Surreal started a thread in GQ about claims that urine has been or can be used as a dental bleaching agent.
“Is Urine An Effective Tooth-Whitener?” seems like a reasonable question when
companies that sell professional whitening agents to dentists are making this claim.
Innovative Medical & Dental Systems:
Teeth bleaching began 2000 years ago when the Romans started brushing their teeth with urine ? the ammonia acted as a bleaching agent. So teeth bleaching ? and the willingness of patients to suffer for it ? is nothing new.
Respected dental professionals have a hand in propagating this information.
The closest thing I can find for a proper cite for this belief is
Egnatius, because he has bright white teeth,
always smiles: If someone comes to the defendant’s
bench, when the speaker arouses weeping,
he grins; If there is weeping at the funeral pyre of
a dutiful son, when the bereaved mother laments her only son,
he grins. Whatever it is, wherever he is,
whatever he is doing, he grins: he has this disease,
neither elegant, as I think, nor refined.
Therefore I must warn you, my good Egnatius.
If you were a city man or a Sabine or a Tiburnan
or a thrifty Umbrian or a fat Etruscan
or a swarthy or toothy Lanuvian or
a Transpadane, to touch on my own people as well,
or anyone you like who cleans his teeth with clean water,
I still should not want you to smile on all occasions:
for nothing is more silly than a silly smile.
Now you are a Celtiberian: in the land of Celtiberia,
whatever each man has urinated, with this he is accustomed
in the morning to rub his teeth and gums until they are red,
so that the more polished those teeth of yours are,
the more urine they proclaim you to have drunk.
This would seem to indicate to me that the origin is a tongue-in-cheeck Roman slight against the “dirty” Spaniards, rather than actual Roman hygiene.
At any rate, it’s a common enough belief. Why was the thread closed before a consensus could be reached or ignorance could be fought? Sure, it’s a distasteful topic, but I don’t understand why it was closed.
<-- Baking soda, for this boy.