What Hygiene And Health Was Like In Medieval Europe

The medieval era or the Middle Ages was a period in European history that began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and ended with the Renaissance. Although it was an incredibly eventful time, it isn’t exactly remembered for its emphasis on hygiene and promoting healthy living. Plague and disease were a constant threat to those living during that time period and medical practices were nothing short of barbaric. Take a look to see what hygiene was like in the Middle Ages and how vastly different it was from what we consider to be appropriate today.

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Dental operation
Buyenlarge/Getty Images
Buyenlarge/Getty Images

Because the modern toothbrush wasn’t patented until the 19th century, for the most part, people were on their own when it came to taking care of their mouth and teeth. Typically, people in the medieval era would rinse their mouths with water and use a rag to wipe their teeth as a basic form of cleaning.

It was also common for people to chew on mint and other herbs to help improve their breath. Regardless, noble or not, people’s teeth would usually rot, and they would have to be removed without the use of anesthetics. Pray you don’t have any serious dental issues, because little could be done to help.