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National Museum of Dentistry
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National Museum of Dentistry

Collection

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The National Museum of Dentistry is renowned for its collection of dental treasures from the legendary to the whimsical, from George Washington's not-so-wooden teeth to cartoon character toothbrushes featuring Fred Flinstone and Mickey Mouse. The 40,000-object collection of dental instruments, furniture and artwork is one of the largest and most significant in the world. A substantial portion of the core collection traces its roots to the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, the world's first dental college, which was founded in 1840. The Museum continues to add to the collection.

Significant objects in the collection include:

  • George Washington's ivory lower denture
  • Queen Victoria's personal oral hygiene instruments
  • The first earned dental diploma, dated 1841
  • Toothbrushes ranging from the 1800s to the present
  • Dentifrice containers, including one dating to the court of French King Louis XVI
  • A 9th-century stained-glass image of St. Apollonia, patron saint of dentistry
  • Extraction instruments dating from the 17th century, including the largest holding of dental extractions keys in the United States
  • The world's largest collection of dental advertising poster art

From the Vault

Toothbrushes Through the Ages

toothbrushes

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From left to right:

  • The siwak stick, or "chew stick" -- a twig with frayed ends -- has been used since Babylonian times, particularly among Muslim and African cultures.
  • Taub's patent toothbrush had a convex, semicircular design made to conform to the tongue and sides of the teeth. The early 20th-century design was made out of celluloid.
  • A rubber-tipped combination gum stimulator and toothbrush with an aluminum handle, pre-1945.
  • The Strockway rotary toothbrush was designed with long and short bristle tufts to enable them to go over and in between teeth as the toothbrush was rolled along the teeth, Circa 1950s.
  • Dr. Mayland's toothbrush with rubber points instead of bristles, Circa 1920s.
  • The Rotor toothbrush was designed to clean the teeth vertically, Circa 1930s.
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