An adult human supposedly has (if the so called wisdom teeth have erupted safely) 32 teeth.
Unfortunately, some people take pride in showing us all 32 teeth at once whenever they speak or smile. This achievement was not always possible.
I have some old photos – and I mean OLD – from the early 1900s, and wedding photos at that, where almost no one in the picture is smiling AND their mouths are way smaller that the mouths we see today. Why is this so? Well, either many of the teeth had rotted and fallen out or some teeth had been decayed and had been removed by a dentist – or doctor, or what? I’m not sure but guess that was so.
Later in the 20th century it became almost fashionable to have all teeth removed and replaced by dentures, or ‘false teeth’ as some called them. My father referred to them as ‘clackers’ as that’s how they often sounded when people spoke.
You couldn’t find anything much more off-putting than to come across someone who had recently acquired a news sett of ‘clackers’; they looked alien and weird and not like the person they previously were- and the ‘gums’ were plastic! It was often embarrassing to suddenly meet a friend or relative with ‘new’ teeth. Who are you? And they answered with a clacking sound and a new lisp - and often a soft whistle.
Nowadays it’s quite common to see someone whose teeth have been straightened, whitened (blindingly so) and perfected. But is it necessary? And why so WHITE? Honestly you need to be wearing sunglasses when speaking to some of these new teeth people.
But, the worst of all, in my estimation, is the old (elderly?) television presenter, or actor who has had his or her teeth made into a replica of some 20-something’s mouth attire. Ridiculous is hardly a strong enough word to use to describe the look of this clutching of youth or beauty in someone old enough to be the grandparent of the teeth’s rightful owner.
Truly, to sum up: what’s wrong with a few crooked teeth? They add character. What’s wrong with some cared-for but a little on the cream side of white teeth? They look far more natural than the iridescent white pearlies. And match the person’s age and colouring.
Slightly worn and far from white, but anchored firmly (and naturally) in my mouth are the teeth I plan to keep for the rest of my life. Not 32 of them, sure, but enough to do the job of chewing meals and smiling a limited-tooth-showing smile.