Public Health Science

Personal Hygiene in Medieval Times

From the perspective of our modern comforts, people who lived in the Medieval era merely survived. Life expectancy was only about 30-35 years, but when the Black Plague came through, it cut that in half. Pandemics and disease-riddled the period that the fall of the Roman Empire introduced.

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The Middle Ages, in turn, opened up to the Enlightenment, and that finally brought science and medicine and civilization in general. So, how did Medievalists live? What were their personal habits like? Did they bathe?

Read on to learn all the gruesome details of life in the Dark Ages.

Medieval Dental Plans

In the Middle Ages, dental insurance did not exist. Toothaches caused by tooth decay were handled by the local barber who used his tools to pry the rotted tooth out the person’s head without the use of Novocain or any other anesthetic.

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But medieval commoners were not bereft of dental hygiene practices. To keep teeth white and clean and to stay away from the dreaded barber, the common practice was to wipe down teeth with a rough woolen cloth. And, there is evidence that toothpaste and mouthwashes were used. As it turns out, people in the Middle Ages cared about white teeth and fresh breath too! Chewing on mint or cloves was common for this purpose.

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