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Archive for Thursday, October 11, 2001

No lie: Story of George’s wooden teeth is false

October 11, 2001

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Myth: George Washington had false teeth that were made of wood.

The Truth: None of George's several sets of false teeth were made of wood. Ivory, human teeth, cow teeth and lead, perhaps, but never wood.

Even though he brushed regularly and rinsed, Washington had dental problems all his life that caused severe pain. When he became president, he had only one tooth left in his mouth.

During his lifetime, Washington had at least five full sets of dentures made for him. One set was fastened together with wooden pegs. Maybe that is why people thought he had wooden teeth.

But wood isn't a good material to use in the mouth. It splinters easily, and can warp and get out of shape.

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