737 N. Michigan Ave. Suite 1330 | Chicago, IL 60611 | 312-266-8198

How Native Americans Cared for Their Teeth before the First Thanksgiving

November 15, 2018

jzEzjkl.jpg

The toothbrush was first invented and popularized in Europe, so how did Native Americans care for their teeth before being introduced to the toothbrush? 

Healthy Dietary Practices

The Native Americans were expert hunters and gatherers, and were able to survive completely off of the land. Their diet consisted mostly of corn (maize), beans, squash, fish and game. They would eat this food largely unaltered by spices that were more prominent in Europe. They also ate a lot of fresh fruit and nuts, which help to keep plaque off of teeth! Because of their fresh diet that was high in fiber, Native Americans had surprisingly well-maintained teeth and gums.  

Natural Toothcare Techniques

Native Americans cleaned their teeth by using chewsticks and chewing on fresh herbs to cleanse their teeth and gums. Chewsticks were twigs that had two uses: one end was frayed by a rock and used for brushing, while the other end was sharpened and used as a tooth pick. Native Americans would chew on the frayed end to clean debris from their teeth.  

In addition to chewsticks, early Native Americans would also chew on pine needles to clean debris from their teeth. They also chewed fresh herbs like sage, cucacua and mint to freshen their breath. 

Plenty of Water

Native Americans drank a lot of water before the Spanish arrived in North America. Water is the perfect drink for a healthy mouth because it cleans teeth of food debris, which prevents acid attacks on tooth enamel and keeps cavities at bay. Furthermore, water makes up 99% of saliva, and the mouth uses saliva to clean teeth and maintain a healthy ph balance.  

Keep Thanksgiving Mouth-Healthy

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to gather with your family and eat incredible food, and watch a lot of football. But, you can learn a mouth-health lesson from the original Native Americans: you can improve your thanksgiving meal by adding fibrous fruits and vegetables, which clean teeth as they’re consumed.  

From our office to your family, have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving! 

Recent Blog Posts

should_children_whiten.jpg

Should Children Use Whitening Products?

October 1, 2020

As adults, we often wish our teeth could be as white as they were when we were small children. Baby teeth have thinner and whiter enamel than adult teeth, and those brilliant smiles are a result! But occasionally, you may be surprised to discover some staining or discoloration on those lovely first teeth. You might…
Continue Reading

woman-using-mouthwash_18414826.jpg

Which type of mouthwash is best?

September 17, 2020

Taking care of your oral health involves a daily regimen of brushing, flossing, and rinsing to prevent tooth decay and bacterial infections. Though you may have asked us which toothbrush to use, few patients ask about mouthwash. However, different mouthwashes you might choose will have varying effects on your oral health. So which type is…
Continue Reading

pedo-baby-surprised.jpg

Can my child really avoid tooth decay?

August 31, 2020

Great question! Yes, in fact, tooth decay is preventable! Decay, which is caused by sugars left in your child’s mouth, can turn into an acid, which in turn can break down his or her teeth. Children are at high risk for tooth decay for a simple reason: many children and adolescents tend to be lax…
Continue Reading

Back to Top