Would you kiss a donkey to cure a toothache? No one in my Madison dental office would recommend such a thing nowadays, but some “dentists” in middle ages believed that was good advice.
Dental history, is obviously something of interest to all of us, but we think you’ll be surprised by how entertaining and even sometimes good dental hygiene practices were in the past. Let’s take a look:
Dental health in medieval Europe was surprisingly good. The upper classes were not only aware of the importance of good oral hygiene, white teeth and fresh breath were fashionable, and they had pastes to clean and liquids to whiten their teeth. Preparations often included herbs, ashes of specific plants, and salt.
Commoners generally had strong, healthy teeth as well. Their diets were very low in sugar and high in calcium, a diet that is often recommended by dentists today!
When medieval people needed actual treatment for a toothache or abscess, they usually went to the barber surgeon, a jack-of-all-trades who cut hair, performed minor surgery, and pulled teeth.
19th Century Dentistry
Diets changed as sugar became increasingly available. Common consumption of refined foods and sugary treats made tooth problems more common. But it seems that dentistry was keeping a fair pace with these developing problems. European dentists were experimenting with dental implants, gold fillings were being used to treat decayed teeth, and nitrous oxide was introduced as a way to ease the pain during dental extractions and other oral surgeries. In fact, the first college of dentistry was founded in Baltimore in 1840.
Now there are over 50 dental colleges in the United States and dental knowledge and technology is ever expanding. That’s why, even after graduation from dental school, interested and caring dentists continue to pursue excellence with postgraduate continuing education. And that helps patients like you get better dental care and keeps you more comfortable.
To learn more interesting facts about dentistry through the ages, or to find out more about our philosophies, call my dental practice in Madison and schedule an appointment today.
Welcoming patients from Madison, Middleton, and Verona.