Scientists have investigated the remains of 30 Pompeii inhabitants to find that they had ‘perfect teeth’.

Researchers from the Archaeological Superintendence of Pompeii have used CAT scans to examine remains in Mount Vesuvius after it erupted in AD 79. Their analysis of ancient Roman teeth found that there was no “immediate discernible need for dentists” and puts this down to one key factor – very little sugar.

Archaeology and Anthropology applicants should consider how diets have evolved over time, particularly how our diets have converged in recent times. The Romans lack of sugar contributed to the preservation of their teeth in the absence of a tooth brush or toothpaste, which as Historians might be interested to know were developed by Ancient Egyptians as early as 5000 BC. Without dental hygiene products, ancient Romans in Pompeii still managed to have teeth in exceptionally good health due to their diet.

An interesting aside to this story is how the inclusion of sugar and sweeteners in the diets of ancient Romans had significantly damaging effects. Artificial sweetener was created by reducing grape juice to a compound called sapa in combination with lead pots which, as the Romans believed the combination created a sweeter flavour to whatever was contained inside – Chemistry applicants should investigate how these two components reacted with each other to cause deadly side-effects.

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