According to Hollywood, pirates were fun party animals who careened from one adventure to the next. The truth is that most pirates were desperate criminals who had to lay low from the law, were almost always broke unless they were fresh off a successful plundering voyage, and were often in terrible health.
Pirates drank heavily and used tobacco. Alcohol and tobacco can lead to any number of dental and health problems. They also didn’t practice good oral hygiene. The closest they came to brushing was using a “chew stick’ to clean their teeth which, while better than nothing, wasn’t much better. Since they were at a sea for months at a time, they had no access to healthcare. When they were on land, their money went to having a good time, not to see a doctor. If a pirate developed a toothache, chances were, they just had it pulled.
Pirates also had terrible diets. They could only get fresh fruits and vegetables by stealing or trading for them. This caused problems for their teeth, and also promoted a disease called scurvy. Scurvy is caused by a lack of vitamin C in a diet, and among other problems, causes receding gums. That meant that pirates were at an even greater risk for lost teeth, and cavities, especially in the cementum, which is the portion of the tooth located below the gum line.
Pirates had a rough life, and most of it was their own doing. But in this day and age, you have the ability to visit with our dentist, Dr. Keith Kitchens, and he can clean your teeth, fix any problems, and talk with you about what you can do to enjoy a healthy smile. If you are ready to make port at our office, we would love to see you. If you are in the Alpharetta, Georgia, area, you can call 770-569-7580 to schedule your appointment at Windward Dental Care.