Dental Analysis of the Prevalence of Caries and Infection in the Ancient Maya of K’Axob, Belize
Harmon, Meghan C.
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Remains of humans recovered in modern and archaeological contexts provide a wealth of information regarding an individual’s life history and that of the society itself in which they lived. Individuals that have been excavated from burials at K’axob, Belize, an ancient Maya site have yielded a skeletal population dating from the Preclassic to Classic periods. Through examination of the dentition of these remains for caries, infection, and wear, this study aims to analyze the prevalence of these dental pathologies and their correlations to one another among other factors. Caries were found to be present in 80 (76.2%) of the 105 individuals and infection was seen in 16 (15.2%) of the individuals. Tooth wear was seen to have not occurred in 13 individuals (12.4%); light wear was seen in 17 (16.2%), moderate in 39 (37.1%), and severe wear occurred in 36 (34.3%) of the 105 individuals. It was found that tooth wear and caries prevalence of individuals were not interconnected, while infection and tooth wear were related with more wear of the teeth resulting in the presence of infection.