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History of oral health: the secrets our teeth reveal

Dental records have provided investigators with key evidence over the years to help identify people in crimes. Here are some famous cases where teeth solved a mystery.

Roman statue Roman statue Roman statue

A.D. 66

A black tooth identified the wife of Roman emperor Nero. She was killed by soldiers who were instructed to provide proof that she was dead.

1775

Paul Revere used teeth and dental work, such as dentures, to identify fallen soldiers in the American Revolution. He became known as the nation’s first forensic dentist.

Paul Revere Paul Revere Paul Revere
John Wilkes Booth John Wilkes Booth John Wilkes Booth

1893

After assassinating President Abraham Lincoln in 1865, John Wilkes Booth hid until being shot by the U.S. Cavalry. Although some believed Booth survived, his unusual jaw formation confirmed his identity when his body was exhumed 28 years later.

1954

When a Texas grocery store was burglarized, investigators found a partially eaten piece of cheese. This bite mark was used as evidence against the person accused in the Doyle v. State of Texas trial.

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Today

Dental records continue to be used in criminal investigations, plane crashes and natural disasters. They sometimes even provide breaks in cold cases.

Treatment and X-rays you receive as part of your dental benefits coverage create a record that’s unique to you.