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Advertising: Giacomo Puccini in dental history

Send your letters to the Editor, British Dental Journal, 64 Wimpole Street, London, W1G 8YS. bdj@bda.org. Priority will be given to letters less than 500 words long. Authors must sign the letter, which may be edited for reasons of space.

Sir, Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) was one of the most famous Italian opera composers, author of several renowned works, such as La bohème (1896), Tosca (1900), Madama Butterfly (1904) and Turandot (1924).

It is less known that at the beginning of the twentieth century, Puccini wrote some verses dedicated to a toothpaste.

In 1902, the German company Dresdner Chemisches Laboratorium Lingner, founded by Karl Augustus Lingner (1861–1916) in 1888, asked Puccini to advertise its new toothpaste Odol, one of the first dental products which combined cosmetic and medical effects, thanks to the addition of antiseptics.

The Italian author composed an ode to the toothpaste, using numerous plays on words around the brand's name.

The verses were published in the Italian journal Rivista Italiana in June of the same year, contributing to the success of the product, but also to the diffusion of the utilisation of toothpaste among Italians.

In conclusion, at the beginning of the last century, the internationally renowned figure of Giacomo Puccini played an important and often-forgotten role in the development of oral hygiene, and, therefore, in dental history.

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Riva, M. Advertising: Giacomo Puccini in dental history. Br Dent J 225, 684 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bdj.2018.936

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