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Dental care: "And who invented it?"

Zahnpflege: „Und wer hat´s erfunden?“
For as long as anyone can remember, people have been looking for ways and means to clean and care for their own teeth in the best possible way. Dental care and oral hygiene had primarily health or practical reasons, but in some cases also religious motives.
Even our ancestors, the primitive people, used small sticks and/or blades of grass to clean their teeth. This procedure left traces. In the case of prehistoric bone finds from the Stone Age, for example, a type of tooth cleaning was detectable on the basis of typical grooves. Researchers also found evidence and sophisticated recipes for tooth powder and pastes for regular dental care in the so-called early advanced civilizations - around 4000 years before the beginning of our era.

Mesopotamia and Egypt: cradle of dental care

Mesopotamia has a special place in human history - this also applies to the origins of tooth cleaning. The oldest toothpick found was part of a cosmetic set, comes from Mesopotamia and dates back to around 3,500 years BC. dated. In the Egypt of the pharaohs, on the other hand, it was customary to rinse the mouth with baking soda in the morning. Chewing sticks were also used, which were coated with a paste made from ground pumice (a soft volcanic rock) and wine vinegar. Also on one of the oldest surviving texts of mankind, on the papyrus scrolls, there are references to a special tooth powder that consisted of the resin of the turpentine pistachio, earth color and parts of the semi-precious stone malachite. It should primarily serve to strengthen the teeth. The surviving text passages were still strongly influenced by magical ideas. The Babylonians, on the other hand, used a mixture of alum (a bitter clay salt), turű aroma, and mint to clean their teeth. Mint is still one of the most popular flavors in today's toothpastes.

From antiquity

In both centers of antiquity - Athens and Rome - small wood chips were used for cleaning teeth. But there have also been toothpicks made of bone and metal. Above all, however, there were numerous "remedies" that were used. For example, a mixture of bone, horn or mussel shells. These substances were powdered, then burned to ash, and then mixed with baking soda and myrrh for better flavor. It was also recommended to use ground salt to clean the teeth. An approach that is still widespread in natural cosmetics today. Pumice stones and even marble dust, on the other hand, were used as a kind of abrasive. Decomposed as a powder, they were applied to damp linen cloths, which were then used to polish teeth.

In India, exotic concoctions were used

India, as a country of spices, also relied on pastes with a spice note for the corresponding mixtures for dental care. For example, early tooth powder recipes recommended a special blend of alkaline ash, Bengal pepper, and ginger. In addition to the clearly exotic taste, these mixtures developed a proven antibacterial effect. In one of the major religions, Hinduism, regular cleaning of the mouth – including the teeth – is also of spiritual importance. Because the human mouth is considered the gateway (entrance) to the body. That's why there were even extra instructions in Manu's law book with regard to tooth cleaning. For this, fibrous twigs coated with a paste of honey, ginger, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and sesame oil should be used.
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