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Dental health of Vikings from Kopparsvik on Gotland

Journal article
Authors Carolina Bertilsson
S. Sten
J. Andersson
B. Lundberg
Peter Lingström
Published in International Journal of Osteoarchaeology
ISSN 1047482X
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Odontology
Language en
Keywords caries, dental health, Gotland, Kopparsvik, tooth decay, Viking age
Subject categories Dentistry


The prevalence, distribution, and location of dental caries were studied in complete and partial human dentitions dating from the Viking Age dating (900–1050 AD) excavated in Kopparsvik on island of Gotland, Sweden. 18 individuals and a total of 370 teeth were examined, using a strong light source and dental probe. Carious lesions were found in a large number of the individuals, 14 out of 18. The percentage of teeth affected by caries (11,9%) corresponds well with studied skull materials from the same period. The surface most susceptible to caries was the occlusal surface, whereas only a few proximal lesions and one single carious root surface was found. The tooth most commonly affected by caries was the mandibular first molar. The tooth most commonly missing ante-mortem was also the mandibular molar, and the tooth most commonly missing post mortem was the mandibular incisor. Other findings included apical infections, which were detected clinically in 3% of the teeth. © 2020 The Authors. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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