Getting That Pearly Smile
There are few things that cut across language and culture barriers like a smile. Humans seem incurably drawn to smiles. One of the first things babies recognize is their mother’s smile. A recent study by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry found that nine out of ten adults believe a bright, white smile is the key to social success. Three-fourths of their polling group felt that an unattractive smile could even harm your career. Regardless of whether you are trying to impress your baby or your boss, a bright smile is certainly important. Ancient Mayans certainly knew the importance of a bright smile, too. In fact, historians found that the Mayans might have used more advanced ways to achieve brighter smiles than us. In Mayan ruins, archaeologists discovered human teeth that were more than 2,000 years old, which had pearl fillings in the cavities. To their amazement, the pearl filling grew and fused together with the teeth to form a seamless, cavity free tooth structure! In 1999, a group of French scientists decided to investigate pearl filings as compared with empty cavities and with cavities patched with the normal acrylic polymer filling used by dentists, which is called PMMA. They found that the pearl tooth filling induced the production of layers of newly formed bone adjacent to the implanted pearl filling and furthermore the bone surrounding the cavity actually became stronger. There was no new bone formation in the empty cavities or in those filled with PMMA.1 In fact, they discovered that PMMA actually causes necrosis (cell death) of the surrounding bone cells. It also changes bone architecture and causes a significant reduction in bone formation and mineralization. Astonishingly, the tooth filling material used by dentists today is put to shame in comparison to the Pearl tooth fillings the Mayans used over two millennia ago! These French scientists developed a dental root substitute made of natural mother-of-pearl. They found that pearl makes an exceptional dental root substitute that matches the biological properties of our natural bone.2 The date of commercialized pearl tooth-filling still remains unknown. However, you may be able to enhance your smile now with pearl powder. Over thousands of years, Chinese Royalty took pearl powder internally and externally brushed their teeth with it for stronger and whiter teeth. You may want to try to do the same and give the royal treatment for your teeth and a brighter “pearly” smile.