The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

Secular Change in Dental Development in New Mexican Females


1Department of Anthropology and Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, University of New Mexico

Friday Morning, 301E Add to calendar

Recent research has indicated a dramatic acceleration of dental development in 20th century European Americans in Tennessee and Arizona, resulting in developmental stages being reached at earlier calendar ages. In order to determine whether this change in rate is seen in New Mexico, Moorrees’ developmental stages were recorded for mandibular canines, third and fourth premolars, and second molars, as well as maxillary canines and second molars in European American females. The sample consists of two cohorts from the 1970’s (n=87) and 1990’s (n=81) between 5-11 years. Developmental stages with n<5 per cohort or n<10 combined were excluded, and the mean calendar age per tooth development stage was calculated for each cohort.

The average calendar age difference per tooth, for all developmental stages combined, ranges between 2 and 7 months. A paired t-test confirmed that the differences between the two cohorts are significantly different over all 17 developmental stages (p=0.0011). By tooth between cohort, significant differences were seen in the maxillary canine (p=0.0327) and mandibular third premolar (p=0.0200). The only significant difference in development stage across teeth was root 3/4 complete (p=0.0124). Contrary to previous findings, however, the calendar age of the 1990’s cohort is older for 15 of the 17 developmental stages than the 1970’s cohort. This runs counter to the general trend of acceleration in development observed in multiple systems.

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