They Put Gems in Their Teeth
Though they are no longer used often in modern dentistry, many readers may have relatives who have a gold crown or two. The Mayans were no stranger to the use of precious materials to repair teeth. In fact, what may seem at first to be an odd practice for ritual or beautification purposes, putting gems in teeth was actually part of Mayan cavity prevention. The materials used for adhering the gemstones were complex recipes that had many hygienic, and even therapeutic properties including being antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal. These cements were so durable, they’ve lasted till today and continue to hold these gemstones firmly in place. The recovered samples mostly come from persons of roughly middle class status, so it was not an exclusive luxury of the upper class. Gem materials included cinnabar, turquoise, quartz, hematite, serpentine, jadeite, and even iron pyrite.