17. Adolf Hitler liked to portray himself as a superman, but he had a deep-rooted phobia of dentists – which may explain why he had such terrible oral hygiene
When SS officer Johannes Blaschke was captured by Soviet forces at the end of the Second World War, they were keen to interrogate him. After all, he had served as the personal dentist to several high-ranking Nazis. What’s more, it also emerged that he had been the dentist of Adolf Hitler too. Upon being questioned, Blaschke was only too happy to condemn his former patient. But rather than criticizing Hitler for his crimes against humanity and wars of aggression, the dentist simply revealed him to have been a terrible patient. Furthermore, he made it clear that, for all his monstrosity, Hitler had an acute fear of the dentist’s chair.
According to Dr. Blascke, Hitler suffered from “terribly bad breath, abscesses and gum disease”. But, despite his poor oral health, the Fuhrer would only agree to see his dentist if he was in acute pain such was his fear. Perhaps this fear was understandable. After all, Hitler needed eight separate trips to the dentist for one root canal treatment alone. Then, in 1944, he needed to have 10 fillings put in, while the attempt on his life in the summer of that year also left him with splinters in his face, making any pain even worse. Blaschke speculated that Hitler’s poor diet when he was a tramp on the streets of Vienna in the years following the First World War was to blame for the Nazi leader’s atrocious oral health.
And apparently, Hitler was not the only member of the Third Reich elite to suffer from a crippling fear of dentists. Blaschke also made it clear that Hermann Goering suffered from this too. Indeed, it was said that the founder of the fearsome Gestapo cried before he even sat down in the dentist’s chair and would often have to be held down by his assistants during treatment. In the end, the dental records of such monsters of history were used to identify their bodies at the end of the war. For example, while his body might have been burned outside of the Berlin bunker where he made his last stand, Hitler was identified by a dental bridge, plus the body of his personal secretary Martin Bormann was also identified through his teeth.