This first day of April brings us a chance to examine a few of the most harebrained (see #9), funny, or downright demented toothache remedies throughout history.
Now maybe humans didn’t take such good care of their teeth in the Middle Ages, and maybe dental hygiene wasn’t the biggest worry on the block, but all of these are more fitting of an April Fools punchline than a legitimate dental health toothache treatment plan.
For your reading enjoyment, we’ve compiled a list of the most ridiculous dental health toothache treatments of yore. In the interest of not wasting any time, let’s get right to it…
1. Toothworms & Honey Bees
According to Loretta Frances Ichord in “Toothworms and Spider Juice: An Illustrated History of Dentistry,” people of ancient times considered the pain of a toothache was caused by a toothworm that had appeared spontaneously or bored its way into the tooth.
If the pain was severe, it meant the toothworm was thrashing about. And if the aching stopped, it only meant the worm was resting.
Honey, a product of bees, was used to coat an infected tooth in the Middle Ages. People smeared their aching teeth with honey and waited all night with tweezers in hand, ready to pluck out the toothworm.
2. Spider Juice
Spider juice was a toothache remedy “made of spiders, eggshells, and oil boiled together until reduced to one-third of its volume” that the sufferer held in his or her mouth.
3. Donkey’s Milk
In ancient Greece, donkey’s milk was used as a mouthwash to strengthen the gums and teeth.
Who even knew there was such a thing as Donkey’s milk – for human consumption that is?
Trim you fingernails on Friday, and that pesky toothache will be gone for a week!
Besides spitting in a frog’s mouth for toothache relief, these web-footed creatures were applied to a person’s cheek or to the head on the side of the ailing tooth.
Never eat anything when the funeral bell is tolling, or a toothache will follow. OK< technically this one is a cause of a toothache, but who’s counting?
7. Hard-Boiled Eggs
If you placed a hard-boiled egg anywhere in a teething baby’s room, they would have an easier time.
In the Middle Ages a slice of onion was applied to the ear on the side of the aching tooth.
A backwoods legend described helping a teething child. Grandpa would go out and shoot a rabbit. He would bring it back, slice the head open, and rub the “brain juice” on the baby’s gums.
Pouring pure vanilla extract from the bottle directly on the tooth has been said to relieve the pain of a toothache.
Please feel free to share your ancient toothache treatment tales & folk cures – just be sure to ask your dentist about any dental health issues rather than indulging in donkey’s milk or spitting at that frog you found in the backyard.