Where Did the Name “Bluetooth” Come From?

Diagram of Bluetooth logo with blue dots linking to wireless devices: cell, printer, laptop, desktop, stereo, and iPad

Bluetooth is an important part of life in the 21st century, connecting us wirelessly with a lot of the technology we utilize to get through our day-to-day lives. Does this hugely useful and efficient technology have dental origins? Read on to discover the story behind the name “Bluetooth.”

A Danish Viking King

In the 10th century, King Harald Blåtand “Bluetooth” (c. 910—987) united the tribes of Denmark and conquered parts of Norway. King Blåtand was known for his knack of uniting different people together in peaceful negotiations. This Viking king’s name would have been consigned to history books, but for an Intel engineer named Jim Kardach. Kardach was part of a Special Interest Group (formed by telecommunication companies Ericsson, Nokia, Intel, Toshiba, and IBM) charged with standardizing the wireless technology developed by Dr. Jaap Haartsen of Ericsson so products from different companies could connect seamlessly.

Linking Groups of People

Kardach suggested the wireless linking technology’s codename to be “Bluetooth”, after the ancient Viking ruler, since the two had the same goal: to unite different groups through communication. The engineer said Blåtand “was famous for uniting Scandinavia, just as we intended to unite the PC and cellular industries with a short-range wireless link.”

Permanent Placeholder

Bluetooth was intended to be only a temporary working title for the fledgling technology, but it stuck! The logo of the ubiquitous technology is a combination of King Bluetooth’s initials, Hagall (ᚼ) and Bjarkan (ᛒ), in the ancient Scandinavian rune alphabet, called Younger Futhark. You see this symbol in the menu of your cell phone when this technology is enabled.

Did He Have Blue Teeth?

Though some people take the name very literally and assume that King Bluetooth actually had a dead tooth that was blue in color, it is more likely that it’s a mistranslation of Blåtand, confusing modern and ancient Danish words. We may never know the true reasoning behind his nickname, but to avoid getting blue teeth yourself, we recommend coming to visit us every six months and practicing excellent oral hygiene at home!

Technology in Dentistry

Though Bluetooth technology is not directly related to dentistry, all of us at Bluedot Dental take our dental technology very seriously. Our Gilbert office is equipped with the latest in dental technology to make your visits quicker and easier, as well as more comfortable. Our advanced technology allows us to treat your individual case and keep your mouth healthy with the highest quality of care. Ask us about our technology next time you visit us for your biyearly checkup!

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