Myths, superstitions, and old wives tales were how our ancestors made sense of natural phenomena they didn’t understand. Naturally, the growing and shedding of our teeth was subject to more than a few, shall we say odd, ideas. We’ve pulled just a few strange old superstitions about teeth and try to figure out how they got started, or why they may have made sense back in the day. We know there’s at least one we wish were true!
1. Gain a child, lose a tooth
It’s not true that you’ll lose a tooth for every child you have, but there is something to this superstition. During pregnancy, women commonly do experience dental issues due to hormonal and other physiological changes. Several common pregnancy issues, such as vomiting and craving of sweet and starchy food, can erode the enamel and cause cavities, which can eventually lead to tooth loss. Pregnancy also interferes with the woman’s ability to absorb calcium, which may also weaken teeth. Experiencing these issues over multiple pregnancies can further weaken the teeth, which is why women are increasingly susceptible to dental issues during and after each pregnancy. However, you’re certainly not guaranteed to lose a tooth for each child you have, and maintaining a good oral hygiene routine can help prevent these issues.
2. If your teeth are set close together, you’ll always live near your birthplace
Other versions of this superstition say close-set teeth mean you’ll live near your parents, or if your teeth overlap you’ll live near your mother. Either way, it’s clear that our ancestors thought (or perhaps hoped!) that close-set teeth meant their children wouldn’t stray too far away. Since parents used to depend on their children for labor and help around the house, it certainly makes sense that they were looking for a sign that their brood would always be close at hand.
3. If your teeth are set wide, you’ll be rich
Wide-set teeth have also been associated with being lucky, traveling a lot, and living far from your parents. It has also been said that women who have wide-set teeth will marry twice! Although we’re not sure how the latter superstition came about, the former could be remarking on how people often set out to unknown frontiers to strike it rich. Perhaps having wide-set teeth meant you’d find gold or oil out west!
4. Burning your pulled tooth will bring you good luck
There are a lot of superstitions and beliefs about what one should do with a pulled tooth. Some say that putting the tooth under a rock will allow the new tooth to grow in straight, and many superstitions involve pulled teeth turning into money. It’s possible that pulled teeth were considered talismans of some sort, whether for good or bad. One thing’s for sure, burning your teeth won’t do much, as they don’t disintegrate under high heat.
Pretty crazy, huh? Although it’s easy to debunk these dental superstitions, it’s no surprise to see how even today, many people still believe myths about their health. It’s natural human behavior to try and find an explanation for something that might be strange or even scary involving your health, but keep in mind that there’s no substitute for a doctor or dentist’s diagnosis. Have you heard any strange dental superstitions? Let us know in the comments!