The next event will take place on Thursday 16 December 2021 from 18.30. This will be a ‘hybrid’ event, taking place both at the museum and online—the talk will be given live in the Café and will also be broadcast on Zoom. When you book free tickets, you will be able to choose which version of the event you would like to attend.
STORIES FROM THE TOOTH FAIRY
Dr Julia Beaumont
‘You are what you eat’ is actually true: when your body is building new teeth and bones, the proteins in your food are used to make the collagen scaffold that the hard tissue is built upon. Your teeth retain the information about the diet you ate as a child and adolescent. This means that we can sample the teeth in the direction of growth and reconstruct a dietary history for you using the elements of carbon and nitrogen from the protein.
This novel technique, developed in Bradford, has allowed us to identify people in past populations whose diet has changed, for example to see the effects on children who died during the 19th-century Great Irish Famine. The newest application of this technique has been to modern children in Bradford who have donated their milk teeth—with the potential to reveal the impacts of maternal diet, smoking, premature birth and birthweight.
Julia Beaumont practised as a dentist and orthodontist in Lancashire for 30 years before studying Archaeological Sciences at the University of Bradford. She was a lecturer in Biological Anthropology at Bradford for five years and is still working as a Research Fellow on populations from the medieval pandemic, the Black Death, and children from modern Bradford. In her spare time she helps to entertain her growing crop of grandchildren.