How Did Pilgrims Practice Oral Hygiene?

The first Thanksgiving has been depicted through history as a bountiful feast of food grown and hunted by the newly settled pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians. We tend to feel lucky to live in a time of technology and much acquired knowledge, but surely the desire to keep teeth free from bacteria has existed through the annals of time. Your Winnetka dentist, Dr. Fondriest, expands upon how our ancestors may have kept their teeth as clean as possible, given what they had available.

Pilgrim Ingenuity

In those early days after the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock, there were no molded plastics and mass produced dental care items. Pilgrims and Native Americans relied on twigs or bones for the handle of their toothbrushes, and hair (from animals such as hogs) to form the bristles for brushing food particles and plaque buildup off of teeth. Other materials likely used for oral hygiene include yarrow root, herbs, and leaves.

Toothbrushes in Modern Times

After you indulge in our modern Thanksgiving bounty this Thursday, you’ll want to be sure to brush your teeth free of the sugars and complex carbohydrates that are a big part of the traditional Thanksgiving meal. These foods provide sustenance for bacteria to create acid and adhere to teeth, beginning the process of cavities. If you find that brushing your teeth has become a chore, consider asking Santa for an electric toothbrush this year. These types of toothbrushes don’t technically brush your teeth better, but they require so much less effort that many people find reaching the minimum two-minute mark for a brushing session much easier.

Cosmetic Dentistry in Winnetka

If you have succumbed to tooth decay or other issues with your teeth that require cosmetic or restorative procedures, we can help. To schedule a consultation, call our Winnetka dentist office at (847) 234-0517. Dr. Fondriest proudly offers cosmetic dentistry services to patients from Lake Forest and the North Shore suburbs near Chicago, including Winnetka, Highland Park, Northbrook, Northfield, Glenview, Lincolnshire, Deerfield, Lake Bluff, Libertyville, Vernon Hills, Gurnee, Grayslake, and Barrington.