Waterloo Teeth

Waterloo Teeth

Before dentures were made with human teeth, false teeth were commonly carved from hippopotamus, walrus, or elephant ivory. The ivory rotted more quickly than human teeth, however. To get the teeth, plunderers would wander battlefields with pliers, looking for fallen men. Dentists would then advertise that their Waterloo Teeth came from healthy soldiers, as opposed to executed criminals, old corpses, or even animals—other possible sources of denture teeth during that time.

12:53

from Archaeosoup Productions

Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    Evidence of the first dentistry practices—holes drilled into teeth—has been dated back to 7000 BC. (0:59)

  • 2

    The patron saint of dentistry is Apollonia, who was allegedly martyred by having all of her teeth forcibly removed. (5:19)

  • 3

    George Washington's famous dentures were not made of wood. They were made from a mix of his own teeth, cow's teeth, and hippopotamus ivory. (10:25)

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