In my opinion a toothache is one of the most aggravating and painful problems to have. Lucky for folks today relief is usually just a phone call away.
Back in the day things were a little different. Dentists weren’t plentiful, it was hard to get into town to see one, and even if you could see one you might not have the money needed to pay the bill…well that last part might still be true!
Several years ago, I had a terrible toothache. I kept taking over the counter pain meds and putting off going to the dentist. One night when the the pain was pretty bad, Pap told me to take peroxide and swish it around in my mouth, then take a toothbrush and dip it in the peroxide and brush the tooth as hard as I could-all around it. Well desperate as I was, I did what Pap said. Honestly, for about 15-20 minutes I thought I was going to pass out from the pain, it was almost unbearable, but after about 25 minutes it eased off and actually quit hurting for a while.
As with most ailments there are tons of old medicinal remedies for toothaches in Appalachia.
Appalachian Toothache Remedies I’ve read or heard about:
- hold liquor in the mouth for several minutes-then swallow
- chew ragweed leaves
- put cinnamon oil on the tooth
- put clove oil on the tooth (I tried this one-couldn’t really tell that it helped)
- put persimmon juice on the tooth
- place a piece of cloth soaked in kerosene on the tooth (if you did this one I think you’d have more problems than a toothache)
- hold a warm bag of ashes, salt, or water on the cheek (I’ve tried this with a hot water bottle-it seemed to help a little)
- if the cavity is deep in the tooth, the hole can be stuffed with soda, spider webs, aspirin, alum-that was burned, cow manure, or salt (again this one might cause some other issues for you)
- take a splinter/piece of a tree that has been struck by lightning and pick the cavity
- get up before sunrise each morning and say a Bible verse for 3 days
- make a hole in a tree trunk a little higher than the toothache sufferer’s head, cut a piece of their hair, place it in the hole, and plug up the hole
- carry a hog’s head bone in your pocket
- always put your left shoe on first
- wear nutmeg around your neck
- always cut your fingernails on Friday
- never cut your fingernails on Friday
- to dream of losing a tooth is a sign of death
- If you get too close to a spider-and it counts your teeth-you’ll die
After reading all that, those tooth jumpers don’t sound quite so bad.