How the Ebers Papyrus From 1700 to 1550 B.C. Gives Us a Glimpse at Our Ancestors’ Dental Practices

October 20, 2022

It should be no surprise that today’s dental treatments are incredibly different from our ancestors. After all, Dr. Sharma uses the latest knowledge and tools to keep his patients’ mouths healthy. It can be interesting to look back at how far we’ve come in dentistry in the last few thousand years. But it’s hard to find written records to guide us. The Ebers Papyrus from about 1700 to 1550 B.C. is one of these documents with important insights.

For reference, the name Ebers comes from Georg Ebers. He bought the papyrus at Luxor in the winter of 1873 to 1874. Scholars have translated most of the papyrus and found a wealth of information about our ancestors’ medical practices. This includes dentistry.

Some of the Information in the Papyrus

There aren’t any detailed summaries of the dental insights from the Ebers Papyrus, but we know it covered many topics. It included cures for:

  • Severe tooth enamel loss leading to decay and tooth loss
  • Tooth abscesses
  • Swollen gums

It is believed that documents like the Ebers Papyrus were a go-to guide for those looking to cure tooth ailments at the time it was made.

Some Remedies

One of the most notable remedies mentioned in the papyrus was beer. There is also a remedy for loose teeth. This involved packing a combination of barley and honey around the tooth. We also know that our ancestors from this time used silver and gold wire to anchor teeth.


You won’t find any modern dentist using the same treatments as in the Ebers Papyrus, but you can find hints of them today. For example, using a composite to stabilize teeth can resemble today’s fillings. Or the use of silver or gold wire is similar to braces. This is why many people view the papyrus as one of the many foundations behind modern dentistry.

If you are looking for modern-day dental services like braces or dental crowns in Chicago, contact us today!


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