Ancient bad breath remedies leave something to be desired
SUMMARY: If you had halitosis in centuries past, the remedies were anything but appetizing.
Posted: May 18, 2012
Getting bad breath today is no big deal, provided you've got some specialty bad breath remedies at hand. Armed with alcohol-free mouthwash, oxidizing toothpaste, a specialty tongue scraper, some floss and a tooth whitening kit, you can clear up even the rankest cases of halitosis.
But that's today. In years past, things weren't so simple. Watch out - you may not want to read what lies below while you're eating.
Here are some antiquated bad breath remedies used thousands of years ago:
Parsley. This one's not so bad. An ancient Roman technique involved chewing this garnish after meals.
Cloves. In the ancient Middle East, Iraqis prefered to crunch on cloves after lunch.
Guava peels. This is an old folk cure from Thailand. Folks would chew guava peels in hopes of clearing up the scent of their tooth decay.
Egg shells. Really. In ancient China, it was believed that chewing egg shells or scrubbing one's teeth with them (a la tooth powder) would scour away the remnants of a meal.
Mastic. Also known as labdanum, this sticky tree resin was used to sweeten breath postprandially. It's mentioned in the bible (in Genesis), and was probably chomped on for hours at a time, potentially making it the first form of chewing gum.
Peppercorns. Crunch on these, says the Talmud, and your oral odor will gradually dissipate.
Salt, alum and vinegar. Greek physician Hippocrates concocted this disgusting mouthrinse as a way to beat halitosis.
Honey, oil and beer. Another ancient mouthwash.
Dill, anise and myrrh. Yet another. But the ultimate in unpleasant halitosis removal has to be...
A child's urine. The first time anyone ever wrote about mouthrinsing, it was in China in 2700 BCE: Oral health authorities recommended this foul rinse as a way to eliminate oral odor and gingivitis.
Really makes you appreciate the 21st century, doesn't it?