President’s Day is approaching! As a tribute to the great men who have led our country, here are several facts about United States presidents’ teeth. We at Granger Pediatric Dental hope that you and your family have fun reading these Presi-dental facts.
George Washington’s Wooden Teeth
The very first president of the United States was George Washington. Along with being a fantastic military leader and one of the best presidents in U.S history, President Washington has also been the inspiration for many myths and legends. A commonly told myth about George Washington is that he had wooden teeth.
However, this particular legend is false. George Washington did wear false teeth, but this was not uncommon for the time period. Rather than being made of wood, George Washington had dentures that were made of ivory, gold, and lead. At his inauguration in 1789 he had only one working tooth left.
Thomas Jefferson’s Impeccable Oral Hygiene
Credited as the main author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson was diligent about his health and kept his teeth in remarkably good condition for the period. In 1824, when Jefferson was 81 years old, he said he’d only lost a single adult tooth in his lifetime.
He wrote to a friend and innovative creator of porcelain teeth Charles Willson Peale stating, “I am particularly happy not needing your porcelain teeth. I have lost only one [tooth] by age, the rest continuing sound.” His journals include eight dental visits between 1772 at age 29 and 1824 at age 81. He also recorded purchasing toothpicks and toothbrushes with “the hair neither too strong nor too weak.” During the 1770s and 1800s, pig, horse, and badger hair were used for bristles on toothbrushes.
Abraham Lincoln’s Dental Anxiety
During the time of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency in 1861, there wasn’t much dental care available. Lincoln was known to have severe dental anxiety caused from before his time in office. In 1841, while undergoing a tooth extraction without anesthesia, the dentist accidentally broke a piece of his jaw bone. For future visits, Abraham Lincoln sedated himself with chloroform to stay relaxed.
Lyndon B. Johnson’s Favorite Gift
Lyndon B. Johnson was President of the United States from 1961-1963. He was known to give people who visited the Oval Office an electric toothbrush stamped with the Presidential seal. The set came complete with 6 colorful interchangeable heads and a charging base. Given the fact electric toothbrushes entered the USA market in 1960, the gift was pretty novel. When asked why he gave toothbrushes, President Johnson said that “I want people to think of me right away when they wake up and right before they go to bed.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Dental Conspiracy
Another interesting story regarding a United State president’s teeth revolved around Dwight D. Eisenhower and UFOs. In 1954, President Eisenhower had to take an emergency trip to the dentist due to a cap falling off one of his teeth while eating a chicken wing. The event created a scare because many news outlets, including the Associated Press, falsely reported that he died of a heart attack.
The incident also birthed a conspiracy theory that instead of going to the dentist that night, President Eisenhower had met with aliens. The theory had been supported by the fact that the dentist who supposedly performed the procedure passed away before he could record the visit.
Presidential Dental Treatment at the White House
Luckily, the President doesn’t need to go far to visit the dentist– the dentist comes to him! The White House had a dental office built in the basement during the Hoover administration. President Barack Obama mentioned it on a Jimmy Kimmel episode, stating he learned about it when he thought he had a loose cap, saying “The whole chair, everything is all there set up in the basement.”
Did You Like These Facts About United States Presidents Teeth?
If you liked these facts about some of our United States presidents’ teeth, then you may want to stick around with us at Granger Pediatric Dental. We not only provide kids and their parents with interesting and fun information about your mouth, but we also provide professional dental services. If you are looking for a pediatric dentist, feel free to reach out to us today.