The Checkup: Cavemen Had Healthier Teeth Than You, Study Says
• For all the whitening and straightening and professional cleaning we do to our teeth, our ancient ancestors still had healthier teeth than we do, according to a new study. Australian researchers examined DNA preserved in calcified plaque on 34 human skulls from various periods throughout history, from the Stone Age to medieval times to the Industrial Revolution. They found that over the past 7,500 years, oral health has declined as diet has changed. “With the introduction of processed sugar and flour in the Industrial Revolution, we can see a dramatically decreased diversity in our oral bacteria, allowing domination by caries [cavities]-causing strains,” study leader Alan Cooper told HealthDay. More to the point, he said, “The modern mouth basically exists in a permanent disease state.” Blerg! And that, my friend, is some food for thought for the next time you’re in the dentist’s chair.
• Can acupuncture alleviate allergies? Maybe, according to a new study. Although the results are a little muddy (at least some of the allergy-diminishing effects are attributable to the placebo effect), study authors and other experts say acupuncture as an allergy antidote deserves more research. Read more over at TIME.
• 5.8 million have used the morning-after pill at least once, according to a new report. Half say they used it because they feared their other birth-control method had failed and the rest say they used it because they had unprotected sex, USA Today reports.