Gums healthier in Roman times

People had far less gum disease in the Roman era than today, and oral health has seriously worsened despite the advent of toothbrushes and dentists, say researchers.

A study of 303 skulls at the UK’s Natural History Museum, dating from the years 200 to 400 AD, has found that only 5% showed signs of periodontitis, compared with around 15 to 30% of modern Western adults.

While most modern people live with mild gum disease, tobacco smoking or conditions like diabetes can trigger more severe chronic periodontitis, report the researchers in the British Dental Journal.

"We were very struck