Did You Know These Facts About Dentistry in Ancient Egypt?

January 4, 2023

Learning more about ancient dentistry can give you more perspective the next time you visit Dr. Dhiraj Sharma for a filling or other dental treatments. Read on and explore some interesting facts about Ancient Egyptian dentistry.

Their Bread Was Bad for Their Teeth

The bread that Ancient Egyptians ate included sand and grit, a bad combination for the enamel on the teeth, as it wore the enamel down.

Attrition Could Affect Dental Health

During Ancient Egyptian times, a serious concern was attrition. This happens when you don’t get enough vitamins and minerals. That was the case for the Ancient Egyptians due to their diet. Untreated attrition led to numerous dental issues, such as inflammation of the gums and jawbone, abscesses, and tooth loss.

They Made Early Forms of Toothpaste

While Egyptians didn’t have the knowledge we do today, they did develop a form of toothpaste. In fact, they are responsible for what is likely the oldest toothpaste formula in the world. It included dried iris flower, crushed rock, salt, pepper, and mint.

They Made Early Forms of Mouthwash

They also used various early forms of mouthwashes, which were typically mixtures designed to be chewed and spit out. Their mouthwashes commonly included ingredients like celery and bran.

They Pulled Teeth

Based on written evidence, we know that Egyptians learned to pull teeth around 3,000 B.C. as a way to address dental problems.

They Treated Cavities

Egyptians would drill out cavities. There’s also evidence that they packed teeth with various substances. One composite included barley, an antiseptic, and honey.

They Had Braces

If you think braces are a modern concept, think again. Some mummies from Ancient Egypt have crude metal bands on their teeth that were likely early forms of braces. This involved the use of gold or silver wire.

They Performed Oral Surgery

There is also evidence that Ancient Egyptians performed various types of oral surgery. This included removing damaged portions of gum, placing jaws, and surgically excising abscesses. Based on the remains, we also know that they used dental bridges similar to the dental bridges in Chicago that we use at our office. However, they used silver or gold wire to attach replacement teeth to the healthy ones next to them.


Ancient Egyptians did not have very good oral health by our standards. Still, they had early versions of toothpaste, mouthwash, bridges, and even braces. But these were a far cry from our modes of dental treatment today. Their dental issues worsened due to the lack of nutrients in their diet, so most remains from the time show unhealthy teeth. This knowledge gives us plenty of reasons to be thankful for modern dentistry.


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