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The Founding Fathers’ Dental Hygiene Habits!

July has finally arrived, which marks the day of our nation’s independence! The Fourth of July is a holiday celebrated with BBQ’s, pool parties, and fireworks but here at Meadows Family Dental, it got us thinking about what the Founding Fathers dental hygiene routine would have looked like.

Below we’ve put together some fun facts about the Founding Fathers and their teeth and we’ve also debunked a few common myths as well:

  • No, George Washington Never Had Wooden Teeth
    We’re not sure where this rumor came from, but consider it officially debunked! George Washington’s dentures were not made from wood. The rumor served him quite well, as it made George Washington seem like a more relatable kind of guy. The truth is still pretty interesting though – George’s dentures were made of hippopotamus ivory!
  • Benjamin Franklin Ruined His Teeth!
    Benjamin Franklin, always known for his wisdom, made some bizarre health choices later in his life. He developed kidney stones in his old age and he decided that taking mercury pills for a month would dissolve the kidney stones. It (obviously) didn’t work, but he did lose several teeth in the process!
  • Common Dental Practices
    The early 1700’s weren’t a great time for dental procedures. If you had a toothache, you’d be sent to a “barber surgeon.” These men dabbled in a little bit of everything and a trip to their shop could include a haircut, the application of leeches (to cleanse the blood), the embalming of the deceased, and a tooth extraction!

In the 1800’s, real dental practitioners migrated to the colonies and helped to drastically improve dental practices. Teeth were extracted using tools called “turnkeys,” the teeth were cleaned with scrapers and cavities were removed with hand instruments. Dentures were made from ivory or the teeth of cattle.

Luckily dental instruments and procedures are more sophisticated than ever! We’ve come quite a long way from hippo dentures!

From all of us here at Meadows Family Dental in Castle Rock, CO, have a fun and safe Fourth of July and don’t forget to stop by for a checkup!

Posted on Jun 28, 2016
Image Credit: © Dreamstime.com

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