5.4 Pathologies and diagenesis

No clear relationship was observed between the occurrence of caries and calculus and post-mortem bioerosion. However, both attrition and severe carious lesions in the enamel will expose the dentine to different agents of decay. Observations within one tooth suggest that bacteria may take advantage of less mineralised inter-globular dentine (Figure 22). We know that bacteria will exploit planes of weakness and less mineralised areas; thus it is to be expected that some pathologies leave teeth more vulnerable to diagenesis.

Caries lesions can be confidently identified if there is a reaction in the dentine directly underneath (Poole and Tratman 1978), as seen in Figures 45, 49 and 50, whereas superficial surface lesions, as illustrated in Figures 26 and 50, may not be easily distinguishable from diagenetic etching.