How Pop Culture Changed Teeth

While a straight, pearly white smile might be the standard for most (looking at you, Invisalign®) there are plenty of ways to decorate your teeth or use them to make a statement. Tooth gems, polish, grills, and even tooth gaps have all been popularized by celebrities throughout recent history.

Here are some examples of how pop culture has shaped the definition of a desirable smile, and as a result, the dental industry itself.

Tooth Gaps

Tooth gaps became popular in the 1960’s as counter-culture was emerging. Before, they were seen as a flaw in need of repair, but when celebrities like Jane Birkin, Lauren Hutton, and Brigitte Bardot proudly displayed their gapped smiles across the media, they became an instant trend. We still see gapped teeth in modern advertising today.

Old-School Grills

Grills first emerged in New York in the 1980’s. Eddie Plein, the jeweler who first made gold caps for Flavor Flav, is credited as their creator. He went on to make grills for other celebrities including the members of OutKast, Ludacris, and more. Some modern grills that we see today are Riff Raff’s super sharp smile and Lil Wayne’s dazzling diamond smile.

New-School Grills

In 2013, Miley Cyrus wore a subtle, thinner grill on her lower teeth. That same year, Rihanna wore something similar to the VMA’s. And fun fact: The grill that Katy Perry wore in her Dark Horse music video was officially named the most valuable grill ever by the Guinness Book of World Records. It cost about one million dollars.

Tooth Gems

Tooth gems are tiny jewels that people wear on their teeth. They’re adhered to the tooth enamel the same way orthodontic brackets are placed, and can last anywhere from 6 to 24 months. Celebrities like Drake have been seen sporting bling like this.

Tooth Polish

Believe it or not, people are using tooth polish to temporarily change the color of their teeth similar to the way you’d use nail polish to paint your nails. A New York-based company, CHRŌM, offers multiple colors that can last up to 24 hours. This appears to be a popular trend among makeup artists. 

You can tell a lot about a person by their smile – whether or not they have good dental hygiene, or they’re healthy, but you can also tell how they’re trying to express themselves. Smiles, like our clothes and hair, can be used to make a statement. Just make sure that whatever statement you choose to make with your teeth isn’t harmful to your health! 

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