Don’t forget to floss

Posted by Ken Campbell June 22, 2010 0 Comment 1107 views

Peter Roose (pronounced “rose”) was a Swedish Immigrant who settled on a patch of land near Lake Ozette in the early 1900’s. A cousin of Lars Ahlstrom, another well-known settler in the area, Pete was what you might call a “loner.” He kept his little cabin by himself, raising sheep and strawberries to make ends meet. When the time came to butcher the sheep – a job he never really enjoyed – he made it a practice to kill the meanest one first, just to ease himself into the process without too much guilt.

The thing that stands out for me about the life of Peter Roose is his strange approach to frontier dentistry. Now, dental procedures of the time were medieval compared to what we have available today, but Roose was took DIY dental methods to a whole different level. His oral hygiene habits, or lack thereof, meant that his teeth became infected one-by-one (“obsolete,” was the way he referred to them). When this happened, he would remove the offending ivory with a hammer and chisel, often taking pieces of the gum with it. There is no mention of his grin in any account I could find; presumably he didn’t smile that often. He died of mouth cancer in 1943, a condition that likely began because of his dental adventures.

He lies today in Port Angeles, at the Sea View Cemetery. His home near Lake Ozette, on the prairie that bears his name, became a national historic site.

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