5,300-year-old iceman never cleaned his teeth, had bad breath

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London, April 10 (IANS) A 5,300-year-old iceman — dubbed Otzi — whose remains were found frozen in the Italian Alps, probably never cleaned his teeth, and suffered from bad breath as a result, researchers have said.

Researchers were stunned by the poor condition of Otzi’s teeth, and found he suffered from several major cavities as well as a damaged front tooth probably caused by an accident, the Daily Mail reported.

The mummy was found in September 1991 in the Otztal Alps, near the Similaun mountain and Hauslabjoch on the border between Austria and Italy. Hence the name Otzi.

Experts said he had an astoundingly large number of oral diseases and dentition problems that are still widespread today.

“Otzi suffered from heavy dental abrasions, had several carious lesions – some severe – and had mechanical trauma to one of his front teeth which was probably due to an accident,” Frank Ruhli, head of the study, told the daily.

Dentist Roger Seiler from the Centre for Evolutionary Medicine at the University of Zurich now examined Otzi’s teeth based on the latest computer tomography data.

While Otzi is scarcely likely to have cleaned his teeth, his abrasive diet contributed significantly to a process of self-cleaning, they said.

The iceman suffered from tooth decay because of eating more starchy foods such as bread and cereal porridge which were consumed more commonly in the Neolithic period because of the rise of agriculture, the researchers said.

His accident-related dental damage and his other injuries testify to his troubled life at that time, the team believes.

Otzi is the oldest “wet” mummy in the world. Since its discovery in 1991, numerous scientific examinations have taken place. In 2007, Otzi’s cause of death was determined as probably stemming from internal bleeding.

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