Did the Romans use urine as a mouthwash, and if so, why?

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~CB

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So... I read somewhere that Romans used urine as a mouthwash and there must be something they would have observed which made them use it for that purpose. I would just like to know if urine really is useful for this specific purpose... if so, how?
« Last Edit: 01/05/2015 22:49:02 by chris »

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Offline Colin2B

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Re: Romans used urine as a mouthwash... Why?
« Reply #1 on: 01/05/2015 22:28:49 »
So... I read somewhere that Romans used urine as a mouthwash and there must be something they would have observed which made them use it for that purpose. I would just like to know if urine really is useful for this specific purpose... if so, how?
It was certainly used in medieval times to get stains out of clothes, active ingredient ammonia.
Not sure I would want to clean teeth with ammonia!
and the misguided shall lead the gullible,
the feebleminded have inherited the earth.

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~CB

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Re: Romans used urine as a mouthwash... Why?
« Reply #2 on: 01/05/2015 22:38:52 »
Ah! It has ammonia... The mighty teeth whitener! I wonder why I did not think of that before. Anyways, thanks for the answer Colin!

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Offline evan_au

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Re: Did the Romans use urine as a mouthwash, and if so, why?
« Reply #3 on: 02/05/2015 02:11:26 »
One of those references: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/from-gunpowder-to-teeth-whitener-the-science-behind-historic-uses-of-urine-442390/?no-ist

Urine from a healthy individual is bacteria-free, so there should be no medical risks from using it as a mouthwash (I can't say the same about viruses).
I would not swallow it, as your kidneys will then need to work harder to excrete the urea and other waste products in urine.
A visit to your local chemist or supermarket is better than using urine (at least it avoids the yuk factor).

Overall, most of the troublesome bacteria in our mouths today feast on the large amount of simple sugars in our modern diet. So the best treatment may not be to add mouthwash, but to subtract sugars?