Teeth Hygiene Throughout History 

The first toothbrush was not patented until 1857. Obviously from accounts in history of even the wealthiest and most royal of people having brown teeth, that most people didn’t get them all too clean. That was probably because of the methods that were used. 

Medieval
* Rinsing mouth with water to remove gunk from mouth.
* Rubbing teeth with a clean cloth to wipe tartar buildup and left over food particles from the teeth.
* Chewing herbs to freshen breath, mint, cloves, cinnamon, sage
* Using “toothpicks” to clean out the teeth.
* Mint and vinegar mixture, used to rinse out the mouth.
* Bay leaves soaked in orange flower water and mixed with musk.
* “Barbers” would also be used as dentists and would extract teeth that were rotting or bothering a person profusely. They sometimes were able to muck out the junk in teeth and create a filling of sorts.

Elizabethan
* Rubbing teeth with the ashes of burnt rosemary.
* Powdered sage rub used to whiten teeth.
* Vinegar, wine and alum mouthwash
* After dinner comfits were eaten to freshen breath

Renaissance
* The same practices for cleaning were in use, but the “barbers” aka dentists had begun to learn more about dentistry.
* The first dentures, gold crowns, and porcelain teeth, were constructed in the 1700’s.
* 1790 brought about the dental foot engine, similar to the foot pedal of a spinning wheel, it rotated a drill for cleaning out cavaties.
* The first dental chair was made in the late 1700’s.


Regency
* They again used the same methods.
* A letter from Lord Chesterfield to his son urges the use of a sponge and warm water to scrub the teeth each morning.
* The recommendation of using one’s own urine in France was widely flouted by Fouchard, the French dentist.
* Gunpowder and alum were also recommended.


2

     Ithica Calendar Clock, c. 1866.

    The case is probably walnut or butternut. The top is heavily molded with broken pediment, 3 turned finals and applied pieces.The panel has incised decorations and two round cut -outs to reveal clock and calendar dials. The bottom of the case has similar molding and two finials pointed down.

    The upper dial is painted sheet metal with Roman numerals and a variation on “pierced diamond” hands. The lower dial is painted sheet metal. Calendar with changeable rollers for days and months. Calendar hand pointed at one end and crescent shaped on other. Arabic numerals painted around dial.

    It was sold at F.H Hopkins & Co., a jeweler here in Chillicothe, Ohio.