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Did Ancient Americans Have Dental Problems?

Did Ancient Americans Have Dental Problems?

WE TEND TO IMAGINE that people from earlier eras must’ve had worse teeth than we do because they didn’t have things like modern dentistry, orthodontics, and root canal treatment, but what dental problems were they dealing with and how did they protect their teeth?

Gum Disease Through History

We have evidence that ancient Native Americans — specifically the Manitou cliff dwellers near modern Colorado Springs — sometimes got tooth decay and gum disease, because we can see the damage to their teeth and jaws in remains found in the area.

The ancient cliff dwellers ate a diet of corn (maize), beans, squash, fish, and fresh fruits and nuts. Such a high-fiber diet is great for dental health because harmful oral bacteria needs sugar and starch to multiply but high-fiber foods help keep our teeth clean as we eat them.

Dental Hygiene Before Modern Toothbrushes

Aside from their diet being a mostly healthy one for their teeth and gums, they used chewsticks to clean their teeth and chewed fresh herbs like mint, cucacua, and sage to keep their breath fresh. Chewsticks were twigs with a pointy end that could act as a toothpick and the other end was frayed and worked kind of like a toothbrush.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Linda Clague
5/5

Alex, . Morgan, and Dr Geo are very personable and professional. I felt very relaxed the entire visit.I especially appreciated Dr. Geo's careful mouth and teeth exam. They explained everything step by step and allowed time for questions.

Mclatt
5/5

On my first visit I meet Becky, we sat down and talked about everything they do there and she allowed me to tell her about my issues with my teeth and she felt that they could help me with my problem. This is the first time I have ever been able to explain, in detail, about my past and present experiences with my dental problems. She made me feel very comfortable in taking about my care and what I would like to have done with my denture issue's. I have set up my next appointment to have x-rays done and feel very good about that! I'm looking forward to my visit and what they have to say about fixing my problem .

Dolly Kite
5/5

My dad had the appt there at the office for a broken tooth. They worked him in and made the experience as pleasant as possible for an 86 year old man. I appreciate the care, understanding and patience for him. Great visit! Great Doctor!!

beverly morris
5/5

I go to smiles for life I can't thank them enough for there kindness and caring I really like Dr Geo there all awesome but he's my favorite ♥️ they are all very friendly and make you feel very comfortable just like one big Happy family

Lynn Reedy
5/5

The best staff !! The most friendly staff of any dentist office I have ever been too. Dr Geo is the best. Super friendly. Recommend this dentist office to any one especially if you have a fear of dentist (as I myself ).

Warren Wise
5/5

Just had my first visit with Dr. Whiting at Smiles for Life in Bridgewater. My welcome to the office was warm and inviting. The dental assistant was professional, proficient, and very gentle. Dr.Whiting is very good at explaining problems he saw with my teeth and outline options for addressing those problems.

Jennifer Harper
5/5

Cathy Batton is an amazing hygienist and is so gentle but very thorough. She is very kind, and I am always happy to see her when I go to the dentist! She makes going to the dentist more fun!

Sandy Miller
5/5

I love Cathy!! She does a great job and is always very personable and professional. Give her a raise!! 😊 Everyone at Smiles for Life is great! If you’re looking for a dentist, I would highly recommend them.

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