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Five Fun Facts about Dental History

 Dentistry is one necessary service that’s really gotten mixed reviews.  Some people absolutely balk at the idea of anyone poking around inside of their mouths with needles and sharp instruments, and others actually claim to enjoy the experience.

No matter how you feel about your dentist, we can all agree that it’s incredibly important to care for your teeth!  Toothache pain has been compared to childbirth when it’s at its absolute throbbing worst. Imagine experiencing horrible toothache pain without the benefit of modern medicines.  Dentistry is one of the oldest medical practices in the world for a reason!  Eating is something that everyone has to do to survive, and when your teeth get in the way of that- it just can’t be ignored.

Children and adults now have access to preventative care that can stop the worst of the tooth pain before it has a chance to start.  Ultimately, the goal is to keep as many healthy teeth in your mouth as possible for as long as possible.  

Next time you hesitate to visit a dentist in Mesa, Arizona - you might want to remember just how far we’ve come in the field of dentistry.  

1.  Dentists Were Multi-taskers

Dentists often provided several different services.  Between the 5th and 15th century A.D., they would be doing everything from serious surgical procedures to cutting hair. The Guild of Barbers in France facilitated much of their education on the go, and eventually put a stop to the major medical procedures. These were important people to have around, and dentistry was often just an afterthought next to some of their other services. 

2.  The Infamous Tooth Worm

Prior to modern research methods, people simply didn’t understand the causes for tooth decay.  They spent a great deal of time guessing and speculating at the source of yellowing and disintegrating teeth.One theory that seemed to stick was that of the tooth worm.  This was an erroneous theory that suggested that a tiny worm was living within the mouth, and feeding on the teeth.

This theory had deep roots, dating all the way back to 5000 B.C. It took an incredibly long time for people to accept that tooth worms were just a myth.  Some cultures clung to the idea of a tooth worm clear up until the twentieth century!

3.  Ancient Dentures

Dentures have been around much longer than many people give them credit for.  Sets dating back to 700 B.C. have been discovered in Italy, and were a product of the Etruscans.  These dentures were generally made out of human and animal teeth. 

They may have looked strange, but at least the wearer could eat again! Dentures continued to improve with the use of hand carved ivory to replace the substitute teeth in the 1700’s.  They evolved to include porcelain, rubbers, and eventually turned into the plastic products available today.

4.  America’s First Dentists

America didn’t actually have a trained dentist until the mid-1700’s.  John Baker chose to come to America from England in 1760, and he became the only dentist who had any medical training in America at that time.  This was a fairly new science, and dentistry as a medical profession was still in its infancy.  Shortly after Baker began, America produced a dentist of its own named Isaac Greenwood.  You can only imagine how in-demand these gentlemen must have been!

5.  The Earliest Toothpaste

Toothpaste to clean teeth actually predates the use of tooth brushes.  In ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece- people mixed together a variety of different substances in order to clean teeth and freshen breathe.  They used everything from crushed ox hooves to burnt eggshells!

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