Medieval folk "aware of the value of a good smile"

According to a paper published in the British Dental Journal, medieval people were more aware of dental hygiene than previously believed, and had knowledge of teeth cleaning, fillings and dentures.

Osteo-archeologist Trevor Anderson, author of the paper, writes that the wealthy, at least, had access to literature about dental care, and the poor ate a diet which kept teeth healthy.

One medieval document include a recipe for painless tooth extraction:

"Take some newts, by some called lizards, and those nasty beetles which are found in fens during the summer time, calcine them in an iron pot and make a powder thereof.

"Wet the forefinger of the right hand, insert it in the powder, and apply it to the tooth frequently, refraining from spitting it off, when the tooth will fall away without pain. It is proven."