We all know gold fillings and glittering grills are status symbols famous hip-hop stars and wannabes use to put the Midas Touch on their teeth. But a recent study uncovered evidence that wealthy hip-hoppers aren’t the only ones who like to decorate their dentures.
According to National Geographic, sophisticated dentistry allowed Native Americans to add bling to their teeth as far back as 2,500 years ago.
An analysis of thousands of teeth examined from the collection in Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History revealed that ancient peoples had semiprecious gems soldered on to their teeth as a pure form of decoration.
While the origins of the samples are not known for sure, it’s clear that people – mostly men – from nearly all walks of life opted for the look, noted Jose Concepcion Jimenez, an anthropologist at the institute.
The ornamental gemstones (including jade) were attached with an adhesive made out of natural resins, such as plant sap, which was mixed with other chemicals and crushed bones, Jiminez said. He added that the dentists likely had a sophisticated knowledge of tooth anatomy. For example, they knew how to drill into teeth without hitting the pulp inside, he explained. Lucky for them.
Today, the art of tooth decoration is still alive and well – and not just on the likes of Lil Wayne or 50 Cent. Some folks opt to have gold, diamonds, birthstones and more bonded to their teeth as more dentists offer the service as a way to distinguish themselves in a crowded market.
And if you decide that bling on your bicuspids is getting in the way of say, chewing or speaking clearly? The decoration can be easily removed without causing any damage. Lucky for us.