July 2014 marked the reveal of a 2,000-year old archaeological site in Central Sudan that left dentistry professionals everywhere wondering, “Is there a connection between cavity-free, white teeth and wild weeds?” The question came about because the site contained the skeletal remains of several individuals and the remnants of ancient, purple nutsedge.
“What does purple nutsedge have to do with it?” According to an abstract published in PLOS One about the find, the skeletons revealed that ancient humans might have chewed on purple nutsedge to clean their teeth. Yes, that purple nutsedge, the one that modern day humans have referred to as everything but a nice weed. The same one you or a neighbor might have even paid someone to get rid of earlier this year.
Evidently our ancient contemporaries knew more about the plant than many of today’s lawn and garden experts. It seems that for centuries, certain cultures have used the weed for its nutritional, cosmetic and medicinal qualities. One of those qualities is its inherent ability to serve as an antibacterial agent. That’s the quality that makes it important to dentistry.
Now just because it was once possibly used to maintain oral health, doesn’t mean that Bellevue dentistry patients should toss their tubes of whitening toothpaste, run outside and eat wild weeds. After all, today’s environment is much different than when our ancient relatives roamed it freely. For starters, they didn’t have to deal with as much pollution or manmade, chemical herbicides as we do. So if we were to run out and eat wild weeds, we’d likely be getting much more than we bargained for.
That said, Dr. A. Samsavar heartily recommends that those seeking cavity-free, white teeth skip noshing on wild nutsedge and check out our International Institute of Cosmetic Dentistry’s list of services instead. We currently offer Bellevue residents several options that they may take to achieve cavity-free, white teeth. To learn more about them, please contact us today.