Caries frequency and distribution in an early medieval Avar population from Austria

A. Meinl, G. M. Rottensteiner, C. D. Huber, S. Tangl, G. Watzak, G. Watzek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study was to determine frequency and distribution of dental caries in an early medieval Avar population from Central Europe, namely Vienna. Methods: The evaluation of caries was carried out in an anthropological sample consisting of the remains of 136 individuals and included 2215 permanent teeth. Age and sex estimations were based on dental development and on skeletal ageing methods. The presence of dental caries was determined according to clinical aspects using a dental probe. Results: The frequency of ante mortem tooth loss in the sample was 23.8%; the total caries frequency was calculated as 14.9%. The highest caries rate was recorded in the second mandibular molar (34.6%). The most affected tooth surface was found to be the root with 12.7%, followed by the approximal surface with 8.6%, but only 7.7% of the occlusal surfaces were affected by caries. Conclusion: This study revealed that Avars suffered from higher caries rates than most other medieval European populations, but experienced a similar dental caries distribution. Attrition of the occlusal surface resulting from a diet containing abrasive particles with accompanying posteruptive tooth movement is considered the major factor causing this premodern caries pattern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-116
Number of pages9
JournalOral Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • General Dentistry


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