How Hygiene Has Changed Over The Years History Essay

1410 words (6 pages) Essay

1st Jan 1970 History Reference this


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Oral hygiene is one of the most important hygienic places of your body. If it is not properly token care of it can cause problems throughout the body. Our ancestors figured this out many years ago and made many different utensils to help take care of our teeth, gums and mouth. The history of oral hygiene came from people using orangewood sticks to scrape their teeth clean to using very high-tech utensils today. For example our ancestors not caring in the proper way for their teeth can lead to having false teeth or the use of Novocain, a numbing drug used in the mouth.

Dentistry is a branch of medicine that involves diagnosis, prevention and treatment of any disease concerning the teeth, oral cavity and associated surfaces. (Bellis “Definition”). the word dentistry came from France. The word dent is French for tooth. The Baltimore College of dental surgery was the first dental school in the world, on February 1st in 1840 was the day they opened the college to students. This college as a huge start in dental practices all around the world people came from every where to attend this college. Peoples oral hygiene was token very serious at this point in time and it was very expensive to go to the dentist. (“The History”).

“One of the most asked questions by adults and children is the origin of the tooth brush.” (Blain). The toothbrush was crafted in the 1400s by the Chinese and was not made of nylon and plastic, it was crafted from bamboo which was the most common plant. The bamboo formed the handle and attached to this was a set of bristles made from tough hair of the Siberian wild boar. The Chinese were believed to have made the first real toothbrush, however there is evidence that there was another form of the toothbrush dated back to 3000 BC. This brush was found in the pyramids of Egypt. People claim to still use them today. They are made from an orangewood stick that the end had been frayed so the fibers of the wood were softer. The stick was then rubbed to the teeth as a form of oral hygiene. It was not till WWII that Americans began to take their oral hygiene more seriously. This influence spurred on the development of better toothbrushes. “in 1937 nylon was made in the DuPont laboratories by Wallace H. Carothers. This invention changed the toothbrush forever”. (Rebecca Blain) Nylon became the sign of motorizations in 1938 when Dr. West created the first nylon toothbrush. He called this the “Miracle toothbrush”. (Rebecca Blain/Enzinearticles.)

Without the tooth brush the idea of toothpaste would have never came along. The earliest known toothpaste was created by the Egyptians, made from a drachma of rock salt, two drachmas of mint, one drachma of dried iris flowers and twenty grains of pepper. The ingredients were then crushed together to form a powder which when mixed with saliva would form a paste. In the 18th century there was a mixture called “dragons blood”, this was a mixture of cinnamon and burned alum. This mixture is more of an amusement to scientist since there is no proof of dragons. What may be considered as dragon blood is unknown. In the 19th century charcoal was used to clean the teeth. Most toothpaste in this time was mainly powders that formed a paste when mixed with spit. However at this time different types of paste were made to clean and freshen breathe. This is where the modern idea of the toothpaste came from that did both for you. Many ingredients are used in the paste today such as fluoride. It is the most used ingredient in the average tube of toothpaste. Colgate and other companies work to design toothpaste that taste good while providing the means to clean teeth while not making the gums bleed. The combination of the tooth and the brush gives everyone the dental hygiene that you need to have sparkling teeth as desired by so many. Floss was also a very important part of dental hygiene too. A New Orleans dentist named Levi-Spear Parmly is officially credited with the invention of dental floss. in 1815 he told his patients to floss between their teeth with silk thread. (Bellis “Toothbrush”).Which brings us to the first modern dental floss and it was mass produced by the Codman and Shurtlet Company in 1882. The concept of dental floss has been around for many years according to the grooves created by floss have been found in prehistoric human beings making people believe that floss has been around for much longer than recorded. Various materials have been used for flossing throughout history including hairs of animals which are not hygienic. Floss will remove food particles that get stuck between the teeth reducing bacterial growing and removing the plaque at the same time.

There is so many tools used in dentistry today and of course they have all changed over time. They have come from being huge to barely fitting in the mouth to today’s tools that are perfect size to fit in the mouth. There is still history in when and where these tools came from because with out them we would not be anywhere in dentistry today. For example in 1848, Walt Hatchet patented the dental chair where the patients could sit and try to relax while the dentist worked in their mouths. The dentist drill was invented on January, 26 1875 by George Green. The practice of ancient medicines recommended the tongue cleaner to be used once daily to remove toxins and debris. (Steve DR.A’s ultrasonic scalar was first proposed for cleaning calculus off teeth in 1955. The ultrasonic scaler became an acceptable alternative to hand cleaning instruments in1960 and became very popular in the 70s and 80s for removing plaque, calculus and supra-gingivitis. (Dradedental-dr.Hyshmans Ayoub, dmd)

Dental hygiene is not only about the cleaning of your mouth it has some bad consequences if choose not to take of them such as cavities, periodontal disease, gingivitis, having to have false teeth or even braces. French dentist were the first to mix mercury with other metals an plug the mixture into cavities in the teeth. The first mixture developed in the 1800s and had relatively little mercury in them and had to be heated for the metals to bind. There is ancient evidence that the Chinese used acupuncture around 2700 B.C to treat pain associated with tooth decay. The first local anesthetic used in dentistry was a drug called cocaine, in1884.researchers soon found a non addictive substitute for cocaine as a result Alfred Einkorn introduced in 1905 this was called Novocain. Novocain never became popular for military use. (Bellis, Mary-inventors) periodontal disease is a very serious disease and it forms in the gums and effects the bone marrow in your teeth. This disease was discovered in the 18th century with pure clinical observations and it continues well into the 19th century. Periodontal disease can affect the following, the alveolar bone, periodontal ligament, cementum and the gingival. The signs and symptoms of periodontal disease were established with chronic inflammation with loss of alveolar bone and pus exudates. (American Periodontal). Gingivitis is a term for the non destructive type of periodontal disease thank to oral hygiene this is what we see more of today because people take well care of their teeth. If you proceed to ignore periodontal disease you will eventually loose your teeth and this will result in the use of false teeth. The Etruscans designed false teeth out of ivory and bone that were secured in the mouth by bridge work and was dated as far back as 700 B.C and these were very high in price and still are today.

In my conclusion from the history of dental hygiene I would just like to state that oral hygiene is a very important factor in everyone’s life today. It has a huge history and so many interesting facts that so many people overlook today. I think it is so amazing that teeth are one of the few things in this world that have been around for years on end and people have always found ways to take care of them and its just amazing to me how utensils have changed so much over the last few years and procedures have went down in cost because oral hygiene is becoming more modern than ever before. I hope by reading this paper everyone takes a closer look at their oral hygiene and practice the best way to take care of it.

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