Ancient dental calculus preserves signatures of biofilm succession and interindividual variation independent of dental pathology



Downloads per month over past year

Velsko, Irina and Semerau, Lena and Inskip, Sarah A. and García Collado, Maite I. and Ziesemer, Kirsten and Serrano Ruber, María and Benítez de Lugo Enrich, Luis and Molero García, Jesús and Gallego Valle, David and Peña Ruiz, Ana Cristina and Salazar García, Domingo Carlos and Hoogland, Menno L.P. (2022) Ancient dental calculus preserves signatures of biofilm succession and interindividual variation independent of dental pathology. PNAS Nexus, 1 (4). pp. 1-14. ISSN 2752-6542

[thumbnail of 2022PNAS Nexus.pdf] PDF
Creative Commons Attribution.


Official URL:


Dental calculus preserves oral microbes, enabling comparative studies of the oral microbiome and health through time. However, small sample sizes and limited dental health metadata have hindered health-focused investigations to date. Here, we investigate the relationship between tobacco pipe smoking and dental calculus microbiomes. Dental calculus from 75 individuals fromthe 19th century Middenbeemster skeletal collection (Netherlands) were analyzed by metagenomics. Demographic and dental health parameters were systematically recorded, including the presence/number of pipe notches. Comparative data sets fromEuropean populations before and after the introduction of tobaccowere also analyzed. Calculus species profileswere comparedwith oral pathology to examine associations between microbiome community, smoking behavior, and oral health status. The Middenbeemster individuals exhibited relatively poor oral health,with a high prevalence of periodontal disease, caries, heavy calculus deposits, and antemortem tooth loss.
No associations between pipe notches and dental pathologies, or microbial species composition,were found. Calculus samples before and after the introduction of tobacco showed highly similar species profiles. Observed interindividual microbiome differences were consistent with previously described variation in human populations from the Upper Paleolithic to the present. Dental calculus may not preserve microbial indicators of health and disease status as distinctly as dental plaque.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ancient DNA, dental calculus, metagenomics, tobacco, smoking.
Subjects:Medical sciences > Biology > Biological anthropology
Medical sciences > Biology > Genetics
Medical sciences > Biology > Microbiology
Humanities > History > Archaeology
ID Code:74341
Deposited On:06 Sep 2022 11:24
Last Modified:07 Sep 2022 08:43

Origin of downloads

Repository Staff Only: item control page