Nothing but the tooth

“You don’t have to brush your teeth – just the ones you want to keep.”Author Unknown

One of the wonders of the modern age is your friendly, neighbourhood dentist. Hygiene is of paramount importance in any medical field and the dentistry profession prides itself in its cleanliness. It doesn’t boast to others by saying “eat your heart out” it prefers to say “clean your mouth out”. And who can resist a minty, fresh breath? I am surprised there isn’t an addiction clinic for Mouthwash Substance Abusers, though maybe it’s only me. I repeat, who can resist a minty, fresh breath?

It’s good to have teeth to go with the salubrious air that expels from my mouth and handily, dentists will only extract a tooth as a last resort. The man with the slaughterhouse overalls will perform miracles to save the enamel from being lost. They’ll scrape it, drill it, polish it, fill it, bridge it, paint it, patch it, glue it, stitch it, bandage it, physiotherapy it, walking stick it, they’ll go the full mile to get that tooth back on its feet again. I cannot speak highly enough of these warriors of the gums. I toast them every night with a litre of cola.

One of the horrors of the modern age or any age for that matter is the pain of toothache. Before the tooth healers were born there were only tooth fairies and extreme measures for combating the pain. A much derided technique though very popular involved tying a piece of string to the aching tooth and the other end to the door handle of an ajar door. Bang! On slamming the door there will be blood and hopefully, the offending gnasher will be left hanging from the neck of the string. This capital punishment served the tooth right though it seems to be outlawed in most civilised countries.

Going further back the ancient Egyptians might have been ahead of the times with the pyramids and the Rosetta Stone and stuff like that, their toothache cures were a dog’s, no make that, cat’s dinner. They advised that a mouse should be killed and applied immediately to the offending tooth. Apparently, there were healing properties in the dead mouse. I’m not buying that. Shut your trap. Shut your mouse trap.

Pliny the Elder, whose 37-volume Natural History served as the basis for scientific knowledge for centuries, believed curing toothache was a simple process as easy as making potato scones. First off, you need a full moon and a frog. Full moon, frog, frog, full moon- to paraphrase Tommy Cooper’s spoon/jar routine. Next up open the frog’s mouth, spit into it and say “Frog, do me a giant favour, and take my toothache with thee!”. Make sure to say thee! Pliny’s cure promises that the pain will put its hat and boots on, jump on the nearest horse and leave town, riding into the sunset. Pliny was just an old gunslinger at heart.

Animals seem to figure in most of the ancient remedies: worms, rabbits, spider’s eggs. The toad, in particular, was favoured in many cultures. It was believed that by licking a toad’s belly the pain would disappear. This instant release would be commendable if they weren’t so many ugly toads hopping about. Being quite fussy I’d insist on licking a good-looking toad. This lick could cure the pain and have a secondary result. I might free the toad from the wicked spell it is under and it could turn into a beautiful Princess.

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13 Comments on “Nothing but the tooth”


  1. Fascinating, JW! I wonder what the toads thought of all that tum-slurping…

    Did You Know that sharks average 15 rows of teeth per jaw, so it's very fortunate they don't get cavities and if they lose a tooth, another one hurtles forward to replace the gap.
    Gawd, that'd be startling when eating out with friends…

  2. JW10 Says:

    Thanks for the info vis-à-vis sharks, Dolores. This has given me food for thought.

    Even though I can’t swim I would have still fancied myself in a straight fight with a great white. I figured I’d knock out a tooth or two from the shark’s mouth and it would va-va-va-voom away in fright. Neptune’s trident! You’re telling me he’d just grow them back. I think I’ll just tip-toe out of the water.

  3. Expat Says:

    Hello folks: I will get back to commenting after the weekend. We are in full party mood. John turned 70 today (still a kid inside, though). I have a big extravaganza planned for Sunday afternoon in celebration. A barbeque Expat style…so not a hamburger or hot dog in sight. Steamed shrimp, mini quiches, smoked salmon vol au vents for appetizers. Baby back ribs, a gorgeous ham, Asian chicken drumsticks, and grilled meatball skewers for the main course, along with potato salad, Italian rice salad, coleslaw and pasta salad. Chocolate mint birthday cake, fresh fruit salad and cheese board to wrap it up. Wine, beer and sangria to drink.

    The weather is going to be gorgeous…mostly sunny and 74 degrees Farenheit so it will be outside. It better be, because I've about killed myself getting the garden in some sort of shape. We have a couple of guests who want to bring guitars, so a singalong is in order later.

    It's not to late to hop on a plane!

  4. JW10 Says:

    Marvellous news, Expat. Pass on my congratulations to John. That Barbie sounds stupendous. I'd love to be there but as you know I have a fear of flying (and swimming).

    Let us know what songs the musicians played; we'll sing-a-long with them. Party time all round.


  5. Merry Merry Birthday to John, Expat, and have a Joyous weekend – sounds like you're all set for a really terrific party!


  6. Hark! Is that a Vendée Blog up there…


  7. I'm gnashing my teeth because I'm late again 😦 after having been away for a fun weekend 🙂 in London with my son.

    When I was a kiddie my favourite fairy was the tooth fairy. I did a quick count-up of my remaining teeth after the tooth fairy left me my my first sixpennybit. I was rich!

    But my next milk tooth vanished without trace and so I couldn't leave it under the pillow. I think I swallowed it.

    I still root for it, even now.
    🙂

  8. JW10 Says:

    Gnashing comment, CI.

    Ahh, the tooth fairy. What a splendid philanthropist this boy is. Second only to the very generous Santa Claus.

  9. JW10 Says:

    Happy birthday, Dolores.

    Have a great day.


  10. Thank you hugely JW. Just back from surprisely-arranged stay at splendid hotel with much pampering – enormous Joy.

    As penance, am spending this evening trying to dislodge new soft contact lens from right eye. The left surrendered after severe poking, but the right has set up home there. Perhaps I can flush it out with garden hose…

    How was last weekend's party, Expat?


  11. Thank you hugely JW. Just back from surprisely-arranged stay at splendid hotel with much pampering – enormous Joy.

    As penance, am spending this evening trying to dislodge new soft contact lens from right eye. The left surrendered after severe poking, but the right has set up home there. Perhaps I can flush it out with garden hose…

    How was last weekend's party, Expat?


  12. Belated Happy Birthday, Dolores.
    Hope your eye is OK !
    xxx 🙂


  13. Thankee greatly, CI! Yes, eye eventually unglued from softlens – anticipating with slight terror the sticking-back-in…


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