Common Myths and Misconceptions About a Toothache

myths about toothaches

Toothache is a problem not only for people in the modern era. It has been around for centuries and ages of known human history. Our ancestors had experienced pain from a toothache, which is believed to be one of the most painful things a person can experience. 

Human science keeps developing technology from one era to another to help cure and prevent this oral health issue. Improvement in oral health treatment is a long story in many ways from generation to generation. History records the various methods used by humans from time to time to overcome dental health problems that can cause toothache.


Many cultures and practices of oral treatment have become myths and misconceptions that many people of different nations believe. Some myths about toothache are inherited by the next generations and continue until today in the modern era. Despite the rapid technological advances, some dental myths still survive to be something that is believed to be true.


The number of misconceptions is still firmly believed to be influenced by the lack of people’s desire to learn about dental health from correct sources, namely from studies and developing science. Some people prefer to stick to what their parents and grandparents tell them about toothache and oral health.


This article will look at some myths and misconceptions about toothaches. We will also examine the history of the methods we use to treat toothache.


  • What did ancient people do about toothaches?
  • What are the popular toothache myths and misconceptions?



What did ancient people do about toothaches?

Ancient people consumed foods low in sugar and carbohydrates. They also ate plenty of unprocessed natural foods. Although their food was deemed ‘healthier’ than modern foods, it does not mean pre-historic humans did not get toothaches. 


Based on the existing discoveries of historical evidence, ancient people used various ways to prevent or treat toothaches. Below are some efforts made by ancient humans to treat toothache:


  • Beeswax filling

Ancient people used to have beeswax for dental fillings. In 2012, scientists examined a 6,500-year-old human jaw and noticed something unusual attached to one tooth. It was a simple wax cap applied to a broken tooth. It is the oldest dental filling on record. 


  • Ancient drill.

It looks like dental drilling has been around for thousands of years. By the pieces of evidence discovered, it is believed that ancient people used sharp stones, wood sticks, and cords to drill their teeth. This method was a way to cut or make a hole in a tooth.


  • Pain relief.

Traditional local anesthetics were one of the things ancient people discovered. They used leaves of certain plants, such as coca leaves, as a painkiller. Some other civilizations, like the Aztecs, believed that chewing chilli peppers reduces toothache pain.


Since ancient times, people have realized that they must regularly clean their teeth. In the past, people used grass stalks as a toothbrush to clean their teeth. Some historians also found the Egyptians used frayed twigs as a toothbrush.


  • Fumigation

In ancient Rome, Emperor Claudius’ physician suggested fumigation with henbane seeds scattered on burning charcoal to treat toothache. The seeds were heated on a hotplate, and their smoke funnelled into the mouth. They believed this method could kill the bacteria and cure the toothache.


What are the popular toothache myths and misconceptions?

Myths and misconceptions are around us, including about toothache. Wrong beliefs about toothache will prevent the toothache from getting proper treatment and can worsen the problem. Here are some common myths and misconceptions about toothache:

  • A toothache means a tooth extraction.

We are considered lucky to live in an age where advanced technologies are available, including technology in dental care. There are many options other than tooth extraction when it comes to treating toothaches. A few are dental fillings, root canals, crowns, dental bridges, etc. When treating a toothache, tooth extraction is often the last option.


  • If it doesn’t hurt, your teeth are fine.

Many people still gauge their teeth’ health condition based on the pain they feel or do not feel. People tend to take their teeth not hurting as a confirmation that a visit to the dentist is unnecessary. The pain might resurface now and then, and the tooth can not heal itself.


  • A toothache will go away by itself.

The pain from a toothache tells us that there are issues with our teeth. The causes of toothache will not go away even though the pain may go. The pain only goes away temporarily, and the toothache will worsen without treatment.

  • Painkillers can treat toothache.

Aspirin is a great pain reliever that can help reduce many different types of pain, especially headaches. Since Aspirin can reduce pain, there is a misconception that Aspirin is also suitable for toothache. There’s a misconception that placing Aspirin on the gum will help reduce the pain. This is untrue, and Aspirin should be swallowed for it to work.



Even though modern dental care is everywhere, there are myths and misconceptions about toothache that is still firmly believed by many people. Ignorance due to a lack of knowledge about how to deal with a toothache can negatively impact your oral health.


Book a schedule in Eastman Dental for proper treatments for your toothache. Never underestimate a toothache. Get professional care from a dentist and keep good dental hygiene habits to stay healthy!