Sunday, 27 November 2011

The History of Oral and Dental Hygiene


Dental hygiene has not always been the way as it is now. Some people take this daily routine very lightly and suffer the consequences later. Today, maintaining healthy teeth and gum is a lot easier than what it use to be back a few thousand years ago. Many of us will be walking around right now with a mouth full of bad odors and in some cases a mouth without teeth if we were still practicing oral hygiene the old way.

Early Civilization

Around 3500 B.C. people pretty much ate their food and went about their business until the Egyptians invented a form of ‘toothbrush’ by using a stick frayed at the end to make it soft.  Tombs of the ancient Egyptians have been found containing tooth sticks alongside their owners. To clean the teeth the soft end of the stick was rubbed against the gum and teeth to clean them. This was done without any cleaning material such as our present day toothpaste. In some instances, people used porcupine quill to pick food particles from between their teeth or chewed on a stick to clean them. The Ebers papyrus contains much reference to gingival disease and offers a number of prescriptions for strengthening the teeth and gums. These remedies were made from various plants and minerals and were applied to the gum in the form of paste with honey or vegetable gum. Oral hygiene was practiced by Sumerians of 3000 BC, and elaborately gold tooth picks found in the excavations at Ur in Mesopotamia suggest an interest in cleanliness of the mouth.
Ancient Chinese medical works also discussed periodontal disease and dental hygiene. In the oldest book, written by Huang-Ti about 2500 BC, there is chapter devoted to dental and gingival disease. Oral diseases were divided into three types: Fong Ya, or inflammatory conditions; Ya Kon, or disease of the soft investing tissues of the teeth; and Chong Ya, or dental caries. The Chinese were among the earliest people to use the “Chew Stick” as a tooth pick and tooth brush to clean the teeth and massage the gingival tissues. The Chinese are believed to have invented the first natural bristle toothbrush made from the bristles from pigs' necks in the 15th century, with the bristles attached to a bone or bamboo handle. The downside in using this toothbrush was that the bristles were too tough and caused serious bleeding of the gum after using it. To deal with this problem, people eventually replaced the toothbrush bristles with hair from the back of horses, which were much softer than boar bristles.
The medical works of ancient India devote a significant amount of space to oral and periodontal problems. In the Susruta Samhita, there is numerous description of severe periodontal disease. In a later treatise Charaka Samhitha, tooth brushing and oral hygiene are stressed: “The stick for brushing the teeth should be either astringent or pungent or bitter. One of its ends should be chewed in the form of a brush. It should be used twice a day, taking care that the gum not be injured”.
Again, it was the Egyptians who came up with the idea of using something on the toothbrush to improve the cleaning of the teeth and at the same time remove bad breath. They made a powdered mixture consisted of rock salt, mint, and pepper. The mixture was mixed with saliva and applied to the gum. The downside to using this was the same old problem of bleeding gum.  Persians also gave it a shot of making toothpaste. They tried making toothpaste from the ashes from burnt goat’s feet. This also led to gum bleeding and widespread diseases. Obviously, a lot of people died from this. In the eighteen-century, the British also tried their hands at making toothpaste. The toothpaste was made of brick dust, crushed clay. This toothpaste caused serious erosion of the tooth enamel. This toothpaste did not stay around long.
Ancient toothpastes were used to treat some of the same concerns that we have today – keeping teeth and gums clean, whitening teeth and freshening breath. The ingredients of ancient toothpastes were however very different and varied. Ingredients used included a powder of ox hooves' ashes and burnt eggshells that was combined with pumice. The Greeks and Romans favoured more abrasiveness and their toothpaste ingredients included crushed bones and oyster shells. The Romans added more flavoring to help with bad breath, as well as powdered charcoal and bark. The Chinese used a wide variety of substances in toothpastes over time that has included ginseng, herbal mints and salt. By the nineteen-century, there were several types of toothpaste available. There was toothpaste in particular made from- charcoal powder.
Later Dr. Alfred Civilion Fones (1869-1938), Dentist and Social Reformer, from Bridgeport, Connecticut made a major creative foot step in the’ Dental Hygiene’ movement. He was born in Bridgeport, in 1869 and graduated from the New York College of Dentistry in 1890. In 1906 he trained his cousin, Irene E. Newman, to clean teeth and perform other preventive treatments for children, making the world’s first Dental Hygienist.  In 1913 Dr. Fones opens the Fones Clinic for Dental Hygienist in Bridgeport. It was the world’s first Dental Hygiene School. Dr. Fones, first to use the term "dental hygienist," today is known as the Father of Dental Hygiene.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for great information you write it very clean. I am very lucky to get this tips from you

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