Kissing a Donkey! ( and other interesting historical facts about dentistry that you didn’t know)


The history of dentistry is fascinating…weird, wonderful, and at times pretty gruesome. Here are a few interesting historical facts about our past.

1. Before there were dentists as you know today, blacksmiths often served as a dentist. It was often common to get a new filling at the same time as your horse got new shoes.

2. Barbers practiced dentistry also, dating back to medieval times. In fact the stripes on a barber pole are red and white ( some blue also in the USA) signifying red for surgery and white for barbering. It was common to go to the barbers for a haircut, shave and extraction.image


3. In 200AD the Romans had some pretty sophisticated dental technology. Did you know that they fixed cavity ridden teeth with gold crowns, utilised fixed bridgework to fix gaps, and made toothpaste out of honey and eggshells?

4. Ancient Egyptian mummies have been found with fillings made of resin and malachite. Gold was bound to loose teeth.

5. In medieval Germany one cure for toothache was to kiss a donkey!

6. Did you know that candy ‘floss’ was invented by a dentist?

7. The Middle Ages have a lot to answer for! Dogs teeth boiled in wine was a commonly used mouthwash, and twigs from a sweet smelling wood were used as toothbrushes

8. In 1498 the Emperor of china implanted hog bristles in a bone handle to use as a toothbrush. Hog bristles were very expensive so this didn’t take off!

9. Here’s a pic of an early toothbrush…image

Remember children! A pea sized amount of toothpaste for two minutes at least twice a day. Did you know that tooth  brushing only really became popular after World War Two, when soldiers brought the army’s enforced brushing habit home with them?

10. Finally, cavities in teeth were common among the wealthy also in Elizabethan times. Queen Elizabeth 1st herself used to stuff her cavities with cloth when she greeted her subjects to improve her appearance in public.

Disclaimer!!!!! This is not a “helpful hints” blog entry. We don’t recommend dogs teeth mixed with wine to use as a mouthwash nowadays. Come and see us at Newyearfield and we will give you a few up to date suggestions. Likewise it is not a good idea to kiss a donkey!


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