Vikings gave their teeth?  There are some holes in that story

Vikings gave their teeth? There are some holes in that story

Vikings had tooth decay, filled their teeth and practiced “sophisticated” dentistry, the world heard this week. A strong story quickly grabs attention, as it turns out.

Martin Colemans

Of course you can’t miss a funny message in the newspaper. Not only did the mighty Vikings roar with fighting spirit, they must also have screamed with toothache. Because what did Swedish dentists discover after all? Examined 171 Viking skeletons from the 11th and 12th centuries? About six out of ten adults suffer from tooth decay. A few of them may have died from jaw infections. Even more interesting is that Vikings sometimes extracted their teeth and drilled holes in their molars to apparently relieve pain.

You have to know how something like that works. Journalists often receive scientific news in advance, with the promise to keep it confidential until a time specified by the sender (usually a trade magazine). This gives the journalist time to delve into the matter, and the researcher time to answer questions: everyone is happy.

And so it happened that on Wednesday, December 13, at eight o’clock in the evening, the first media outlets raised their headlines: ‘Turns out the Vikings are surprisingly good dentists‘(devotion),’Even Vikings can’t avoid the dentist‘(Telegraph),’Vikings extracted their teeth to avoid pain‘(Popular Science).

A Viking skull is examined for decay.Photo by Karolina Bertelsson

It’s annoying when things go wrong sometimes. Ultimately, this ban list is also one of them Grab a bag of press releases: The most eye-catching title stands out. This does not guarantee good research. “My students also do this type of study,” begins archaeologist and bone expert Rachel Schatz (Leiden University), after examining Viking research. ‘And this isn’t really news. This number of cavities is normal for people of this time. She herself investigated caries among medieval Dutch farmers: “I found more caries in Alkmaar.”

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I point out Schatz’s pictures of molars that appear to have been drilled out. But she’s not impressed. “This is a hole that can also occur naturally if such a tooth is left untreated. In combination with advanced erosion, the pulp chamber becomes visible spontaneously. Sometimes I see this myself.”

Those who had their teeth extracted are conclusive evidence of that.These notorious sailors were also surprisingly good dentists(Scientias.nl)? In the pictures you can see horizontal lines on the teeth of one of the skulls, as if they had been filed. But Schatz sees something different. “Hypoplasia” is the word she uses. Deformation of tooth enamel can be caused by poor nutrition. “This is common in medieval teeth,” she says. Modern dentists may no longer realize this. Just as you don’t often see deep untreated holes these days.

The most powerful story that quickly grabs attention is found in circus science. Come and watch! Vikings with raised teeth! Enlightening story, read it devotion He even says: “The Vikings may have been superior in the battle for northern Europe, but they couldn’t win the battle against oral bacteria either.”

It wasn’t about wild men with axes, it was about Vikings who converted to Christianity and lived peacefully as farmers around a church in Sweden – this has sadly been lost.

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