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Azerbaycan Saytlari

 »  Home  »  Blogs  »  Dental history of U.S. presidents.
JofER editor


Dental history of U.S. presidents.
Published 05/21/2008



Medical and dental history of all American presidentsGeorge Washington
By middle age Washington had no teeth left. But he did have several sets of dentures, made from such materials as hippopotamus ivory, seahorse ivory, and lead. Other sets used the teeth of pigs, cows, elks, and humans. Paul Revere made him a set of false teeth. There is a set of Washington dentures in the University of Maryland Dental Museum in Baltimore.
Washington's clumsy, ill-fitting dentures distorted his lips. This contributed to the dour expression Washington has in various portraits. Also, painter Gilbert Stuart disliked Washington and accentuated the distortion in what became the most famous of all Washington portraits. The Peale portrait of 1776 shows a long scar along Washington's left cheek. This resulted from an incision to treat an abscessed tooth.

John Adams
When Adams lost his teeth, he refused to wear false ones. As a result, he had a lisp when speaking. In later years Adams had trouble speaking. After encountering a fellow senior citizen in 1811, Adams wrote: "He is above 80. I cannot speak, and he cannot hear. Yet we converse".

Thomas Jefferson
A severe jaw infection occurred in January 1808. Bumgarner believes this was most likely due to a decayed and infected tooth, but Jefferson's 1819 statement that he head never lost a tooth to age gives pause.
At age 75 Jefferson wrote: "I have not yet lost a tooth to age".
Comment: Having great teeth is a sign of hereditary fructase deficiency, but swift consultation of a few Jefferson biographies fails to disclose an aversion to sweets, the other cardinal symptom of the disorder.

Abraham Lincoln
A dentist broke off part of Lincoln's jaw bone while pulling a tooth -- without anesthesia [2c]. The extraction may have taken place in Louisville, KY in Sept. 1841.
It has been said that Lincoln was afraid of dentists (see episode above for a good reason why he might have been). In 1862 Lincoln developed a severe toothache and consulted Dr. G. S. Wolf, who had an office near the White House. As Wolf prepared to pull the tooth, Lincoln asked him to wait. Lincoln "took a container of chloroform from his pocket, inhaled it deeply, and sleepily gave the signal for the dentist to proceed".

Benjamin Harrison
As President, Harrison became tired and sick (though not seriously) on a trip to Vermont and New York in the summer of 1891.

William Taft
Without exercise for two days and three meals a day, on the two days' cruise, I developed a headache which the exercises and the [illegible] drove away". It is unclear if this was related to events Taft described to his wife three weeks later: I had an attack of neuralgia in the side of my face especially in the region where the lower jaw hinges on the upper jaw. At first I thought it to be a tooth but I satisfied myself that this could not be. I called in Doctor Dr. Davis who is Dr. DeLaney's assistant and he gave me some medicine which seems to have moderated the pain much. It was difficult for me to eat and that you know is a terrible deprivation for me. The attack lasted about two days.

Woodrow Wilson
A photograph of Wilson on the day of his 1913 inauguration shows astonishingly bad teeth.
Comment: This is relevant to Wilson's later stroke(s) because poor dentition has been suspected to increase the risk of atherosclerotic disease.

Ronald Reagan
Reagan presented with left-sided jaw pain in December 1977. It proved to be degeneration of the temporomandibular joint, and was treated with cortisone injection. It did not recur in the next 3 years.

George W. Bush
During the 2004 presidential campaign the White House released notes made during a dental examination of Bush in 1973. The examination was performed at an Air National Guard base in Alabama. The released notes showed extensive dental work and no wisdom teeth.
As Bush's presidency entered difficult times in September-October 2005, commentators noticed the reappearance of a sterotyped jaw movement previously evident during the 2004 Presidential campaign debates. Most of the proposed causes are ill-informed zebra hunting. Instead, consider this simple recollection Bush had about the final weeks of 2002, when the decision to invade Iraq was looming ever larger: There was a lot of stress. Yeah, I felt stressed. My jaw muscles got so tight. And it was not because I was smiling and shaking so many hands. There was a lot of tension during that last holiday season.
Comment: It thus appears that Bush develops a certain jaw mannerism when stressed. Furthermore, like all humans, his body language changes when stressed.