Bad Breath: A Big Deal in Medieval England

IN THE MIDDLE AGES, the English didn’t understand much about cavities or gum disease, but they did put a huge emphasis on having fresh breath. Why? Because, not knowing how germs work, they believed it was the actual bad smell that carried disease.

The Fresh Breath of Middle English Literary Characters

Almost all dental care in Medieval England was about smells. This practice even made it into the Canterbury Tales, where Chaucer’s characters chew cardamom and licorice to keep their breath smelling clean. A mixture of aniseed, cumin, and fennel was sometimes recommended to women.

Dental Woes of Medieval England

What dental problems were they living with while focusing mainly on breath? Fortunately, there wasn’t much sugar to cause cavities in the diet of Medieval England. Unfortunately, small particles of stone would get into their bread from the millstones they used to grind flour, and that caused severe erosion. Most adults would lose four to six teeth in their lifetimes.

Treatment for Alleged “Tooth Worms”

Things got really weird if you ever had a toothache. Physicians believed they were caused by tiny worms, and remedies included myrrh and opium. Those were expensive, though, so a cheaper option was to burn a candle very close to the tooth so the alleged worms would fall out into a basin of water.

For the sake of our teeth, we’re glad we don’t live back then!

Top image is in the public domain, accessed via Wikimedia commons.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
Posted in Uncategorized
New Patient Offer
Contact Us

    NAME:

    EMAIL:

    PHONE:

    MESSAGE:

    View our privacy policy

    Testimonials

    Harry B.

    Dr. Behner and his staff and just the best. They are worth my families 1-hour drive!

    —Harry B.

    Greg M.

    Dr. Behner runs a fantastic and very professional practice. His Dental Hygienist did a wonderful and pain-free cleaning. Always an excellent experience!

    —Greg M.

    Pat S.

    Dr's Behner and Pence provide an outstanding service and I am glad they are my dentist. Their staff is awesome also.

    —Pat S.

    Jeanie M.

    I know I need some extra pats and such to get me ready, and they always have been there to smile and reassure me! It’s extremely embarrassing to have so much fear but they are there not judging by comforting me!

    —Jeanie M.

    Leslee D.

    I had put off having dental work because of anxiety. I’m so glad to have been referred to Dr. Behner many years ago. Being able to have IV sedation enabled me to get the work done that was needed. Dr. Behner and his staff are so understanding. My bite is better due to crowns and I’m no longer in pain. Thank you, Dr. Behner. I no longer “dread” the dentist.

    —Leslee D.

    Cindy M.

    My experince with Dr. Behner and staff seriously changed my life. I’m 52, and feared the dentist since childhood, after terrible visits. Over 5 years ago, I found Dr. Behner after doing an internet search for sedation dentistry. At my first visit, even before my sedation appt., I knew I had found my dentist for life. The atmosphere, the staff, and the dentist, all give a sense of comfort and peace. I’ve never once been afraid again, and actually look forward to my appointments!

    —Cindy M.

    Judy S.

    The entire staff is so kind and considerate that over the years my anxiety has diminished. They are my "dental family". Just had an extraction and cannot imagine a better dentist!

    —Judy S.

    DENTAL CARE TODAY PC -
    E. DALE BEHNER DDS

    If you are searching for an Indianapolis dentist to provide cosmetic dentistry, sedation dentistry, or dental implants, Dr. E. Dale Behner is here for you! Call today to schedule an appointment if you are in the area, including Fishers and Carmel. Dental Care Today PC - E. Dale Behner DDS
    9744 Lantern Rd
    Fishers, IN 46037
    Call: 317-842-2337317-842-2337 DrBehner@dentalcaretoday.com
    Write a Review
    Review Us on Google Review Us on Facebook Review Us on Angies List
    Connect With Us
    Awards
    Best Dentists in Indianapolis
    Top 10 dentists in Fishers, IN
    Dr. Elton D. Behner, DDS has been awarded as a top Dentistry practice with some of Fishers's best Dentists.
    Verified by Opencare.com
    NagiosCheckValue - Do not remove please