Numerous written relicts, belletristic works (poems of Martial, Juvenal, Ovid etc.) indicate that oral hygiene and its tools (toothbrush, toothpick, use of tooth pastes and tooth-powder) were used long before our times. Already ancient people started to remove, file, dye and inlay teeth. The teeth were dyed red, green or black in Egypt, red or brown (with henna or betel) in India, white by Romans. The teeth decoration has a long but forgotten history. The most skillful and artistic work was done by the Maya's between 900 BC and 1500 AD. The modification of contours (more than fifty forms) of the incisors were practiced also in Mesoamerica. Dentistry was surely practiced in ancient Egypt, India, China, Greece and Rome, while odontology and especially suitable dental appliances arose only by Etruscan. Dental prosthesis, including bridges and simple retention bands were invented by the Etruscans 2500 years ago. These Etruscan bridges were worn mostly by females, suggesting that cosmetics was the principal dental concern. Some,--if not all--of the Roman and other prostheses have been purely ornamental. Orthodontic appliances are also Etruscan invention. The holes caused by caries were filled with garlic, incense, caraway seed in Egypt, with wood or lead in Rome, and with "silver-paste" (amalgam) in ancient China. The toothache was cured with poppy-tee, or hashish and nightshade plants (Solanaceae) in Egypt, Greece, Roman Empire while with coca (Erythroxylon coca) in South-America.
|Translated title of the contribution||Dental care, dental diseases and dentistry in antiquity|
|Number of pages||15|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 1 2009|
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