When next trying to encourage a child to cut down their sugar intake, perhaps a history lesson might help. The BBC’s new production of Wolf Hall will include actors with shiny white teeth – despite common assumptions that, in the bad old days, dental hygiene was unimportant. But the author of the books upon which the drama is based, Hilary Mantel, says that this is quite accurate. Early Tudor Britain had not yet encountered sugar, so teeth were relatively pearly white.
“Sugar” as “sugar” might have arrived a little later. But honey, mead, were well known. And of course “sugar” isn’t the only thing that can affect or blacken teeth.
A major effect would have been from pieces of grit in the bread. Flaking off the millstones as flour was ground….