The Operator for the Teeth: Charles Allen 1685
The first English Dentistry Text-book.
break forth out of their sockets, children are subject to fevers, and great alterations, which weakens them extremely; and often puts an end to their days, which comes to pass most commonly, for want of help to facilitate their issue out of the gums.
And as I look upon the knowledge of children’s teeth, as a subject properly belonging to my profession; so I think myself obliges to amend, amplify, and render it as conducive to the preservation of the life, and health of children, and to the preventing of all those infirmities wherewith they are afflicted, (upon the account of the first comings, and shedding of their teeth) as my weak endeavours can make it: And therefore to that end I will deliver here in a few words, what reason and experience have taught me concerning the same; proceeding thus,
In the first place, I would advise such as may be concerned in this affair, to take a special care in observing when the child’s teeth begin to trouble him: which (besides his forwardness, and excessive crying) may be known by his Salivation or Drivelling (as nurses are wont to style it,) and the inflammation, and swelling of his gums; and as soon as you perceive it to be so, you are to wash his mouth now and then with the following mixture: Take seven or eight as new Figs as you can get, and boil them in a pint or more of whey, till they grow very soft, and then squeeze the whey and as much of the substance of the figs as you can through a cloth; of which liquor take half a pint, of Honey of Roses, and syrup of violets of each half an ounce, and three or four spoonfuls of plantain-water: mix it all together and keep it closed in a bottle. The best way to use it, is with a stick of liquorish beaten at one end into small thread like a comb brush, or little broom, with which being dipped in some of the said liquor, you shall wash and rub the child’s gums, (especially where they are tumified,) at least five or six times a day, continuing so to do, till you perceive the gums to grow white above the tooth: (which