In Netflix's 'I Care A Lot,' Marla Puts A Loose Tooth In Milk—Does That Really Work?

Photo credit: Seacia Pavao
Photo credit: Seacia Pavao

From Women's Health

In Netflix’s new thriller, I Care a Lot, Rosamund Pike’s devious character Marla Grayson is drugged and sent over a bridge and into a river in her car. Amazingly, she survives the crash and only loses a tooth in the process. Marla then puts her knocked-out tooth in a small carton of milk until she can get to the dentist to have the tooth fixed.

If you've watched the film, you probably wondering if putting a dislocated tooth in milk really works and why. Turns out, Netflix didn’t make this up: This idea has been circulating for ages, and turns out, it's legit.

The American Association of Endodontists (AAE) has super explicit directions on what to do if your tooth is knocked out. Just a heads up: Time is crucial here—you’ll need to see a dentist or endodontist (tooth specialist) within 30 minutes to try to save your tooth.

If your tooth happens to get knocked out, pick it up by the crown, not the root. If it’s dirty, rinse it off with water, but don’t use any soap or chemicals. You also don’t want to scrub or dry the tooth, and shouldn’t wrap it in tissue or cloth.

If you can, try to reposition the tooth in the socket. You can gently push it in with your fingers or put it above the socket and close your mouth slowly.

This is where the milk comes in: You’ll want to keep the tooth moist at all times, either in your mouth or, if you can’t reposition it or don’t feel comfortable keeping it in your cheek, in milk.

Milk is preferable to water in keeping the tooth moist because that prevents the cells of the tooth root’s surface from swelling up and bursting (as they would in H2O), according to Dr. Kenneth Siegel, DMD, of Dental Excellence of Blue Bell. The AAE also warns against using regular tap water to store your tooth—the cells in your tooth’s root can't "tolerate" it for longer periods of time.

Milk also contains certain proteins that maintain the perfect pH balance, as well as substances with antibacterial effects and sugars to promote cell growth. FYI: Dr. Seigel's website advises against using plant-based milk alternatives to keep your tooth wet. If no dairy milk is available, he recommends spitting saliva into the container holding your tooth.

Then, head straight for your local dentist or endodontist. "It's best to see the doctor within 30 minutes; however, it is possible to save a tooth even if it has been outside the mouth for an hour or more," the AAE says.

You Might Also Like