Queen Elizabeth I of England was notably keen on sugar. This was a time of nice conquests and explorations to the New World for the royal homes of Europe, accompanied by increasing commerce and the arrival of unique luxurious items, together with sugar. However this was additionally earlier than the invention of toothpaste and primary ideas of dental hygiene. The mixed impact was to wreak havoc on her royal fangs and trigger her mouth to be stuffed with black tooth.
Though it had an extended historical past in India and the Arab world, sugar (dubbed “candy salt”) solely reached Europe with the crusaders from the tip of the eleventh century. It solely grew to become a scorching commodity amongst the English elite when it grew to become extra extensively produced within the colonies within the 1500s.
It was so costly that it was seen as a standing image, indicative of energy and wealth and solely accessible to the very wealthy. Actually, sugar was in contrast by up to date sources as being on a par with pearls and different costly spices.
Elizabeth I, who reigned England from 1558 to 1603, was notably keen on sugar and has been remembered for her candy tooth. She was additionally a agency believer in projecting a picture of immense energy, so the more and more common sugar was her preferrred ally.
One little-known truth is the havoc her style for sugar did to her mouth. For this was a time earlier than fashionable dentistry and the harm dedicated by the innocuous sweetener was as but unknown. Elizabeth was truly a fan of so-called Tudor toothpaste , a paste fabricated from sugar which was used to shine teeth. Her sugar-heavy food regimen and sugar toothbrushing habits meant that by her fifties most of her tooth had been rotten, had fallen out or turned black.
There aren’t any black tooth in sight throughout the famed Rainbow Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, attributed to Isaac Oliver. Right here she is depicted as a youthful and everlasting queen though it was painted round 1600 when she was virtually 70 years previous. ( Public domain )
Elizabeth I went to extraordinary lengths to regulate her picture. As defined in Smithsonian Magazine , “throughout her 45-year reign, England’s Elizabeth I fastidiously cultivated her public picture,” notably as she grew older and suffered from poor well being (and unhealthy teeth). Nonetheless, one customer from Germany recorded her black tooth, claiming this was “a defect that the English appear topic to, from their nice use of sugar.”
Sir Robert Cecil went as far as to jot down: “Her Majesty instructions all method of individuals to cease doing portraits of her till a intelligent painter has completed one which all different painters can copy. Her Majesty, within the meantime, forbids the displaying of any portraits that are ugly till they’re improved.”
Elizabeth I was a veritable style icon, with the English elite making an attempt to emulate her coiffure, makeup and garments. When her tooth grew to become black, they tried to duplicate her look, coloring their tooth deep black utilizing soot. In the meantime English peasants had no entry to sugar and their food regimen was stuffed with contemporary greens. That is truly a food regimen preferrred for holding tooth wholesome and avoiding cavities. The story of Elizabeth I’s tooth has due to this fact served as a cautionary story favored amongst English dentists of their battle towards sugar.
Prime picture: Allegorical portrait of an aged Elizabeth I, who is alleged to have suffered the results of poor dental hygiene and black tooth. Supply: Public domain
By Cecilia Bogaard