Debunked Myths by Modern Dentistry!
For as long as there have been people, there has been tooth decay. However, people in past civilizations did not have as many answers about what caused their tooth problems as we do today. That led to some very strange beliefs about dental health. One of the most common was the “tooth worm.”
As far back as 5000 B.C. in ancient Sumeria, people were blaming their cavities on tooth worms. They are mentioned in ancient Chinese scripts from 1500 B.C. too, and the Roman Empire and medieval Europeans also believed there were worms gnawing at their teeth.
Where did this idea come from? There are a few theories. Dental roots could maybe be described as worm-like, so people who did not know better might have assumed that was the case. They were also familiar with a variety of parasitic worms, including guinea worms in drinking water. They could have assumed something similar was affecting their teeth. They also used henbane seed treatments, and the ash of burned henbane seeds resembles worms.
Although oral bacteria is something we must fight daily by brushing and flossing, tooth worms are, thankfully, a myth. The real culprit behind more cavities is sugar!