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A Dental Revolution? The intriguing effects of the profound social and dietary changes of the 18/19th centuries on the masticatory system

Silvester, Christopher Martin; (2021) A Dental Revolution? The intriguing effects of the profound social and dietary changes of the 18/19th centuries on the masticatory system. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Developments in milling technology and an influx of new commodities from the 18th-19th centuries AD transformed the composition of the British diet, foreshadowing the soft hyper-nutritive diets of many 21st century populations. Jaw development is highly plastic and depends on the functional demands placed on the masticatory system, particularly during chewing. A reduction in jaw dimensions and an increase in poor occlusion among modern groups has, therefore, been attributed to the softer diet that emerged during the Industrial Revolution. Consequently, it has been hypothesised that underlying these changes are differences in masticatory behaviour when compared to pre-industrial groups. This thesis aims to test this hypothesis in order to assess whether a dental revolution, a radical transformation in masticatory behaviours, occurred in the Industrial Period. A method of 3D dental wear pattern analysis called Occlusal Fingerprint Analysis (OFA) was utilized to reconstruct masticatory behaviours from the wear facets of the molar teeth. Dental wear facets reflect the pathways of mandibular movement that occur during the chewing cycle. The facet patterns of the lower second molars of individuals from the Industrial period (n=104; 1700-1900AD) were compared to a pre-industrial sample dating to the Mediaeval and Early Post-Mediaeval periods (n=130; 1100-1700AD). Dynamic virtual simulations of the chewing stroke were also undertaken for a subset of individuals from each period (n=32). Significant differences in dental wear facet patterns between the two groups indicated that masticatory behaviours were altered in response to changing dietary composition; there was a shift to a more vertically directed chewing action as foods became softer and more heavily processed during the Industrial era. The research confirms the fundamental role food properties play in shaping mastication and, consequently, addresses the underlying mechanism responsible for the changes in occlusion and jaw morphology that have occurred over the past three centuries.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: A Dental Revolution? The intriguing effects of the profound social and dietary changes of the 18/19th centuries on the masticatory system
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10128291
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