Don’t Freeze Your Teeth Off

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dds for kidsOn May 27th, 1997, the first all-female team reached the North Pole, proudly planting Britain’s flag in the ice. They faced many dangers on their trip. Shifting ice and bitter cold threatened them. Luckily, they knew how to prevent scurvy.

Ever hear pirates referred to as “scurvy dogs?” It’s a reference to a nasty disease that used to plague sailors and explorers. Scurvy causes the body to feel weak and tired. Even worse, it can make your gums bleed and your teeth fall out!

You get scurvy by not having enough vitamin C. Vitamin C is found mostly in fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits, like oranges and lemons, are especially rich in vitamin C. Those fruits were hard to pack for long expeditions. Sailors and arctic explorers used to eat mostly hard, dried bread and salted meat. Without fresh fruits and veggies, they were susceptible to many diseases, but most especially scurvy.

Both of Robert Falcon Scott’s expeditions to Antarctica were plagued by scurvy. Sir Shackleton faced the same problem in Antarctica. But in 1932, American scientist Charles Glen King discovered the link between vitamin C and scurvy. Sailors and polar explorers ever since have been able to avoid the nasty disease and keep their teeth strong and healthy no matter where they go.

Healthy teeth are important to explorers. Eating right keeps explorers strong and hearty. If your teeth fall out, it becomes harder to eat a wide range of food. If you think you’d like to be an explorer some day, talk to your childrens dentist about ways to keep your teeth strong and healthy.

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