Neanderthal Dental Care

PLoS ONE blog

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0076852

Toothpicking and Periodontal Disease in a Neanderthal Specimen from Cova Foradà Site (Valencia, Spain)

We present a Neanderthal maxilla (CF-1) from Cova Foradà site (Oliva, Valencia, Spain) with periodontal disease and evidence of attempts to alleviate pain with the use of a toothpick. Two interproximal grooves have been found on the distal surfaces of the upper left Pm3 and M1 of CF-1 maxilla. The location, morphology and size of the grooves coincide with other interproximal grooves found on the teeth of other fossil specimens. Heavy dental wear and periodontal disease would have caused the Cova Foradà Neanderthal specimen pain and discomfort, which the individual attempted to mitigate using some kind of dental probe.

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