How Did the Pilgrims Take Care of Their Teeth?

Thanksgiving is a time we eat lots of delicious food, give thanks for who and what we have, and spend time with family and friends. Although the Thanksgiving tradition has not changed much since the time of the Pilgrims and Native Americans, dental care has changed tremendously.

Native Americans had many more resources than the pilgrims traveling on the Mayflower. Native Americans had a healthier diet due to living off the land and gathering nuts and berries, hunting and planting crops such as corn. The pilgrims however had to have food that would not rot such as dried meats, grains, beans, beer, and lots of hardtack (similar to a biscuit made of only flour, salt and water). This diet made the pilgrims dental health very poor.

Since toothbrushes were not introduced into the US until 1885, they both had to use items of the land to clean their teeth. Both the pilgrims and the Native Americans used things such as animal hair tied to a twig, needles from a pine tree, or animal bones as toothbrushes or floss. The Native Americans did however have an advantage and used herbs like sage, tarragon or the cucacua plant to make their version of toothpaste. While the pilgrims also used similar things their diet was not as balanced as the Native Americans therefore they had more complicated oral health issues.

This thanksgiving Magic Smiles Dental and our family will give thanks for the technology that has evolved in dental and oral health. We are thankful for the toothbrushes that come in so many different colors, shapes and sizes, the toothpaste that has evolved from a yucky paste to the much more pleasant variety of flavors we now have and helps keep our mouth clean and breath fresh and the dentist whom went to school for years to help us keep our smiles nice and beautiful.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Magic Smiles Dental family to yours! Remember to brush and floss after you eat your Thanksgiving meal!