Reno Dentists Describe How the Pilgrims Brushed Their Teeth

Thanksgiving is a great time of year for families to gather together and appreciate the history of their lineage. With the use of family trees and new DNA analysis, any one of us can find out how far back our family goes. You might actually be related to one of the pilgrims that feasted on the very first Thanksgiving holiday. How do you think those ancestors might have cared for their dental health? Your Reno dentists, Dr. William Wager and Dr. Brian Evans, describe how pilgrims did their best to maintain oral hygiene.

Reduced Dental Care Options

Most of us don’t think twice about the options we have in our dental care. Not only are there many dentists to choose from within a reasonable car drive from your work or home, but you can walk into the nearest drug store or grocery store and choose from a wide variety of oral hygiene products. How do you think your teeth would look if you hadn’t been using a toothbrush, floss, and fluoridated toothpaste your entire life? If 80% of the current American population has some form of gum disease, it’s safe to guess that the number was quite a bit higher on the Mayflower.

How Did Pilgrims Brush Their Teeth?

One of the substances being used as an abrasive for cleaning teeth in the days of the pilgrims was salt. Toothbrushes were likely made from hog’s hair fastened onto a twig or bone. American Indians relied on frayed sticks, and leaves such as sage, to scrub their teeth. Sage toothpaste sounds like a particularly fitting Thanksgiving-time tooth cleaner. Though it’s hard to imagine having clean and healthy teeth without modern oral health products, our ancestors had a distinct advantage in terms of not being exposed to as many highly processed foods that are full of sugar and complex-carbohydrates. A higher consumption of naturally grown fruits and vegetables doubtlessly helped in terms of strong tooth enamel and reduced plaque.

Modern Dental Health in Reno

Taking a cue from the pilgrim’s plant-based consumption is not a bad idea, but modern dental technology allows us to have much healthier teeth than our ancestors, overall. Don’t forget to keep up with your dental checkups, especially during the holidays. To arrange an appointment, feel free to contact our Reno dentist office at 775-829-7700. We are proud to provide comprehensive dentistry to patients in the 89502 zip code, and surrounding neighborhoods.