If you’ve ever seen the popular TLC show Breaking Amish, you might be wondering about Amish dental care. What do Amish teeth look like? Do Amish people go to dentists? And is it true that Amish people often get all of their teeth pulled, as Rebecca on Breaking Amish did? We answer all of these questions and more in this article.
Do Amish People Go to Dentists?
First off, do Amish people ever go to dentists? The answer is yes and no.
Although more and more Amish families are opting for modern dental care, many still prefer alternative medicines and treatments. As a result, Amish teeth and what they look like can vary significantly depending on the community and even the individual family.
A recently published study on Amish children in the Geauga county of Ohio found that only 33 percent of Amish children had seen a dentist in the past year, and 28 percent had never seen a dentist at all.
Some of the main reasons Amish people don't seek out dental care are their religious beliefs, how far away the nearest dental office is, and a lack of health insurance. According to the study, 87 percent of Amish children were uninsured, despite being eligible for Medicaid.
As you can see, Amish dental care is a mixed bag. Some Amish people, but not all, visit modern dentists for oral care. But even those who do seek care don't always do so on a regular basis. This leads us to our next question: what do Amish teeth look like?
Are Amish Teeth Healthy?
Because many Amish people don't or can't seek out modern dental care, dental problems are often an issue in Amish communities—often leading to pulled teeth and, in extreme cases, dentures.
In the study mentioned above, Amish children were found to have high levels of untreated tooth decay, mirroring the trends of other rural US communities. Such dental problems are not only due to a lack in dental care but also non-fluoridated drinking water and the tendency to forgo preventive care (Amish communities have higher rates of unvaccinated children as well).
Therefore, it's not uncommon for Amish people to visit local Amish dentists to have some or even all of their teeth removed. Extraction is often viewed as a more affordable and convenient solution to dental issues than trying to fix a problematic tooth.
As such, many Amish people—even youths—wear dentures. Rebecca from the TLC reality show Breaking Amish is perhaps the most famous case of this. On the show, Rebecca explained how she had all of her teeth removed at the age of 19 and currently wears dentures.
Rebecca from "Breaking Amish" showing off her dentures.
Conclusion: Amish Dental Care Practices
So do Amish people take care of their teeth? As with any group of people, some Amish people have healthy teeth with few problems, whereas others have unhealthy teeth with many problems (or no teeth at all).
Though many Amish people fail to see dentists regularly, it's important not to assume that all Amish people wear dentures or suffer from dental issues. In fact, many Amish people nowadays utilize modern dental care, with some even going as far as getting braces!
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Hannah received her MA in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California. From 2013 to 2015, she taught English in Japan via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel.