You’re familiar with the Roman city of Pompeii, right? You know – the one that was obliterated by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. It was buried under tons and tons of volcanic ash and lost for well over a thousand years, which sealed in a lot of great archeological evidence about how ancient Romans lived.
The bodies of the citizens of Pompeii were mostly preserved by the volcanic ash, which has also allowed us to discover some interesting dental history as well: most of them has absolutely wonderful teeth! How does this reflect on those of us living in Oregon City, you ask? It’s all about the reasons they had great teeth: fluoride and a sugar-free diet.
The Secret To Pompeii’s Great Oral health
The volcano that did everyone in was also the secret to the great oral health the citizens had. The volcano deposited a whole bunch of fluorine into the ground water and had similar effects to the fluoride that we add to many water systems today.
Fluorine is the naturally occurring cousin of fluoride, and has the same great health benefits for your teeth. The enamel that covers the surface of your teeth is made up mostly of a calcium-based mineral, and once it’s damaged or worn away it can’t be regenerated. Fluoride has the ability to bind to your teeth and remineralize them, which is why it’s so essential for your dental health.
That’s not the only reason that Pompeians had such success with their teeth – they also didn’t eat any added sugar. Sure, there were some sugars in the grains and fruit they ate, but between the lower levels and the steady dose of fluoride they were in a great position to have healthy teeth without much effort.
Why Fluoride Is Important
Your teeth are constantly being damaged by plaque bacteria and the acids they create when they metabolize sugar. Those acids wear away your enamel, eventually causing cavities that can completely destroy teeth. While it’s possible to fill teeth to restore their health it’s much easier to simply never get one in the first place!
Fluoride is the best possible way to keep your teeth healthy over long periods of time. If you get a regular dose of fluoride you can be protecting your teeth by rebuilding damaged enamel, which is a guarantee even if you stay away from sugary foods.
Is Fluoride Safe?
There are a lot of rumors floating around about the dangers of fluoride, and while it’s potentially toxic in large amounts it’s totally safe in the way we deliver it nowadays.
Studies that claim to show a link between fluoride and mental handicaps in young children are also not applicable to life in the United States – the few studies that have found a link come from parts of the world where the natural fluoride levels were far higher than a safe level.
The amount of fluoride you should get daily to protect your teeth is only about .7 milligrams per liter of water. You would need to drink around ten gallons of water to even start getting a stomach ache from it at that level!
How To Care For Your Teeth Like A Roman
You’re never going to be able to give up brushing and flossing if you want your smile to be healthy, but there are some tips you can take away from the citizens of Pompeii if you want to keep your smile in good shape.
- Get enough fluoride every day. Oregon City doesn’t have fluoridated water, so if you live around here you’re going to have to get your dose elsewhere. Be sure your toothpaste contains fluoride so you can be sure you’re getting enough.
- Try to eliminate as much added sugar from your diet as you can. The Romans didn’t have access to sugar at all, and that was a big reason why their teeth were so healthy.
- Make sure you’re drinking enough water, and not other things like soda. Water helps your body produce saliva, which is an important part of good oral health. Without adequate saliva levels your mouth is quickly overrun by oral bacteria.
The Last Crucial Step
The profession of dentistry in ancient Rome was nothing like it is today, so we can’t really give you an ancient Roman take on that. What we can do is tell you that our modern lifestyles are different enough to require regular trips to the dentist for an exam and cleaning. Regular care is a fundamental part of a healthy smile, so don’t neglect it if you want to sport a healthy set of teeth!
If you want to be sure your smile is as bright as a Roman’s then be sure you schedule an appointment at Pioneer Dental Group today. You can reach us by calling 503-388-4691 or you can request an appointment online. We look forward to seeing you soon!