The founding fathers and past commanders-in-chief are responsible for many of the great aspects of this country. With the recent passing of Presidents’ Day, we’re reminded of the significant leaps we’ve made as a country due to these amazing leaders. While past presidents may have been dedicated to the strength of this country, they weren’t always as diligent with their oral health. To celebrate Presidents’ Day, we wanted to give our readers an inside look at the presidential smiles of the past.
Even our country’s brilliant leaders were not immune to the common oral health problems that many of us can deal with. Fortunately, modern dentistry allows us to successfully tackle a wide variety of dental issues. In fact, we offer a range of cosmetic, general, and restorative dentistry services for our patients here in Idaho Falls, ID. Many of these treatment options could have saved or restored the smiles of our past presidents. To discuss more on past presidential oral health, Dr. Mark Tall gives his readers a brief overview of the most notable past smiles of the white house.
When we talk about the oral health of past presidents, George Washington is probably the first president to come to mind. After all, stories of his wooden denture have been a part of this American legend for years. In reality, Washington did wear dentures, but none of them were made out of wood. The material used for his dentures included gold wire, copper screws, hippopotamus ivory, and human teeth. Washington experienced dental health problems for most of his life and began having serious problems in his early 20s. His oral health problems continued to worsen and by the time of his inauguration, Washington only had one working tooth left. It is believed that his oral health problems can partly be attributed to the dental treatments of the time. He received heavy doses of mercurous chloride, a chemical known to destroy teeth. He also used toothpowders, which were very abrasive and destructive to tooth enamel.
The dentures that Washington wore suggest that he was uncomfortable much of the time. The ill-fitting dentures changed the look of Washington’s face and historians speculate that this made him sensitive about his appearance and speech.
Washington isn’t the only famous American leader to have dental trouble; Abraham Lincoln had an extreme fear of the dentist. His dental phobia came from a traumatic experience he had when a dentist broke off part of his jaw while extracting a tooth. After this experience, Lincoln was reluctant to visit the dentist and only did so after a severe toothache in 1862. According to stories, Lincoln medicated himself and distracted his dentist long enough to take a whiff of chloroform he had in his pocket. At the time, chloroform wasn’t used as an anesthetic in the medical field.
Woodrow Wilson was another famous face in the White House with an unimpressive smile. In fact, many people were surprised to see how poor President Wilson’s teeth were after an unflattering picture of Wilson’s stained teeth was published in the newspaper. Wilson suffered from a stroke in 1919 and since then, researchers have discovered a strong link between oral hygiene and other systemic diseases. Some researchers even suggest his poor oral health contributed to the stroke that later occurred.
The health and look of presidential smiles have come a long way since the days of George Washington. With modern techniques and technology in the dentistry field, modern presidents enjoy an aesthetically pleasing smile that far exceeds the smiles of the past. Fortunately, you don’t have to be the commander-in-chief of the country to receive the best quality dental care. Here at Sandcreek Dental, we offer a range of services to best address your specific case. If you’re concerned about the look of your smile, we offer treatment options like teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, crowns, gingival contouring, and more. If you’re in need of restoration options, we offer a range of treatments like dental bridges, crowns, dentures, and dental implants, and of course, we have general dentistry treatments for any of your other oral health concerns. To find out more information, contact our office today and schedule your consultation.
The health and look of presidential smiles have come a long way since the days of George Washington. With modern techniques and technology in the dentistry field, modern presidents enjoy an aesthetically pleasing smile that far exceeds the smiles of the past. Fortunately, you don’t have to be the commander-in-chief of the country to receive the best quality dental care. Here at Sandcreek Dental, we offer a range of services to best address your specific case. To find out more information, contact our office today and schedule your consultation.