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History of dentistry


Sir, as a dentist with a penchant for history, I was reading about the Anglo-Saxon King Canute (1016-1035). A Danish Prince, he became King of England, Denmark and Norway at a time when the Vikings were at large in Northwestern Europe and was the grandson of King Harald Bluetooth.1

My surprise and amusement in learning the name of this latter Viking gentleman, who was obviously in need of root canal treatment, was only surpassed on learning about the contemporary company Bluetooth.2 The Bluetooth company website explains that King Harald Bluetooth was known for uniting Denmark and Norway in the year 958. It goes on to explain that in 1996, industry leaders Intel, Ericsson and Nokia met to standardise the short-range radio technology subsequently coined 'Bluetooth'. Jim Kardac from Intel was quoted as saying 'King Harald Bluetooth was famous for uniting Scandinavia just as we intend to unite the PC and cellular industries with a short-range wireless link'.2

Another interesting fact is that the curious Bluetooth symbol is a unification of the Danish runes for letters H and B - the initials of Harald Bluetooth.3,4 Thus, Anglo-Saxon history, dentistry and modern technology are inexorably linked.


  1. Wikipedia. Cnut the Great. Available at: (accessed July 2021).

  2. Bluetooth. The story behind how Bluetooth technology got its name. Available at: (accessed July 2021).

  3. Viking News by Skjalden. Why is bluetooth called bluetooth? 22 March 2018. Available at: (accessed July 2021).

  4. Sadeghi M. Fact check: Bluetooth is actually named after the Viking king who united Denmark, Norway. Available at: (accessed July 2021).

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Busuttil, R. Bluetooth. Br Dent J 231, 205 (2021).

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