Dating back to the Neolithic Period, humans once believed the stabbing pain of a toothache was caused by a “tooth worm” that either appeared spontaneously or bored its way into the tooth. If the tooth pain was severe, it meant the worm was wriggling; if the aching stopped, the worm was resting.
Cultures across the world held stubbornly to this myth. In fact, folklore of the tooth worm persisted from at least 5000 BC to the beginning of the 18th Century. Here are two of our favorite prescribed remedies for the infamous tooth worm:
Perhaps foreshadowing future greatness, Greeks of the Archaic Period (8th to 6th centuries BC) made a fairly astute association but missed the connection. They used donkey milk as a mouthwash to strengthen the gums and teeth. However, the ancient Greeks then took a step in the wrong direction and applied a frog to the cheek or head on the side of the toothache to absorb the pain. Ultimately taking a turn for the worse, they would also spit into the frog’s mouth, hoping to transfer the pain to the unfortunate amphibian.
The Middle Ages
A millennium later, ironically, people of the Middle Ages actually used honey to coat an infected tooth. Believing the tooth worm shared their sweet cravings, people smeared aching teeth with honey and waited all night in vain, tweezers in hand, ready to snatch the tooth worm. And, apparently, those with a more pungent disposition applied a raw onion to the sore side of their face. Any way you slice it, successful courtship in the Middle Ages must have been a massive achievement!
21st Century Dentistry
Fortunately, modern dentistry made colossal strides since the Middle Ages. And preventing tooth decay is now easier and more convenient than ever. Equipped with the latest technologies and treatment plans, you can rest assured you won’t find yourself with a frog on your face . . . unless that’s your thing.
Call our office today to make an appointment before the dreaded tooth worm attacks and you find yourself rummaging through a swamp in search of wishful relief.