Dentistry as we know it today didn't exist back in the days of the pilgrims. But, that doesn't mean the first American settlers ignored oral hygiene.
Researchers tell us that the Plymouth colonists likely used twig or bone, plus animal hair to fashion a sort of toothbrush.
It's also believed that they used salt to remove the grime from their teeth. Their counterparts, the Wampanoag Indians probably used yarrow root, leaves and twigs to keep their teeth clean.
Actually, though, tooth decay may not have been as problematic back then as it is today. Guests at the first Thanksgiving ate a healthy meal of natural foods, including cranberries, vegetables, deer and other roasted meats, shellfish and corn. There were no pecan and pumpkin pies, no pans of brownies and the many other sugary, decay-causing treats that have become part of our modern Thanksgiving holiday.So, do you pass on that piece of pumpkin pie in the name of dental health? Of course not. But, follow that big meal with a good brushing and flossing. Remember to brush and floss after every meal, and feel free to indulge in treats as you feel the need -- but don't go crazy. Good at-home oral hygiene and a little moderation will keep you giving thanks for a healthy, beautiful smile.
The staff of Wilmette Dental wishes you a most happy and peaceful Thanksgiving.