LifestyleSurprising Advancements in Viking Dentistry

Surprising Advancements in Viking Dentistry

The Viking Age teeth from Varnhem tell a story of advanced dentistry, which is evident from widespread caries, toothache, and dental work. This surprising discovery was revealed in a study conducted at the University of Gothenburg.

The University’s research team examined 3,293 teeth from 171 individuals in Västergötland, Sweden, shedding light on the dental health of Viking Age populations. The site of Varnhem has provided well-preserved skeletons and teeth, making it an ideal location for this study.

Following thorough clinical examinations and X-ray imaging, the study found that nearly half of the Viking population in Varnhem suffered from caries, with adults being most affected, while children were caries-free. Tooth loss, particularly among adults, was also a common occurrence.

Despite the prevalence of caries, tooth infections, and toothache, the study also uncovered evidence of Viking attempts to care for their teeth, such as the use of toothpicks, filing of front teeth, and even dental treatment for infected teeth.

One intriguing find was the presence of molars with filed holes, indicating a more sophisticated approach to relieving pressure and alleviating severe toothache. This suggests that the dental procedures carried out by the Vikings were not unlike the treatments performed today.

Furthermore, the study suggests that filing of front teeth may have been a form of identity marker among the Vikings in Varnhem. Carolina Bertilsson, a dentist and Associate Researcher, believes that this study provides new insights into Viking oral health and highlights the importance of teeth in Viking culture.

This groundbreaking research signifies a more advanced level of dentistry during the Viking Age than previously assumed, providing valuable insight into the oral health practices of this ancient population.

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