There was a time that people didn’t know the existence of cavities, and even less the world the microscopic bacteria. Therefore when someone had a toothache, they believed that it was caused by very little worms!
The idea now sounds very nasty, but around the 15th century, the dentist profession didn’t exist, and physicians thought that there were “tooth worms” that were causing teeth to hurt and to break apart! Those doctors prescribed a remedy for toothaches that involved lighting a candle and letting the smoke go inside your mouth and fill it. Then, you would lean your head over a warm bowl of water so the pain-causing tooth worms would fall out of your mouth and into the water.
The idea is very disturbing, even for a dentist like me. It makes me so glad that now, to treat a toothache, you can go to place and let professionals take care of you in a sterilized environment!
- Tooth worm, Clinical Infectious Diseases – Oxford Journals
- Image, Liliane A. Avalos
- Dentist profession, Studio Dentaire