His dentures were made of hippopotamus ivory and human teeth
George Washington went down in history as the first president of the United States of America. But he also did so because of his long history of illness, mainly for his oral problems, which led him to lose all his teeth.
Washington’s poor medical history goes back to his childhood when he first contracted malaria, a disease that would remain with him throughout his life.
At that time, the treatment of malaria implied the ingestion of large doses of mercury, which combined with a poor hygiene habits and dietary habits typical of the time, seriously affected his oral health.
As a result, the young Washington lost his first tooth at the age of 20 and at 57, when he became the President of the United States, he had only one tooth left, which was extracted shortly after his taking office. Probably this is the reason for the President’s reserved and serious character and perhaps also the explanation for the fact that he does not appear smiling in any of his portraits.
From that moment on, the president Washington began to wear dentures, which became a source of great controversy.
Although it was initially believed that the president’s dentures were made of wood, it was later revealed that they were made of hippopotamus ivory and of human teeth from slaves, whether dead or alive, which has caused a lot of discussion.
In total, the first president of the United States had more than 5 dentures and it been known that his wife, Martha Washington, also wore dentures during her husband’s timing in office.