Tooth ache, teeth disease, and tooth extraction procedures has long been around and practiced even in ancient civilizations. In fact, it dates back to the old age where people are still not accustomed to brushing or flossing their teeth. In the early 1700’s through the 1800’s, toothache was often treated by blacksmiths in front of a large audience. It was a custom back then that toothache is cured in public.
Perhaps the most interesting study of teeth disease in history is those of the Egyptians. From autopsies made by archeologists, numerous evidences point to teeth disease as one of the common causes of death among Egyptian mummies.
The lives of the ancient Egyptians were shaped mainly by their environment. The climate, land, trees, and river were a great contribution to how they spend their everyday lives, be it for the good or bad. But in some conditions, it is the environment that brings ill health to their community.
When we say Egypt today, the first thought that come mind is the Nile River. Providing abundant supply of water to the civilizations living on its banks, it maintains the fertile fields that run on its sides. Overtime, the river has been a witness to the sweetness and hostility of time and buried underneath it are stories and mysteries of the ancient civilization.
But ancient Egypt has left the modern world with one great evidence that can unlock the secrets of the past: its mummies. This religious way of preserving the dead has given us an incredible glimpse at the health of the ancient Egyptians.
Ancient Egyptians and Their Teeth
The greatest problem that ancient Egyptians faced during their time is teeth disease and tooth extraction. Both pharaohs and common farmers experience rapid teeth wear out, which eventually result to painful chronic infection. To remedy the problem, ancient dental surgeons drain the abscesses using a hollow reed.
Also common that time was gum disease. In fact, some mummies found in Egypt still have their teeth intact even after 2,000 years. This was mainly because of the enormous tartar deposits on their teeth.
Restorative dentistry was also prevalent that time. This was evidenced in a mummy found with three missing teeth who had replaced them with substitute teeth expertly attached to the adjacent teeth with gold wire.
Modern Dental Health
Archeologist and dentist today believe that even in the ancient times people were already aware of the diseases in their teeth and devised ways to remedy them through their own style of teeth cleaning and tooth extraction. This ancient manner of dental care is only an indication that dental health was already a huge concern back then. Similarly, the wear patterns and cavities seem in the ancient mummies was an avenue for us to know about their ancient living and eating habits.