, that page doesn't come up in Duck Duck Go.
The paper seems to be from 2000. It says they've been working on it since the early eighties. It's possible that until today I hadn't thought about it since before Google was invented :-)
But at that rate I'll have a flying car before I get my mouthwash.

Re:Engineered oral hygiene (1)

smugfunt (8972) | about a year and a half ago | (#42944767)

This is the company: Oragenics [oragenics.com]
The engineered treatment is 'currently in clinical trials' but they have a probiotic product which looks interesting.

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