The Ethos Surrounding Sugar under Queen Elizabeth I
Dental care in Elizabethan England (1558-1603) was not merely lacking. It was also harmful. Despite the fact that the reign of Queen Elizabeth I focused on luxury, dental health suffered.
The wealthy during this era lived in mansions and wore the finest clothes. However, sugar had also become a luxury item. And, it was no wonder because only the wealthy could afford it. In fact, Marzipan, made from almonds and sugar, became a popular sugar treat. Created as a paste and molded into the shapes of fruits, Marzipan decoration was elaborate and a sign of wealth.
Prior to sugar, Queen Elizabeth’s dental care consisted of brushing her teeth with honey. However, when sugar became available, she replaced honey with sugar. In fact, the sugar paste became known as Tudor Toothpaste. Consequently, the Queen’s teeth began decaying early in her life.
By the time she was in her early 50’s, most of her teeth had turned black and fallen out. Her tooth loss made it difficult to understand her speech, especially if she was speaking quickly.
Dental Care in Elizabethan England & Queen Elizabeth’s Great Fear of Dentists
Her fear of dentists, called barber-surgeons at that time, became legendary. Pain was the driving force underlying her fear. Before seeing the barber-surgeon, she would consult with her bishops for moral support. Actually, it was their job to convince her that the pain would not be too horrible. However, since anesthesia was not used until 1846, there was no painless way to extract or fill teeth during Queen Elizabeth’s reign. The more her teeth rotted, the more her pain increased along with her fear of dentists. Dental care in Elizabethan England was a sad state of affairs.
Thank Goodness for 21st Century Dental Care
We’ve come a long way since dental care in Elizabethan England. Dr. Baker uses the latest dental technology to treat patients. Our staff is friendly and our priority is to give patients a pleasant experience. Besides, we believe you and your time are valuable. This is why we have a “No Wait Policy.”