Presidents Day: Interesting Facts about our leaders and their Dental Health

Today is President’s Day and there are many ways to celebrate this special holiday! Spend the entire day reflecting on noble American ideals as exemplified by our nation’s 44 leaders. 

Everyone knows there is a connection between some of our greatest presidents and their oral hygiene habits. This year, commemorate President’s Day with healthy teeth.

The Presidential Fakers

The most famous presidential teeth belong to our most famous of presidents – George Washington. Just about everyone knows the story of his false teeth. But beyond that, most people get the story wrong. Contrary to popular belief, Washington had false ivory teeth, not wooden ones.

If everyone knows about Washington’s false teeth, few people know that another great president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), also had false teeth. Unlike Washington, FDR wore only a partial denture to replace two missing front teeth. Though he was never photographed without his dental aid, Roosevelt’s son reported that his father often misplaced them and spent a good deal of time trying to relocate them.

Justice, Equality and Regular Brushing

During the Civil War Ulysses S. Grant went into Mississippi for over six days carrying no baggage, save for a lone toothbrush he kept in his breast pocket. And Harry S. Truman went to the dentist with great regularity – though he often had to return for cavity fillings. One of the best presidential smilers of all times is Jimmy Carter. When Carter smiles, almost all of his perfectly white aligned upper and lower molars are visible. It’s no coincidence that his mother Lillian once bragged, “My son’s teeth are excellent, in fact, perfect.” Way to go, Jimmy Carter!

Irregular Check-Ups Can Ruin the Economy

No one understood the importance of regular check-ups more clearly than Grover Cleveland. A large cancerous tumor began to grow in his soft palate area, but he ignored it. By the time he visited his dentist, major surgery had to be performed. In what was considered a revolutionary invention of the time, a vulcanized rubber jaw was custom fitted. In the wake of his operation, the economy crashed, ushering in the Depression of 1873. Grover Cleveland spent the rest of his life lamenting his failure to visit the dentist twice a year.

Never Trust an Unsmiling President

Needless to say, not all presidents were created equal. While many are beloved and oft-remembered, some presidents have failed to stand the test of time. Unsurprisingly these presidential duds are always tight-lipped and unsmiling in their official White House portraits. Why? They failed to take care of their teeth. Franklin Pierce? Benjamin Harrison? Calvin Coolidge? Never heard of ‘em. They were too embarrassed about their yellowed and missing teeth.


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