How common was good dental hygiene in the past?


There was another question on how people did it, but was it common knowledge? And was it readily available for the poor?

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2 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

I guess it depends on how far into the past you go… ancient Chinese and Egyptian texts advised cleaning to avoid decay by chewing on bark, small sticks, feathers, porcupine quills… stuff to pick out bigger chunks of food…

Colgate made the first Toothpaste in a jar in the 1870’s, so that’s been around for a while… the first “Toothpaste” is something like 5,00 years old (mint, salt, pepper, iris flowers was a recipe from Egypt, apparently caused bleeding gums but did clean teeth better than other things)

Before Toothpaste, you’d typically “brush” with a frayed twig to the best you can do with that.. sometimes using salt or charcoal and rubbing your teeth with a ribbon, then rinse with water… it hasn’t changed much from scrub them with some grit, and rinse away (Toothpaste with soap came around in the 1850s)

Anonymous 0 Comments

Well 90+% of our evolution was in small hunter gatherer groups.

It wasnt until about 10k years ago did we figure out agriculture which allowed our species to stay in a single place and refine farming practices.

Then we figured out how to use oil and fossil fuels as energy a couple centuries ago which exploded our global population to the billions. We then figured out how to refine foods and sugars. This is vastly outside our evolutionary roots.

Having access to readily refined foods has a consequence of breeding types of bacteria that feed on such highly processed foods. Think of a piece of fruit that has sugar, but also fiber, and other micronutrients that has a balance forged by evolution. Now we have sugar that isolated and causes novel consequences like diabetes, and cavities.