George Washington Struggled With Dental Issues
Williamsburg Dental sends our patients and their families best wishes for a fun, safe and festive 4th of July celebration. We thought we’d also take a minute to dispel a timely myth and give you some “revolutionary” dental history.
Most Americans grew up hearing stories of George Washington and his wooden teeth. But the reality is that the father of our country’s multiple sets of dentures weren’t made from wood at all, but from all sorts of other composites including ivory taken from hippopotamuses; gold; lead; uncomfortable brass screws, wires and springs and even other people’s teeth!
By the time George Washington was inaugurated in 1789, studies show that he probably had only one natural tooth. The tragic dental problems he endured, with what a 2014 New York Times article called his “awkward-fitting, painful, face-disfiguring dentures,” may have attributed to other infections Washington suffered throughout his lifetime
Gilbert Stuart’s famous paintings of Washington depict an unsmiling, puffy-faced leader— not all that surprising when you consider Washington was sporting a very painful set of choppers. While liberating our country, could Washington’s own life (and his presidency) have been different had he been liberated from his painful, embarrassing dental problems? We’ll never know.