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30 March, 20:00

Centuries-old caries: Irish scientists discovered unique bacteria in the teeth of Bronze Age man

Centuries-old caries: Irish scientists discovered unique bacteria in the teeth of Bronze Age man
A recent archaeological study surprised Irish researchers - they discovered unique bacteria in the teeth of a Bronze Age man whose remains were found in a limestone cave in County Limerick. 

After the analysis, a large amount of Streptococcus mutans DNA was found on the jaws. These bacteria are known for their ability to cause tooth decay, a nasty disease that attacks the teeth. Until now, such high concentrations of Streptococcus mutans in dental remains were quite rare. 

It became important that the conditions of the cave contributed to the preservation of S. mutans DNA - cool, dry, alkaline.
DNA analysis has made it possible to establish significant changes in the composition of bacteria from the Bronze Age to the present. Experts suggest that this may be due to evolutionary pressure caused by changes in people's lifestyles and diets, particularly their sugar intake. 

"We were very surprised to see such a large amount of DNA remains in this 4,000-year-old tooth. This is an extremely rare finding, and it suggests that this person was at high risk of developing caries right before death," says Associate Professor Lara Cassidy of Trinity College Dublin.

The researchers believe that a "high amount" of S. mutans DNA in the roots of teeth can also potentially indicate dysbacteriosis in the oral cavity. 

Source: independent.co.uk

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