Thanksgiving is fast approaching and while others are thinking about what great foods will fill our bellies; we as dental professionals ponder things such as "how did Native Americans and Pilgrims keep their mouths healthy?" or "how did they get all of the turkey out from between their teeth?" and "who had healthier teeth, Native Americans or Pilgrims?"
Such important questions have puzzled philosophers for years.
So, lets think about this objectively.
Native Americans had a very healthy diet that consisted of fruits and veggies, nuts, wild game and fish, foods high in fiber, and only natural sugars. They had access to clean drinkable water and used twigs with splayed bristles to chew on after meals. All in all not too bad.
Pilgrims on the other hand had access to dried fruits; which have a different type of sugar compound, salted meats and fish, highly acidic pickled foods, and processed wheat. Also, Pilgrims were traveling on ships for extended periods of time without access to fresh clean water. They knew that distilling the water into other drinks actually killed the bacteria in the water. So wine and beer, were in abundance; which makes for a more enjoyable cruise but can be detrimental to the teeth. Both wine and beer are very acidic and wine has a high sugar content which leads to enamel erosion and tooth decay. Another way that Pilgrims knew to stay healthy was to drink lime and lemon juice to prevent scurvy, which is a great idea, but its not part of a optimal dental diet. Pilgrims also lived in such close cramped quarters that bacteria, illnesses and infections were running rampant.
On that note.....who has a healthier more kissable mouth..........Drum Roll....
Native Americans hands down!
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at New England Dental Associates!