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Institute of Archaeology

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Marie Kvicalova

Marie Kvicalova

Age-related differences in dental caries between men and women: social and biological factors

Marie Kvicalova

Email: marie.kvicalova.13@ucl.ac.uk

Section: Archaeological Sciences

Supervisors:

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Age-related differences in dental caries between men and women: social and biological factors

Dental caries is a very common and frequent pathology that has accompanied humanity for tens of thousands of years. Frequently associated with the consumption of carbohydrates their presence has been employed to establish past diets. Many anthropological reports and studies in the past several decades have revealed re-occurring differences in the prevalence of dental caries between men and women; Women are often said to exhibit higher frequency and prevalence of the pathology. This variation has long been explained as an example of social differences in diet and eating habits between the sexes, however, more recently a new research has suggested that female physiology is directly linked with caries initiation and propagation. If true, anthropological methods based on dental caries need to be revised and possibly a new approach to female oral care in modern dentistry should be suggested. However, most of these studies and reports have not accounted for the role of age on the propagation of dental caries. Age has been shown to have a significant impact on tooth decay and ignoring it skews data and information.

It is crucial to conduct rigorous analysis of large datasets with various dietary and social patterns to understand whether there really are such frequent sexual differences to warrant this debate. To do so both modern clinical data as well as the sexual difference in archaeological assemblages must be explored. This project will analyse data from existing literature where age division has been used and by primary data collection from three distinct collections, which represent a different time period so that various diet, social structures, and teeth wear can be accounted for. The aim of this research is to answer whether there are and have been significant sexual differences in dental caries and if so whether social structure or physiology is the main underlying factor.

Funding

LAHP (AHRC)

Education

  • BASc, Cultures, UCL, 2016
  • MSc, Bioarchaeology and Forensic Anthropology, UCL, 2017
    Conference papers

    Poster presentation at AAPA 2018 - The effects of sub-zero environments on blunt-force trauma in a bone