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Nutsedge: This Dirty Little Weed May Have Cleaned Up Ancient Teeth


Story at-a-glance -

  • Ancient populations often munched on purple nutsedge, a grass-like weed that produces antibacterial compounds and might have helped prevent tooth decay
  • Shifts in diet from the hunter-gatherer age to farming led to detrimental shifts in oral bacteria, such that cavity-causing bacteria eventually became dominant
  • Chewing sticks, which come from trees with antimicrobial properties, have been used since ancient times as “natural toothbrushes”
  • Chewing sticks from the neem tree had the most antimicrobial activity, including against cavity-causing Streptococcus mutans, in one study
  • Oil pulling also reduces counts of Streptococcus mutans bacteria – a significant contributor to tooth decay – in plaque and saliva

By Dr. Mercola

Plaque that gets stuck below your gum line can calcify in a matter of weeks, leading to an extremely hard substance that can last for thousands of years, especially among prehistoric people who had no access to a dentist.

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