Funny dental stories and urban legends and myths

Did you know that throughout history, people have believed some funny and incredibly unbelievable myths and urban legends about human and artificial teeth? Here are just a few for you to enjoy.

Ancient Dental Beliefs

Toothaches were not simply ignored in ancient times. Here are some of the more interesting beliefs about their causes and the ways they were treated.

In the Middle Ages, people thought a toothache was from a worm living deep in a tooth that caused pain. They coated the tooth with honey and waited up all night to pluck out the worm when it emerged!

Others treated their toothaches with earthworms! They dug up the worms, boiled them, and poured that liquid into the ear on the same side as the toothache. This is definitely not something to try, as it could permanently damage your ear.

Stories tell of wearing a dead person’s tooth on a string around your neck to get rid of a toothache. If that didn’t work, you could try sniffing the tooth of a corpse to drive away the pain.

Of course, if any of these remedies worked, it was all in the mind of the believer!

Tooth Fairy Castles

We all know that the Tooth Fairy looks under your pillow for teeth that have fallen out that day. Somehow, they are alerted that your tooth has wiggled loose and you are leaving it under the pillow for pick-up. Looking forward to the Tooth Fairy making her rounds under your pillow can make losing your teeth a fun adventure!

According to the movie Santa Claus 2, the Tooth Fairy is friends with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Sandman! Notice how all of them arrive only at night when you’re asleep?

One urban legend about the Tooth Fairy is that they collect children’s teeth to build their castle! What do you think? Does the Tooth Fairy use teeth as construction material?

The Tooth Fairy Legend is an eight-page playlet for children written by Esther Watkins Arnold and printed for the first time in 1927. Children in Switzerland, Belgium, Morocco, and France leave their teeth under their pillow for the “Little Mouse,” who takes their teeth and leaves money in their place. This tale is from the 17th-century story about “The Good Little Mouse,” who hides under the king’s pillow and steals his teeth as he sleeps!

You Are Not a Dentist!

It is not recommended to try to save money by doing your own dentistry. Check out these stories of people who have had terrible luck trying to treat themselves.

One lady decided to glue her teeth back into her mouth where they had broken off. She continued doing this for over ten years whenever one of her teeth broke. She was scared of going to the dentist, but when the pain in her mouth became unbearable, she decided she’d better face her fears.

The dentist found that the super glue she was using to fit her teeth back in had eroded her upper jaw, and she had significant bone loss. She then had to have ALL of her teeth replaced with artificial ones. Too bad she didn’t go and have that first broken tooth fixed by the dentist! It would have saved her years of pain and would have cost much less.

This is an excellent example of why it is important for children to feel safe and comfortable at the dentist—so they don’t become adults who avoid necessary treatment out of fear!

Modern Dental Myths

Most of the tales we talk about in this article are based on stories told in the past. Now, we will touch on a few myths that are still being told today.

Tooth fillings can play music or Morse code is a myth! Lucille Ball (from I Love Lucy!) reported that she could hear music coming from her mouth and thought she was losing her mind! She had recently gotten temporary lead fillings. When she told Buster Keaton about the incident, he laughingly told her that the same thing had happened to a friend of his – and she was picking up radio transmissions through her fillings! Reportedly, a week later, she picked up Morse code the same way and reported it to MGM security, who passed the information to the authorities, and eventually, Japanese spies were found and arrested!

There have been other reports of fillings picking up AM radio signals through fillings and even of one man who could pick up transmissions through metal shrapnel that remained in his head after a combat wound! However, this has never been able to be duplicated, and we definitely don’t use lead fillings anymore.

“If you put a tooth in Coca-Cola, it will dissolve overnight” is a myth! While any soda is very acidic, and many have tons of sugar, they are not acidic enough to do that kind of damage overnight. However, we don’t recommend drinking it, as soft drinks have been proven to be damaging to your teeth and gums. (Read more HERE.)

The statement “Don’t visit the dentist while pregnant” is a myth! Pregnant women must continue receiving their dental hygiene appointments with their dentist. Prompt treatment of any dental condition is crucial while carrying a child, as women are more likely to develop gum disease when pregnant. When you see your dentist, make them aware of your pregnancy. Some treatments may be postponed, such as removing fillings or taking antibiotics, but regular appointments are recommended.

“Women lose a tooth each time they bear a child” is a myth! Hormonal changes during pregnancy CAN increase the bacterial levels in a woman’s mouth, and this can lead to gingivitis or bleeding gums. Tooth loss is highly unlikely because of regular and effective tooth brushing and flossing.

Our First President’s Dental Dilemma

One familiar urban legend is that George Washington’s false teeth were wooden. They were not! John Greenwood crafted President Washington’s new grin of ivory, brass, and gold. He proudly wore his dentures during his first inaugural address.

The Mount Vernon library says the rumor that George Washington’s teeth were made of wood was based on their appearance. The ivory was stained, making the teeth look like grained wood. The dentures were said to cause the President discomfort in his jaw and cause his lip to bulge, making him look dour and odd. This is seen in the picture on the one-dollar bill.

Best Practice Conclusion

Whether you have heard these myths and urban legends about dentistry in the past or not, you must admit that these stories and notions leave you saying, “What were they thinking?!

So, before you try the latest popular dental treatment, do some research!

Better yet, ask Dr. Culp or any staff member if the information you’re hearing is actually true. Some claims are funny and obviously wrong, but with others, there may be a question of whether they are real, and some may actually be harmful. We are always happy to answer any of your questions about dental health and provide advice and information about treatments!

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