Don't Try This At Home: "A Method to make the Teeth beautifully white"

TAKE Rose-water, Syrup of Violets, clarified Honey, and Plantain-water, of each half an ounce; Spirit of Vitriol one ounce; mix them all together; rub the teeth with a linen rag moistened in this Liquor, and then rince the mouth with Rose and Plantain Water, of each equal parts." The number of hints to preserve your teeth, make them white, or even "fasten loose Teeth," plus the sheer number of herbal remedies against toothache, suggest that tooth health in the 18th century was generally bad. Unfortunately, many of the remedies and preparations would do more harm than good! This is one of them; not only will the sugars in the Honey and Syrup of Violets break down tooth enamel further, the worst offender is Spirit of Vitriol... known today as sulphuric acid.

Fortunately, our ancestors came up with a good number of safe and useful recipes too; we've found and tried several.

Source: The Toilet of Flora, published in London in 1772.