Sugar used to be prescribed as medicine.
Beloved film character Mary Poppins is known for sweetly singing that “a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.” While it works wonders on-screen, the trick didn’t start with the fictitious nanny; healers, doctors, and pharmacists have relied on sugar to help patients choke down unsavory medications for thousands of years. But at one time, the sweet stuff wasn’t just an add-in — it was often the featured ingredient in healing remedies believed to cure all kinds of ailments. Sugar was used to treat sickness and injury as far back as the first century, when Middle Eastern practitioners prescribed it for dehydration, kidney issues, failing eyesight, and more. During the 11th century, English monks noted sugar’s ability to soothe upset stomachs and digestive issues, and by the Middle Ages doctors tried treating bubonic plague with concoctions of hemp, sugar, and more unpleasant ingredients. As recently as the 1700s, pharmacists recommended a glass of lemon juice and sugar water for asthma attacks.
Part of sugar’s allure — and perhaps perceived medicinal benefits — may have been connected to its former rarity. Some historians believe sugarcane originated in Southeast Asia, where farmers may have grown it as early as 8000 BCE, but refining began around 2,500 years ago in India — a process that made sugar shelf-stable and allowed it to spread to other regions. With far to travel, the sweetener was expensive by the time it reached medieval Europe, and for centuries was mostly reserved for the wealthy. But in 1747, German chemist Andreas Sigismund Marggraf discovered a way to produce sugar that didn’t require the sweltering climates in which sugarcane plants grow. Instead, sugar could be harvested in colder regions from the sugar beet, a root vegetable that grows in about three months. Over the next 100 years, sugar beet factories sprang up across Europe and then America, driving down the price of sugar and eventually giving people of all means a chance to savor a little sweetness — with their medicine or otherwise
There have been many things in dentistry that have been considered dental dogma with plenty of support literature that have turned out to be not true.
Indirect pulp caps is one example. We used to place a liner or base prior in a deep cavity prep before we placed a filling because we felt that it would help the nerve recover from the trauma. Now it turns out that doing this has no significant effect on the outcome of your procedure.
Placing pins to help with retention of your fillings. Was done for decades. Turns out it did more harm than good. Very popular in the 70’s and 80’s lots of papers backing it back then.
Placing posts. When I was in dental school (2004-2008). if a tooth was missing more than 2 walls you placed a post in order to help retain the core material. Bonding the core was considered not enough. Now that turns out to be incorrect and bonding is sufficient to retain a core. Posts have been around since the 80’s and are still used today. I have not placed one in 8 years but many still believe.
Formocresol. We where taught that after a pulpotomy (most commonly performed on baby teeth) and even pulpectomy (if you wanted to) you would place a cotton pellet dipped in formocresol in the tooth to help disinfect the area. This thing would kill anything and was the gold standard many research papers supporting it’s use and safety. Probably in use since the 50’s. Well turns out it may not be so safe for you but right now its a judgement call on the dentist.
So gentlemen, science is science until it’s not science. Don’t be so quick to accept something bc there are many that do it or bc there are a bunch of papers supporting it and don’t be so quick to denounce anyone that’s claiming the opposite. Very few things in this world are back and white.
Formaldehyde is an important intermediate in normal cellular metabolism. It serves as a building block for the synthesis of purines, pyrimidines, many amino acids and lipids, and is a key molecule in one-carbon metabolism. Endogenous formaldehyde is present at low levels in body fluids, with a concentration of 2–3 mg/L in human blood. Application of formocresol results in systemic absorption of formaldehyde, however the absorbed formaldehyde is rapidly metabolized to formate and carbon dioxide with a half-life of 1–2 min. The use of formocresol in dentistry falls within the current permitted exposure limits, and short-term exposure limits for formaldehyde. Formaldehyde does not bioaccumulate.
It’s a judgement call right now on the dentist to use it or not. But was considered the thing to do. Has links to nasal pharyngeal cancer some papers say the amount used is not significant and others say the opposite. Give it a few more years and let’s see.
It’s still science. Science is just constantly updating to get it right.
I’m fine with what you’re saying. The problem is some want to deny only the things their beliefs or politics disagree with. They accept science daily and pick and choose looking for things that confirm their beliefs.
Like the OP, find something “science” got wrong centuries ago to justify ignoring the science of the day they don’t want to accept. All while ignoring the many things science got right.