Brushing teeth in Roman times was an inseparable element of personal hygiene. However, modern people would not use the substances used by the Romans. They believed, for example, that hard ingredients allowed teeth to maintain strength – for this purpose, crushed bones and oyster shells from which the mixture was made.
The Romans also used powdered coal and bark to get rid of the unpleasant smell from the mouth. Some used ash obtained from burned mouse, wolf or rabbit heads. Burned remains of ox horns, goat’s feet and egg shells mixed with pumice were also used. The Romans also rinsed their mouth with turtle blood three times a year to prevent toothache.
The Romans also used urine to whiten teeth. The Roman poet, Catullus, mentions this fact. Urine contains ammonia, which actually has whitening properties.
In ancient Rome, due to the high social demand for dental procedures and the associated profits, it was not only doctors who began to remove teeth. Some technicians, who previously only prepared prosthetic restorations, began to pull their teeth straight out in the streets, making it fair.