Apparently the ancient Mayans took great care of their teeth.

Dental jewelry is today a aesthetic trend. But did you know that at the time of the ancient Mayas, this practice was already in vogue? Furthermore, have precious stones placed on their teeth apparently had a much more sanitary motivation, according to the findings of a team of archaeologists.

The ancient Mesoamerican civilizations were highly advanced in many areas. Their mastery in the fields of architecture, agriculture, but also in astronomy are no longer up for debate. However, it would seem that their knowledge of oral health is also to be added to the list.


Proof of this is the dental inlays practiced by the ancient Mayas also had, in addition to the aesthetic aspect and the spiritual significance, therapeutic aims.

A beautiful smile full of health… would you like it?

To reach these conclusions, a team of archaeologists analyzed 8 encrusted teeth from different Mayan archaeological sites (Guatemala, Belize, Honduras). It should be noted at first glance that these teeth did not belong to prominent members of society. This suggests that the practice and the expertise that goes with it were accessible to all social classes of Maya society.

Going back to the results of these researchers, they analyzed glue which allowed these inlays to hold on the teeth.

Each glue consisted of slightly different ingredients, but basically the main ingredients are similar (vegetable resins). Ingredients which, after analysis, revealed a list of 150 molecules with antibacterial and antifungal properties. The presence of ingredients with potential anti-inflammatory was also highlighted (herbal essential oil from the mint family).

Read also: Apparently, the Mayans of Tikal used advanced techniques to purify the water they drank

According to archaeologists, the glue used allowed the gem, precious stone, or encrusted gold to hold in place for more than a millennium. But it probably played a therapeutic role in the young Mayan adults who wore these dental jewels. We are therefore well beyond the simple question of aesthetics and the canons of beauty.

Another area in which the ancient Mayans will not have to envy our contemporary skills in oral hygiene.

Details of this study are available here.

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