The Black and White (and Gray) Truth of Victorian Teeth: a Steampunk Perspective

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Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth,

And spotted the dangers beneath

All the toffees I chewed,

And the sweet sticky food.

Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth. – Pam Ayres


I started researching this blog post when I saw an online article about how the Victorians liked to have blackened and rotting teeth as a sign of a high status. I’ve searched and searched, but I can’t find a definitive historical source referring to this practice, but I have found a whole lot of information about teeth and dentistry in the Victorian era. As always, the truth is much more complex than I first suspected.

It is hard to know where to begin, but let’s first look at original source, since it inspired this post: In the Victorian Era, it was fashionable to have rotting dentistry. Having black teeth displayed your affluence and ability to…

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