Dental care is usually a serious business.
And you know, that West Ryde Dental Clinic has written a lot on this blog about dental issues, dental hygiene, dental dos and don’ts, and dental treatments.
It’s time to take a break from the serious side of things and have a little fun looking at the amusing, entertaining, and sometimes downright weird side of dentistry.
We’ve have collected strange historical treatments, modern day beliefs, and some quirky facts that we hope you will find as entertaining as we did!
Dental Treatments In History
Throughout history, no dental problem has generated as many ‘creative’ answers as the lowly toothache. Since humanity has existed, so have toothaches, and the answers that some cultures and times have come up with have been varied. Here are some of the most unusual:
Paste from Dead Mouse: The ancient Egyptians believed in crushing up mice to cure toothaches (and earaches). They would use mashed dead mice mixed with other ingredients and apply it to the afflicted area. In serious circumstances, individuals would apply an entire dead mouse to cure a severe toothache.
The fearsome ”toothworm”! In trying to explain the causes of toothaches, many cultures have come up with the idea that they are caused by worms living inside of teeth. Starting from this bad assumption, many different treatments were invented.
- Honey was often used to draw out the imaginary toothworm. Honey would be smeared on the tooth suffering a toothache. The belief was this would draw the worm out, and once it emerged from the tooth it could be grabbed with tweezers or another tool.
- Instead of using honey, the Aztecs believed chewing on chili peppers would sweat the tooth worm out.
- The early Scots didn’t try to draw the toothworm out, instead they tried to distract it with a close relative: the caterpillar. They thought if you placed a caterpillar in a red cloth and put it near the aching tooth, the pain would cease.
- In India, a surgeon named Vagbhata (650 CE) recommended filling cavities in teeth with wax and burning it out with a hot probe.
- Pliny the Elder recommended catching a frog under a full moon, opening its mouth and then spitting into it while reciting, “Frog, go, and take my toothache with thee!”
- Spider juice was a toothache medicine mixed from “spiders, eggshells, and oil” boiled down to one-third of its initial volume then held in the mouth of the sufferer.
- Finally, one of the weirdest ‘cures’ comes from rural areas of the United States. This treatment was actually for teething pain. An older relative would go out and hunt a rabbit. He would bring the rabbit back, open its head and rub “brain juice” on the baby’s gums.
That’s a pretty nasty set of remedies for toothache, but treatments for other dental issues were no less gross.
Curing Bruxism with Skulls: Grinding or clenching your teeth, also known as bruxism, can do damage to teeth, gums, and bone. The ancient Babylonians thought that most illnesses were the caused by demons. To explain grinding teeth during sleep, they theorised a ghost was trying to contact the sleeping. The doctors prescribed sleeping next to a human skull to get rid of the spirit. To ensure success, sufferers were also told to kiss and lick the skull seven times each night.
Roman mouthwash. One bizarre treatment that worked, was Roman mouthwash, which was primarily made of urine! The ammonia in the urine actually did clean the mouth and had the added benefit of whitening teeth!
Every tooth is unique. No two teeth are exactly the same shape and size and every tooth in your mouth has its own profile. This means that everyone’s teeth are different and are marks of our individuality!
The tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body, when it is compared to other muscles according to size.
Cupcake Toothpaste. Do you have a sweet tooth but also but also want to maintain your dental health? Then try this cupcake-flavored toothpaste. It is a fully functioning toothpaste even though it makes it seem that you’re brushing your teeth with frosting. Indulge your sweet tooth and fight cavities!
With all this said, if you want to maximize your dental health, we recommend you don’t use any of the remedies we’ve mentioned here, instead come visit us at West Ryde Dental Clinic.
The West Ryde Dental Clinic Advantage
At West Ryde Dental Clinic, our treatments and service are 100% personalised to you and your needs. Our dentists are highly motivated and accredited practitioners with graduate degrees from the University of Sydney. As well as our dentists, the supporting staff at West Ryde Dental Clinic are extremely dedicated and experienced to guarantee that each visit with us is as comfortable as possible.
– General Check-up, Scale and Clean, X-rays and Fluoride treatment (with any health insurance)
*for new patients only