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Toothache Superstitions

If you’ve recently had a toothache, or are suffering from one now, you know how desperate you can be to get rid of the pain. Some people will try anything to get rid of a toothache, and in the past, before there was dentistry for resolving toothaches, people searched for any potential hope of eliminating the pain that they couldn’t get rid of any other way.

Superstitions for Preventing Toothaches

There were many superstitions about the ways that you could avoid a toothache, or things that would lead to toothaches. For example, some people believed that carrying a handful of horse’s teeth would prevent toothache.

Woman with a toothache

Other people believed that the order you removed your shoes or socks could cause toothaches. Putting the right sock on first would cause a toothache, unless it was the dog days of summer, and then the left one would cause a toothache. Others said that it was crucial to remove the right shoe first or else you’d get a toothache.

Some people believed that eating while a funeral bell tolled would lead to toothaches.

Another sure way to prevent toothaches, according to some superstitious individuals, is to trim your fingernails (some say toenails) on Friday.

Superstitions for Curing Toothaches

And because people are even more desperate to cure a toothache once it starts, they’ve come up with a number of–sometimes extreme–solutions to curing a toothache. A relatively benign solution to a toothache is to square a nutmeg, then wear it on a necklace to eliminate the pain.

A little more elaborate approach to eliminating a toothache involves taking a handkerchief, folding it six times, blowing through it three times, then rub your hand over your face nine times.

But how badly do you want to eliminate that toothache? Badly enough to kiss a donkey? An old German tradition says that if you do this, your toothache will be gone.

But even more dangerous is the superstition saying that jumping through a window will cure your toothache. I guess if the window can be open–and on the ground floor!–this isn’t so bad, but it still seems a bit extreme.

But perhaps the most persistent dental superstition comes to us from Nepal, where there is a special hunk of wood that they call Vaisha Dev, the toothache tree. It is said that if you nail an offering of a coin to the tree, your toothache will be removed. This tree is still used today, although it’s also surrounded by dentist’s offices, so hopefully people are getting real dental treatments for their tooth problems.

Scientific Approaches to Preventing and Curing Toothaches

Looking at some of these crazy approaches to toothaches, it makes us glad that we have much more scientific approaches to toothaches. At Advanced Dentistry of Tarrytown, we offer some of the most up-to-date preventive and reconstructive dentistry. With regular dental visits, we can identify tooth decay before it reaches the stage where it will cause a toothache. But if you’ve already developed a toothache, we can examine the tooth to find the cause and use an appropriate treatment, from a simple filling to a root canal, that can eliminate your discomfort.

If you’re looking for a dentist in Tarrytown to help prevent or relieve toothaches, please call (914) 332-4402 for an appointment at Advanced Dentistry of Tarrytown.