Yes, of course they did.
War is very tough times all around, but our Canadian soldiers also have to keep their teeth healthy to keep fighting.
Did you know, in 1915 the first Canadian Military Dental Clinic was established in a stable at the Exhibition Grounds in Toronto? This was the first Military Dental Clinic in the British Empire! If a soldier had a tooth ache during WWI, they were sent to a dentist in the field, (which wasn’t always the cleanest) and unfortunately, a lot of teeth were extracted due to the poor conditions.
The conditions were tough, the set ups and instruments not always the kindest looking, but they did the job as best they could at the time. Below is a soldier having a tooth looked at by one of the in-field dentists, many of the soldiers would be looked at while waiting to hear were they were being sent next.
The dentist who worked closely with the field medics were sent where ever they were needed the most. The use of dental records for forensic purposes, especially in identifying war casualties, came into prominence during WWII. Many fatalities were identified because of dental records when bodies lacked any other means of identification. Dental forensic techniques were also used to identify deserters and determine cases of fraudulent enrolment.
We are very lucky to have the many different techniques and options when it comes to our oral health. Our soldiers did not have the luxuries we have when visiting a dentist, so the next time you find yourself at the dentist, be thankful that you are not sitting in a muddy field without even a chair.