This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

Pain, suffering, and your ancestor's teeth

As I prepare myself mentally for a visit to my dentist this morning, I am thinking about how lucky I am to be living now, instead of the time of my ancestors. Going to the dentist is still a pretty miserable experience today, but just having teeth a few generations ago was just horrible.

I won't even begin to think of a world without Novocaine. It was first invented in 1905, and luckily, was in common use by the end of WWII. Before that, well, I don't want to think about it.

As a historian, one of the things that I look at in period movies is teeth. Perfect teeth, like perfect skin, or perfect vision, definitely existed, but it was rare, and didn't last long. Without toothbrushes, or fluoride, or even a steady supply of clean water, nice teeth and skin just couldn't last like it does today. In the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean", the pirate's teeth are a pretty close approximation as to what just about everyone's teeth looked like after a certain age. And I mean after your teen years were over!
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