CAIRO – 24 May 2022: A new study conducted by the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico City, revealed that the adhesives that were used to attach gemstones to the teeth of the Mayan people may have antibacterial properties that promote oral health.
The Mayan civilization originated at around 1000 BC. It developed rapidly and reached its peak between AD 300 and 900, as it dominated hundreds of independent agricultural states in southeastern Mexico and Central American countries including Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador.
The Mayans are famous for building elaborate ceremonial palaces, temple pyramids and astronomical observatories, as well as decorating their teeth with colored stones, according to the ancient-origins.
In the research paper, the team wrote that the ancient Mayans believed their breath was a link to a deity, so to ritually purify the mouth, the Mayan's teeth were "clean and tidy”.
Gloria Hernandez Polio, a biochemist at the Center for Advanced Research and Studies at the National Polytechnic Institute, said in the new study that eight dental samples from different locations across the Mayan Empire exposed that the substance with which the teeth were attached to the gemstone was plant resin, mostly taken from pine trees, which acted as glue. Pine resin is known to attack the bacteria that cause tooth decay.