Ancient dentists recommended Portuguese urine as perfect whitening ingredient

Egyptians were the first to invent toothpaste many centuries ago, when there were no anti-cavity, mint-flavored and whitening toothpastes and gels. The ancient toothpaste was a mixture of pumice and wine vinegar. Yummy, isn't?

It may sound absolutely insane, but ancient Romans found a much more original way for their daily tooth-care. Wealthy Romans, especially women, were ready to pay a lot of money for the local sort of toothpaste, in which human urine was the main ingredient. They could not use their own urine or urine of another Roman: the "whitening toothpaste" was delivered directly from Portugal. Portuguese urine was supposed to produce a perfect whitening effect, if aristocrats were ready to pay for its delivery.

Urine was used for production of ancient toothpastes and mouth washing liquids before the 18th century. It really worked: urine contains ammonia molecules (which are still used in modern tooth-care industry) that whiten teeth very well.

When the Roman Empire collapsed, its oral hygiene traditions disappeared as well, although some people may probably say that using urine as mouthwash cannot be called hygienic at all.

Persian doctor, Razes, designed first tooth fillings 500 years later. The doctor invented a glue-like blend of ammonia, iron and tar. That was a rather subtle and exquisite formula, although one could not say the same about the drilling process. Ancient dentists did not drill - they virtually gouged out tooth holes. Needless to say that no one ever heard of Novocain back then.

George Washington's dentist, John Greenwood, decided to combine a drilling and a spinning machine to simplify the painful process. The drill started spinning a lot faster after that, although it was still extremely slow in comparison with contemporary dental standards. Mr. Greenwood's invention had one very serious drawback, though: the fast rotation was heating up the drill and causing burning pain to unfortunate patients.

Italian dentists noticed in the beginning of the 19th century that residents of Naples suffered from caries at a much smaller capacity than everyone else. It was later discovered that Naples water and soil were very rich with fluorine, a tooth-strengthening substance. European dentists started recommending their patients to eat candies made of fluorine and honey.

It is noteworthy that modern dentistry still uses ureal compounds in whitening gels and toothpastes.