September 1, 2018

Cartoon pirate smiling with missing tooth due to tooth decaySeptember 19th is National Talk Like a Pirate Day, which means it’s the ideal time to delve into the history of pirate lore and look at the facts and fictions we believe today. Many people believe that tooth decay was rampant among pirates but that the members of the British and Spanish navies, as well as the aristocracy of the time, was better cared for. The fact is, during the early days of the colonization of the New World, there was rampant tooth problems all around.

Sugar Brings Tooth Problems to Europe

Before white sugar from sugar cane became the sweetener of choice across Europe, most people on the continent used honey as a primary sweetener. While honey has a lot of sugars in it, the fruit sugars in honey are not as hard on the teeth as the sugar types found in white sugar. Honey also has many natural antibiotics that discourage the microorganisms that feed on sugar. As soon as white sugar became a hit in Europe, people of all social classes found a new wave of tooth decay was affecting the continent.

Special Pirate Problems

That doesn’t mean pirates had great teeth! While decay was a problem everyone faced, pirates often had receding gums and missing teeth from other problems they faced from their lifestyle:

  • Receding gums from alcohol use and vitamin deficiencies
  • Weaker bones and teeth from calcium deficiencies
  • Gum disease brought on by lack of oral care and general hygiene
  • Lack of access to dentistry to address these problems

All these factors made dentures a common sight on pirate ships for sure!

Protect Your Smile, Pirate

If you’re trying to keep your smile looking great, then you need to follow up with prevention and care. That means cleanings from your dentist in Fishers, IN, Dr. Jeremy Jones, twice a year to keep you informed about your oral health. Contact our office today to make an appointment, and make sure your entire family of pirates sees the dentist.



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