Historical Dental Trivia from Your Cupertino Dentist

Interestingly, the history of oral care dates back to ancient times. When we compare oral hygiene techniques from years’ past, we tend to appreciate how far modern dentistry has come. Although our methods for treating oral health problems have changed over the centuries, the presence of oral disease is as old as human history. For example, Cro-Magnon skulls recovered by archeologists showed extensive tooth decay. Dr. Randall LaFrom and our staff compiled some historical trivia on oral health below.

Oral Health Throughout History

  • The earliest historical reference related to tooth decay appeared in an Ancient Sumerian manuscript that attributed tooth decay to “tooth worms.”
  • Chinese historical records revealed that acupuncture was used to relieve toothaches around 2700 B.C.
  • Egyptian records dating as far back as 3700 B.C. discuss oral diseases and treatments used at the time. Olive oil and dates were used to treat oral blisters.
  • Human remains with holes drilled into the jawbone have been found in Egypt. Anthropologists speculate that these holes were drilled into the bone to drain abscessed teeth.
  • In ancient times, dental problems were treated by general doctors.
  • The first physician who recommended extracting diseased teeth was an Ancient Greek doctor named Aesculapius.
  • Celsus, an Ancient Roman medical writer, discussed oral diseases such as bleeding gums and oral ulcers in his writing. He also recorded common treatment methods for these ailments such as narcotic ointments and astringents.
  • Arabians developed metal tools to scrape and clean the teeth.
  • A French physician began using lead to fill decayed portions of teeth in the 1700’s.
  • A common wedding present in colonial America was dentures for the bride and groom.
  • Laughing gas (nitrous oxide) was first used as an anesthetic in dentistry by Horace Wells in 1844.

Fortunately, modern dentistry has drastically improved over the years. Even though oral health problems have plagued humanity for thousands of years, we now the knowledge and equipment to address many oral health problems with our patients’ comfort in mind. Dr. LaFrom stays up-to-date with the latest dental innovations and provides his patients with comprehensive dentistry. To schedule an appointment at our Cupertino dentist office,contact us at (408) 996-8595. We serve patients from Cupertino, Campbell, Saratoga, San Jose, and Santa Clara County.

~ by cupertinodentist on March 22, 2012.

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