Dental Pathology, Wear, and Diet in a Hunting and Gathering Forest-Dwelling Group: The Batak People of Palawan Island, The Philippines

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Christy G. Turner II
James F. Eder


Described are observations on Batak foods, tooth use, oral hygiene, and resulting wear and oral pathology in dental casts of 29 Batak ranging from 15 to 49 years of age. Commonly consumed foods are roughly 80 percent plant, and 20 percent animal products. Cooking is common. Eating includes one or two main daily meals with occasional snacking. Cariogenic commercially manufactured flour and sugar are rarely available. Oral hygiene involves “finger-brushing” of anterior teeth with fine sand. The practice is more common in females than in males. Caries are rare in both sexes as is antemortem tooth loss. Tooth chipping is more common in males. Periodontal disease is generally slight and nearly equal in the sexes. Tooth wear is relatively slight but strongly age-related as in many other populations.