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George Washington’s false teeth were not wooden, as you may have heard.

August 3, 2023

At the age of 57, George Washington had all of his remaining teeth pulled and received the first of several complete sets of false teeth to alleviate his constant ailments resulting from recurring infections.

George Washington’s false teeth were not wooden, as you may have heard. They were actually made from a variety of materials, including human teeth. According to the accounting record in Mount Vernon’s Ledger Book B, the teeth may have been pulled from Washington’s slaves.

Later in his life, Washington made regular reference to aching teeth, lost teeth, inflamed gums, and ill-fitting dentures. His chronic dental ailments were worsened by the many deadly diseases he contracted during his lifetime, including smallpox, tuberculosis, dysentery, and malaria, to name only a few.

 

In one of Washington’s account books, an entry details Washington’s purchase of nine teeth from “Negroes” for 122 shillings.

Whether the teeth provided by the Mount Vernon enslaved persons were simply being sold to his dentist Dr. Jean-Pierre Le Mayeur or whether they were intended for George Washington, is unknown at this time.

Although Washington paid these enslaved people for their teeth it does not mean they had a real option to refuse his request.

 

 

Source: @Historyinmemes/Twitter

@Highonhistory/Twitter

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