Dentistry During WW1

Dental health was universally poor at the beginning of the 20th Centuryand many recruits for the armed forces in Britain, the Dominions and Germany were found to have very poor teeth, many were rejected for service because of dental reasons. The practice of dentistry in the United Kingdom did not become fully regulated until the 1921 Dentists Act, which required the registration of anyone practicing dentistry. Before this many dentists were unqualified dentists and 70% of British recruits and the men at home were considered to be in need of dental treatment. The dental health of the Dominions was similarly very poor and in Germany it was estimated that only 2-3% of German school children had healthy teeth.

Below are three accounts of dentistry during WW1:

The first is from the chapter on recruiting from the British History of the Great War - Medical Services, General History, Volume 1. Edited by Major-General MacPherson.

The second is from an unpublished manuscript written by Colonel J. W. Skinner, ED, MDS, FACDS, entitled "The Military Dental Services in New South Wales," written in the 1950s. It deals with the history of the dental services of Australian Army during the 1914-1918 war.

The third is taken from the US Medical War Manual No.5, 1918, and describes the German Army Dental Services in 1918 .

Dr M. Geoffrey Miller

1. Dental condition of British Army recruits

2. Dental Care in the Australian Army

3. Dental Care in the German Army

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