The Truth About False Teeth: 5 Amazing Facts About George Washington

President’s Day Facts

Happy birthday, Mr. President. While we call it “President’s Day,” the holiday is officially known as “Washington’s Birthday.” And you can visit Washington’s famed Virginia estate both in person on our Searchin’ Mount Vernon Scavenger Hunt and virtually on Best of the U.S.: The Virtual Tour of America Scavenger Hunt.

If you want to get to know the Father of Our Country a little better, we’ve got you covered. Here are five surprising George Washington facts in honor of President’s Day.

1. The Loneliest Tooth

Dollar bill

Contrary to legend, Washington did not have wooden false teeth. The dentures on display at Mount Vernon were made with a lead base and fitted with cow and human teeth, elephant ivory, brass, and steel. He actually practiced excellent dental hygiene: At the age of 23, for instance, he purchased the first of dozens of toothbrushes, along with tooth powders and pastes.

And yet, by the time of his inauguration as president in 1789, Washington had just one tooth left. At that time he received a set of dentures featuring human teeth and hippo ivory. Remember that the next time you see George on a dollar bill.

2. A Toast to Washington’s Pickled Supporters

Washington knew politics before his name became synonymous with politics. In 1758, when he campaigned for a seat in Virginia’s House of Burgesses, he followed the custom of the day and picked up the tab on more than 150 gallons of liquor imbibed by potential voters. He won, with 307 votes.

3. A River of Whiskey Ran Through It

In 1797 Washington created a distillery on his property, at the suggestion of his farm manager, who conveniently was a trained distiller from Scotland. At the peak of production, the facility produced more than 11,000 gallons of whiskey.

4. A Close Call for POTUS

When Washington became president, alternate titles suggested for his position included “His Exalted High Mightiness” and “His Highness the President of the United States of American and Protector of Their Liberties.” Good thing: HEHM and HHTPOTUSOAAPOTL don’t have quite the ring of POTUS.

5. The Midas of Manure

Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon included a “dung repository,” the first known structure in the U.S. devoted to composting. Washington wrote that he considered a knowledgeable farmer to be one who, “Midas like…can convert everything he touches into manure, as the first transmutation towards gold.” Fortunately this version was not adapted into any children’s books.

Find More Fun

Learn more about our in-person scavenger hunts and virtual games, even the ones that don’t have anything to do with George Washington.


Image credits: Lead photo by Laura Nyhuis on Unsplash; dollar bill photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash; Mount Vernon photo by Martin Falbisoner – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0