Homework Help

Which US president had wooden teeth?

user profile pic

mvt065 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 18, 2010 at 10:47 PM via web

dislike 2 like

Which US president had wooden teeth?

4 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 18, 2010 at 10:51 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

It has always been said that George Washington had wooden teeth.  However, historians have since found out that this is not true.  His teeth, as it turns out, were actually made of hippopotamus ivory and some other things.

Apparently, George Washington was quite concerned about his dental health.  He brushed regularly, used mouthwash and tried to get dental treatment.  However, dental knowledge was very poor in those days and (it seems) he was just unlucky.  At any rate, he started losing his teeth in his twenties.

By the time he became president Washington had only one of his own teeth.

Top Answer

user profile pic

besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted February 19, 2010 at 1:31 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 1 like

It was thought for many many years that George Washington had wooden teeth. Dental hygiene was very poor during this era. People viewed the care of teeth differently than they do today-it wasn't as important. George Washington on the other hand did care about his teeth and brushed them regularly. It was proven that George Washington indeed did not have wooden teeth but had false teeth made of other materials such as hippopotamus ivory. In addition, dentists were not trained like they are today so it is believed that the care he received from his dentist hindered the well-being of his teeth.

user profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 19, 2010 at 5:27 AM (Answer #3)

dislike 1 like

As the other posts have mentioned, George Washington did not possess a set of wooden teeth (or wooden dentures). In fact, according to one source, there is no factual evidence at all that any wooden dentures were ever made or used in America (according to Steve Swank, the curator of the National Museum of Dentistry). The only existing set of Washington's dentures is still available for viewing at Mount Vernon. They are made of a combination of ivory set in a lead base with heavy, metal springs. 

user profile pic

revolution | College Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted February 19, 2010 at 12:40 AM (Answer #4)

dislike -1 like

The most popular tale was that the US.PRESIDENT had wooden teeth, but now historians have crushed that urban legend and deemed it "nonsense" and untrue to a point of ridiculous. It was prove that George Washington's false teeth (dentures), which was make by his New York  dentist, John Greenwood, which was make out of hippopotamus ivory to which he riveted several human teeth inside his mouth. It was known that he was a cleanliness freak, as his daily life involves brushing his own teeth, using mouth wash and seeing the dental healthcare, but his teeth conditions didn't improved much, but he suffered from more frequent infections to his mouth. It was what his dentist give him, calonel, which contained the element mercury which destroys his tooth ernamel, so he loses his tooth quite frequently.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes