Differences in dental health of prehistoric human groups are commonly attributed to specific subsistence practices, whereby food foragers generally have a lower incidence of dental disease than agriculturalists. Dental health was assessed on a sample of 135 human skeletons from northwest Mexico that date to the Early Agricultural period (1600 BC-AD 200), which coincides with the initial introduction of domesticated cultigens into the region c. 2000 BC. High rates of dental caries (13.5%) and antemortem tooth loss (17.6%) encountered in these prehistoric forager-farmers from the Sonoran Desert were determined to be the result of the consumption of highly cariogenic local wild resources such as cactus. These patterns mask the degree of reliance on agriculture in the area and highlight the importance of constructing local nutritional histories to better understand the diversity of human diets and their relationships to health and disease.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||International Journal of Osteoarchaeology|
|State||Published - Mar 2008|
- Antemortem tooth loss
- Sonoran Desert
ASJC Scopus subject areas