Geographical and Chronological Differences in Dental Caries in the Neolithic Jomon Period of Japan
Dental caries of Japanese Neolithic Jomon skeletons derived from the thirteen sites was investigated. Results indicated that (1) caries is infrequent in the teeth of the early stage, (2) the teeth affected by caries increased in and after the middle stages, (3) the teeth from shell middens facing the open sea possibly has high degree rate of caries rather than those of inland sea, (4) the teeth in the late and final stages, regardless of the locations, had a certain measure of caries. From these results one may say that the incidences of dental caries in Jomon skeletons differ according to geographical and/or chronological circumstances. Perhaps, these incidences mainly reflect various dietary differentiation of this period. Furthermore, it is inferred that the high rate of dental caries in the Jomon population (8.2%) supports the theory that they relied heavily upon plant foods as a major source of nutrition.