Bizarre Dental Remedies

A look at some unusual historical ways of ‘resolving’ dental problems.

If you are someone who is nervous about visiting the dentist, or are reluctant to spend just a few minutes each day cleaning and flossing your teeth, you might be interested to take a look at how people tried to resolve dental issues in the past.

Whilst we have to accept that medical knowledge was not as extensive as it is now, and the treatments that we have available at the Confidental Clinic in Clapham Junction simply did not exist then, some of these are very odd by any standard!

Here are some of the strangest dental remedies that we have come across:

1.     The tooth worm

Yes, people actually believed that toothache was caused by a worm that lived in the teeth and the only way to stop the pain was to remove the worm. To do so, honey was smeared on the tooth and the sufferer would wait, with a pair of tweezers, for the worm to appear. Presumably this practice ended when people realised that no one had actually caught one of the worms!

2.     Donkey’s milk

Somehow, the idea of donkey’s milk doesn’t seem very appealing, but the ancient Greeks swore by it and used it to strengthen their teeth and gums. Generally this was used in a similar manner to a mouthwash and may possibly have helped to reduce the acidity in the mouth, caused by other foods that were eaten.

3.     Hard boiled eggs

There are many ‘old wives tales’ and some have a certain logic to them, but the idea that placing a hard boiled egg in the same room as a teething baby would help to ease its discomfort doesn’t seem to have any logic to it at all!

4.     Fingernails

Another old folklore tale suggests that if a person’s fingernails were trimmed on a Friday, then a toothache would disappear for a whole week.

5.     Rabbit brain

Not one for the squeamish but in some rural areas of the USA, it was believed that rubbing a slice of fresh rabbit’s brain on a baby’s teeth would ease the pain! Whilst we may laugh, or perhaps wince, at some of these suggestions; given the lack of knowledge then and the pain that severe toothache can cause, it is probably not surprising that many different ways of attempting to relieve dental pain were tried.

Patients of the Confidental Clinic though need not fear. All of our dental procedures, both general and cosmetic, are based on a great deal of research and are performed by highly skilled dentists.

We are sure that you will find our dental team to be both friendly and professional, with no sign of donkey’s milk anywhere!

Please call our Clapham Junction dentist on 020 7801 9060 to find out what we can do to keep your oral health in good condition.