Flossie’s Very Short History of the Dental World
Ancient Rome - The ancient Romans would take bones, eggshells, and oyster shells, and mix them with oil. They used the mixture to clean their teeth.
Ancient Greece - Hippocrates and Aristotle write about dentistry. They discuss the eruption pattern of teeth, how to treat decayed teeth and gum disease, the tools used to extract teeth, and how to use wire to stabilize loose teeth and fractured jaws.
600 Mesoamerica - The Mayan Civilization gives us earliest known example of implants embedded directly into the bone. An archaeologist found the lower jaw of a 20 year old woman. The jaw bone had three tooth-shaped shells placed into the sockets of three missing front teeth.
700s China - The Tang Dynasty invents the first bristled toothbrush. They used hog and boar bristle, and introduced the device to Europeans during their travels in the 17th century.
1600s Japan - Married Japanese women would paint their teeth with black dye to prove their faithfulness.
11th century France - William the Conqueror seals his official documents by biting into the sealing wax. His teeth were misaligned and a seal with his recognizable bite on it guaranteed the document’s authenticity.
1700s England - Rich Englishmen could buy replacement teeth from donors. Often the donors would be poor people who would willingly have their teeth extracted. The donor tooth was immediately inserted into the buyer’s mouth. If no willing donors were available, healthy teeth were taken from executed criminals or unidentified corpses.
1870s US - Dr. Washington Sheffield of Connecticut makes the first toothpaste tube out of lead. This marks the beginning of widespread use of toothpaste (as opposed to powder) because it is now easy to apply.
20th century US - There is a law on Vermont’s books that says a woman can’t wear dentures without her husband’s written permission.
*** Flossie is a cartoon flamingo, and she only uses the internet for research. Any inaccuracies are entirely Flossie’s fault; she apologizes for them and takes full responsibility. If she forgot to add your favorite dental milestone, please leave a comment.