Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile is probably the most famous smile in history, and one that everyone knows immediately. But scholars speculate that the reason why Mona Lisa gave such as tight-lipped smile is that she had bad teeth. With the discovery of her possible crypt, we may soon know the science behind Mona Lisa’s smile.

mona lisa painting hanging on wall while people walk aroundTeeth Whitening in the Renaissance

One of the mysteries surrounding the Mona Lisa is who artist Leonardo da Vinci used as the model for the painting. One of the probable models, based on historical evidence, is Isabella of Aragon. Archaeological evidence suggests that Isabella tried to take care of her teeth using the toothpaste that was available, which was made up of brick dust, china fragments, and ground cattle hooves.

When this didn’t work to keep her teeth in shape, she tried to whiten her teeth using the teeth whitening  methods currently available to her. These included pumice stone and cuttlefish. These harsh abrasives could definitely remove staining from one’s teeth, but they would also remove the enamel. She also likely used primitive toothpicks.

A Definitive Answer?

Now, we may have a definitive answer about the person behind da Vinci’s famous painting. Another possible model for da Vinci was Lisa del Giocondo née Gherardini. “Mona” was a title, contracted from “Madonna,” meaning “my lady.” Lisa del Giocondo lived in Florence, where Leonardo da Vinci was living and working at the time he worked on the Mona Lisa, between 1503 and 1506. She would have been about 23-26 at the time the painting was completed.

To find out whether Lisa del Giocondo is the Mona Lisa, researchers have cut into the crypt where Lisa del Giocondo was interred, one of only two women recorded to have been placed there after 1500, although records were sparse. Within the crypt, researchers found eight skeletons of women. By comparing samples from the skeletons with those from the del Giocondo family crypt, they hope to establish which one is Lisa del Giocondo.

Once he has found the skeleton, he hopes that a forensic reconstruction of the woman’s face will reveal that she was, in fact, da Vinci’s model.

And then we’ll know for sure whether it was her teeth that kept her from smiling.

Have Teeth You Will Be Proud to Show Off

You may never have a smile as famous as Mona Lisa’s, but you can have teeth that you will always be proud to show. Teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, and other cosmetic dentistry treatments can help you get a beautiful smile that you will love.

To learn more about your cosmetic dentistry options, please call Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics at (509) 532-1111 in Spokane today.