In our matching blog, “How did Native Americans do Oral Health?” we looked at how Native Americans dealt with oral issues and health. Now let’s take a look at how the Pilgrims approached oral health.
The pilgrims had a much different approach to food because of how they arrived in America and what they needed to do in order to maintain life on the boats and then eventually on foreign lands. This meant that the diet of a Pilgrim was very different than a Native American. They typically stocked their ships with preserved food like salted dried meat, dried fruit and hardtack. All of these foods are terrible for teeth and oral health and only fuel bacteria growth.
Despite the technological advances the Europeans had over the Native Americans, toothbrushes were not one of the shining gems yet. They were not even widely produced by the time the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. Think about that, they can get across a violent sea, but they could figure out to have oral health across the land. The toothbrushes were typically made of a bone handle and the bristles were created from hog’s hair. Toothbrushes were mostly used by upper class. All of these factors added up to very unhealthy oral conditions for the sailors aboard the Mayflower and the early Pilgrims.
Thankfully, a couple of generations later and we all have much better oral practices, access the dental professionals and great tools to help us maintain our oral health. Now, if you have any questions about your oral health call us at 303.627.6212, or visit our website.