At Main Beach Dental we usually focus on the very serious and important business of maximising your dental health.
But as dental professionals we also have a great deal of knowledge to share, both historical and current, about the field of dentistry.
In this post, we’re going to share some of the more interesting aspects of dental history, a few modern misconceptions, and an interesting fact or two about teeth.
Honeybees, toothworms, and worse. According to research by Loretta Frances Ichord in “Toothworms and Spider Juice: An Illustrated History of Dentistry,” people in ancient times believed that the pain of a toothache was caused by a toothworm that had grown or bored its way into a tooth.
If the pain was severe, it meant the toothworm was thrashing about. And if the aching stopped, it merely meant the worm was resting.
During the Middle Ages, Honey was used to entirely cover an infected tooth. Once a painful tooth was entirely coated in honey the sufferer waited all night with tweezers at the ready, poised to pluck out the toothworm when it emerged.
But those treatments barely touch the surface of weird treatments for toothaches:
Rabbits. A backwoods legend in the United States describes a way to soothe a teething child. A hunter in the family would shoot a rabbit. He would bring it back, slice the head open, and rub the “brain juice” on the baby’s gums.
Spider Juice. Spider juice was another toothache cure. The recipe called for “spiders, eggshells, and oil boiled together until reduced to one-third of its volume.” Disgustingly, this concoction was then to be held in the mouth of the toothache sufferer. That might not cure a toothache, but it also might make you forget about it for a moment!
Misunderstandings of dentistry are not limited to the old days. Here are some modern ones:
White teeth are healthy ones. Looks, as we all know, can be deceiving. Even teeth that shine like a movie-star smile may not be healthy. And the problems might not be observable by even the keenest eye. Dentists use X-rays, cameras, and other diagnostic tools that see more than eyes alone can. If a problem is discovered, it can be quickly addressed.
Dental appointments are painful. In fact, most serious dental procedures are performed with anesthesia and do not cause pain. Discomfort can be a side-effect that is felt afterwards and it is dealt with by pain relievers.
Children are more prone to cavities than adults. Sometimes this seems true, but kids are NOT more prone to decay than older people. What they are is clumsy at brushing. If you teach your child thorough brushing techniques and help them out until they’re coordinated enough to do a good solo job, they will suffer from no more cavities than anyone else.
Children need not be taken to the dentist until they have two teeth. This is an old wives tale.
Dentists recommend that a child be taken to the dentist by the age of one to be checked up and begin to learn good dental habits, including comfort at the dental office.
Tooth loss is a normal part of aging. In reality, tooth loss can occur at any age. Trauma, infection and poor oral hygiene are all causes of tooth loss. With good oral hygiene, however, it is possible for permanent teeth to last an entire lifetime.
“Tooth Fairy” myths in other countries.In Turkey there is no tooth fairy. Instead, children are taught that their baby teeth can be used to affect their future. For example, if the tooth is buried near a lawyer’s office, the child may grow up to be a lawyer.
If the tooth is buried under a sporting pitch, the child may be a football or soccer player when they grow up. One advantage of this system is that because children lose lots of teeth, they can change their career goals quite a few times.
John Lennon’s Tooth. A weird dental fact hit the headlines in 2011, when John Lennon’s molar was put up for auction. It sold for thousands of dollars, a lot more than you might expect for a tooth.
Apparently, in the 1960’s Lennon gave this tooth to his housekeeper. He thought it might make a good gift for her daughter, who was a Beatles fan. It remained in that family until 2011, when it was sold to a dentist who, in 2012, used it to draw attention to oral cancer by touring it around dentist’s offices.
Dental Care at Main Beach Dental
At Main Beach Dental your dental health is important to us. We provide gentle, expert care for all conditions and work to prevent disease, decay, and too many dentist appointments in the future. Our commitment to our patients is dental health for a lifetime!
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