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  • Writer's picturePayton Tilley

Medieval Monday ~ #2

No one wants foul breath, not even those that lived in the middle ages. Many people view this age as one of poor hygiene and filth, but really that is all a lie fabricated by Hollywood. In fact, keeping ones mouth and teeth clean were highly important. I stumbled across this subject thanks to a medieval podcast I listen to sometimes, and the topic of beauty made me investigate dental hygiene a little more. What did I learn, hmm? So, what did they do for their teeth?

  1. ~ Chew cardamom or licorice

This was a widely used way to freshen the breath, It is mentioned in Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales" and many other texts of that time. You would chew a fresh smelling plant before or after eating, to keep a decent smell coming from your mouth. But one could also chew these plants: rosemary and sage, more too.

2. ~ Make a mixture of aniseed, cumin, and fennel

This tactic was normally for women. But again, it uses natural items and herbs to bring back a good smell.

3.) ~ Rub the teeth with a linen cloth

Pretty self explanatory. This is recorded from a Welsh medieval medical text to prevent teeth from rotting.

There are many other ways in which medieval people, noble and humble, could care for their teeth. Now, there were some crazy ways, but I chose to focus on these, on account of them being more common and widespread. Well, now we know what to do when there is a toothbrush shortage!


'The Canterbury Tales' by Geoffrey Chaucer

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