The Truth About George Washington’s Smile

The Truth About George Washington’s Smile

Posted February 21, 2012 by Wager-Evans Dental

Yesterday was President’s Day and, to celebrate, Reno family dentists Dr. William Wager and Dr. Brian Evans want to take a closer look at the biggest connection between dentistry and presidential trivia: George Washington’s teeth, of course!

A Presidential Smile

What were George Washington’s teeth made out of? If you guess wood, you—along with most of the American population—are wrong.

Thanks to letters, journals, and other accounts left behind by the first president of the United States, we know that Washington’s teeth—while fake—were not made from wood. They were actually made from a combination of human teeth, ivory (including ivory from a hippopotamus), lead, metal, and springs.

As it turns out, Washington’s dental health was a lifelong battle with constant toothaches, chronic oral infections, and extreme jaw discomfort. Despite a daily teeth brushing, tongue scraping, and mouthwash rinsing habit, Washington eventually experienced severe tooth loss and was inaugurated into the presidency with only one natural tooth in his mouth at the age of 47 in the year 1789.

Honoring Our Nation’s Forefathers

In honor of George Washington’s famous smile and the observance of President’s Day, here are a few pieces of trivia.

  • Always celebrated on the third Monday in February, President’s Day is actually Washington’s birthday. Washington’s birthday is the only presidential birthday that is a federal holiday.
  • Since 1862, the U.S. Senate has read George Washington’s Farewell Address every year on his actual birthday (February 22).
  • 24 presidents served in the U.S. military during a war.
  • John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, and Chester Arthur never ran for president. They were inaugurated following the respective deaths of William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, and James Garfield.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt is the only president to have served four terms, and Grover Cleveland is the only president to have served two non-consecutive terms in office.

If you want to leave a lasting impression with your smile for all of the right reasons (unlike George Washington), call Wager Evans Dental, located in Reno, Nevada, at (775) 800-4845 or visit us online at