We talk about plenty of topics here in the office at Barksdale Dentistry. Dental implant provider Dr. John Barksdale has quite a bit of time to spent with his patients while working and thus there if often a wide spectrum of conversations that happen. It probably won’t surprise you to find out that oral health, in general, is among the most common. However, what might surprise you is the amount of patients we get here in Baton Rouge, LA who are interested in the way people took care of their teeth before modern dental technology was a thing.
The reason we bring this up is because is seems to be quite entertaining when our patients see that we have a wealth of random information about dental practices throughout history. As soon as they get one fact that are asking to know more and it’s a conversation both staff and patient love equally. For instance, did you know that before nylon bristles were invented, toothbrush bristles used to be made of course animal hair (usually from the neck of a hog)?
So, today, in the spirit of having a little fun we are going to tell you a couple of fun facts about the oral health of one historical figure who you might have heard of – Queen Elizabeth I. That being said, let’s take a closer look at oral health in 16th century England’s upper class.
Talk about early dental implants. Being royalty means you are in the public eye almost continuously. Queen Liz was constantly under the scrutinizing eyes of her subjects who also regarded her as being the epitome of fashion and elegance. When her teeth began to fall out due to her lack of oral hygiene coupled with her fondness of sweets, the gaps in her mouth began to make sections of her lips sink in. It is said that she was very self-conscious about this so to combat it she stuffed cotton in the gaps in order to push her lips back out.
As we stated above, Queen Elizabeth was the epitome of grace and style during her reign. At the time in history, sugar was also wildly expensive and only available to people high in society’s ranks. When the queen’s teeth turned black from rot and decay, not only did people try and emulate this look by rubbing soot and other tooth staining products on their teeth because they were trying to copy her, but also because black teeth meant you had money. How funny is that?
There are various historical reports that depict Queen Elizabeth as being capable of throwing fits on a royal scale. She is said to have been a generally kind natured ruler, however, when she was subject to random bouts of intense anger and swearing. There are reports that claim she spat on the clothing of people who angered her, cursed like a sailor, and even threw her shoes at a few unlucky people – all while angry.
Now, there are various historians who attribute this childlike behavior to the amount of sugar she ate. These temper tantrums may have very well been the result of a sugar crash. Makes sense to us.
We hope you enjoyed this little trip back in time with us.
Until next time readers, keep smiling.