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The microbial gunk that hardens on teeth is revealing our deep past

Plaque fossilises whereas we’re nonetheless alive. Now, dental calculus is giving up the secrets and techniques of our historic ancestors, from what they ate to how they interacted and advanced

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15 September 2021

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Spencer Wilson

IT IS the one a part of your physique that fossilises when you’re nonetheless alive,” says Tina Warinner on the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human Historical past in Jena, Germany.

To see what she is describing, stand in entrance of a mirror and study the rear surfaces of your decrease entrance tooth. Relying in your dental hygiene, you’ll most likely see a skinny, yellowish-brown line the place the enamel meets the gum. That is plaque, a residing layer of microbes that grows on the floor of tooth – or, extra precisely, on the floor of older layers of plaque. If …

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