Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Teeth Dental care in pre-contact was simple; for cleaning, Hawaiians rubbed wood ash or charcoal on and between the teeth and then rinsed their mouths. Toothache and periodontal disease were treated with the root of the pua kala (poppy,) bitten into and held between the teeth. Teeth were extracted by pulling them out with an olona cord. Western dentistry apparently started in the Islands with the coming of the missionaries (Hiram Bingham extracted his wife’s (Sybil) ‘badly decayed tooth.’) Hawai‘i’s first professional dentist of record was Dr MB Steven (1847;) shortly thereafter Hawai‘i’s first permanent dentist John Mott Smith.

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