The Teeth and Civilisation


ON the 8th inst., Dr. Wilberforce Smith read a short communication before the Anthropological Institute on the teeth of ten Sioux Indians attached to the Wild West Show. His investigation showed that in regard to molars and premolars (the only teeth examined), these Indians were wholly free from caries. In the discussion which followed the reading of the paper, it was mentioned that the same fact was revealed in the skulls of the Fourth Egyptian Dynasty brought to England by Dr. Flinders Petrie, and in some skulls examined by Dr. Wilberforce Smith himself, which were derived from the ruins of Pompeii. The teeth of the Indians, both old and young, and those in the skulls just referred to, all showed more or less wear of the cusps, which is a most unusual circumstance in the teeth of modern civilised people, and it was thought that some difference in the food, or its mode of preparation, would be required to account for the absence of signs of wear in our time.

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