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Fun Facts for Kids – Do You Believe in Tooth Trolls?

November 29th, 2015
beware of tooth trolls title card

If you are from Finland, you might just believe in Tooth Trolls. Finnish parents often use the “Hammaspeikko” or Tooth Troll to explain cavities and dental hygiene to young children.

When children eat candy this lures the troll to them. The troll digs at their teeth and causes cavities. Luckily, brushing your teeth scares the trolls away.

The Hammaspeikko is based on a Norwegian book called Karius and Bactus (Caries and Bacteria) about two trolls living inside a boy’s teeth and causing him problems. The trolls are washed away when the boy visits the dentist and learns about proper dental care.

Although the tooth trolls are a 20th century invention, they are part of a long tradition of blaming cavities on tiny creatures inside your mouth.

Up until the 18th century, many people believed that cavities and toothaches were caused by tooth worms or spirits.

Tooth worms first make an appearance in ancient Sumerian texts dating from c. 5000BCE. There are references to these worms in ancient China, Egypt, and India before they finally found a foothold in Western medicine in the 8th century.

The belief in tiny worms that crawl through your teeth persisted until modern dentistry proved that cavities were caused by bacteria. So in a way, people were right all along!

Do you think we have any current beliefs about dental health that will be seen as silly in the future?


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