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  • Writer's pictureKelly White


Have you ever stopped to appreciate how remarkable our teeth are? Despite taking many of our body's intricate parts and processes for granted, teeth are not only essential for our quality of life and health, but they also hold a wealth of information that can reveal details about our lives, historical eras, and even the environments we once lived in.

Teeth can serve as a means of identifying an individual after their death and have been crucial in solving mysteries surrounding individuals such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Mengele, Lee Harvey Oswald, and the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas Romanov. Dental records have been admissible evidence in court since 1849 and have been used to identify victims of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

The study of teeth, known as odontology, has also provided insights into historical dietary habits and environments. For instance, researchers at John Hopkins University examined fossil teeth from grazing species in what is now Ethiopia and were able to determine that humans transitioned to a plant-based diet nearly half a million years earlier than previously believed. Similarly, a newer technique called incremental dentine collagen analysis allowed scientists to determine the diets of children who died during the Irish Potato Famine and the point at which starvation set in.

Teeth also hold valuable information about our future health risks. The composition of children's teeth may indicate potential health risks, while the condition of our teeth after death can reveal personal details about our lives to future scientists.

In conclusion, teeth are not only necessary for our everyday lives, but they also hold a wealth of information that can tell stories about our past and future. Therefore, taking care of our teeth through proper dental hygiene is not only crucial for our present health but may also reveal important information about our lives to future generations.

Dental Associates of West Michigan

(616) 554-5940

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