Social practices ceremonies and celebrations




Social practices, rituals and festive events.
Dental care has had a long history in Emirati society. In the past, people would honour the tooth from its eruption in the middle of the mouth until its extraction. When a child’s tooth was extracted, they would throw it outside the house or from the roof in the direction of the sun, while reciting a sentence that was passed on from their parents: (O eye of the sun, take the donkey's tooth and provide me the deer’s tooth). Toothaches in the past were a problem for the patient and the treater or healer, due to the lack of quick and effective painkillers as well as modern tools for tooth extraction.  
That is why desert dwellers have relied on some herbs and plants in the treatment of simple and common diseases. Some of these treatments grow in the desert in the winter, such as: haloxylon, thyme , hulool, peganum  , aloes, kheil  and mousmar . These were some of the most commonly used in the treatment of diseases, where no home would be devoid of them . Regarding the kheil, the narrator recalls : In the past, after I would rinse with water and salt, mother would put a bit of kheil  at the site of cavity or decay cavity, or would treat it with musmar that was somewhat crushed at the site of pain, thus relieving the toothache. I remember that she would apply a piece of cotton soaked with Abou Fas medicine, which they used to buy from the Dubai market. It would cool the tooth (i.e. relieve the toothache). One of the narrators adds : When there would be toothache due to cavities, kheil would be applied that would dissipate the cavity. Others would heat the kheil before placing at the site of cavity, thus destroying it. This is people should avoid kheil from coming in contact with the teeth and continuing to use it for a long time, because it causes thinning and erosion, and it is not given to children.
Extraction or pulling of teeth
Toothache, colloquially known as wei’ al dars, is a difficult pain to bear even if it lasts for just a few minutes, so what if his pain is prolonged, patients would turn to extraction as the fastest way of getting rid of his pain . The tooth was extracted in a primitive way by a person specialized in this task using a special instrument called (kilba or kilab) which is the colloquial term for pliers. This would be done without anaesthesia or analgesics after moving the tooth right and left. They would then remove it relying on muscle strength, and after that, they would apply a piece of cloth soaked in salt at the site, can that the blood is cleared, the bleeding stops, and the site is disinfected. This is how the process of tooth extractions were done. It involved a lot of suffering, pain and sleeplessness .

Men would tend to treat men and women would tend to treat women, and when necessary, men and women would treat men within a framework of decency and self-control . This is confirmed by the narrator  who adds: “Extractions would be done by a specialist or a baseer (i.e. an expert in these matters).

Keeping teeth clean in the past:
One of the most important and best means of keeping teeth clean is the "sewak" which is made the branches of a tree called "arak" . The benefits of using sewak after eating include being expressive and fluent in speech, enhancing flavours, making food more appetizing, and sharpening the mind . The narrator  recalls, “The miswak is known for its importance to us. We would eagerly await for the return of pilgrims to hear their news and enjoy the gifts of Makkah (the miswak). When we would be seated on the the sand, I would take a handful of sand (that would be clean) with the tip of my finger and would rub it on my teeth. When sikahm was available, we would use it on our teeth whenever we liked.

Cases where cautery was used:
Cautery was practiced all seasons of the year and was not restricted to a specific season. It was customary for a person to undergo the procedure whenever they felt a need for it on all days of the week except on Thursday afternoons and Friday mornings.
The treatment of toothache through cauterization or marking is by striking  the vein between the thumb and forefinger. If the pain was on the right side, the right hand would be marked, and if the pain was on the left side, the left hand would be marked .

Popular proverbs:
Toothache is mentioned in several examples:
(If you hate a person, pray that they get a toothache) .
(There is no greater concern except that of a wedding and no greater pain than that of a toothache) .
(If a toothache is what ails you , then extraction is your cure ).
There is a medical explanation for this saying, which is that the toothaches would be treated with extraction.
(If your tooth is moving right and left, then it must be removed.)
It means that if a tooth is loose, it must be removed or extracted .
(If a tooth is eroded , then it must be removed).


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