Dental Care at the First Thanksgiving

Brushing our teeth is part of our normal, daily routine, but it’s likely that we take its ease and convenience for granted. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, let’s take a look at how the Pilgrims and Native Americans took care of their teeth at the time of the first Thanksgiving in the year 1621 and where toothbrushes originated.

The History of Toothbrushes

The first bristled toothbrush originated in China around 1600 B.C. and was brought to Europe by traders. It was made from Siberian wild boar hairs that were fixed to a bamboo or animal bone handle. For a softer option, horse hair replaced the boar hair. In Europe, it was more customary to use a toothpick made of goose feather, silver, or copper after meals.

When the Pilgrims left England and landed on Plymouth Rock in 1621, they had to invent a new way to care for their teeth. Using what they had around them, the Pilgrims had to forego horsehair bristles and scrape their teeth with bones and feathers to remove plaque from their pearly whites. It’s also likely that the Pilgrims rubbed salt on their teeth as an abrasive cleaner to remove grime and kill bacteria.

Native Americans, on the other hand, took the more natural, earthy route when it came to their dental care. They used various herbs, such as sage and tarragon, to remove plaque from their teeth and freshen their breath. Some tribes were very scientifically advanced and used the cucacua plant to create a paste that they used to clean their teeth. 

Being Thankful for Your Dental Care

The Pilgrims and Native Americans found ways to keep their smiles healthy, but aren’t you thankful that keeping your teeth clean and healthy is a much easier job?

Chicago cosmetic dentist Dr. James Fondriest uses only the most advanced technology and techniques to provide his patients with comprehensive general, restorative, and cosmetic dental care. With a variety of treatments and services, including porcelain veneers, TMJ treatment, gum lifting, teeth whitening, and more, Dr. Fondriest has created beautiful smiles for patients from across Illinois, including the Chicago suburbs of Lake Forest, Northbrook, Winnetka, Deerfield, and Barrington. Give us a call at (847) 234-0517 to reserve your end-of-the-year dental appointment.

As your dental care family, we’re thankful for you and the opportunity to make you smile. The Lake Forest Dental Arts team wish you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving.

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