In celebration of Independence Day we’re looking back at fun facts about the country’s Founding Fathers oral health. During colonial times dentistry was very different. For example, did you know that instead of going to the dentist you went to a barber surgeon? The barber surgeons could not only give you a hair cut but pull your tooth as well! Dentistry has definitely come a long way since our Founding Fathers fought for independence. Here are some fun and interesting dental facts about the people who helped create this country!
You might recognize Paul Revere as the man who rode his horse to alert the colonists that the British were coming during the Revolutionary War. But, did you know that he was a dentist as well? Although trained as a silversmith he also sold dentures and cleaned teeth. It’s also thought that he was the first person to identify a body by its teeth.
If you knew our second president during revolutionary times it may have been difficult to understand him. Adams lost his teeth for two main reasons: he loved sweets and also he believed throwing up cured a number of diseases. Since he refused to wear dentures it made comprehending what he said often times difficult.
This founding father took great care of his teeth. He had only lost one adult tooth by the age of 81!
Benjamin Franklin was a brilliant Founding Father but eccentric when it came to his health. He tried to cure his kidney stones by taking mercury pills. The devastating effect on his teeth from the mercury led to them having to be taken out.
One of the most well known rumors about our country’s first president is that he had wooden teeth. This indeed is false, his dentures were actually made out of elephant and hippopotamus ivory! You can see the only pair of dentures intact today on display at Mount Vernon.
Avoid the fate of most of our Founding Fathers’ mouths and be sure to practice good oral hygiene and see us regularly!