That George Washington’s teeth were carved from hippopotamus tusks?
I found this information in the book George Washington’s Teeth. He also only had 2 teeth at his inauguration. George was born in 1732, and things were very different in those days! Don’t Know Much About George Washington by Kenneth C. Davis is packed with information about life in the Colonies and early America.
Hippo tusks were probably easier or cheaper to get than elephant ivory which explains why George’s teeth were carved from them. At the time, many people killed hippos and harvested their tusks. Hippos have long curved front teeth and their tusk like canines are even longer. Adult humans have about 32 teeth, while adult hippos have about 42. The hippopotamus is the third largest land animal. Hippopotamuses by Melissa Stewart is full of great information about Hippos and nice pictures of them.
Going to the dentist was almost unheard of in George’s time. In fact, in those days your barber would have been your dentist and in some cases your doctor too! Now there is no reason to be afraid of the dentist. In the book What to Expect When You Go to the Dentist by Heidi Murkoff Angus the answer dog explains to kids what will happen at the dentist. The Tooth Book by Edward Miller is a guide to healthy teeth and gums, with nice artwork explaining the proper way to brush and floss.
Since George Washington lost so many of his teeth, I bet he was pretty good friends with the tooth fairy! In the movie Tooth Fairy seeing the Roc in a tutu was hilarious. Tooth Tales from Around the World by Marlene Targ Brill tells about tooth fairy customs in other countries and cultures. Cherokee Indian children throw their teeth on the roof! We also have dozens of other children’s stories about tooth fairies.
Who know that a set of teeth could be so interesting? I had no idea that they were carved from Hippo Tusks? I’m still pondering why the Cherokee children would throw their teeth up on the roof? Curious! Good Blog!