As we all start making plans for Independence Day this weekend, we thought it would be fun to share some interesting tidbits regarding past Presidents and their dental “adventures” shall we call them. Without further ado, and in the order of their leadership:
- George Washington. April 1789 – March 1797
Failing teeth were a chronic issue his entire adult life, and at his Presidential inauguration in 1789, he had only one functional tooth remaining. Contrary to the myth, his false teeth were NOT made from wood. However, numerous full and partial dentures were constructed from materials like human teeth, and probably cow and horse teeth, ivory (possibly elephant). The metal fasteners holding them all together were crafted from lead-tin alloy, copper alloy (possibly brass), and silver alloy.
- Grover Cleveland. March 1885 – March 1889 and March 1893 – March 1897
Shortly into his second term, President Cleveland was diagnosed with a quarter-sized oral legion. Given the Great Depression was in its early days, the President felt it was best to have surgery in secret so his health wouldn’t cause political concern. Having had the surgery in summer 1893, it took about an hour and a half and left him with a 2.5 inch hole in his palate. A prosthodontist later fitted him with a vulcanized rubber prosthesis allowing him to speak normally again.
- Herbert Hoover. March 1929 – March 1933 President Hoover was the very first President to set up a dental office that was located inside the white house! Having your own dental office in your own home is very convenient. As when he required care, he simple sauntered down to the basement where it was located.
- John F. Kennedy. January 1961 – November 1963 During his first WWII mission, President Kennedy’s teeth saved one of his fellow soldiers from drowning! After their patrol torpedo boat (PT) was directly rammed by a Japanese destroyer, JFK towed a shipmate to safety by holding a strap from the life jacket with his teeth. For roughly four or five hours he swam breaststroke until reaching Plum Pudding Island.
- Lyndon B. Johnson. November 1963 – January 1969
President Johnson is a man after our own heart! He used to gift electronic toothbrushes to friends and family complete with the Presidential Seal and all! His reason behind this as he states, “I want people to think of me right away when they wake up and right before they go to bed.”
We hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane with us. It’s easy to take our teeth for granted until we feel pain or sensitivity. So, with that, we leave you with a gentle reminder to floss the corn out of your teeth and brush before bed this weekend.
Happy 245th Birthday America!