Leanda de Lisle in "After Elizabeth" speculated, I think, that it was an ulcer of the jaw. But historians have been interested mostly in her melancholy.I put together a series on the sources for her death - seven in all, the first one here:http://tudorblog.com/2012/03/31/elizadeath-i-robert-careys-story/
Historians have speculated that her last illness was somehow related to her poor oral health. It is known that later in her life she suffered frequently from tooth ailments. It is quite possible that a tooth absess lead to a jaw ulcer but that alone does not explain some of her symptoms. I think it was Alison Weir her recounted descriptions of Elizabeth not being able to lie down, being more comfortable stitting or standing up and having copious amounts of oral secretions. I would like to propose that a secondary infection lead to epiglotitis. THis would leave her unable to control oral secretions, unable to eat or drink, and uncomfortable to lay down.
Elizabeth I died of pneumonia.This is what I have read as well as been lead to believe.The Queen was known to have suffered from poor oral/dental health but nearly most of all if not all of every one at the time must have just the same as her. Just this alone would not kill or cause someone to die. Though I have heard of poor dental health causing heart problems.
Poor dental health can lead to heart problems. But though most people of the time would not have had the kind of dental health we have today, not everyone would have so many infections as did Elizabeth. A person who ate more sweet foods would have more cavities than those who didn't. Also exact placement of salivary glands (which varies among individuals) and hygiene habits would have made a difference as well. A mouth infection can lead to heart disease and also makes one more prone to diabetes. A mouth infection can also spread to the brain.
If the queen's death was caused by poor oral hygiene, then that says quite a lot about the lack of medical know-how back then. Hopefully dental experts would find this as a good medical case to study to further refine the dental process.
It was said that her makeup killed her. She was acutely aware of the scars of smallpox on her face and used a thick white paste of white lead and vinegar. The lead was absorbed and the paste ulcerated her face, this enhanced the lead absorption. Others have said that her makeup contained arsenic.
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