The ancient Maya were proud of their teeth. People in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean had jade, turquoise, gold, jet, and hematite gems.

It appears that many males and females visited the dentist as young adults to have their teeth drilled and filled with jewels, precious stones, or minerals.

The spiritual meaning of the inlays would have lasted a lifetime. At this time, dental bling may have been more than aesthetic.

The cement used to glue gems to Maya teeth has a number of potential health and therapeutic benefits.

The ingredient in the sealant has the potential to fight tooth decay and reduce inflammation in the mouth.

Archaeologists think that the cement-like substance was used as a water-repelling glue.

The attachment of small stones to incisors and canines might have been accompanied by some protection against cavities.

The drilling to insert these gems into the tooth was done so well that it did not impact the nerves or blood vessels at the center.

The ancient Maya teeth were analyzed. Hernndez-Bolio and her co-workers wrote in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

The teeth analyzed in the study came from three Maya archaeological sites in Central America, and the individuals the teeth belonged to did not appear to be from elite background.

150 organic molecules are commonly found in plant resins and were identified in the sealants used to attach gems to the teeth. Depending on where the tooth came from, each blend had a slightly different ingredient list, but the main ingredients were the same.

The compounds associated with pine tree tar were found in most dental cements. It is often used in the perfume industry.

The mint family's essential oils were found in the sealants.

The findings are not new. There are many lines of evidence that show that dental hygiene was taken seriously by the Maya. If decay is set in, teeth appear to have been removed.

These more therapeutic practices to dentistry, however, have been overshadowed by the flashier decorations of the time. This has been pinned to ritual or aesthetic reasons in the past.

The new findings suggest that the extensive use of tooth modifications might have been more than just beauty.

The fact that a lot of people were getting treatment suggests that it is not a reflection of their social status.

While the blends were both complex and effective in providing long- lasting dental obturations, the mortuary contexts of the individuals sampled indicate these were not elite individuals but that instead, a broad swathe of Maya society benefited from the expertise of the individuals who manufactured these cements.

The study was published in a journal.