The Wisdom Tooth: Toothy Myths

Cloaking excuses in myths is a tried-and-tested-and-failed strategy by patients. But they never stop doing it

Representational Image/Pixabay

Each profession has its own traditions and myths. Example: Don’t cut your hair on Saturdays or don’t let your maids sweep your home at night. Even today, when our modern society leans more toward science, there are some myths that still prevail. I didn’t take much notice of these myths until I set up my own practice and boy, aren’t we Indians superstitious! Here are some myths and superstitions that a lot of Indians believe when it comes to teeth and oral hygiene.

Myth No. 1: Extracting your teeth will lead to vision loss. There is a solid connection when it comes to teeth and eyesight, it seems. Like, seriously? According to that logic, everyone using dentures should be blind, right? People come up with weird reasons not to have teeth extracted but using this as an excuse really boggles my mind!

Myth No. 2: The second myth is that cleaning your teeth will make them loose. This is something even educated patients ask. How is this even a myth? I wish it were true. If this was the case, I wouldn’t have to study this separate subject that I hated in medical school. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to support this alleged fact. Cleaning your teeth is good, people! Clean them every six months. It will improve the health of your gums and teeth.

Myth No. 3: This is my favourite. Blaming bad teeth on God. ‘I don’t have any bad habits like smoking, tobacco, alcohol etc. but I still have bad teeth, I guess I have bad faith.’ Your teeth are bad because you don’t take care of them. You don’t brush your teeth properly, you don’t clean them and you eat a lot of junk food. That’s why your teeth are bad. Don’t blame God for it!

Myth No. 4: The next one is, “Akal Daant nikaalne se Akal kam ho jaati hai, isliye app sirf goli (Medicine) de do.” [Removing wisdom teeth will make me stupid, just give me medicine]. At that time my expression reads out like, are you serious? Look at the swelling which you have. See the amount of pain you have, look at the health of your adjacent tooth. It’s called the wisdom tooth because it develops between the ages of 17-25 when people become mature and become adults, and not because the tooth gives you wisdom.

There are a lot more myths that will be busted in the next article. The next time you hear anyone saying such nonsense you know what to say.

The Wisdom Tooth is a fortnightly column by Neil U. Mitra. Mitra is a practising dentist in Mumbai. He has his clinic at Bandra where he takes time out to write for us after he finishes his day’s work. You can reach him at [email protected]