Modern-day British people have more tooth loss and decay than British people from as far back as the 17th century, according to a study covered by the U.K. newspaper Daily Mail.
The researchers from Queen Mary University in London examined the teeth of 224 adult skulls from the 17th century and compared them to the teeth of 2,013 current Londoners. On average, the 17th century skulls had nine missing or rotting teeth, compared with 13.5 in the modern-day Londoner.
"'Despite the lack of dental care in postmedieval times, the sampled population experienced less decay than the modern-day sample," study co-author Joseph Smith, DDS, is quoted in the article.
The researchers speculated that the increased consumption of sugar in the U.K. over the past 300 years (from roughly 1.8 kg to 23 kg per person) played a major role in the worsening teeth condition in this population.