All the Presidents’ Teeth

white3In this election season, it’s only natural that we are interested in all things presidential. So here are some facts, courtesy of the American Dental Association’s website, that you may find interesting about some of our past presidents’ oral health.

First of all, did you know that since the Hoover administration the White House has had its own dental office, complete with chair and everything? President Obama first learned about it when he thought he had a loose cap.

georgeteeth3Of course we’ve all heard that our first President George Washington wore wooden false teeth. But that myth has been dispelled over time. Tooth decay and tooth loss plagued Washington throughout his adult life. He had his first tooth pulled at 24 and had only one tooth left by the time of his inauguration. He went through numerous pairs of dentures made of many different materials, including: hippopotamus ivory, bone, gold wire, copper screws, lead and even human teeth—but never any wooden ones.

Then there is Ulysses S. Grant, our 18th president, who is rumored to have gone into battle during the Civil War with no other baggage than a toothbrush. Unfortunately, his affinity for cigars took a toll on his overall health and he was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1884 and died the following year.

Oral cancer also affected President Grover Cleveland. Near the beginning of his second term in 1893, as the country was entering a depression, a bump in his mouth was diagnosed as oral cancer. To prevent nationwide panic, a clandestine plan was hatched to remove the cancer. The surgery involved removing the tumor, five teeth and part of his upper left jaw. Cleveland sat in a chair attached to the mast of the ship. His only anesthesia was laughing gas and ether. Four days later, Cleveland got off the yacht in Cape Cod and finished recovering at his summer home. He was later fitted with a rubber prosthesis that helped him speak normally again.

So even presidents need to see the dentist regularly. If you are looking for a dentist in the Troy and Birmingham area who utilizes the latest dental techniques and technology, be sure to check out Dr. Douglas Angell. Angell’s Dentistry is committed to providing each of our patients with a beautiful, healthy smile and unmatched dental care. Be sure to visit our website at:

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