FFF (Facts, Fallacies and Facetiousness) Friday – George Washington’s Teeth

I think this post will cover all the “F’s” for this Friday!  We’ve all heard the stories of George Washington .. he chopped down a cherry tree, he couldn’t tell a lie, he threw a silver dollar across the Potomac (I have to admit, I’d never heard that one) and he had wooden teeth.

Today, let’s talk teeth.  According to the Mount Vernon web site, George Washington never had wooden teeth.  He did have dentures, but they were not wooden (bone, hippopotamus ivory, human teeth, brass screws, lead, and gold metal wire — but not wood).   Some have suggested that perhaps people assumed his dentures were wooden because they had become stained and took on the appearance of wood.

Actually, Washington was plagued with dental problems most of his life.  From the Mount Vernon web site, here is a picture of the only remaining full set in existence (lovely, aren’t they?):

GW teeth

NOTE: Digging History is now a monthly digital (PDF) magazine.  This article will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Check out the latest issue here:  www.digginghistorymag.com or try a subscription here.


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