Thursday, June 20, 2013

How to Care for Your Teeth, 13th century

"This is how to keep your teeth: gather the grains of a leek, burn them with henbane, and direct the smoke thereof to your teeth with a funnel, as if smoking a pipe." 
Regimen sanitatis Salernitanum (c. 13th century)

When you can't brush, fumigate! Recommended by nine out of ten medieval dentists.

Ask your dentist about a commemorative tooth-necklace.
BL, MS Royal 6 (c. 1360-75)


  1. What would someone in 13th century Europe normally smoke from a pipe?

    Odd little anachronism, and not in the original text.


    Sic dentes serva: poirorum collige grana,
    ne careas iure, cum iusquiamo simul ure:
    sique per embotum fumum cape dente remotum.

    1. True. I like to think the translator was providing a handy tip for anyone who couldn't get their hands on an embotum.

    2. Probably opium or hashish, otherwise. Go to YouTube and search for "Fumeux fume" or "Puisque je suis fumeux", and you'll get a sense for Medieval pipe-smoking...

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