Mother’s Day is upon us again.
Much has been said, written and sung about Moms throughout history. The holiday as we know it started in America in 1908 and is celebrated on one day or the other throughout the world.
There is very little we could add to the sentiments already published about Mom. So, being a dental practice with mothers, we decided to focus on dental folklore related to Moms.
In the USA the idea that a mother looses a tooth with every child she bears has been around for a long time. It has no scientific validity, but like all old wives tales it’s hard to correct.
Teething infants fall under mom’s purview; so many remedies have been suggested. They range from wearing an asafetida bag around the neck, hanging amber beads around the child’s neck to carrying the child around the outside of the house 3 times on the tenth day after its birth.
If there’s a Mom, there’s a Dad. Wouldn’t you know that there is a condition known as the “married man’s toothache”. This is an opening for many a rejoinder and comment. It develops when a man’s wife becomes pregnant and disappears with the birth of the child. This is not unlike pseudocyesis [false pregnancy].
Dental problems have been the bane of mankind [and woman kind] since the beginning of time. In some cultures to ensure strong teeth, mom was expected to sit bare bottomed on a rock or boundary stone. Brushing and flossing is perhaps not as cold and maybe easier to do.
In Australia, when a child loses a tooth, mom is expected to grind up the tooth, put it in meat and eat it to ensure that her child has strong teeth. In Japan, upper teeth are thrown in a barrel, while lowers are thrown in the latrine while intoning, “Because my teeth are weak I am exchanging them with the devil’s teeth”.
Other tidbits of Mom related lore include:
- Mother’s teeth should not be filled during pregnancy or else the filling will not stay or the tooth will fall out,
- If mother has her wisdom teeth pulled before her baby is born, the baby will be born without wisdom and good judgment,
- Seeing a dog while you are pregnant will cause the child to have a long tooth between his front teeth,
- If a pregnant woman has a tooth removed, there will be a recurrence of toothache during every subsequent pregnancy.
We could go on, but you get the drift about Mothers and teeth.
Enjoy, the flowers and sweets.
Happy Mother’s Day!
The bulk of the lore has been taken from Ethnodentistry & Dental Folklore by William Carter et.al.