Cavities 5,300 Years Ago

Published:August 15th, 2011

A reconstruction of the Iceman's face

Ötzi the Iceman, the 5,300 years old mummy found in the Italian Alps, suffered from cavities, Periodontitis, and Gingivitis possibly because of high-carb diet.

Ötzi the Iceman has been one of the most popular dead people in the world after he was discovered by two tourists in September 1991. His body is well preserved even with no classic mummification process. He has been a subject of anthropological and medical study. One of the major findings is his dental problems,

Roger Seiler (Center for Evolutionary Medicine at the University of Zürich, Switzerland), Albert Zink (EURAC Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bolzano), Paul Gostner and Eduard Egarter-Vigl (Bolzano hospital) used the latest CT scan technologies and determined that the Iceman had a complete set of tooth till his death but had might have suffered some pain due to his inflamed ligaments and bones that are connected to the teeth. There is also signs of mechanical trauma or external forces that destroyed his teeth and gums.

More tests will be conducted in the future including examining the content of his stomach to determine his diet and examine his teeth more to determine if there are other bacteria present in his mouth.

Read more about Ötzi the Iceman at

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