Why Study the History of Dentistry?
Studying the history of your profession can give you an idea about the way people went about solving problems in the past. The issues were the same, and the solutions were startlingly similar. But the technology and the philosophies behind the cure were different.Did you know that many cultures around the world believed that worms caused tooth decay? From ancient Sumer to India, Greece, and Japan, many thought that “the tooth worm” was responsible for the little holes we now know to be the work of bacteria. It may sound silly, but if you look at the round holes that decay makes in teeth, and consider that bacteria are a relatively recent discovery, it seems as reasonable an explanation as any. Most interestingly, though, is the fact that, though the explanations and available materials varied according to time and place, the principles of dentistry remained the same. Scrape, drill and fill — the same principles by which we clean and mend teeth today. What will the future of dentistry hold? Perhaps you’ll make the next significant discovery.
The History of Dentistry: The Earliest Dental Care
Scientists believe that the problem of tooth decay is relatively new.
In fact, they think that rotten teeth only became common around 10,000 years ago. Before that, our ancestors didn’t suffer from cavities. The change came at the same time that humans gave up their nomadic hunting and gathering ways, and settled down.
In fact, according to Alejandra Ortiz of New York University, only 1 to 5 percent of hunter-gatherers suffered from cavities. Compare this to between 10 and 85 percent of agricultural people. Scientists believe it was the switch to a carbohydrate-rich diet that caused the problem, and we suffer from it to this day.