When George Washington took office on April 30, 1789, he only had one single tooth—a premolar. "He began losing teeth as early as his twenties, and was eventually forced to wear several sets of unsightly and painful dentures," according to History. The dentures he wore to disguise his toothlessness were made of several materials: the teeth of horses, donkeys, cows, and humans, all mounted on lead "gums." There is no evidence to suggest that his teeth, nor those of anyone else in that time, were ever made of wood.
You've probably heard the claim that George Washington's teeth were made of wood. It's a fascinating story, but we hate to break it to you: It's not true.
A Source of Shame
George Washington's Dentures
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Key Facts In This Video
There is only one complete surviving set of George Washington's teeth. 00:13
George Washington started losing his teeth in his mid-20s. 00:26
George Washington's teeth have a lead base, and the teeth are those of horses or asses, cows, and humans. 01:02