Dental Hygiene in the Provinces

Catullus Carmina 39

Egnatius, because he has white teeth, smiles everywhere. If he has come to a defendant's bench, when the speaker is provoking tears (lit., weeping), that [fellow] smiles; if there is mourning at the funeral pyre of a dutiful son, when a bereaved mother bewails her only boy, that [fellow] smiles. Whatever it is, wherever he is, whatever he is doing, he smiles: he has this disease, neither refined, in my opinion (lit., as I think), nor polite.

So (lit., wherefore) I must warn you, [my] good Egnatius. If you were a city man or a Sabine or a Tiburtine or a stout Umbrian or a fat Etruscan or a dark Lanuvian with good teeth or a Transpadane, to touch on my [own people] as well, or anyone who washes [his] teeth cleanly, nevertheless I would not want you to smile everywhere, for nothing is more foolish than foolish laughter.

As it is, you are a Celtiberian; in the Celtiberian land, everyone is accustomed in the morning to rub [their] teeth and red gums with what they have urinated (lit., what each person has urinated, with this he is accustomed ...), so that the more polished those teeth of yours are, the greater amount of urine they (i.e., the teeth) declare that you have drunk.

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