Old-Time “Cure” for Toothache

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, April 18, 1911:  I believe I have forgotten what I really did today. It was so much and yet so little. Toothache still continues.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

I want to yell at Grandma’s parents and tell them to get their daughter to a dentist. NOW! For the past week or so, Grandma has complained about her tooth (see April 11 and 15). Maybe people didn’t go to dentists as quickly a hundred years ago—

According to The Compendium of Everyday Wants (1908):

TOOTHACHE—The most complete and speedy cure for toothache is to pour a few drops of compound tincture of benzoin on cotton and press it into the cavity of the tooth.

4 Responses

  1. […] worried that she has had a toothache since April 11 (and again mentions the pain on April 15 and 18), but has not treated […]

  2. […] I read the entries about Grandma’s toothache (April 11, April 15, April 18), and how she was in pain for almost a month before she tried to visit a dentist  on May 6 (and […]

  3. […] she’s been complaining on and off about a toothache since mid-April (see April 11, April 15, and April 18 entries). I can’t imagine this kind of delay in treating a toothache today—I guess some things […]

  4. […] first mentioned that she had a toothache on April 11, and again complained about it on April 15 and April 18. She then tried to visit the dentist in Milton on May 6 and again May 13 but he wasn’t in his […]

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