Researching the topic of homemade toothpastes recently, I began to wonder what people did before there were plastic toothbrushes.
Turns out that we’ve been cleaning our teeth since probably before we walked upright on two legs. In this article, I’ll share what I’ve recently learned about how it was done (and in many parts of the world, still is).
Teeth Cleaning In Its original Form
Cast your mind back to the last time you were out on a picnic, you’d finished eating, and you were lazing about on the grass in the sunshine.
Did anyone in the group pluck a grass stem and start poking about between their teeth with it? That’s teeth cleaning, in its original form.
Now, think about the last time you threw a stick (or saw someone else throw a stick) for a dog? Did the dog ever stop bringing the stick back, plop down on the grass, and just gnaw on the stick? That’s also teeth cleaning in its original form.
Teeth Cleaning Goes Way Back
Mass production makes modern materials like plastics, and widgets like toothbrushes, so readily available to us that we who rely on supermarkets have forgotten there was ever any other way.
But there are other ways, and they go way back. Here are some bits and pieces I found when I searched for how pre-historic people cleaned their teeth.
An article called “Teeth cleaning: an ancient habit” describes how fossilised teeth from ancient hominids, and experiments done to replicate grooves in the teeth, suggest that early humans used grass stalks as tooth picks, just as we do today when we go on picnics. (Grass contains hard, abrasive silica particles, which may explain the grooves seen on those ancient teeth.)
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…