To us, one of the scariest things about pirates has got to be their teeth! Never mind the plundering and pillaging, you can smell their rotting gums from a mile away! In honor of “International Speak Like a Pirate Day”, Kids Healthy Teeth thought we would share why pirates have such an awful reputation for their chompers. Plus, the reasons might also give us some helpful insight on how to care for our own oral health.
Scurvy was a serious problem.
Scurvy is a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency. Not only can it cause bruising, weakness, and fatigue, it can also lead to receding, swollen gums and loose teeth. When pirates sailed the high seas, they often didn’t have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. They often dined only on dried meats and fish. This unbalanced diet led them to be malnourished and have bad dental health. So the next time you go on a road trip, remember to pack some fresh fruits and vegetables along! A couple of oranges can go a long way!
They didn’t brush their teeth.
The modern toothbrush wasn’t invented until 1938. Before then, pirate rarely thought to clean their teeth. If they did, it would have been with a “chew stick” which was a much less effective bootleg version of a toothbrush. Without proper brushes and toothpaste, pirates couldn’t scrub away harmful plaque and bacteria, so they were often afflicted with cavities and gum disease. Today we have many tooth-brushing options. At Kids Healthy Teeth, we recommend soft-bristled brushes made to fit the size of your particular mouth. Brushing for at least two minutes, twice a day can help keep your teeth squeaky clean.
Cavities were left untreated.
It’s difficult to make dental hygiene a priority when you’re sailing the ocean and scavenging for treasure! Modern technology has made an enormous difference in early cavity detection for us. Pirates, on the other hand, would have had to rely on pain as a signal that something’s wrong with their teeth. When a cavity is severely hurting, however, the tooth decay has probably become so severe that both enamel and dentin have been worn away, leaving sensitive nerves exposed. At this point, it can be difficult to repair the damage. Although we may not be able to enjoy the freedom and lawlessness that pirates, we’re pretty thankful that regular dental visits can keep harmful bacteria at bay.
There were no real dentists!
Back then, anyone could practice dentistry. A pirate “dentist” may as well have also served as the ship’s cook, boatswain or master gunner. And while they may have had good intentions, their skills didn’t even come close to those of the modern-day dentist! Dentists and dental specialists like pediatric dentists have undergone years of intensive education and training, so they can do the best job possible with every single patient. We love what we do, and we’re dedicated to providing the best dental care possible in a caring and comfortable environment. Pirates may not have had access to professional dental care, but you definitely have a pediatric dentist here at Kids Healthy Teeth. So you have no excuses not to come see us!
We hope to see you soon, matey!