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From ancient Egyptian “toothers” to the highly trained dentists and staff at Smiles First Dental, dentistry has interested humans for millennia.
Early dentists practiced their trade long before there was any scientific or technological system in place to test results, and this meant that many strange beliefs flourished.
And while dentistry has become scientific, results-based, and efficient, bizarre dental beliefs exist up to today.
In this post, we’ll take a look at some bizarre beliefs from previous eras, and talk a little bit about mistaken beliefs that remain today.
Historical Dental Beliefs And Treatments
Rabbits and teething. This cuddly creature was thought to hold the power to soothe teething babies, although it had little to do with how cute they were. In fact, this is a fairly recent belief from rural areas of the United States and it turns out that the important part of the rabbit was fluid from its brain, which was thought to ease the inflamed gums of teething babies.
Urine and mouthwash. Wealthy Romans, particularly women, believed best way to whiten their teeth was by rinsing their mouth with urine. But the urine had to come straight from the bladders of the Portuguese. Portuguese urine was believed to be the world’s strongest, so jars of urine were shipped from Portugal. The product was so popular that Nero had to place a tax on it. To be honest, urine is useful as a cleaning agent, but the idea of gargling with it seems strange today.
Toothworms. In the Middle Ages it was believed that cavities (caries) were caused by worms that invaded teeth. This theory was not disproved until the 19th century, when bacteria were discovered to be the actual culprits. Many cultures believed this, and treatments ranged from coating teeth in honey, fumigating the mouth with smoke, and even filling cavities with wax and then burning it back out with hot probes.
That all sounds pretty weird, but the fact is that even today some of us believe in dental wives’ tales.
Aspirin directly on a tooth will relieve pain. This home remedy is false and dangerous. Never put aspirin directly on or near an aching tooth. That’s not how aspirin works (it needs to get into the blood system), and it’s dangerous. Aspirin placed directly on teeth or gums can cause a chemical burn.
Dental treatment should be avoided during pregnancy. In fact, dental check-ups are recommended during pregnancy. Local anesthetics and X-rays are okay, although not to be used indiscriminately. Also, when you visit us at Smiles First Dental, please tell us you are pregnant as it does rule out some treatments including amalgam removal and antibiotics.
Bacon Toothpaste. Bacon is now part of a healthy and balance dental care regimen! The people at Bacon Freak have created a bacon-flavoured toothpaste! This salty, savory paste is a departure from the standard peppermint and spearmint, but it gets the job done! If you don’t care for bacon toothpaste, the good news is there is also cupcake-flavoured toothpaste – you can indulge your sweet tooth and clean your teeth!
Hard-bristled toothbrushes clean better. This is a myth! It seems to make sense that hard-bristled toothbrushes would clean your teeth most effectively, but the truth is that they are too tough on your gums and enamel. Soft-bristled toothbrushes are the best for you to use to care for your teeth and gums.
Dental X-rays are unnecessary. Absolutely not – Dental X-rays are an important diagnostic tool. It is necessary to use dental X-rays to detect decay and other problems and it should not be feared because the radiation dose is very small, particularly when dentists use digital radiography.
Two interesting dental facts
The mighty tooth. The Temple of the Tooth, in Sri Lanka, is home to one of Buddha’s left teeth. After Buddha’s death, this tooth became a totem of power–whoever had possession of the tooth also had the right to rule. The tooth was passed from monarch to monarch as evidence of power and right to govern.
If you’re right handed, you probably chew your food on your right side. If you’re left handed, you probably chew your food on your left side.
Dental Care at Smiles First Dental
At Smiles First Dental your oral health and the appearance of your smile is important to us. We care for patients of all ages, from infancy to the Golden Years.
Our highly trained staff can treat any dental issue in patients with deep grooves and fissures in their teeth, or any other dental circumstance. Our commitment to our patients is dental health and an attractive smile for the holidays and a lifetime!
We like to make life a little bit easier for our patients by offering longer hours on weekdays and weekend appointments.
Call us on (02) 9630 9996 or visit us at 19/5-7 Kleins Rd in Northmead.