Dental Hygiene, Innovation, and the Royal Family of France
How the Court of Versailles Contributed to the Contemporary Struggle Against Virulent Oral Microorganisms
Seventeenth century France at the Palace of Versailles represented the best of times and the worst of times. Behind the glittering parties and hallways lined with gold, lay a very dirty, ugly reality. While the royal family smiled on the outside, their internal smiles often hid rotten, infected, and missing teeth. At this time, the term oral hygiene did not yet exist-that is, until it wreaked death and misfortune on royal generations to come.
Louis XIV’s severe dental problems led to the appointment of the world’s first official dentist. At the beginning of Louis XIV’s reign, dentistry remained the practice of charlatans. Tonics, bloodletting, leeching, and the extraction of teeth represented the entirety of this largely ineffective practice. After several bouts with severe toothaches, followed by several tooth removals, a major infection took over the king’s mouth. Because of this infection, more teeth had to be subsequently removed. This incident led to the King appointing a special dentist in 1712, with the exclusive job of preserving the few teeth he had left. (1) Nevertheless, the King’s special dentist relied upon the traditional practices of the day, which unfortunately remained largely ineffective.
Dental infections not only affected the king but also contributed to the high infant mortality rate experienced by the royal court. Queen Marie-Therese, the wife of Louis XIV, suffered from rotten teeth, with her remaining ones completely blackened. (1) The queen’s body weakened and riddled with constant infections originating in her mouth, she lost five children shortly after childbirth or in early infancy. Only one of her children survived to adulthood. (3) In 1741, Queen Marie-Therese’s grandson, Louis XV realizing the overall health significance of caring for one’s teeth, issued a royal decree giving dentists ” a status of their own and no longer… count(ing) them among the odd charlatans.” (1)
Louis XV’s granddaughter, Princess Marie-Therese, born on July 19, 1746, died before reaching the age of two. She had fallen victim of a “toothache too brutal” and was grossly “ill-treated.” (2) The death of the little girl represented true heartbreak for the crown prince, as she represented the only link he still had to his late first wife. (2) In an effort to forestall such future calamities, in 1755, Dr. Julien Botot, the official royal court dentist, presented Louis XV with a new invention; a paste that one applies to their teeth, for the exclusive purpose of keeping them healthy. In addition to that, he also concocted an oral rinse, with the aspiration of assisting in removing unseemly odors. He called the paste “toothpaste” and the rinse “mouthwash.” (1). News of these new inventions spread throughout the royal court, across the country, and then ultimately throughout Europe, contributing significantly to our dental practices today.
The twenty-first century led to a plethora of challenges in the dental industry. New, inventive toothpaste and mouthwashes hit the burgeoning market. Teeth become whiter, straighter, and longer lasting, largely because of more stringent standards of cleanliness. However, in 2005, the World Health Organization released a paper advocating the reduction of mercury in the cleaning solutions of hospitals. (4) This factor, coupled with the systematic overuse of antibiotics, (5) contributed to the rise of superbugs, or virulent microorganisms, including Stepelococous, Staph, and Candida. (6) Today, our mouths represent the most effective way for these superbugs to enter our bodies, and the results are catastrophic. Systemic health effects include “cardiovascular disease, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes mellitus, and low birth weight.” (7) The most vulnerable members of our society are at greatest risk-that is, seniors wearing partials, and children wearing braces or other orally insertable devices.
The reality of systemic health problems affecting our most vulnerable has led to further innovations in the dental industry. One company making great strides in this area is Soluria. With their highly advanced cleaners, specifically made for orally inserted devices, Soluria is contributing greatly to the halt of microorganisms and systemic diseases originating in the mouth. (8) Just as the death of Marie-Therese led to the creation of toothpaste and mouthwash, the rise of modern-day superbugs has led to new highly effective cleaners for both teeth and orally inserted devices. These liquids represent the newest generation of dental cleansers, stepping far beyond traditional toothpaste and mouthwashes. As the superbugs of today continue to evolve and change, so must the dental industry. The industry must stay steps ahead, especially in regard to cleaning oral devices, as they are continually used by society’s most vulnerable.
The severe dental problems experienced by the royal court of Versailles ultimately led to great advances in the dental industry as well as personal hygiene. From the recognition of the industry in 1712, to the invention of toothpaste in 1755, dentistry evolved and changed initially within the confines of the royal court. (1) Their new smiles infected those around them, in a good way, with the advances spreading throughout the nobles, the townspeople, Europe, and ultimately the world, changing the teeth of everyone for the better. Today, with the rise of superbugs, and the appearance of virulent oral microorganisms, Soluria is making advances in the dental industry for those wearing removable oral devices of all types, especially the new innovations in clear braces. With specialized products like Smile Saver™, created specifically for these devices, Soluria is making the latest advances in helping these patients have a better experience and begin to look at ways to help win the fight against oral systemic health issues. (8)
For further information about the latest advancements in cleaners and sanitizers for removable oral devices in a highly desired on-the-go format, please go to soluria.com
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