Just like us, the ancient Egyptians had many different oral health problems.
The main contribution to their oral ailments was a combination of their poor diet and bad dental hygiene. This would lead to various diseases like attrition, dental caries and periodontist that affect the overall health of the mouth. The Egyptians however, were very inventive and devised many practises and treatments, to treat their dental issues.
How were the Egyptians most affected?
The most common dental affliction in ancient Egypt was Attrition. This was caused by their diet of uncooked vegetables and lack of necessary vitamins and minerals - something we take for granted today. Archaeologists have previously discovered skulls and jaws in burial shafts and tombs, that all show signs of the disease. If untreated it could lead to abscesses, inflammation of the jawbone and gums and tooth loss.
As previously mentioned, the Egyptians had bad dental hygiene. This was partly due to their bread having grit and sand in it, which wore away their enamel. Whilst they hadn’t established dentistry, they did create the world’s oldest known formula for toothpaste. They would crush rock, mint, salt, pepper and dried iris flower to create a tooth cleaning powder. However, the concoction is now known to have caused bleeding gums. Luckily we have various different types of fluoride based toothpastes, which have the opposite effect by preventing bleeding gums, cavities and can create a whiter smile.
How did Egyptians Treat their Dental Issues?
Egyptians also had numerous mouthwashes to combat gum disease, which usually had to be chewed up and spit out. The mouthwashes were made up from ingredients such as bran and celery, and some included more active ingredients. This was to provide the patient with some form of pain relief from toothache and other oral pains. Others were just for the precise purpose of preserving a healthy mouth and teeth.
According to many historians, dental braces date back to as far as the Egyptian period. Archaeologists have discovered mummies with crude metal bands around their teeth and believe that the bands were used, to create pressure to move around the teeth. It was also found that lost teeth were reattached by means of silver or gold wire to the neighbouring teeth. But it is not completely proven, if these procedures were performed during the life of the patient or after death. Because Egyptians placed value on the appearance of the dead, to ensure they were sent off correctly to the afterlife.
With up-to-date dentistry these techniques are outdated, but have set the basics for the modern day procedures that are around today. Contact the surgery today to discuss some of the more current choices with your dentist.
If you'd like to learn more about ancient civilisation dental practices, read our Mayan dental review.