Dental hygiene has come a long way since the days of wine-soaked toothpicks and the urine mouthwash once thought to disinfect mouths and whiten teeth.
Some of the earliest tooth-cleaning artifacts archaeologists have found are ancient toothpicks, dental tools, and written tooth care descriptions dating back more than 2,500 years. Famous Greek doctor Hippocrates was one of the first to recommend cleaning teeth with what was basically a dry toothpaste, called a dentifrice powder.
Ancient Chinese and Egyptian texts advised cleaning teeth and removing decay to help maintain health. Some of the early techniques in these cultures included chewing on bark or sticks with frayed ends, feathers, fish bones, and porcupine quills. They used materials like silver, jade, and gold to repair or decorate their teeth.