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The frequency and distribution of caries in the mediaeval population of Bijelo Brdo in Croatia (10th—11th century)
By Vodanovic Marin, Brkic Hrvoje, Slaus Mario, Demo Zeljko
Archives of Oral Biology, Vol.50 (2005)
Abstract: Reconstruction of the life of ancient peoples can be accomplished by studying their dental remains. The further we go into the past, the greater the importance of dental remains for answering a wide spectre of questions related to the life of a particular community. The dental system is a valuable source of information on the type of food, illnesses, and social stratification within a community.
The purpose of this paper was to determine the frequency, distribution, and characteristics of dental caries in the mediaeval population of Bijelo Brdo in Croatia. The analysed sample consisted of the dental remains of 85 individuals with the total of 1064 teeth. The majority (979 or 92.0%) of the teeth belonged to the permanent dentition, and this data set was analysed in this report. The frequency of antemortem tooth loss in the sample was 6.7%, the frequency of caries — 9.5%. The most frequent recorded caries were interproximal (3.9%), followed by occlusal (2.9%), and buccal/lingual (1.3%).
This research showed that the frequency and distribution of dental caries in the early mediaeval population from Bijelo Brdo is very similar to that of other European populations of the same socio-economic status during the same historic period. Chronological changes in the localisation of caries in populations that inhabited continental Croatia during the mediaeval period indicate a gradual reduction of interproximal caries and an increase of occlusal, buccal, and lingual lesions. These data suggest a change of diet with softer foods becoming more available in the younger time periods.