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Dental hygiene in the navy 1890s and now.

8 Dec

Lt. Col. Henry Worsley who is following in the steps of Scott and Amundsen  to the South Pole, writes in The Sunday Times Magazine 27/11/2011 of brushing his teeth as an amazing pick-me-up.

Dental hygiene was a problem that Scott was well aware of. Before expeditions the crew had to visit the dentist; there were little facilities for dealing with tooth ache in Antarctica. The ratings particularly had an amazing number of teeth removed before expeditions. This is not surprising when the dental regulations for boys entering the Navy in the 1890s are considered. Boys up to 17 years could have SEVEN rotten teeth and still be accepted, older recruits more.

In fact with Scott’s precautions there were relatively few problems though Engineer Skelton had to have a tooth removed under anaesthetic and one of the ratings endured several failed attempts at removal