Traditional Methods of Cleaning Teeth: Do They Really Work?
Do We Really Need to Clean Our Teeth?
When tracing human history back over the centuries, many are surprised to learn that ancient peoples didn't brush their teeth. The first record toothbrush was in Babylonian and Egyptian times. Even as far back as 1600 BC, the Chinese were brushing their teeth with something they called chewing sticks.
Before then, brushing your teeth wasn't common. Even archaeologists claim that ancient people didn't have cavities like we do today. There are a few reasons for this.
Why People Need Take Care of Their Teeth For Decades
Change in Diet
The main reason people started to take care of their teeth is because of a change in diet. As civilizations became more industrial, so did the rise of processed food. With the presence of chemicals and preservatives in the food, the need for dental care grew. The sugars in processed food rapidly increase the amount of plaque in your mouth. The chemicals erode enamel.
Ancient peoples didn't have processed food. Their diet relied on fresh food that was full of nutrients. They also ate a lot of fibery foods that helped scrub their teeth clean while they ate it.
Exercise is another reason that people started taking care of their teeth. In ancient times, everyone had to either hunt or gather their food. It was an extremely physical time. Because of their frequent exercise, they had fewer gastrointestinal problems. With less stomach acid regurgitating in their mouths, their teeth lasted longer.
Today, it's rare that most people get the regular exercise that they need. As a result, they often suffer from gastrointestinal problems. That can cause acid to rise up their esophagus and damage their oral health.
Carbonated drinks are another culprit of why we brush our teeth today. Ancient peoples didn't have sugary drinks with enamel-eroding ingredients. Today, we do.
How Did People Clean Their Teeth in the Olden Days?
Ancient peoples started to use what they called chewing sticks to brush their teeth. As the name implies, they'd chew the stick in order to scrub their teeth.
Europeans started to clean their teeth by taking a rag and rolling it in either salt or soot. Then they'd scrub the rag into their teeth.
The French doctor that is considered the father of modern dentistry, Pierre Fauchard, at first told people not to brush their teeth. Instead, he suggested that they take a toothpick or sponge, soak it in brandy, then rub their teeth and gums with the tool.
Here are a few other ways that people used to clean their teeth in the olden days.
- Brushing teeth with a toothbrush made from bones and animal bristles
- Using toothpaste made of crushed seashells and essential oils
- Using toothpaste mixed with ammonia or chlorophyll
- Wine-soaked toothpicks to brush teeth
- Using mouthwash made of urine
- Ancient Greece used dry toothpaste powder
Traditional Ways vs Modern Ways Of Cleaning Teeth
There are some similarities between traditional ways of brushing your teeth and modern ways of brushing your teeth. The emphasis on scrubbing and brushing remains the same. Even the need of using a mouthwash is the same.
The primary difference is the ingredients used. Thankfully, we no longer use urine in our mouthwash. However, we do use essential oils to effectively kill bacteria and freshen our mouths. The problem is that some modern types of toothpaste also add chemicals to their ingredients that could be leading to some of the dental problems you face.
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