Why Victorian-Era Brides Lost Their Teeth

Red-haired bride in a lace dress holds a bouquet of white flowers, looking down sadly as she stands alone in the dark

While our team at Toothology is dedicated to revolutionizing family dentistry, we find it interesting to look at what doctors did in the past. However, it is sometimes difficult to consider old-fashioned medical practices without an eye of judgment or a wince of pain. Historical methods to treat ailments range from strange to downright scary; from soothing kids with morphine syrup to performing lobotomies to using toxic mercury as a panacea. One such wince-worthy practice in the field of dentistry occurred during Queen Victoria’s reign from 1837—1901.

Victorian Oral Hygiene & Dental Decay

During the Victorian era, dental care was expensive and rudimentary at best. At-home oral hygiene was mediocre due to insufficient knowledge and humble tools. Most people cleaned their teeth using water with twigs or rough cloths as toothbrushes. Some splurged on a “tooth-powder” if they could afford it. Sugar became more widely distributed, thus contributing to an increase in tooth decay during this time period. So, if you were an unlucky soul with a rotten tooth, you would head to your local barber or blacksmith who doubled as a “surgeon”. This surgeon would pull the affected tooth with pliers or forceps with no pain medicine. Ouch!

Maybe Rethink “I Do”…

If that weren’t scary enough, newly married women in the Victorian era endured a painful yet financially practical wedding gift. Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something… removed! In order for a husband to escape the costliness of future dental procedures, their wife would have ALL her teeth pulled out and replaced with dentures. Even if a bride had a perfectly healthy smile, her teeth would still be extracted. Yikes! Victorian dentures were made of wood, porcelain, animal bone, ivory, hard rubber, gold, and real human teeth.

We Offer High-Quality, Modern Dentistry Services

Our team is happy to be beyond those painful and primitive practices. Toothology Dental consists of an expert group of professionals that are dedicated to helping our patients enjoy a lifetime of dental comfort and success. For any questions or concerns regarding the health of your teeth or our payment options, contact us without delay!

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