3.1 Early findings
Anthropologic studies show that pre-European contact, the Thule culture was largely, if not completely, caries free. Mayhall (Mayhall 1977) reports that an examination of 301 skulls from the 900-1650 AD, revealed just two dental cavities. Among the more modern studies of Inuit, Ritchie (Ritchie 1923) working with the Canadian Arctic Expedition of 1913-28 found no cavities among 34 skulls. Even up to the later contact period (1938), McEuen (McEuen 1938) found only 7 lesions among 6 individuals out of a population of 82 he examined in Pangnirtung.
More recent surveys (Nutrition Canada 1977) (Zammit 1994 ) (Leake 1992) (Health Canada 2000) show that the prevalence of the disease, at the end of the last century, was extremely high - over 93% of school-aged children had experienced dental decay. The epidemic of dental caries has been attributed to the introduction of more refined carbohydrates, especially sugar, into the traditional diet of the Inuit. The increase in the prevalence and severity of the disease had been sufficiently rapid that Mayhall (Mayhall 1975) was able to demonstrate a 66% increase in the severity over just a four-year period in two communities in the northern Keewatin District."
Inuit Oral Health Survey Report 2008-2009: