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Washington’s Teeth Travel the East Coast

George Washington's dentures are shown.

Chew on this: Despite legend, George Washington’s dentures weren’t made of wood. Should you like to verify this fact in-person, his three extant pairs are scattered along the eastern seaboard, readily viewable to the museum-going public.

Washington’s only full set (both top and bottom dentures) belongs to Mount Vernon and is currently on tour with our “Discover the Real George Washington” exhibit, which will arrive at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, North Carolina, on September 10.

This set (shown above) has a lead base, with human teeth, cow teeth and elephant ivory serving as the actual chompers. Washington’s other two sets, which consist only of the bottom denture, are a bit more exotic, with bases made of hippopotamus ivory!

One of these is on loan to Mount Vernon from The New York Academy of Medicine and is featured in our Donald W. Reynolds Education Center. The other belongs to the National Museum of Dentistry in Baltimore, Maryland, and has had a storied history, apart from having been in Washington’s mouth. Originally part of a full denture set, it was stolen in 1981 while on loan to the Smithsonian, and only the top was ever recovered!

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17 Responses to “Washington’s Teeth Travel the East Coast”

  1. Brittany Mills and Nick Winchell Says:

    These are THE worst teeth EVER! They are gross. I can’t see why anyone would want to steal them. Seriously! What were they thinking.

  2. Michael Mulligan Says:

    This was something i did not know about George Washington, I always thought his teeth we’re made of wood but, it’s made from Cow teeth and Human teeth and that just makes me think, what we’re peoples reaction when they saw him smile?

  3. ChRiS Says:

    I didnt know that they used cow teeth, human teeth. Great dental work!

  4. janice dickenson Says:

    ewwwwwwwww that’s nasty very very very nastyyyyyy

  5. Liz Contrereas and Ryan Scarano Says:

    George Washington might have been one of the greatest presidents but that was just too weird. Not sure I want someone else’s teeth in my mouth as well as animal teeth and ivory…

  6. marques williams- tania cruz Says:

    they are mady of many types of teeth. two kinds of ivory. accesive amount of lead, probably shortened his life 20 years. he had alot of trouble with them. sent them to his dentist alot. by the time he was elected he had full dentures.

  7. angela jones and tyree lesain Says:

    we looked at his teeth, which weren’t made of wood. they were lead base that had human teeth, cow teeth and elephant ivory. part of a full denture set was stolen in 1981 while on loan to the Smithsonian

  8. Ryan Carlson, Horacio Ortega Says:

    We were surprised that his teeth were made up of so many different materials, like elephant and Hippopotamus ivory. Also, that his dentures were lead based.

  9. Bernie Susner, Alexis Bell Says:

    Geaorge Washington had problems with his teeth all through his life. His teeth persisted to decay regardless of the tooth care products he used.

  10. hortencia garcia Andrew Dickinson Says:

    We didn’t know that his teeth were made of human and animal teeth.

  11. Brian and Ashley Says:

    Those are the most disgusting things we have ever seen. We are shocked on what they were made of and can’t believe he had those in his mouth as President of the United States. But we guess it was either that or going toothless.

  12. ruby Says:

    well this was really interesting knowing about George Washington’s dentures! NASTY!!!!!! What was he thinking putting that in his mouth……

  13. Justin Posley & Steven Suste Says:

    We think it is discusting that someone can have all of that stuff as his teeth. No wonder he nevered smiled, he was afraid to show his teeth.

  14. Briana Espinoza Says:

    We were surprised that his teeth were made up of so many different materials, like elephant and Hippopotamus ivory. Also, that his dentures were lead based.

  15. Kassandra Lopez Says:

    I think that it is somewhat disgusting that they would keep his teeth and then to have some one steal them at some point this is ridiculous

  16. crystal mazzola Says:

    they’re beautiful!!!!!

  17. Cosmetic Dentist 45140 Says:

    I’ll immediately clutch your rss as I can’t in finding your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you have any? Please allow me realize in order that I could subscribe. Thanks.

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Portraits in Schools

Kids holding George Washington Portrait

Mount Vernon recently invited K-12 schools nationwide to request framed portraits of George Washington to display in a respectful, prominent place.

The response was overwhelming: thousands of schools submitted letters! Along with the portrait, schools received curriculum materials to help explore our first president’s contributions.

Where has George Washington gone back to school? Click here to see!

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