At the National Museum of Dentistry in Baltimore, a stunning display greets visitors: a lifesize representation of circus acrobat Penny “Iron Jaw” Wilson suspended from the ceiling, (shown, courtesy which serves as an eye-catching display for her 1950s mouthpiece, with bite marks and lipstick stains still intact.

Perhaps it was intended to invite all who enter to suspend their disbelief at the rapid pace of advancement within the dental community. But when I visited the museum during the 2015 Lucy Hobbs Project Celebration, my mind immediately wandered to Penny Wilson’s amazing feat of human strength. (As a child of the 70s, the Battle of the Network Stars  impressed me, what can I say?)


Walter Lewis and his 9-month-old son Walter Jr., courtesy

A headline from this weekend’s news culled that image from my archives:  Father saves baby from fire using teeth and ladder then rescues entire family.  The report from details how a Fort Wayne, Indiana man channeled mental stamina to keep his fear of heights in check during multiple trips on a ladder to save his children and wife. In the process, Walter Lewis employed every ounce of physical strength to rescue his family from the flames that consumed their home, on one descent, gripping his 9-month-old son’s sleeper with his teeth.


Sounds like a great reason to floss.

Help the Lewis Family:

Hear Walter Lewis’ comments to Wane-TV 15:

View other awe-inspiring teeth lifts, such as this 1948 video of Bobby David: