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The issues John Lydon faced for decades for not brushing his teeth


The issues John Lydon faced for decades for not brushing his teeth

At least in the past decades since we were young we learned in school and from our parents some basic things in life, like the importance of taking care of our body and mind. But that wasn’t always a common thing and many kids grew up before the 80s and 70s with habits which were totally bad for them, like not brushing their teeth at all. Well, the Sex Pistols vocalist John Lydon was one of those kids and he even got his nickname “Johnny Rotten” because he had “bad teeth”.


His parents never had the habit of brushing their teeth since they used dentures and as he said many times, the only time he saw a toothbrush in his childhood was when his dad was cleaning his boots.

So he grew up without the habit of brushing his own teeth and it took him decades after fame to finally do something about it. It was only in 2008 that he went to the dentist to fix everything that caused him several health issues over the years.

The issues John Lydon faced for decades for not brushing his teeth

As the Sex Pistols and PIL frontman recalled in an interview with Piers Morgan in 2015 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), it was his ex-bandmate, the guitarist Steve Jones, who gave him the nickname Johnny Rotten. “Bad teeth, a touch of national health and a touch of absolute laziness. In my childhood, the only time that I ever seen a toothbrush used was my dad cleaning his boots.”

“So there were bits missing, all cracked up. I avoided the dentist. I mean, mom and dad had dentures. That was a big childhood memory, was their false teeth in glasses. Of course, the old Friday nights when they’d run parties and all the other relatives (were) all losing their teeth. I mean, I spent half of my childhood picking up dentures. ‘Here is yours, mommy!’ (laughs). (It was) Steve Jones (who first called me Rotten) because of the teeth. It was almost immediately on our first meeting. I liked (the nickname) a lot, because it was not taking yourself too serious.”

In his 20s, his teeth were so bad that they have gone green. They ended up like that because a mold grew in his mouth at the time. He explained that in an interview with Amsterdam Worldwide (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage). “In my 20s, the teeth in my head were so rotten that they’d gone green. So I got the nickname Johnny Rotten. (…) I actually did (had green teeth). It was a mold that grew in there and I thought that it was somehow attractive and a positive feature. But no, that led to serious health issues, everything was painful. Eye aches, headaches, blood poisoning and bone rot, which required filling with America’s best cement,” John Lydon said.

It costed him around 20 thousand dollars to fix his teeth

In 2008, after he fixed everything that was wrong with his teeth, Lydon felt much better. “I noticed that I wake up in the morning without feeling completely terribly poisoned. The teeth were doing that to me and it’s horrible. It’s a terrible thing to admit, but you know, take care of yourself. Or else you will end up like me, rich and famous (laughs),” he told Amsterdam Worldwide.

In the conversation with Piers Morgan, the musician recommended his fans to brush their teeth, because it cost him around 20.000 dollars to fix everything at the time. “The problem came, that’s why I recommend you to brush your teeth, everybody. It ended up costing me something nearly 20.000 dollars. The damage was so bad that I had holes in the bones from the abscesses and I had practically everything removed and replaced.”

He continued:

“If you look at them properly, some of my mates described my (new) teeth as car park bollards. They are concrete gray, so I didn’t go with that white look. I wanted them to match the little bit that I had left from my youth,” John Lydon said.

He was then asked if being called Johnny Rotten nowadays bothered him. But he said that he didn’t really care, because there was really nothing “rotten” about his life. ‘No, it’s a privilege. I’m well earned, that’s really neat. I like it because I did no wrong. Ain’t nothing rotten about me,'” John Lydon said.

The vocalist was born in Finsbury Park, London, England in 1956 and started his musical career in 1975 when he joined Sex Pistols. “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols”, released 1977 is their only studio album and became one of the most influential records of all time. He became one of the faces and voices of Punk Rock music but after the group came to an end in 1978, he started to show more of his broad musical taste in his own band PIL.

Fronting Public Image Ltd, Lydon released 10 studio albums and had many hits like “Rise”, “The Order of Death” and “This Is Not a Love Song”.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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