Maniere de prevenir et guerir les maladies des gencives et des dents. (How to Prevent and Cure Diseases of the Gums and Teeth) 1780
Francoise de la Faudignère LeRoy
( ? – 1786)
François Leroy de la Faudignère was a highly reputed Parisian dentist of the mid-18th century. Two of his children followed him in the profession. He is well known for his analgesic elixir which remained popular even after his death.
Little is known about his background. He is noticed in Paris in 1766 with the publication of his book Manière de prévenir et guérir les maladies des gencives, a short 40-page study. It was primarily a promotional manuscript describing the restorative properties of his exclusive elixir. In it Faudignère claimed that his elixir cleans impurities, dissolves tartar, can prevent and cure all “non-bloodborne oral diseases” (i.e. venereal disease), arrests tooth decay, heals small ulcers, whitens teeth, and is an analgesic with a pleasing aroma that treats bad breath. He also warns that there are many counterfeits of his popular elixir, and the only real elixir was sold at his practice at the Place Royale.
In 1773, he was forced to cease sales of his elixir for a few months despite prior authorization, but he successfully defended its efficacy to the College of Surgery in Paris and obtained a royal patent. In 1780 he set up his dental practice in the Place Royal (today Place des Vosges), one of the most fashionable address to live during the 18th century Paris. He was mainly busy selling his analgesic elixir, “elixir odontalgique,” whose components were approved by the king’s physician, Gaullard. The elixir made Leroy de la Faudignére very much in demand dentist. He had five children, two of his son dentists, but upon his death in 1786, de la Faudignére left his elixir formulation to his daughter Marie Marianne François, who continued to sell the elixir with her surgeon husband. This caused considerable legal infighting among his children following his death. Eventually it was rebranded in the 19th Century as “Eau de May.” Leroy de la Faudignère’s inscription on his gravestone indicates “Knight of the Order of Merit, author, and inventor of the Odonatological Elixir”.
The copy of “Manière de prévenir et guérir les maladies des gencives et des dents” in our collection is a 1780 edition.
Based on research done by Susanna Wang Class of 2021 and Rachel Sechler, class of 2022 as part of their assignment in Elective in History of Medicine and Dentistry. It is based in part on Baron, P. “The Leroy de la Faudignére, a family of dentists of the 18th century”. Hist Sci Med 36.1 (2002):55-73, 519. Hillam, Christine. Dental practice in Europe at the end of the 18th century. Amsterdam New York, NY: Rodopi, 2003. Edited by Andrew I Spielman.