Oftentimes, we remember the facial expressions and smiles from famous portraits like that of George Washington. However, we rarely know the true story behind them.
George Washington’s adult life was plagued by tooth loss and tooth decay. Did you know that George Washington’s first tooth was pulled when he was 24 years old? At his inauguration in 1789, he had only one tooth left. It was revealed that the former president was self-conscious and reluctant to make public speeches due to his troublesome teeth.
George Washington’s dental problems were mostly due to factors that were common during his era, such as imbalanced diets, diseases and genetics. Consequently, Washington experienced frequent pain throughout his life.
Did George Washington wear wooden teeth?
Although general dentistry lacked sophistication during his time, George Washington didn’t have wooden teeth. According to the American Dental Association, his dentures were made of different materials that include bone, hippopotamus ivory, copper screws, gold wire, human teeth and lead. A New York dentist and a former Revolutionary soldier, Dr. John Greenwood, fashioned advanced dentures just for the president!
George Washington’s dentures caused him severe pain while leading to his facial disfigurement. His wife, Martha, had a partial denture too. Due to the travails of her husband, she urged both her children and grandchildren to maintain proper dental care.
Dental hygiene in the 18th Century
George Washington’s dental problems do not depict him as a person that was sloppy about oral hygiene. It’s only that in the late 18th century, dental hygiene was basically non-existent. Nevertheless, Washington was in constant quest throughout his adult life to have teeth and maintain good oral health. That’s why purchases of teeth scrapers, toothbrushes, cleaning solutions and toothache medication as well as payments to dental professionals were regularly present in his communications.
Dental hygiene today
The good news is that in 2017 dental hygiene and advancements in dental technology have come a long way! At Taos Dental Group in Taos, we want you and your family to maintain healthy dental hygiene. We offer state-of-the-art technology and procedures to ensure our patients achieve and maintain optimum oral health for a lifetime! If you have a dental problem, don’t hesitate to contact us or visit our dental office for immediate or emergency dental care.