Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Why do Americans have giant horse teeth?


The other weekend Stephane and I helped two of our friends (we'll call them Boy and Girl to keep their identities safe) move into their new gorgeous home. After a day of driving and moving boxes we relaxed in our local pub, Boy mentions that while we were driving he broke off part of his tooth after biting on a funky onion ring. He claims to have mentioned something about it as we were driving - I don't remember anything. He says he just dropped the broken bit of his tooth on the floor of the van without a second thought.

Now I have never lost part of my tooth before, but if I ever did, everyone within a five mile radius would be aware of the fact that a part of my body FELL OFF. He didn't seem too phased by it. Then Girl mentioned how she had lost part of her tooth eating a cornflake. A Cornflake! I mean, I had no idea that teeth could be so fickle and fragile. I then grabbed my front teeth between my two fingers and did the same to Girl (with her permission of course) and my teeth are at least twice the thickness of hers. Now I'm not going to go into stereotypes of the British having bad teeth. Its over played and not true. All Europeans have bad teeth, not just the British. Ok, ok, I'm being rude and I'm over exaggerating. I just happen to know a lot more Europeans (family, boyfriend, friends...) that have mouths full of metal fillings, dentures, plastic teeth. Now that doesn't mean they don't have beautiful smiles, we're not talking Austin Powers teeth or anything. But as Girl pointed out, Europeans only go to the dentist when their teeth hurt. Americans get cute little cards in the mail saying " time to clean those toothers" and reminding us to come in for our sixth month check-up.

But I have to think its more than just a country well informed about dental hygiene. Fluoride in the water? Apparently they do that in England too, so that can't be the only reason why Americans have unusually thick and wide chomps. I think its the hormones we give our dairy cows that then finds it way in the milk we consumme. But I have of course no evidence or scientific information to back that up. But seriously, a Cornflake and an Onion ring caused Boy and Girl to lose a part of their smile.

While I'm sure I am thankful that whenever I go home to visit my mother in the states she always makes me squeeze in an appointment with my dentist, there's something nagging me. My Irish friend, who runs a bar frequented by many Americans (ok its not just "a bar" its my 2nd home) mentioned that all the Americans she has met have the same smile: too big and white for their own good, making us all kind of blend in together as one massive generic billboard for the American Dental Association. Are we losing character because of our similar, albeit healthy, smiles? Perhaps my European friends with their slightly crooked, somewhat chipped grins give off a real sense of character and individuality when they flash their, ahem, pearly whites. Like Lauren Hutton or Vanessa Paradis for example. Maybe we Americans are bitting off more than we can chew... but at least our teeth don't fall off while we do it.

11 comments:

Danielle said...

I chipped my tooth once. Don't remember how it happened initially. Dentist fixed it though right away, but had to have it fixed a second time after I had a run-in with an air-head chewy candy. Those things are dangerous.

Neil said...

I think Americans are getting even more teeth obsessed because of all these makeover TV shows that have people getting Rembrant veneers and such. Soon, it is is going to be socially unacceptable here to have crooked or "yellow" teeth. I'm surprised that the British aren't on this same bandwagon.

Lauren said...

Danielle, maybe its just my teeth that are oddly thick..

Neil, they do have all the teeth whitening commercials over here too, but I don't think anyone pays that much attention to their marketing ploy.

Ammo said...

Ronan Keating,(Irish pop star) had huge success in europe, but before trying to break the US had to have his slightly bandy teeth fixed to be perfectly straight and gleamingly white. Don't know if he made it over there, and anyway I dont think teeth are meant to be bright white- looks unnatural to me. Lauren you used your dairy cow theory on why american men are so big too, is this your answer to everything????

Danielle said...

Remember that Friends episode when Ross had his teeth whitened for a date so much that they were glowing in the dark? That was a good one...

Lauren said...

You caught me Ammo - I hate American Dairy Cows. There. I said it.

And Danielle - I just saw that episode. love it

Mattyc said...

Hmm. Never chipped my teeth.

It's interesting that the Americans and Brits have this running thing goin about their teeth!

Anonymous said...

This is great writing--I'm laughing out loud.

Lauren said...

Thanks so much Anon!

Diane said...

OK, here is my say, being someone who works in dentistry: Most water in the US is fluoridated, which does make a difference. The insistence on regular dental care in the US could have something to do with that children can't start school (the the preschool/kindergarten level even) without having proof of dental care. And each year through fifth grade (at least in the state of Georgia) parents have to turn in these medical forms proving their child has been to the dentist for a cleaning/exam. And by the time they are in fourth/fifth grade now, about every child in the US is recommended for braces (it seems like-has anyone else noticed ALL kids have braces now?!) and the dental care rolls from there. I'm sure dental insurance is more of an oddity over in Europe as well, while nowadays most companies offer dental as well as health.

Anonymous said...

Good comments. But, I do not agree with most of them. People sure have a lot of time on their hands.