Recent investigations into the teeth of a Neanderthal skeleton have suggested that Neanderthals knew about medicinal substances. What is revealed by the smile of the Neanderthal?

Analysing the plaque on the Neanderthal’s teeth, scientists have found:

– Traces of poplar, which the Neanderthal man had been chewing

– Traces of antibacterial mould

– A painful dental abscess

Poplar contains the same active ingredient as aspirin, whilst the antibacterial mould discovered within the Neanderthal’s mouth contains the same substance (penicillium) which is used in penicillin. Thus, it appears that this prehistoric patient knew how to self-medicate to relieve the pain and infection associated with their dental abscess.

As this article explains in more detail, this Neanderthal may well have acted as his own dentist – or maybe even gone to a special rudimentary dentist for treatment.

Dr. Matthew Thomas BDS Wales (1996)

Dr. Thomas was born and brought up in Bridgend. He attended the University of Wales College of Medicine and Dentistry, qualified in 1996, and pursued dental VT training in LlantwitVardre 1996-97. Dr. Thomas held associate positions in Rhondda Valley. In 1999, he purchased Marlborough Dental Practice.

Dr. Thomas is interested in all aspects of dentistry including clear orthodontics (he is qualified to fit Invisalign, Inman, Six Month Smiles, Cfast, SmileTru) and dental implants.

He was a keen rugby player for local clubs in Bridgend and Cardiff Meds where he was Captain for two seasons. He also was a keen sportsperson playing county tennis, football, swimming, cycling, running, judo (until his knees fell apart and needed reconstructions!).

Now, Dr. Thomas rides his mountain bike regularly, and occasionally a road bike, plus he skis and enjoys time with his family, including two daughters and two dogs.