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The suggestion by @MCW in comments -- that veterinarians check the teeth of livestock -- is unfortunately probably the right track to follow. Southern Slave traders and slave buyers routinely stated that they looked at teeth to try to judge health, age, and vigor. During the antebellum period, people were often driven to slave market centers from hundreds of ...


2

Teeth have always been considered to be a sign of good health. This is partially for good reasons, and partially for reasons not really confirmed by medicine. Slaves' teeth were checked by slave buyers in other places, such as where barbarians were. Some precise reasons for which good teeth meant good health are: Teeth were better when people ate varied ...


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