Dental Problems in American Presidents

added on: March 25, 2020
George Washington's profile on Mt. Rushmore

One topic that is not often covered in American history is the history of the president’s teeth. Since the invention of photographs and television, American presidents have cared more than ever what their smile looked like. Having a straight, white smile not only looks healthy, can help voters feel a better sense of trust and believe the president is friendlier. Unfortunately, not every president has had a good dental health history. There have been several dental problems in American presidents.

George Washington’s Dentures

Our nation’s first leader was known for many accomplishments, but his dental health didn’t make the cut. At the time of George Washington’s presidency, the science behind dental care was still in its early stages. Nobody batted an eye at someone’s missing teeth. Although rumors suggest he wore dentures made of wood, this is not true. George Washington did wear dentures for the majority of his life. He lost his first adult tooth by age 22 and had more missing teeth than remaining teeth by the time he took office. Instead of wearing dentures made of wood, George Washington’s dentures were made of animal bones, gold and human teeth.

Abraham Lincoln’s Dental Anxiety

Abraham Lincoln is our 16th president who most remember for signing the Emancipation Proclamation. Rumors also suggest he had a severe form of dental anxiety. During the time of his presidency, there wasn’t much dental care available but Lincoln was deadly afraid of trauma due to a bad experience with a dentist. He was undergoing an extraction without anesthesia and the dentist accidentally broke a piece of his jaw bone. For future visits, Abraham Lincoln sedated himself with chloroform to stay relaxed.

John Adams’s Lisp

Our nation’s 2nd president, founding father, vice president to George Washington and writer of the Declaration of Independence help craft America into the country it is today. With his significant time devotion to our nation, he never visited a dentist for preventive care. There’s a rumor that Adams began smoking at age 8 and continued through adulthood. This caused him to lose all of his teeth. Instead of getting dentures like George Washington, he decided to embrace his toothless smile which caused him to speak with a lisp.

Ronald Regan’s TMJ

Ronald Regan was our 40th president who knew how to use his charisma and good looks from his acting career to climb the political ladder. Unfortunately, Regan also experienced TMJ. In 1977, Regan began experiencing jaw pain on the left side which was later diagnosed as TMJ. He treated the pain with a cortisone injection that provided him with three years of zero pain.

Fortunately, dentistry has evolved since these politicians were president. Today, Burkburnett Family Dental is happy to provide patients with a comfortable and welcoming dental experience. Patients can replace missing teeth with several different options, opt for sedation dentistry, or receive TMJ treatments that are effective for life. Please contact our dental office to schedule an appointment today!