4 US Presidents with Dental Problems

The month of February is a time that our country uses to honor and celebrate the past leaders of our nation. Through this annual event that we have been commemorating as far back as we can remember, we have learned a great deal about our past Presidents. As to not bore you with those well-known facts that we all know so well, this piece will include some lesser known things about some of our forefathers.

Some of our nation’s best known Presidents had some of the worst dental health issues and dental problems.

Washington Would Have Liked Dental Implants

George Washington was a life-long denture wearer and those infamous teeth became the center of a dental urban legend. At the time of his presidency, the science of dental care was still in its beginning stages and no one resented him for his natural toothless smile. What would Washington have thought of dental implants!  Dentures were the only choice for dentist to fix a missing tooth in early days but this was unsatisfactory, as they tend to cause a lot of discomfort.

They also tended to slip easily making it difficult for the person to talk or chew on food. Then came bridges, whereby a false tooth or teeth are fused between 2 porcelain crowns to fill the gap left by the missing tooth or teeth. Though better than dentures, bridges is not without problems as often, they have loose fitting, crown fractures or gum line opening etc.

Dental implants are simply an artificial tooth root that a periodontist places into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge without the disadvantages mentioned above for dentures and fixed bridge.

But he was not the only world leader to have dental problems….

Lincoln & Dental Anxiety

Abraham Lincoln, our 16th President, earned the nickname “The Great Emancipator” because he freed the slaves. He bravely chose this path despite strong objections of other politicians and statesmen. This gave the impression that he was one of the bravest Presidents who had ever lead this nation. Despite that image, rumor has it that this fearless leader also suffered from dental anxiety (Dental anxiety is having abnormal fear or dread of visiting the dentist for preventative care or therapy and unwarranted anxiety over dental procedures that they need).

The fear of the dentist can be linked to a number of factors. (Go on the internet and check out some of the interesting articles/studies on how having red hair is a risk factor for dental anxiety). Rumor says that his fear was rightfully triggered by the unintentional mishap of his dentist. Story says that Lincoln was undergoing a tooth extraction without anesthesia (no his dentist wasn’t cruel and sadistic; it didn’t exist at that time). During this extraction, the dentist accidentally broke part of his jaw. As a result, Lincoln reportedly administered his own form of sedation and used chloroform for all of his future dental visits.

Toothless Adams

John Adams is not only a founding father, but the 2nd President of the United States of America. As Washington’s Vice President, he was a writer of The Declaration of Independence and worked diligently to help get the funding that was necessary for launching the United States as a country.

President Adams was so busy and devoted his time to everything else that he didn’t see a dentist for any type of preventative care. Legend has it that he loved tobacco and was a smoker from the age of 8 years into adulthood. Because of his tobacco habit and lack of dental care, he lost all of his teeth. Adams refused to wear dentures like his friend President Washington, which resulted in him speaking with a lisp.

Reagan had TMJ

Our nation’s 40th President was Ronald Reagan. As a former Hollywood actor he used his charisma and good looks to boost himself up the political ladder. Reagan was known for his love of jellybeans, “Reaganomics” and having TMJ. In December 1977, Reagan experienced jaw pain on the left side of his mouth.

This condition was diagnosed as degeneration of the temporomandibular joint. It was treated with a cortisone injection and that allowed him to be pain-free during a three year period.

Preventative Dentistry

In conclusion, preventative dentistry is the simple act of daily brushing, flossing and getting regular dental exams and checkups. Seeking professional dental care prior to any problems developing is the best way to ensure good oral health and minimize the risk of pain associated with dental treatment.

Not only does a healthy mouth contribute to overall health, it can also affect others perceptions of you. It takes just 1/10 of a second for us to judge someone and make a 1st impression. Health and attractiveness are 1st impression characteristics that are universal across cultures. A healthy smile contributes to ones’ self-esteem and attractiveness. According to some literature, attractiveness is seen as being more competent, sociable, intelligent and healthy. No matter if your thinking about running for public office, seeking a new job or promotion or just looking to improve your overall image, having an attractive, healthy smile will work wonders.

Yet Another Explanation for British Teeth

A swanky restaurant in London, England, recently had their customers signing waivers to eat dessert. The restaurant High Timber boasts on its website that its located 100 yards from the Millennium Bridge, a brief walk from St. Pauls Cathedral and the London Stock exchange, and the only restaurant in city of London with tables on the banks of the Thames. It further claims to have the best views of any restaurant in the UK.

Well, then…

The dessert requiring the waiver is the classic Christmas Pudding which includes an English tradition of placing coins or trinkets within the batter which can be kept by the person whose serving included it. High Timber restaurant co-owner, Neleen Strauss, explained: “We’re based in the City so a lot of my customers are lawyers and they suggested it. It is a bit crazy but I decided to take their advice.” Guess Neleens eyes must have been locked on her coveted Thames view and therefore missed the huge LUMP in the lawyers cheek formed by his tongue.
The waiver reads: “I absolve entirely High Timber from all blame or liability should I come to any harm including, but not limited to, a chipped tooth, or any injury as a result of swallowing it.”
That’s it? How many Pounds Sterling did you shell out to the barrister who crafted that legal waiver for you, Neleen? Yup, looks pretty iron-clad to me. You’re one smart lass, you are.
And whats the deal with you Brits causing insult to injury by hiding those tooth-busting metal trinkets in your pudding, anyway? Hope yall are current on your Heimlich maneuver instruction. By the time dessert rolls around most adults are already headlong into the brandy and reaction times are slightly dulled. No wonder the British dentition is in the state its in. And would this explain the restaurant owners rather subdued grins on the website?
Y’all poke fun at us Americans but you don’t see us sabotaging the shortcake. Cant you come up with a more contemporary idea? How bout this: ever hear of the McDonalds Happy Meal? Its called the Happy Meal because:  there’s no waiver required, there’s no choking hazard, nobody ends up with a busted-out grill and the prize is immediately visible when the bag is opened— not HIDDEN in the sandwich! Brilliant, isn’t it? Yup, everybody’s Happy.
But, if you’re just looking for some quick and easy publicity for your high-brow restaurant? And its not really about the tooth-busting-trinkets? Well, yeah, then I guess the pudding waiver isn’t such a bad idea.

The REAL Reason Smokers Don’t Get Dental Treatment

This just out from the CDC “Fewer smokers go to the dentist”

Uh…Really?  The Maven sure hopes the CDC didn’t spend a lotta cash money on that research, cuz any garden variety dentist coulda told you that.

According to Fox News:  “More than a third of smokers reported having three or more dental problems, … more than twice as much as people who never smoked.”

Further:  “20 percent of the smokers said they had not been to a dentist in at least five years.”

And here’s the real kicker:

Half of the smokers said they could not afford to see a dentist, a much higher proportion than non-smoking adults who didn’t go.”

Oh my dear…tsk, tsk, tsk…The Mave is s o  w e a r y of that over-used, worn-out, threadbare, dog-eared excuse.

Here’s the numbers:

Average number of cigs smoked daily for typical smoker:  30

Average price of a Pack of Cigs:  $6.29  (if you’re that unlucky puffer in NY, your average is $11.90)

Since one pack (20 cigs) is easier to calculate, let’s use that as our average daily inhalation:

Weekly expenditure:  $44.03

Monthly expenditure:  $176.12

Annual expenditure:  $2113.44

And, drum roll please…

National average cost of dental cleaning and exam:  $160

Hmmmmm…lookey there, that’s less than the average monthly for Cigs.

So,  if you’re a member of the nearly 20% of the US who smokes…could you please start answering the question of why you haven’t seen a dentist since Carter was President or why you only see a dentist when you have a problem in an honest way?  Try one of these:  “I don’t care about my teeth” or “It’s not a priority for me” or “I generally don’t take very good care of myself anyway.”

But, please.  Stop the Bull S#&+.   

And BTW?  You needn’t worry about “confessing” to the dentist that you’re a smoker.   We know.

I’m Not Drunk, But I Have Been Brushing My Teeth

In 2010, Massachusetts State Senator Anthony Galluccio resigned his senate seat after several run-ins with the law concerning a number of alcohol-related incidents. The senator recently tried to blame the combination of toothpastes he was using for failing a breathalyzer test.

Last October, following a number of DUI incidents, Galluccio was apprehended after fleeing the scene of a fender-bender which left a father and son injured. A judge ordered the Senator to surrender his driver’s license for 5 years as well as submit to random breath tests during his probationary period. Breath equipment was installed in his residence and he was sentenced to home confinement. Only three days after his sentencing, Galluccio failed the breathalyzer test. In a statement, the Senator said, “After discussing it with a physician, we have determined that it is the result of my using two toothpastes – Colgate Total Whitening and Sensodyne toothpaste, both of which contain sorbitol.”

Okay, Senator Oral Hygiene.

Could you give me the name of that “physician,” Senator? Cuz The Maven’s gotta look him up. The “Doc” who helped you craft this fairy tale needs to review his organic chemistry. Yes, Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol, but it isn’t volatile like ethyl alcohol. A breathalyzer registers your BAC (blood alcohol content) when the alcohol in your bloodstream passes through your lungs and is exhaled due to its’ property of volatility. Sorbitol, on the other hand, has a negligible volatility and is not exhaled through the lungs. It can’t cause false positives on a breathalyzer. Period.

Now, if you were using one of the following dentifrices, perhaps, just maybe, you could get the breathalyzer to give you a positive reading:

Arm & Hammered Toothpaste
 (for that Fresh from the Tavern feeling of Clean)

 

Pearl Schnapps
(See the Moonshine, Feel the Buzz)

 

 

Colgate Totaled
(Number 1 Recommended by Drunkards)

Had you opted for the mouthwash claim you might have gotten some minor traction, as many rinses do contain alcohol. But you and your “physician” went with the urban myth about toothpaste. Dumb move. Next time you try to weasel your way out of a legal hot-spot with a chemical defense? Get yourself some competent advice from someone who knows their hydrocarbons and derivatives.