Are We Related to Rats?

Dental Health, what do we owe to Rats and Agriculture? Our ancestors, going back to the Neanderthals, did not always develop cavities (caries), explains Dr. Marks. This may surprise you, since we all know that the Egyptians of old had dentists. Studies show that before humans started to cultivate and plant agriculture for eating purposes, caries were not very common. It seems that once we cultivated food, caries started to become widespread.

Studies at the medical school in Stanford found when they studied the cavity causing bacteria- that a new gene(s) formed and the bacteria spread wildly about 10 thousand years ago, the same time agriculture was developing. But how did this cause an increase in caries?
This new agriculture raised our level of living conditions, but this also brought us closer to Rats than previously. The bacteria in rat’s mouths is Streptococcus ratti, the bacteria in our mouths is Streptococcus mutans. They are now related. It is believed that when populations come in close proximity, and are dense, that new species of bacteria can develop. This change in our bacteria, lead to the increase of caries. This is further substantiated when studies of skeleton fossils from Sudan & southern Egypt (8-10,000 yrs. ago) – just when they started agriculture- saw a jump in cavities from 0.8% to 20%.

So- if you don’t have decay, and don’t want it, don’t kiss a Rat! If you have any dental questions, or would like an exam and cleaning, please contact us.