Presidential candidates undergo intense scrutiny, from the words they say, to the clothes they wear, to the hair (or lack thereof) they have on their shiny scalps. Reporters leave no stone unturned in seeking for clues to the inner psyches of these candidates, who could become leaders of the free world. It's all for the sake and safety of our fine nation.
It's in that spirit of journalistic responsibility that we wondered: What do the Republican candidates' teeth say about their personalities? (We may or may not have been stoned on laughing gas at the time.)
When we sobered up, we called Dr. Paul Benjamin, a dentist at Skyline Dental Care, to get his opinion on the conservatives' pearly whites.
Poor Dr. Benjamin seemed genuinely flummoxed when we explained to him what we wanted to discuss. After protesting that he hadn't actually worked on any of the candidates' teeth, however, the dentist did point out a few things out about the GOP candidates that seemed all too fitting.
"He should have a good set of teeth, with his money," Benjamin mused as he waited for images of the former Massachusetts governor to load. "Oh! He does have a nice set of teeth. He may have a bridge on the upper left side," he continued, "but he takes care of his teeth. You're not seeing any [California governor] Jerry Brown problems -- he has a damaged tooth." Clearly, we'd found the right dentist for our story -- scouting out politicians' dental problems wasn't new to him.
So what qualities does Dr. Benjamin typically see in patients who take good care of their teeth? "They can be people who are very particular in everything they do -- how they dress, how they act. If their teeth are in perfect condition, it's often someone who has that personality," he explained. "Only once in a blue moon do you have someone who dresses beautifully and has terrible teeth, and that's because they're afraid of going to the dentist. The mouth is a different psychological world."
But Romney doesn't seem to have that problem. "Look at the way he dresses," Benjamin pointed out. "Wherever he goes, he has a perfectly fitting suit and tie, and no piece of his hair is ever out of place."
Dr. Benjamin's professional opinion: "He looks like the marshmallow man, the Stay-Puft man from Ghostbusters. He has that look about him." Well, yes. But what about his teeth?
"He doesn't show his teeth. He has a low lip line, a thin upper lip. Even when he gives us a smile, he never shows his teeth properly." Sometimes this is the result of patients who are embarrassed of the condition of their teeth, Benjamin said, but from what he can tell from Gingrich's photos, "He seems to have a nice set of teeth. I can't tell how much work has been done on them. But he's not hiding his teeth."
"And his wife definitely doesn't have that problem," he continued, "but there may be something wrong with her eyes. She has kind of a robot stare, have you noticed? Sort of a Clockwork Orange look. But no, there's nothing unusual about Newt's teeth."
"Here's another thin lip, but he's not wearing dentures, and not wearing partials," which is uncommon for a man of Paul's age, Benjamin said. "It means the dental profession is working for most people in this country. There are crowns and different things on his teeth. But it's a natural, older person smile ... it makes a dentist happy to see that."
But Paul's libertarian leanings could mean bad news for the nation's dentists, Benjamin noted. "They're taking fluoride out of the water," he lamented, noting that Paul's teeth might be in a better state today if he'd had daily doses of the stuff.
Rick SantorumA Google Image search of "Rick Santorum smile" thankfully retrieved only photos of a beaming Pennsylvania senator, at which Dr. Benjamin was audibly relieved. "I'm not crazy about him, but he has a nice set of teeth," he admitted. "He has the most natural smile of the four people. He's a person who benefited from fluoride."
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But the senator may be hiding work. "There may be some posterior crowns in the back of his mouth. They don't look like veneers, don't look fake. But with a really good dentist, if we do some nice veneers, you shouldn't be able to tell we did anything. It's like plastic surgery."
Still, Santorum may just have the same, ahem, anal tendencies as Romney. "His teeth are similar to Mitt's, except nicer," Benjamin said. "Mitt's are a little more worn down."