Tuesday, July 3, 2012

America's First President And His Famous Teeth

George Washington, the first president of the United States, had lots of dental problems.   According to historians, by 1796, he had lost all but one of his teeth.

Washington's dentist, Dr. John Greenwood, crafted several sets of dentures for him, but contrary to popular opinion, they were not made of wood.  Instead, President Washington wore dentures made of elephant ivory, hippopotamus tusks and cows' teeth!  The dentures had sharp hooks, screws, and springs that made it difficult for him to smile...and must have been extremely uncomfortable to wear.  It is indeed sad that the man who gave so much to our country suffered with such severe dental ailments.

George Washington's dentures are still in existence:  one set is in the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, one set is in possession of Joseph R. Greenwood of New York, and another set is on exhibit at Mount Vernon.  

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