»Articles»Ancient World»Legends»George Washington and his Legendary Wooden Teeth

George Washington and his Legendary Wooden Teeth

Jana G.Jana G.
George Washington

According to an American urban legend, President George Washington had wooden teeth. He used them to eat his food since he had very serious dental problems.

George Washington lost his 1st tooth when he was just 22 years old and then kept losing them one after the other.

By the time he became an influential politician, he had only one natural tooth left in his mouth. But despite having just one tooth, George Washington achieved a real peak in his political career and was chosen as the 1st president of the US.

According to modern dentists, Washington had issues with his teeth because in this childhood doctors had used mercury to treat his measles and malaria.

It was impossible for this not to have any consequences for the body of the future president of America. Additionally, Washington loved to show his friends how he cracked walnuts with his teeth.

This, in combination with the adverse effects of mercury denied the US president the ability to continue using his own teeth and he was forced to use artificial ones.

Washington Statue

But in those days dentists did not yet know how to make crowns from synthetic materials look real. So the president's personal dentist, John Greenwood, prepared a very expensive prosthesis for George Washington.

These were not made of wood at all. To craft them, the dentist used gold, elephant ivory, lead, rhinoceros bones and human teeth. The 2 dentures were attached to each other using thick golden thread, which helped their movement.

The elephant ivory and rhino bones served as a base for the dental prostheses. For a more authentic look, the teeth which the president smiled with were human.

George Washington's legendary wooden dentures were most likely a temporary solution before the completion of his expensive prosthesis, which allowed him to eat as he pleased.

But president Washington suffered severe pains caused by his artificial teeth until the end of his life. To ease the pain, he took very strong painkillers which let him forget about his problem and make crucial political decisions.