When I was a kid, comic books and specifically cartoon characters who had a toothache were always drawn with bandages around their head, usually knotted above the head.

What I want to know is whether or not there is any medical basis for this, or is it simply just a convenient method to visually depict that a character has a toothache? What is the reason for drawing them like this?

EDIT: Example of such a cartoon. Toothache


1 Answer 1


I think it was used to hold in place a poultice [e.g.] Such poultices could no longer be recommended where antibiotics and analgesics are available.

Alternatively, it may be being used to hold an ice-pack in place.There are plenty of examples of people getting the advice to use ice-packs on tooth pain: [e.g.]

  • Hmmm, I had actually forgotten about things like ice, but I didn't know that an old-time remedy was external poultices. Interesting.
    – DeVil
    May 31, 2011 at 14:20

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