The conclusion follows a comprehensive review of records of the frequencies of dental cavities in both prehistoric and living human populations from research done around the world. A driving factor was dramatic changes in female-specific hormones, reports John R. Lukacs, a professor of anthropology who specializes in dental, skeletal and nutritional issues.
His conclusions are outlined in the October issue of Current Anthropology. The study examined the frequency of dental caries (cavities) by sex to show that women typically experience poorer dental health than men. Among research reviewed were studies previously done by Lukacs. Two clinical dental studies published this year (one done in the Philippines, the other in Guatemala) and cited in the paper, Lukacs said, point to the same conclusions and "may provide the mechanism through which the biological differences are mediated."
A change in food production by agrarian societies has been associated with an increase in cavities. Anthropologists have attributed men-women differences to behavioral factors, including a sexual division of labor and dietary preferences. However, Lukacs said, clinical and epidemiological literature from varied ecological and cultural settings reveals a clear picture of the impacts on women's oral health.
"The role of female-specific factors has been denied by anthropologists, yet they attain considerable importance in the model proposed here, because the adoption of agriculture is associated with increased sedentism and fertility," Lukacs said. "I argue that the rise of agriculture increased demands on women’s reproductive systems, contributing to an increase in fertility that intensified the negative impact of dietary change on women’s oral health. The combined impacts of increased fertility, dietary changes and division of labor during the move into agricultural societies contributed to the widespread gender differential observed in dental caries rates today."
Lukacs' meta-analysis looked at both prehistoric anthropological and modern health records. He repeatedly found that increases in cavities go in favor of women in adulthood. Lukacs' review found that women’s higher rates of cavities are influenced by three main changes:
• Female sex hormones. Citing his own research published in 2006, he notes that these hormones and associated physiological factors can significantly impact cavity formation. A study on animals published in 1954 found that female estrogens, but not male androgens, were correlated to cavity rates. He argues for a cumulative effect of estrogens, including fluctuations at puberty and high levels during pregnancy that both promote cavities and dietary changes.
• The biochemical composition and flow rate of saliva. Women produce less saliva than do men, reducing the removal of food residue from the teeth, and that during pregnancies the chemical composition changes, reducing saliva's antimicrobial capacity.
• Food cravings, immune response and aversions during pregnancy. Lukacs points to findings that women crave high-energy, sweet foods during the third trimester, as well as an aversion to meat in first trimesters.
How the factors combine to contribute to higher risk of cavities in women as they age is not fully documented or understood, he wrote. "However, if hormonal and physiological factors work in an independent or additive manner, their impact on women's oral health could be significant. The fact that women's caries experience increases with age at a greater rate than men's in diverse ethnic groups from different ecological and cultural settings supports this interpretation."
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, American Institute of Indian Studies, American Philosophical Society, L.S.B. Leakey Foundation, National Geographic Society, National Science Foundation and Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research supported the project.About the University of Oregon
Source: John R. Lukacs, professor of anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences, 541-346-5112, email@example.com
Links: Lukacs faculty page: http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~jrlukacs/Dr.%20John%20R.%20Lukacs%20Website/index.html; department of anthropology: http://www.uoregon.edu/~anthro/; College of Arts and Sciences: http://cas.uoregon.edu
Jim Barlow | Newswise Science News
Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
On track to heal leukaemia
18.01.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
19.01.2017 | Life Sciences
19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy