Ancient Tooth Decay Reveals That the Paleo Diet Contained Carbs

Paleo diet dishes involve concepts like “Pizza Soup” and “Pumpkin Chili,” which sound intriguing until you realize they are just carbohydrate-free versions of already-perfect foods. The fad diet, which is supposed to mimic the eating habits of paleolithic humans, is characterized by its lack of carbs and excess of raw plants and vegetables. But all that starchy goodness may have been cut in vain: New research on actual paleolithic teeth shows that carbohydrates were definitely on the menu.

In a new paper, published in the journal The Science of Nature, researchers examining the molars of a 1.2 million-year-old hominin dug up in northern Spain report traces of starchy carbohydrates in the individual’s teeth. By examining the microfossils within its dental calculus — another word for the plaque that builds up around the teeth — the researchers found evidence of starchy carbohydrates from two plants. One of those plants is thought to belong to the tribe Triticeae — which also includes some of modern Sapiens’ favorite carbs, like wheat, barley, and rye.

I'll take a biscuit with that.

I’ll take a biscuit with that.

The dental plaques, the researchers write, is “the earliest direct evidence for foods consumed in the genus Homo.” The hominin whose teeth they’d pilfered had been unearthed in Sima del Elefante (Pit of the Elephants), Atapuerca, Spain, in 2007, and the team had extracted one of its molars; from this single tooth — and the tiny fossils of bacteria and other living material found in its plaque — the researchers also concluded that the early human also ate plenty of raw protein and plants.

In that sense, Paleo diet enthusiasts didn’t get their facts completely wrong: Their emphasis on eating raw food is consistent with the researchers’ finding that “all food was eaten raw, and there is no evidence for processing of the starch granules which are intact and undamaged.” The more important question, however, is whether the premise that Paleolithic diets are more appropriate for human nutrition, because they have not changed much over millennia, is actually true. According to study lead author Karen Hardy, Ph.D., the evolution of salivary amylase — the enzyme modern humans use to break down starchy food — coincided with the development of cooking in prehistoric humans, so it’s clear that our species have made some adaptations since then. Still, it’s almost certainly true that human digestive systems aren’t equipped to eat highly processed fast foods, either; it’s unlikely that three generations — the amount of familial turnover there’s been since the first McDonald’s opened in 1940 — is enough time for new digestive functions to evolve.

Photos via Flickr / dollen

Famous Restaurant Copycat Recipes

Everyone is trying to save money these days, which means you're probably not eating out as much as you would like. However, you can make a number of the recipes you love at home, so you put more money in the monthly budget.

Here are some famous restaurant copycats recipes you may want to try, as well as the best sources for finding restaurant recipes that are easy to make at home.

If you love Mexican food, chances are you've visited a Don Pablo's for dinner if you have one in your city. One of the most famous restaurant recipes from the restaurant is the Burrito Grande, which is filled with fajita meat and vegetables.

To make this dish, you'll need marinated and grilled steak or chicken (you can add your own seasoning combination if you like) as well as pico de gallo and guacamole. A combination of cheeses, including sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, should be used in the dish for an authentic Mexican flavor, and you can use lettuce and tomato to add to the nutritional value of the burrito.

Side dishes include Mexican rice, and you can also add refried beans to the meal for a filling dinner that your whole family will love. The meal is served with chips and salsa, and you can garnish the plate with tortilla strips and a serving of sour cream so that you'll feel like you're having a meal at Don Pablo's.

If you like to take the family to Applebee's often, you may also want to try famous restaurant copycats recipes from this eatery, especially if you love dessert.

The Deadly Chocolate Sin is a cake that is rich and flavorful – and one that you probably have more times than you should. So, if you're making the cake at home, you can substitute the butter for margarine, as well as alternative forms of sugar that will be just as tasty.

You'll need ingredients like semisweet and bitter chocolate, as well as vanilla extract (vanilla bean extract will also add great flavor) and eggs to make the recipe come together, and red raspberries in heavy syrup (for topping).

Baking the cakes in small ramekins so that each member of the family will have their own dessert will also add a special touch that will make you feel as though you're dining out even when you're saving money.

Police blotter: Homeless women gets sick after eating raw food she allegedly stole; daughter threatens mom | Butte-Silver Bow Police Blotter

Butte resident Nova White, 19, was arrested and charged with partner-family member assault with reasonable apprehension at about 8:45 a.m. Tuesday. White threatened to kill her mother and burn the house down, police said. The victim is a 42-year-old female.

A Butte homeless woman, Michelle Pehringer, 47, ate raw hamburger and raw shrimp and chased it down with lemonade-flavored beer at Stokes Market at 1301 Harrison Avenue 8 p.m. Tuesday. Police arrived to arrest her for shoplifting. She was eating the food and drinking while still in the store. She also took a Bud Light Chelada and ate half of a deli sandwich. Police found Pehringer extremely intoxicated. She reported feeling sick. Pehringer faces shoplifting charges.

Butte police arrested Thayne Allen, 38, at about 4 p.m. Tuesday in the 200 block of West Silver Street for assault with a weapon. He got into an argument with his downstairs neighbor over the use of his car. When another male showed up, Allen went upstairs, took a rock being used as a doorstop and threw it at the female victim, who was still downstairs. The victim, 29, received an injury to her forehead and was transported to St. James Healthcare due to reports of dizziness.

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Butte police arrested Anaconda resident Joseph Fuller, 25, for DUI refusal at about 2 a.m. Wednesday at Utah and Front. Police spotted Fuller speeding in a white pickup truck in the 500 block of South Main St. Police followed Fuller for several blocks and saw the truck bounce off of snow piles and almost hit a parked car. Police gave him a field sobriety test but he refused to take a Breathalyzer. In addition to being charged with DUI refusal, he was also charged with an open container, speeding and changing lanes in an unsafe manner.

Police blotter: Homeless woman gets sick after eating raw food she allegedly stole; daughter threatens mom | Butte-Silver Bow Police Blotter

Butte resident Nova White, 19, was arrested and charged with partner-family member assault with reasonable apprehension at about 8:45 a.m. Tuesday. White threatened to kill her mother and burn the house down, police said. The victim is a 42-year-old female.

A Butte homeless woman, Michelle Pehringer, 47, ate raw hamburger and raw shrimp and chased it down with lemonade-flavored beer at Stokes Market at 1301 Harrison Avenue 8 p.m. Tuesday. Police arrived to arrest her for shoplifting. She was eating the food and drinking while still in the store. She also took a Bud Light Chelada and ate half of a deli sandwich. Police found Pehringer extremely intoxicated. She reported feeling sick. Pehringer faces shoplifting charges.

Butte police arrested Thayne Allen, 38, at about 4 p.m. Tuesday in the 200 block of West Silver Street for assault with a weapon. He got into an argument with his downstairs neighbor over the use of his car. When another male showed up, Allen went upstairs, took a rock being used as a doorstop and threw it at the female victim, who was still downstairs. The victim, 29, received an injury to her forehead and was transported to St. James Healthcare due to reports of dizziness.

Get breaking news sent instantly to your inbox

Butte police arrested Anaconda resident Joseph Fuller, 25, for DUI refusal at about 2 a.m. Wednesday at Utah and Front. Police spotted Fuller speeding in a white pickup truck in the 500 block of South Main St. Police followed Fuller for several blocks and saw the truck bounce off of snow piles and almost hit a parked car. Police gave him a field sobriety test but he refused to take a Breathalyzer. In addition to being charged with DUI refusal, he was also charged with an open container, speeding and changing lanes in an unsafe manner.

Dental Plaque Reveals Earliest Humans Didn’t Cook

What's Cookin'? Nothing, If You Were an Early Human

Archaeologists (not the ones involved in the new study) excavate Sima del Elefante (Pit of the Elephant) in Spain’s Atapuerca Mountains in 2015. The pit contains remains of human relatives who lived in Europe about 1.2 million years ago.

Credit: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez | Getty Images

About a million years before steak tartare came into fashion, Europe’s earliest humans were eating raw meat and uncooked plants. But their raw cuisine wasn’t a trendy diet; rather, they had yet to use fire for cooking, a new study finds.

The finding is based on a dental plaque analysis from a 1.2-million-year-old hominin, an early human, excavated from Sima del Elefante (Pit of the Elephant) in northern Spain. In 2007, the Atapuerca research team took samples of the dental plaque from a hominin molar, and later a team of archaeologists extracted microfossils from the plaque so they could learn more about the diet of early humans.

The microfossils included traces of raw animal tissue, uncooked starch granules (suggesting that the hominin ate grasses and a species of pine), insect fragments and a possible toothpick sliver, the researchers said. [In Photos: Hominin Skulls with Mixed Traits Discovered]

All of the fibers in the plaque were uncharred, and researchers found no evidence of microcharcoal inhalation, usually a sign that an individual was near a fire, they said.

“Obtaining evidence for any aspect of hominin life at this extremely early date is very challenging,” the study’s lead author, Karen Hardy, an honorary research associate at the University of York in England, said in a statement. “Here, we have been able to demonstrate that these earliest Europeans understood and exploited their forested environment to obtain a balanced diet 1.2 million years ago, by eating a range of different foods and combining starchy plant food with meat,” added Hardy, who is also a research professor at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Spain.

It’s not entirely clear when human ancestors first used fire for cooking. Some researchers say that early humans were regularly tending fires about 1.8 million years ago, but others say habitual use of fire didn’t begin until about 300,000 to 400,000 years ago, according to excavations showing concentrated ash and charcoal, sediments reddened by heat, rocks scarred by heat and burned bones, Live Science reported in 2011.

There is suggestive evidence of fire at early human sites in Africa, according to a 2013 study in the journal Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa, but that knowledge apparently wasn’t transmitted to Europe (or, at least, Sima del Elefante) when the earliest humans left Africa, said the researchers of the new study.

The earliest evidence for human-tended fires in Europe dates to 800,000 years ago at Cueva Negra (in Spain) and a short time later at Gesher Benot Ya’aqov (in Israel).

Given that the early humans at Sima del Elefante likely didn’t have fire 1.2 million years ago, awareness of fire technology probably occurred sometime between 1.2 million and 800,000 years ago in Europe, the researchers said. 

“This new timeline has significant implications in helping us to understand this period of human evolution,” Hardy said. “Cooked food provides greater energy, and cooking may be linked to the rapid increases in brain size that occurred from 800,000 years ago onwards.”

In addition, the new timeline fits with research suggesting that cooking with fire is linked to the development of salivary amylase, which breaks down starch, Hardy said. “Starchy food was an essential element in facilitating brain development, and contrary to popular belief about the ‘Paleodiet,’ the role of starchy food in the Palaeolithic diet was significant,” she said. [Top 10 Mysteries of the First Humans]

The findings are “exciting,” said study co-author Anita Radini, a doctoral student of archaeology at the University of York.

“They highlight the potential of dental calculus to store dietary and environmental information from deep in the human evolutionary past,” Radini said. “It is also interesting to see that pollen remains are preserved often in better conditions than in the soil of the same age.”

The study was published online Dec. 15 in the journal The Science of Nature.

Original article on Live Science.

Chef du Jour: Kellie Ann Murphy’s raw-vegan menu packed with flavor | Food & cooking

Kellie Ann Murphy had always tried to eat well. But there were times when a stressful job and a hectic work schedule had her reaching for another cup of coffee or making food choices that were not the healthiest options.

Five years ago when the then-vegetarian suddenly gained weight, her doctor discovered nodules on her thyroid gland. Instead of surgery and a panoply of medications, Murphy opted for a nutritional approach. She researched the benefits of becoming a raw-vegan, eating only uncooked foods or those cooked at very low temperatures that contained no animal byproducts. Within a week, she said, she lost seven pounds. By the time she returned to the doctor three months later for a follow-up visit, she was 45 pounds lighter and the nodules on her thyroid were gone. That was enough to convince Murphy of the healing power of food.

However, her new beliefs were soon tested when her husband of more than two decades was diagnosed with a brain tumor and required multiple radical surgeries. The devastating news could have been enough to send Murphy back to her old eating habits, but a friend kept her on track, bringing her raw meals during the first 10 days she spent at her husband’s side in the hospital.

“If you knew me, my old M.O., I would have been in the corner of the hospital room with chocolate cake and coffee,” Murphy said, but “I totally stayed raw.”

The way of eating kept her clear-headed, energized and able to sleep well even during the most stressful times of her husband Doug’s illness. Murphy continued to study the benefits of a raw diet and prepared foods for her husband that she thought would help his body cope with multiple surgeries, rounds of antibiotics and radiation treatments. Because he experienced extreme weight loss, Doug ate some cooked foods, Murphy said, but he also consumed the organic juices and raw foods she made. That made a world of difference, Murphy believes.

“My husband was supposed to live a year. They didn’t even think his quality of life for that year would be very good. He lived 3½ years and his quality of life was very, very high,” she said. “He was walking the dog at Agua Caliente Park after two years and all of his hair grew back. His doctors really believed his high quality of life was due to him eating a lot of raw-vegan food.”

Murphy took the lessons she learned while caring for her husband and turned them into a career. She is a certified raw-vegan personal chef and a health coach.

What is raw “cooking?”

“Anything is still considered raw if it is cooked under 118 degrees. I make a granola and it’s under 118 degrees. I do fake bacon. I make it out of zucchini and that’s for 8 hours at 105 degrees and it gets really crispy and believe me it does not taste like bacon at all, but if you are trying to look for that crispy-salty and you season it in a certain way and dehydrate it, it is really tasty.”

Do you have a favorite dish you like to make for clients?

“Lasagna. It’s hard for someone else to make it, that’s why they like me to make it. The noodles are zucchini, the ‘meat’ is walnuts. It’s made with fresh tomatoes plus sun-dried tomatoes, and the cheeses — one is a cashew cheese and the other is a macadamia nut cheese. That’s something people seem to love. I make that for dinner parties.”

Do you have any tips for people who want to try eating raw?

“My first thing would be to make their biggest meal lunch and if they were trying to include a lot of things is make a huge salad for lunch, but take off the salad dressing — no ranch, no thousand island, no bottled. All they really need is cold pressed olive oil and Himalayan salt with maybe a half an orange squeezed on top. People are blown away when they can taste the vegetables. Use a huge variety — arugula and the herb mix from Trader Joe’s and just take a peeler and peel a carrot over it. You don’t have to chop everything. Just peel a zucchini and maybe chop up a little celery and throw some organic pomegranate seeds on top and maybe throw on some raw sunflowers seeds. People will be amazed how having a big salad in the middle of the day will change their life.”

What about people who want to eat more healthfully, but don’t want to go 100 percent raw?

“I never tell anyone to go 100 percent raw. I say if you can, go 75 percent. I have a niece who eats really well, she is Raw Till 4. Raw Till 4 is when you make your breakfast, your lunch, your two snacks all raw and after 4 you have your cooked meal.

“Go ahead and eat cooked food, but don’t eat processed food, don’t open a box.”

Lupus Diet Do's and Don'ts – Nutritional Healing For Lupus

Several years ago I was diagnosed with lupus. I could barely get out of bed or walk, had a hard time holding a glass of juice due to joint pain, suffered from all over body muscle aches, endured a constant low grade fever, and itched uncontrollably on my arms with skin rash. I new my life, as I new it, was over. I was petrified.

On my first (and last) visit to the rheumatologist I asked what I could do to support my health or to avoid a worsening my lupus symptoms. She casually responded 'Come back when you 're worse and I'll put you on steroids'. Straining to get some kind of supportive information I mustered up a question about diet and if there were foods I should eat or avoid. Her response was, 'continue to eat whatever you want, it will not make a difference'.

After one more attempt at getting something useful to work with to help myself, I realized I was on my own dealing with lupus. In an internal fit of rage toward her cold, aloof attitude I decided right then and there that I would heal my lupus, (with the added bonus to never endure the presence of that 'specialist' again). I did. I do not have lupus anymore.

As someone who has healed Lupus, I often get asked about the importance of diet. Many people tell me that their doctor also told them diet does not matter. To that I ask you to consider ' does what you eat matter even when you are healthy'? Of course it does, and it's far more important when you're suffering from ill health !!

In fact, diet matters so much that there are many testimonies of others who have completely healed from a lupus diet alone. Other common serious issues diet has been responsible for reversing also include fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, MS, migraines, allergies and asthma to name just a few.

Your diet is a powerful foundation for you to work from to support your health, reduce inflammation and pain, and provide your body with what it needs to begin to heal. (For more information on my story, and other modalities of healing such as supplements and energy medicine in addition to an essential lupus diet, please visit my site listed below).

Below are the top 7 lupus diet do's and lupus diet don'ts you need to know to support your healing.

The 7 Top Lupus Diet Don'ts

  1. Do not drink alcohol, pop (aka soda for those in the US!), Energy drinks, or other 'acidic' non-healthy drinks, including treated or public drinking water facilities.
  2. Do not eat processed foods, or foods with unhealthy preservatives such as MSG (which include most foods in the centre isles of big box food chains).
  3. Do not eat red meat. A little fish such as salmon is great, and chicken. For some even these may trigger flares, so be cognisant of how it makes you feel.
  4. Avoid fatty foods, (such as mono saturated fats, trans-fats, saturated fats, and some polyunsaturated omega 6 fats) found in commonly baked, fried and junk foods.
  5. Avoid the 4 white foods, including salt, sugar, white flour (refined carbohydrates and starches) and dairy.
  6. Avoid spicy foods. Spices are known to trigger flares.
  7. Avoid artificial sweeteners. These are toxic and by many believe it to even induce disease (I agree). There is no viable reason to use this product and they do not help you lose weight.

The 7 Top Lupus Diet Do's

  1. Eat a diet that mostly consists of simple, natural whole foods such as fruits and vegetables in its raw form.
  2. Eat easy to digest foods, such as soaked almonds, soups, fruit / veggie smoothies, and salads based on natural, raw ingredients.
  3. Be sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water throughout the day. This supports the elimination of toxic build up in the body, and a faulty digestive process common with lupus sufferers.
  4. Support your body by supplementing with digestive enzymes and probiotics. Most lupus patients are not absorbing their food and nutrients properly and need extra enzymes to support the healing process.
  5. You must consume enough essential fatty acid (EFA's), or supplement with it. This will support you in reducing inflammation and therefore reducing pain and avoiding flares.
  6. Avoid foods that cause food sensitivities or allergies. You must be tested for this in order to be sure of your bodies specific needs. Some tests do not indicate food sensitivities (such as to sugar, salt, etc.), so keep a journal of your body's reactions to foods.
  7. Eat a varied diet, rich with alkaline, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory foods. Always clean your food well, (including organic foods).

The above lists are the foundational principles your diet for lupus must follow. : Many are On there, : many : other specifics of a lupus diet and nutrition That can and will support your BODY's homeostasis and the healing process.

As you've possibly experienced, your doctor is not going to provide you with a healing regime so you must find your way to learning how to work with your body in a healing crisis. There are many, many answers that will support you in reducing your lupus symptoms, even reversing them altogether. Your diet for lupus should be the first line of defense.

Some of the benefits you will soon experience from a lupus diet include:

  • Reduced inflammation, pain and swelling
  • Decreased muscle pain, tissue damage and strain on organs
  • Significantly increased energy and stamina
  • Increased mobility
  • Reduced body fat
  • Relief of constipation, bloating and irregularities
  • Improved memory and cognitive functioning

… To name just a few!

There is no question what we eat affects how we feel physically, emotionally and spiritually, and how well our immune system functions in order to help us heal. Support yourself with highly nourishing foods that work with your body and immune system, not against it. A car can run on dirty oil only so long before it burns out. Do not let that happen to your body.

The body is better able to heal itself when you eat foods that support the immune system and the healing process, and avoid food that interferes with it.

Remember, healing lupus is possible. Learn how to implement the appropriate diet for lupus, supplements, and other natural modalities that will support the healing process by visiting my site listed below.

Do not Feed That to Baby!

Not all grub that's yummy for mummy is fair game for baby's tummy. Think twice before offering these to your kids.

  • Popcorn – This delightful snack is reposted to be one of the most common choking hazards for kids. Parents must remember not to offer them unless Baby is supervised and over a year old. If given to babies over one year old, choose only the fluffy parts of the popcorn. Avoid the husks and unpopped kernels, which are sharp and can get stuck in the teeth and airway. Opt for plain over caramel or cheese-flavoured versions, because of the high sugar and salt content found in the latter.
  • Cakes with Honey – Honey should not be given to babies under one year old. That's because the Clostridium botulinum spores can germinate in his digestive system and cause infant botulism, a rare but fatal illness. For the same reason, don; t give him cakes or bread baked with honey, because making alone may not totally destroy the spores. However, commercial foods that contain honey (such as baby food and breakfast cereals) are safe for your baby because they've been heated sufficiently to eradicate the spores.
  • Tiramisu – Because of the alcohol in it, babies and toddlers consuming the popular italian cakes. The dessert contains caffeine, which can cause stomach upsets, headaches and increased heart rate.
  • Bird's Nest – Pricy as it may be, bird's nest is and allergenic food that can cause symptoms such as vomiting, rashes and abdominal pains. This is especially so if other family members are allergic to the protein found in it. Only introducing this Chinese delicacy to your child only after he turns one. If your baby is healthy and has no allergy, bird's nest can be consumed in small quantities as a tonic. It can sometimes provide relief for prolonged dry coughs.
  • Ginseng – The doting grandma may want to brew double-boiled ginseng soup for the family, but this is one herb you'll want your baby to steer clear of, unless advised otherwise by a physician. Panax ginseng is unsafe for kids and can cause infant death as a result of intoxication. Some physicians may advice against eating particular types of ginseng when the baby suffers from qi deficiency. But even for healthy babies, long-term consumption is not recommended, as it may bring about early puberty.
  • Pearl Powder – When you were little, your mother may have lured you with the promise of radiant skin as she made you down a vial of it. Truth be told, the preparation of crushed pearls is not a health supplement. It's a mineral that can be difficult for a baby's digestive system to absorb. It should be consumed only under the advice of a physician, and is often reserved for treatment of more serious ailments like spasms or extremely high fevers. Children with G6PD deficiency must steer clear of it.
  • Sashimi – No matter how reputable the restaurant you're dining at is, do not give this to babies under two, even in tiny amounts. In fact, raw food is forbidden territory for young ones because intestinal parasites present in it are nothing to sneeze at.
  • French Fries – Because they are high in saturated fat and loaded with salt, Charlotte frowns upon these for kids. But if Junior will not stop pestering you for is happy meal at a fast food restaurant, you may introduce french fries and other fried foods in moderation after he turns one. This is also the age when you can start using oil while cooking his food.
  • Fizzy Drinks – You may be a fan of soft drinks, but before you empty the remainder of you soda into the sippy cup, think about your baby's health and pearlie whites. The sugar and acidic content may also damage Baby's emerging teeth. Dental concerns aside, carbonated drinks can also ruin your kid's appetite for nutritious foods.
  • Runny Eggs – Crucial for cell growth and tissue repairs, eggs are known to be a wonderful source of protein. They are also rich in cholesterol and choline, which are both essential for brain development in the first three years of life. However, runny eggs should not be given to babies below one because of a risk of salmonella-related food poisoning. Cook the egg thoroughly until it is firm and there's no trace of visible liquid egg. Then have Junior eat it immediately.
  • Ham – You should not add salt or sugar to Baby's food until he turns one, so ham should not be permitted. There's no added nutritional benefit in choosing ham over fresh meat. Besides, introducing flavoured foods (with high salt content) too early would encourage him to develop a preference for salty dishes.
  • Whole Nuts – These should be reserved for when your little one turns two. Otherwise they may pose a choking risk. Nuts need to be chewed well, but a baby's molars are developed only after around 24 months. When Junior is ready for whole nuts, the dietician recommends healthier, unsalted, oven-baked varieties.

A researcher discovered how cavemen cleaned their teeth. It will make you want to brush yours.

The earliest known toothbrushes date back to 3500 B.C., found in Egyptian tombs next to their owners. They’re pieces of stick, really, with frayed ends to whisk away debris. But the fact that the Egyptians thought to pack a toothbrush on their trip to the afterlife hints at one of the most vexing problems throughout human history: How do we get gunk out of our teeth?

Archaeologically speaking, it’s a difficult question to answer. Cavemen dentists were notoriously poor record keepers. And while bones can survive the march of time, biological material like chewed food isn’t as hearty. That makes it hard to know, say, what a cavewoman ate for dinner on a chilly night in northern Spain, or whether she preferred Colgate or Crest.

Karen Hardy may have cracked the mystery, literally, by breaking down calcified plaque from some of the oldest human remains in Europe.

“The dental plaque is a film that covers your teeth and that’s why you have to brush your teeth every day,” she told The Washington Post. “If not, it hardens and becomes calcified. Within about 10 days, it’s attached onto your tooth as this extremely hard material that you can’t get off unless you go to the dentist.”

If you can’t make it to the dentist, you could also have an archaeologist chisel some off your teeth a million years from now.

That’s what Hardy did with a fossil from the Sima del Elefante archaeological site in Atapuerca, a mountainous region in northern Spain.

The site “contains a rich fossil record of the earliest human beings in Europe,” according to UNESCO. The bones provide “an invaluable reserve of information about the physical nature and the way of life of the earlier human communities.”

Researchers also found painted and engraved panels on the cave walls, complete with hunting scenes and animal figures.

But Hardy had a specific goal: She wanted to know what those early humans put in their mouths. Modern technology and a million-year-old mandible helped her find out.

She scraped off some of the calcified plaque, then broke it down to find microscopic evidence of what was preserved inside.

Turns out, a lot. She was able to discern that they ate grass, seeds, other plants and meat — all raw, indicating they didn’t yet use fire to cook. She also found spores, tiny insect fragments and pollen grains — things they inhaled because they likely lived in a forest.

But the most compelling thing were pieces of indigestible wood fibers. Hardy believes they’re from small sticks early humans would jam in their teeth to clean them.

“We all get stuff stuck between our teeth,” she said. “I haven’t done the experiment of eating raw meat, but if you think about all the fibers and the tendons in meat, it would probably be worse with a raw diet.”

Researchers like Hardy have spent a lot of time exploring how people kept their teeth clean throughout history.

People who lived in Sudan 2,000 years ago, for example, chewed purple nutsedge, a bitter weed whose antibacterial properties warded away cavity-causing bacteria, according to National Geographic.

Our oldest ancestors had great teeth, despite the lack of toothbrushes, toothpaste and lies to dentists about daily flossing. But as humans transitioned from hunting and gathering to farming, tooth-decaying bacteria that feast on carbohydrates proliferated in human mouths, according to NPR. The industrial revolution made things worse, pumping sugar and processed flour into our diets.

Our teeth are whiter and straighter than our ancestors’ but also more likely to develop cavities. We’ve also replaced sticks with dental floss, although an Associated Press study recently cast serious doubt on the practice.

Researchers have long suspected that early humans wedged sticks into their teeth to clean them, Hardy said.

Chimpanzees, which are connected to humans via a common ancestor, use sticks and pieces of grass to clean between their teeth.

And ancient fossils of teeth have tiny holes on the sides, called interproximal grooves, that are likely caused by repeated cleanings with sticks.

Hardy insists her findings are from a small data set — the plaque from one fossil.

But her research is able to be replicated because of the hearty nature of the film on our teeth.

“Once it’s there it stays there,” she said. “It’s kind of like a tattoo of biological information — a personal time capsule.”

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