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A French aristocrat's secret to keeping her teeth

During an excavation at the Chateau de Laval in northwestern France, in 1988, archaeologists made a shocking discovery!

The body of Anne d'Alegre, a 17th-Century French aristocrat, was discovered with almost all her teeth intact, including a dental prosthetic. D'Alegre lived during a time when there was huge pressure on aristocratic women to maintain their appearance, since it was related to value and rank in society. For this reason, she used a controversial technique to keep her teeth from falling out.

The team of archaeologists and dentists found that d'Alegre suffered from periodontal disease that was loosening her teeth, but the most intriguing discovery was a gold wire used to hold several of her teeth together and prevent them from falling out. According to Rozenn Colleter, an archaeologist at the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research, the gold wires would have needed repeated tightening over the years, further destabilizing the neighboring teeth and making her dental condition worse.

A close-up in picture (A) and in radiograph (B) of the skull of Anne d'Alegre, a 17th-century aristocrat. (INRAP/AFP)

Read more about it in this Science Alert article.

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