Your teeth can tell the story of your life

Hyperaxion Mar 29, 2020

Analysis of the layer found at the root of the teeth reveals signs of important events in a person’s life, such as pregnancy and illness.

If you want to learn about important events in a person’s life, you can analyze their teeth. At least, this is what a study published on Nature indicates.

Researchers discovered this by analyzing the mineralized tissue that covers the surface of the root of the teeth, called “cementum”. This tissue is covered by a new layer every year (approximately); thus, it is possible to get an idea of a person’s life by examining each of the layers that cover the roots of their teeth, like the rings on a tree trunk.

In the experiment, scientists analyzed 47 teeth of 15 people with a known life and medical history. Due to the structure of the cementum in the samples, the scientists were able to accurately identify many events in the lives of the people involved.

“These rings are a faithful archive of an individual’s physiological experiences and stressors from pregnancies and illnesses to incarcerations and menopause that all leave a distinctive permanent mark,” says Paola Cerrito, a researcher at the Department of Anthropology of the NYU College of Dentistry, in a statement.

Scientists analyzed the marks on the cementum of 47 teeth; the discoveries could be valuable for fields such as anthropology and archeology. (Credit: Paola Cerrito).

In addition to the analysis having successfully identified which women have gone through pregnancy and menopause, all samples of men showed unexpected changes in their 20s. Scientists believe that this is due to the change in testosterone levels that usually occurs at this age.

Although the experiments still need to be improved for the analysis to provide a more reliable identification of the events in someone’s life, scientists believe that this methodology could be very valuable to areas of study such as archeology and anthropology. “Our results make it clear that the skeleton is not static, but dynamic,” says Cerrito.

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