Des Moines Dentist Talks about Oral Hygiene of Pilgrims

Pilgrim HatDo you wax nostalgic about your family history at Thanksgiving? DNA testing and family trees have become popular ways to discover how far back our American lineage might go. Many of us may even have a direct relationship line to a Pilgrim. If you descend from someone who sailed over on the Mayflower (or even just from a historical perspective) you might wonder what life was like for these trailblazers of the past. Des Moines dentist, Dr. Steve Burds, will fill you in on some of the likely oral care habits of our ancestors that enjoyed the very first Thanksgiving.

Using what was Available

Pilgrims did not have the kind of oral hygiene options that we do in this day and age. Obviously, there were no corner drugstores with sales on different toothpastes. They didn’t even have access to baking soda as a homemade tooth abrasive at that time. Choices were much more limited, but innovation led to making the most of what was available. Historical relics have led us to believe that pilgrims did the best they could with hog’s hair that was fastened onto an available twig or bone. Unfortunately, these types of bristles, and limited cleansing products, tended to lead to bacteria growth on the oral hygiene implement.

Modern Toothpaste

American Indians may have led the way for oral hygiene practices amongst the pilgrims. We may rub sage on our turkeys next week, but Native Americans used frayed twigs and sage to scrub their teeth. Modern toothpastes tend to lean towards the minty varieties, though there have been unusual flavor attempts over the years (bourbon and chocolate for example). In the future, we may see a holiday friendly cranberry flavored toothpaste. Research has shown that compounds in the cranberry (prominently featured on most Thanksgiving tables in the form of a tangy sauce) can be isolated and used to eradicate tooth decay.

Visit your Des Moines Dentist

If you are due for a checkup, contact our 50309 dental office by calling (515) 244-9565. Located in the 50309 area, we proudly welcome patients from Des Moines, River Bend, Kirkwood Glen, East Village, and neighboring communities.