Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon served as queen consort of the United Kingdom as the wife of King George VI, who was in rule from December 1936 until his death in February 1952, according to the royal family’s official website. After George died, his daughter, Princess Elizabeth, became the queen of England, ascending to the throne on June 2, 1953. Her mother went on to be called Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, as a way to differentiate the two, according to The Sun.
The Queen Mother lived a life of service, even after her husband died. She was 101-years-old at the time of her death. According to The Sun, the Queen Mother died “in her sleep at the Royal Lodge, Windsor Great Park, with [her daughter] Queen Elizabeth II at her bedside.” The Queen Mother was loved and respected by many in England and beyond. However, there was one thing in particular about her that many still question today: Why were her teeth in such bad shape? Nicki Swift caught up with Dr. Chris Theodorou, a dentist and the owner of Strongsville Dental & Laser Aesthetics, for some answers. Read on to hear what Dr. Theodorou had to say.
The Queen Mother was known as the 'Smiling Duchess'
The Queen Mother was known as the “Smiling Duchess,” according to Express UK. She earned the nickname because of her “strong character,” not because of the aesthetics of her smile. Nicki Swift asked Dr. Chris Theodorou about the Queen Mother’s famous smile, specifically what he noticed when looking at photos of her. “[Her] teeth most definitely betray imperfections in shape, color and alignment,” he said.
Nicki Swift also asked Theodorou what could cause such issues, and whether or not they were genetic or environmental. “It is highly likely that the Queen Mother grew up with well water; well water does not contain fluoride, which helps strengthen one’s teeth. According to the UK health authority, fluoride was only added to the UK’s drinking water in 2003,” he said. The Queen Mother died in 2002, wherefore the possible lack of fluoride may be the culprit for the visible condition of her teeth. “Fluoride makes the outer surface of the teeth hard and more resistant to acid and decay attacks and the [Queen Mother], bereft of this protective element, suffered the consequences,” he said.
Interestingly, according to Live Science, too much fluoride can also cause teeth to discolor. “Although fluoride can be beneficial for teeth by strengthening the enamel and preventing decay, getting too much of the mineral is not good for your teeth color. Fluorosis, which results from excessive amounts of fluoride, may cause faint white streaks or brown spots on teeth.”
The Queen Mother's teeth were very discolored
The Queen Mother’s teeth were noticeably yellowed, with some brown-hued staining. Nicki Swift asked Dr. Chris Theodorou about what may have caused the discoloration. “The actual color of the [Queen Mother’s] teeth may indicate that she was sick often with high fevers, which make the teeth weak and prone to bacterial attack. The oral bacteria react with the sugar in food to release acid. This acid then mixes with the food leftover in teeth, and saliva to give rise to plaque. The antibiotics administered to fight sickness may have contributed to the dark color of the [Queen Mother’s] teeth. Certain antibiotics will chemically bind to calcium that is being used by the body to form teeth that are still developing. When they bind to calcium they form a crystal that is colored differently from the enamel, and can even change color with exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet rays,” Theodorou throughly explained.
If the Queen Mother was alive today, Nicki Swift wondered what treatment Theodorou would suggest for her — so we asked. “[She] would receive a cleaning, in-office professional tooth whitening, and a set of Denmat Lumineers to make that timeless smile pearly white and straight,” Theodorou said.
The Queen Mother's teeth may have been healthy despite not being 'pearly white'
Nicki Swift asked Dr. Chris Theodorou why he thought that the Queen Mother didn’t have extensive dental work done, since she did have the means to do so. “The Royals are committed to a life of service. Valor, commitment, and selfless dedication to duty on grand scale is the hallmark of their lives. We may think that the royal life is glamorous, but in actuality it eclipses Hollywood glamour in a lofty humility, as paradoxical as that may sound,” Theodorou explained.
“Yes, the [Queen Mother] had all the best possible resources for dental treatment and enhancements, but she chose to keep the smile she was born with. That doesn’t mean that because she didn’t have a stereotypical smile with pearly whites to mirror her necklace collections, that her teeth were not healthy. Yes, they were not white and straight but they may have been very healthy. One’s teeth don’t always appear the way they actually are,” he added.
Who has worse teeth, Americans or the Brits?
For one final question, Nicki Swift asked Dr. Chris Theodorou who has worse teeth; Americans or the Brits? And he hit us with some stats — and some interesting food for thought. “Overall, American adults were found to have a higher average number of missing teeth than their English counterparts, 7.31 versus 6.97, one study revealed. Interestingly, however, this investigation also revealed that better-educated and wealthier Americans tended to be in better overall oral health than their British peers,” he responded.
“I do believe that Hollywood, social media, and influencers play an inflated and often unhealthy role in how we want our smiles to look in the U.S. Within my very office, my own cosmetic patients will beckon me to ‘give me her or his smile,’ touting images on their phones of Hollywood elites whose legendary smiles have become the standard for beauty in America,” he added.
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