Before the advent of fluoride, most people had horrible dental problems.
Queen Elizabeth spent her whole life with the pain of deep cavities because she was unwilling to have her teeth extracted.
George Washington lost his teeth to decay, one after the other, starting at the age of 22.
His dentures almost destroyed his gums as well, and it is believed that by the end of his life, his tooth loss and dentures may have contributed to his deafness.
Washington held his jaw jutted out so it wouldn’t be so obvious that his teeth were missing; this posture probably did significant damage to his eardrums.
Not just that, but ignorance on the part of “dentists” contributed to an enormous tooth decay problem, even for people who might not naturally have suffered from it.
White teeth were prized, so dentists began offering this luxury to those who would pay.
They would first file down the enamel of the teeth with a metal instrument, then coat them with aqua fortis, a highly corrosive whitening solution that was essentially nitric acid.
The treated teeth would be as beautiful as pearls for a short time, then would begin to decay.