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From the most remote antiquity the Homo sapiens has tried to get rid of the dust, feces, parasites, dirt… and other discomforts, through all kinds of trickery. In these tasks, they did not neglect in any moment the dental hygiene.

At the end of the nineties of the last century, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) conducted a survey on what were the five major inventions for the americans. In fifth place were the microwave, behind the mobile, the computer and the car. The post of honour which is reserved to the toothbrush.

Perhaps you were unaware of the respondents is that the term “decay” is itself a name has become, that is to say, a word that is used in the same way in Latin. The first to use it was the roman physician Aulio Cornelio Celso, back in the first century after Christ, to refer to any area of bone that went into “rot”.

And is that at the beginning of the decay were not a hunting ground reserved to the teeth, it was not until the seventeenth century when it was used exclusively to refer to the destruction of the ivory tooth by the action of the bacterial plaque.

That galen recommended, in addition, fill in the holes of the teeth with fragments of lead to avoid that is filled with remnants of food.

From one failure to…

it was Also another roman physician, Escribonius Largus, who lived in the I century a. C, the first to use the toothpaste. Basically, it was an amalgam formed by powder of pumice stone, wine vinegar, honey and salt.

If despite using this paste remaining food debris between teeth, recommended to resort to the use of chopsticks and, in his absence, the mastic, a plant chewed by the romans by way of chewing gum. If, despite all this, the remnants persisted they could help each other with feathers, that yes, that they would not be vulture.

In the NINETEENTH century an English doctor, John Lister, patented the first mouthwash of the story, developed with phenol. Fourteen years later, another physician, Joseph Lawrence, decided to give it a different use, you are first recommended to treat gonorrhea applying it on the genital area is swollen, then to treat fungus of the feet… finally, and given the lack of success, used it to clean the floors.

The use of the phenol would have been in the corner of oblivion, but it would have been by his son Jerry, who decided to use it to treat halitosis. Decided to pay tribute to the true discoverer of the invention and rebautizarlo as “listerine”. It was a true commercial success has remained up to our days.

A bone of the dinner

In 1780, William Addis ended up behind bars in a prison of Newgate as a result of various vicissitudes of life. The hours of inactivity and restlessness caused him to worry greatly with their dental hygiene.

In those moments the traditional way of cleaning the teeth was by rubbing them with a fabric of linen mixed with salt or other substances. Addis should have thought that in prison the linen cloth should not be sufficiently antiseptic, and so decided to look for a substitute more hygienic.

one day it saved a bone from the dinner, he managed to pierce in small holes, who ended up hitting a few bristles that you got after bribing one of the guards. With all of this produced the first modern toothbrush. At the exit of the prison, what would improve and what would patent it gaining a large fortune.

Sticks, miswak – Wikipedia

it Is true that it was not the first toothbrush of the story, to find it we must go more than seven thousand years. It was the popular stick of miswak, which is derived from a plant -Arak tree or the toothbrush – and that is still used in some asian countries.

The miswak is used, chewing on his branch until deshilacharla and, from there, you get big plumes containing fluorine –between 8 and 22 parts per million-.

M. Jara

Pedro Gargantilla is a internist in the Hospital of El Escorial (Madrid), and author of several popular books .