Recent discovery showed that there were quite a number of proficient dentists in Rome. Researchers were able to find 86 teeth under a shop’s floor drain located near the Roman Forum.

A bioarcheologist studied the teeth, which were originally found in 1987. Based on the results of the study, a highly skilled dentist removed the teeth, which were dated to have come from the first century AD. The teeth remained intact even though there were signs of decay.

More importantly, researchers discovered that ancient Romans had strong, healthy teeth, despite the fact that they did not have access to dental treatments that we enjoy today. What is the secret behind this?

Roman Style of Healthy Eating

Healthy eating is considered one of the most effective ways to keep teeth strong. Ancient Romans had healthy teeth even though they lived during the pre-toothbrush era, thanks to the absence of one ingredient from the food they ate: sugar.

Romans had great teeth. Of course that picture is nothing but a creative work / PicHelp
Romans had great teeth. Of course that picture is nothing but a creative work / PicHelp

In Pompeii, Italy, researchers worked on the remains of people who were killed during 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius erupted. They later found out that these ancient people had good dental health. According to the researchers, there are two main reasons why this is the case for them:

  1. They ate a diet that had very low sugar content.
  2. They enjoyed eating fruits and vegetables.

The ancient Romans’ diet is considered now as the Mediterranean diet, or at least it resembles this popular diet. The Mediterranean diet is credited for the higher life span for people who live in southern Europe.

Sugar’s Effect on Teeth and Your Health

Based on the study, Pompeiians consumed foods with lower amounts of sugar than most people especially modern individuals, which helped them to avoid dental problems. Eating foods that are high in sugar can greatly contribute to tooth decay. But that’s not all; sugar has been linked to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Sugar was actually quite an expensive treat for several centuries. It only became widespread in the 16ht century when plantations in the Americas and West Indies were established. Nevertheless, even historical figures and some average ancient Romans got to enjoy honey and fruits, which are both considered sugary.

Ancient Romans had a balanced diet by eating healthy. However, the researchers also found that they have deteriorated bones mainly because of the water in Pompeii that has high levels of fluoride. While fluoride is helpful to teeth, too much of it can damage bones.