The Whole Tooth and Nothing But the Tooth

Vigiee  1787

In 1787, this painting made a sensation. She's Showing her Teeth

Joanna here. I've posted before with all my thoughts and beliefs and outright speculation that Regency folk of the middling and upper sorts were probably as cleanly and nice smelling as most folks nowadays. That is not an impeccable standard, as anyone who takes public transportation will testify. But it's also not the universal reek-to-heaven some folks think it must be.

So let's wander into the question of oral hygiene, shall we?
(And I promise not to go into anything even vaguely touching upon tooth-ache and tooth-drawers and suchlike horrors because some of you are sitting down with a nice croissant and café au lait and you do not deserve to be harrowed to your marrow.)

What did Regency folk use as toothbrushes?
Well … They used toothbrushes.

Taking into account the sad fact that our Regency folk didn't have plastic and were therefore unable to make their dental implements in screaming magenta and electric green stripes, they still did pretty well. The business end of the toothbrush was of stiff boar bristles or —  like this one over on the right  —  horsehair. The handles were ivory, wood, or bone, carved for a firm yet graceful grip.

Napoleon’s_toothbrush,_c_1795. by science museum london

This belonged to Napoleon. Could be gold, I suppose


Read more