Dentist Fresno History of Common Dental Practices

Dentist in Fresno, CA Shares Dental History

Most of the dental tools and practices we are accustomed to came from many years ago. Thankfully, the technology we have today has made the experience more pleasant and painless. Let’s take a look back at history. 
 
Toothbrush and Toothpaste
 
First toothbrushes might have been twigs or sticks that were mashed to create a cleaning surface. The Chinese claim they were the first to design a bristled toothbrush. Then, in the 17th-century, Europe began using the toothbrush which also made its way to the early colonists of America. In 1880, the very first electric toothbrush was released, but they weren’t effective until after World War II. 
 
Toothpaste has also been around since the earliest civilizations. Ingredients included ground up shells, talc, powdered fruit, dried flowers and honey. In the earliest years of designing toothpaste, some of the ingredients contained elements that were corrosive to the tooth enamel.
 
In the 1800s, toothpaste contained ingredients such as chalk and soap. Then, in 1956 the Crest brand made it to the market with fluoride.
 
Fluoridated Drinking Water
 
In 1945, fluoride was introduced to the public water system of Grand Rapids, Michigan as a way to fight tooth decay. Testing shows that the fluoride usage reduced cavity incidence by two-thirds. In 1951, the Public Health Service recommended that everyone drink fluoridated water.
 
False Teeth
 
Today, it is difficult to tell false teeth from real teeth, but that wasn’t always the case. In the early days of dentures, teeth were extracted from animal and human corpses for use. Ancient civilizations also used bone and ivory to recreate teeth. 
 
In the mid-1800s, gaps in the mouth were a way of life. When fake teeth were used, threads of coiled springs or silk were used to keep teeth in place. There was no anchor to these teeth, so they had to be removed at each meal. 
 
Anesthesia
 
Painless tooth extraction wasn’t available until the 1830s. Prior to that, extraction was done with a chisel and mallet. Thankfully, that barbaric practice was replaced with forceps by the Greeks and Romans. In the late 18th-century, a chemist began to play with nitrous oxide as a way to relieve pain. Over the 1800s, this laughing gas became quite popular. 
 
After that, numerous local anesthetics were used including cocaine at one point. Then, in 1905, Novocain was created by a German chemist. 
 
As the years go on, there are sure to be even more dental advancements that make treatment easier and more pain-free.
 
If you have any questions in Fresno, CA, or would like to schedule an appointment, please give our office a call at (559) 438-0121.