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57072.  Sun Mar 05, 2006 8:06 am Reply with quote

Question: What did Saint Apollonia do to merit becoming the patron saint of dentists?

Answer: Had all her teeth violently extracted, then was burned alive. (nice).

Apollonia was one of a group of Christians from Alexandria who was martyred in 249 AD. According to Christian historians, she was pressured by a local mob to renounce her beliefs and after refusing, was punished by having all of her teeth knocked out and eventually being burned to death.

After such excruciating pain and losing all her teeth, Apollonia was an obvious choice to become the patron saint of dentists. Her image, usually holding a set of pincers and an extracted tooth, can be seen in dentist waiting rooms across the world.

“These men seized her also and by repeated blows broke all her teeth. They then erected outside the city gates a pile of fagots and threatened to burn her alive if she refused to repeat after them impious words [either a blasphemy against Christ, or an invocation of the heathen gods]. Given, at her own request, a little freedom, she sprang quickly into the fire and was burned to death."

Other Dentistry bits:

The early history of dentistry is well documented, with tooth-sticks being chewed on in classical times, the following have all been used at some stage in the production of toothpaste/toothpowder:
Powdered ashes of ox hooves, myrrh, eggshells, pumice, crushed bones, oyster shells, charcoal, bark, the burnt shells of snails, honey, green lead, verdigris, incense, flintstone, brick dust and radium.

In the 18th century, it became fashionable for dentists to transplant teeth. However while the techniques were widespread, they were far from scientific, tooth-transplanting has been blamed for a number of maladies from syphilis to scurvy. But where to get the teeth? Every dentist involved in transplanting needed a good stock of healthy teeth, so teeth would be taken from hanged criminals, from mortuaries or graveyards, from living donors - who would in return get a financial reward of around two guineas - or even from battlefields. These so-called “waterloo teeth” became one of the prizes of choice for those who sneaked onto battlefields to rob the slain.

57526.  Mon Mar 06, 2006 3:30 pm Reply with quote

Given the battlefield looting reference, it's perhaps worth linking this to post 16404

58020.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:55 am Reply with quote

There were no dentists in ancient Egypt:

Frederick The Monk
58060.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 10:36 am Reply with quote

The 7th century St. Follian is also a patron saint of Dentists....

...and truss-makers.

183394.  Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:11 am Reply with quote

In sub-saharan Africa, people can be seen with a twig sticking out of their mouths all day - this is the African toothbrush which users claim is a lot more efficient than a plastic brush.

In Senegal, the chewing stick is called "sothiou", which means "to clean" in Wolof. In east Africa it is called "mswaki", the Swahili word for toothbrush.


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