Summer is almost here in Hilton Head, and that means lots of opportunities to get out and enjoy all the wonders we have to offer here on the islands. One of the local summer favorites is enjoying a “scrap iron” cocktail on Daufuskie Island.

The scrap iron is a great piece of local history, but it’s also a reminder that while you might put the drink in your mouth, it’s not a great part of your smile.

Scrap Iron Not for Your Smile | Dentist Hilton Head

The History of the Scrap Iron

Daufuskie Island used to be a great place to harvest oysters. In the early 1900s, more than 2000 people, mostly African Americans, made their living on the island harvesting oysters. But as industrial sites sprouted on the banks of the Savannah River. These factories poured their waste into the river for decades.

The river became polluted, and that pollution contaminated the oyster beds around Daufuskie, making the oysters toxic. In particular, a paper mill in Savannah was blamed for the pollution.

When the oyster beds closed down, essentially the entire population of the island was out of work. To try to make ends meet, they came up with a new source of revenue: illegal liquor. People on the island had long made corn liquor for personal use, but they decided to make it for sale, and using their oyster boats they transported it across to Savannah, making perhaps $5 for 50 gallons of liquor.

However, when stopped by revenue officials in the water, they said they were hauling scrap iron to sell in Savannah. They usually had some scrap iron over the tanks of liquor to make it look authentic. Thus, the selling of scrap iron helped sustain the island until tourism came to be the major source of income on Daufuskie.

Get Scrap Iron out of Your Smile

One important detail about the pollution typically left by paper mills is that it contains mercury. Mercury is a highly toxic heavy metal, and it would accumulate in the bottom-feeding oysters, making them toxic, too. Mercury is also the main component in your metal amalgam fillings, which may be up to 50% mercury by weight. That mercury has no more place in your mouth as a filling than it did as a contaminant from a Daufuskie oyster. This is another great reminder that metal amalgam fillings aren’t good to keep in your mouth, since they can be toxic.

And that’s in addition to the fact that metal amalgam fillings and metal crowns make your smile look unhealthy, unattractive, and old. If you have some of these outdated fillings and crowns, maybe it’s time to replace them.

A New, Beautiful Smile in Hilton Head

People come to Hilton Head from all around the world to enjoy the local lifestyle, including its unique flavors, such as the scrap iron cocktail.

But it’s also a great place to take care of your smile. At Beyond Exceptional Dentistry in Bluffton, we can help you remove all the scrap iron from your smile with a metal filling upgrade.

Please call (843) 706-2999 today for an appointment with one of our cosmetic dentists.