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Slide 2

The History Of "Gentle" Dentistry

Dental History

While going to the dentist may be one of those regular things you have done your entire life, the history of dentistry is an ancient practice that has helped shape the course of human medicine. While some patients may feel a little anxious about visiting their dentist, modern practices are far more gentle and helpful than the origins of dentistry.

The First Toothbrush

Historians have researched the first toothbrush as being a basic stick or twig that was pressed at one end to create a wide enough of a cleaning surface for primitive humans to run across their teeth, called a "chew stick." The first recorded evolution of the toothbrush, however, dated back as far back as the 17th century, when the Chinese invented the first toothbrush with bristles.

The First Toothpaste

No toothbrush is complete without toothpaste, however. Early Egyptians were recorded as far back as 4 AD, using a combination of dried iris flowers, mint, pepper and rock salt to create a cleaning powder (that also caused bleeding gums). Ancient civilized man made use of various substances and flavors such as honey, dried flowers and powdered fruit, less desirable flavors such as burnt or ground shells, burnt bread, talc and vinegar, or for "Flavors that you won't find at your local grocery store or pharmacy", lizard livers, mice, rabbit heads or urine. honey and dried flowers. Other recipes continued to appear throughout history, from the Middle Ages and beyond, which is just as well, as many of these ingredients contained corrosive elements that dissolved enamel from the teeth. Our modern toothpaste as we know it today came about in the 1800s through early formulas used ingredients such as chalk and soap. Fluoride was added to toothpaste during the 1890s. These days, toothpastes come in a variety of flavors, ranging from mint to fruit, bubble gum to chocolate or even bacon or pickle.

The First Dental Practice

The ancient Egyptians were very modern in many practices, such as architecture and medicine. Death texts as far back as 2600 BC declared Hesy-Re, an Egyptian scribe, as the first "dentist", though the Romans, Greeks and Etruscans had early dental accounts in the late BC, early AD eras. A "Guild of Barbers" established in France in 1210 did complex surgeries and tooth extractions. Around the 1770s, Paul Revere placed advertisements in Boston newspapers, offering his dental services. The 1800s saw more "modern" changes such as the first dental college opening in 1840 and the first mass-produced toothpaste in 1873, distributed by Colgate. X-rays were invented in 1896. The first school of orthodontics was established in 1901. Novocaine wasn't introduced until 1905. Each of these changes has evolved the field of dentistry into a far more comfortable practice.

No matter what your history is, Cabrillo Family Dental Care, based in Pacifica California, can help with a wide variety of dental procedures, from pediatric dentistry to the best sedation dentistry Pacifica has to offer. To schedule an appointment with Cabrillo Family Dental Care, give us a call at (650) 359-1646, or visit our website at