Objectives: Prevalence and distribution of dental caries in medieval Korean society were evaluated.
Materials and methods: Two thousand and nine hundred teeth samples of 126 individuals collected from 16th to 18th century Korean tombs.
Results: Preservation status of sample was good. The prevalence of ante- and postmortem tooth loss was 4.4% and 14.2%, respectively. The total caries prevalence was 3.9%. The tooth surface most frequently affected by dental caries was occlusal (4.5%), followed by approximal (2.1%), buccal (1.5%), and lingual (1.1%) surfaces.
Discussion: The prevalence of dental caries in Joseon Dynasty skeleton collection was lower than have been found in other collections of similar chronology. The low consumption of refined sugar in medieval Korean society might be a possible explanation, though the technical limitations inherent in such comparison studies preclude definitive conclusions.
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