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Teeth Tales of the Rich and Famous

October 28, 2014

From the Wild West to modern rock and roll, history is full of outrageous teeth tales. Here are some of our favorites.

The law won

Infamous Wild West outlaw John Henry "Doc" Holliday wasn't always a gambler on the run from the law. At age 20, "Doc" Holliday received his dental degree from the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery. He even won awards for his dental work including 1873s "Best set of teeth in gold." Unfortunately, Holliday acquired tuberculosis early in his career. The sickness caused Holliday to suffer from major coughing fits, often while attending to patients. Scared off by the coughing, his patients soon stopped visiting him, leading to the decline and eventual closing of his practice. After that, Holliday took to gambling and crime, but later found himself back on the right side of the law and was formally deputized by U.S. Marshal Wyatt Earp.

Beatles or Rolling Stones?

At some point in the 1980s, Rolling Stones frontman Mick jagger had a small, white diamond implanted in his upper right front tooth. It is reported to only be visible in certain light from just the right angle. But the white diamond wasn't his first choice. Jagger originally had a green emerald in its place, eventually removing it after too many people told him he had spinach stuck in his teeth. Eww.

The other half of the rock rivals has their own tale. The story goes that in the late 1960s, after visiting the dentist and having a tooth pulled, Beatles legend John Lennon brought the tooth home and offered it to his housekeeper.

It turns out her daughter was a huge Beatles fan and he thought she might want the tooth. She did, and the tooth stayed with the family for over 30 years.

Fast-forward to 2011. The housekeeper's family sold the tooth at auction, complete with a certification of authenticity, for $31,200. A sum far greater than you might expect from your typical tooth fairy.

Brush or give me 20

It's hard to believe now, but prior to World War II, most Americans did not regularly brush their teeth. In fact, it took the will of the United States Army to encourage people to take better care of their teeth. Since soldiers need to be strong and healthy, the armed forces provided every soldier with a toothbrush and toothpaste and ordered them to brush. When the service members finally returned home after the war ended, they brought with them their new, healthy habit of twice daily brushing.

And that's a noble habit we can all salute.