Did Victorians blame tooth decay on worms or germs?
Scientific understanding of dental decay received a huge boost in the work of Dr. Willoughby Miller, an American dentist in Germany in the late 19th century. His publication of his microbiology discoveries, Micro-Organisms of the Human Mouth, eradicated old myths and brought about “an unprecedented interest in oral hygiene”… and occurred just in time to contribute to my novella’s [Isabella’s Calico Groom] setting and characters’ development.
What is a Dental Dispensary (as seen in Isabella’s Calico Groom)? Compared to true-to-history dispensaries for medical care and eye troubles, this component of medical care to meet the needs of the poor was a real thing in the 19th century United States.
Cocaine, together with its significant benefits and significant addiction potential, was discovered in the late 19th century (1884 to 1885). Dentists were quick to put cocaine to work for their patients to numb previously excruciating dental work. Citations from vintage publications illustrate the importance of this discovery, attitudes that surrounded cocaine’s use in dentistry and medicine, and the ease with which patients (and parents) accepted the use.
Dentistry in the Old West was dangerous… if a body could find a dentist.
Doc Holliday (of Tombstone and O.K. Corral fame) was a dentist– and a gambler.
Clay Allison attacked his dentist with intent to rip out the doc’s molar–“tooth for tooth.”
Oral hygiene in the Old West? Absolutely! What did they use for toothpaste?–homemade or from the mercantile (or catalog)? This article is rich in historical resources about toothpowders, toothpaste, toothbrushes, when they were patented, and what they were made of.