Fun Facts About Ancient Dental Practices

You probably don’t think much about how your toothpaste came to be, or when dentures were invented. Here, we’ll provide some fun facts about ancient dental practices so you can see how far we’ve come.


Around 5000 BC, Egyptians began to use a paste-like substance to clean their teeth. The next groups to follow with a tooth-cleaning concoction were the Indians, Romans, Greeks, and Chinese in 500 BC. This tooth powder was much different than what we use today! In Greece, they crushed up bones and oyster shells to make the paste abrasive. The Romans used a similar recipe, but also added bark and charcoal for flavoring. In China, they used breath-freshening ingredients like salt, ginseng, and herbal mint.

Aerial view of large green mint plant used in ancient Chinese toothpaste

Dental Crowns

The Etruscans, the ancient civilization that lived in central Italy, created primitive dental crowns using ivory, bone, gold, and human teeth. It wasn’t until the 19th century that porcelain and special dental ceramics replaced the materials used in ancient times.

Teeth Straightening

Teeth straightening is not just a modern phenomenon! The Egyptians used creative methods of wrapping gold bands and even cords made of animal intestines around their teeth to close any gaps. Additionally, ancient philosophers and doctors, such as Aristotle, Hippocrates, and Aulus Cornelius Celsus, wrote about ways to correct crooked teeth. Much of their writings would seem almost silly today, as Celsus claimed that you could straighten teeth by simply moving crooked teeth with your finger!

Closeup of a wild wolf howling outside in the forest


Go back in time to 2500 BC present-day Mexico, where the first dentures were made out of wolf teeth. The next known evidence of dentures were from about 700 BC when the Etruscans connected animal teeth with gold wires and bands. By 500 BC, the Romans had adopted this creation. Fake teeth made of bone have also been discovered in an Egyptian tomb.

Modern Dental Care at Hillstream Dental

Luckily for us and our patients, modern medicine has made dental procedures, including teeth cleanings, much more safe, sanitary, and effective. Here at Hillstream Dental, we don’t use rudimentary procedures. Our expert team is highly trained and our office is equipped with advanced dental technology and comfortable amenities. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!

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Hillstream Dental