The quest for the elusive tooth worm(s)

The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice blog discusses “the battle of the tooth worm“:



This is a depiction of the infamous tooth worm believed by many people in the past to bore holes in human teeth and cause toothaches….Tooth worms have a long history, first appearing in a Sumerian text around 5,000 BC. References to tooth worms can be found in China, Egypt and India long before the belief finally takes root (pun intended) into Western Europe in the 8th century…. Treatment of tooth worms varied depending on the severity of the patient’s pain…. Some tooth-pullers mistook nerves for tooth worms, and extracted both the tooth and the nerve in what was certainly an extremely painful procedure in a period before anaesthetics….

W. E. Gerabek, ‘The Tooth-Worm: Historical Aspects of a Popular Belief,’ Clinical Oral Investigations (April 1999): pp. 1-6.

Leo Kanner, Folklore of the Teeth (1928).

(Thanks to investigator Ivan Oransky for bringing this to our attention.)

BONUS (unrelated): “Modeling Propagation Dynamics of Bluetooth Worms,” Guanhua Yan, Stephan Eidenbenz, International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems – ICDCS , pp. 42-42, 2007.