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  • Writer's pictureJhon Jair Grisales

The World's Strangest Dental Traditions:

Throughout history, cultures around the world have developed unique customs and traditions related to dental care and oral hygiene. From ancient rituals to modern practices, these traditions offer a fascinating glimpse into the diversity of human cultures and beliefs. At D'Amore Russo Dental Design Studio, we're intrigued by the world's strangest dental traditions and the stories behind them. In this blog post, we'll explore some of the most unusual dental customs from around the globe.



1. Chewing Gum in Ancient Greece

In ancient Greece, people chewed on a resinous substance called mastic gum as a way to freshen their breath and clean their teeth. Mastic gum, derived from the resin of the mastic tree, was prized for its antibacterial properties and was believed to promote oral health.


2. Tooth Filing in Bali

In Bali, Indonesia, a traditional coming-of-age ritual known as "mesangih" involves the filing of young adults' teeth. This practice, performed during adolescence, is believed to symbolize the transition from childhood to adulthood and is thought to enhance physical and spiritual beauty.


3. Teeth Blackening in Southeast Asia

In parts of Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos, it's common for people to blacken their teeth as a form of beautification. This practice, known as tooth blackening or tooth lacquering, involves applying a special substance made from natural ingredients to the teeth, resulting in a shiny black appearance.


4. Tooth Throwing in Greece

In Greece, children who lose their baby teeth don't wait for the tooth fairy to visit—they throw their teeth onto the roof! This tradition, known as "odontas skepazoun," is believed to bring good luck and ensure the growth of healthy adult teeth.


5. Tooth Mummification in Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptians took dental hygiene seriously, even in the afterlife. Mummified remains have been found with intricate dental work, including fillings made from gold wire and resin. The meticulous care of the teeth was believed to be essential for the deceased's journey to the afterlife.


6. Tooth Worm Theory in Medieval Europe

During the Middle Ages, people in Europe believed that toothaches were caused by tiny worms burrowing into the teeth. To remedy this, they would often perform rituals to "draw out" the tooth worms, such as burning incense or reciting prayers.


7. Bird's Nest Therapy in China

In traditional Chinese medicine, bird's nest soup is believed to have various health benefits, including strengthening teeth and bones. Some people in China even use bird's nest extract as a natural remedy for dental issues, although scientific evidence for its effectiveness is limited.


Embracing Dental Diversity

While some of these dental traditions may seem unusual or even bizarre to us, they highlight the rich tapestry of human culture and the diverse ways in which people have approached dental care throughout history. At D'Amore Russo Dental Design Studio, we celebrate this diversity and are committed to providing modern, evidence-based dental care that respects and honors our patients' unique backgrounds and traditions.


Curious About Your Dental History?

Contact us at (973) 233-1161 or visit our website at drddsmontclair.com to schedule your appointment and learn more about our comprehensive dental services. Let's explore the fascinating world of dentistry together!

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