50,000 years ago, Neanderthals may not have had a dentist to ensure a gleaming smile. But they discovered how plants were used to help relieve aching teeth. DNA analysis of Neanderthal teeth from Belgium and Spain revealed they were using primitive versions of aspirin and penicillin to protect their smile even without a dentist.
– Dental plaque was found to have trapped microscopic pieces of food, which reveal a huge amount about Neanderthal diet and medication
– One Neanderthal who suffered a painful abscess was found to have eaten poplar, which contains the same main active ingredient as aspirin
– Natural antibiotic mold was also found in teeth specimens, a simple form of penicillin
Neanderthals possessed a good knowledge of medicinal plants and their various anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, and seemed to be self-medicating