The Tudor Society

12 December – Keeping your teeth clean Tudor style

Today, we have toothpaste, mouthwash, floss and all sorts of gadgets to help us keep our teeth clean and healthy, but how did the Tudors clean their teeth?

Find out more in this short video...

And here is a more detailed talk on the topic from a few years ago...

Notes, Sources and Further Reading

There are 2 comments Go To Comment

  1. M

    Thank you for this explanation about tooth care during Tudor times.I imagine that poorer people, with less access to sugared foods, might have better teeth that wealthier people who did.
    Do you know if people in the early Tudor period used hairbrushes in addition to combs? I’ve tried to find references but am coming up blank. Thanks!

  2. C

    Interesting as clove oil is used today for its numbing properties as a treatment for toothache, I have a little bottle I purchased from my local pharmacy when I suffered from toothache a few years ago, of course ibuprofen is best as it is anti inflammatory but yes the Tudors with their experimenting with herbs and flowers were clever to discover that clove oil did help with toothache, I feel that toothache is the worst pain of all, as nerves can cross and make the tooth above it or below it hurt to, and it can travel upward and make the jaw and eye area ache, my dentist told me that sometimes tooth ache is not a sign of tooth decay but merely caused by a viral infection that can affect the gums, really though imagine using soot on one’s teeth, or animal bones, however they had some knowledge as the abrasive materials did clean the teeth, but must have worn away some of the enamel to, I agree with the previous comment, poorer folk must have had more healthy teeth as they were not subject to sugary desserts like marzipan and meringues, it was well known that Elizabeth 1st had rotten black teeth as she loved meringues, mind you so do I they are easy to make to.

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12 December – Keeping your teeth clean Tudor style