In my meme the subject of teeth came up, and I’d like to fully address it.
Teeth, their primary purpose is to aid in digestion, mainly in the initial intake of biting and chewing food. But like many parts of our bodies, they seem to have taken on an additional baggage: something to look at aesthetically. Or in simple terms, something pretty.
Take a fair look at yourself; there is no organ or feature in your body that is there just to look good (not like the ballerina figurines on your night table).
Your eyes prime purpose is to see
nose, to smell,
hands, manipulate objects,
legs, support and enable mobility
teeth fall right in line.
The only difference is, while a person may be born into a body that well may or may not be desirable or aesthetically pleasing, society dictates how much alteration can be done within limits. People are encouraged to dress well, wear make up (if you’re of the fairer sex) work out, lose weight, basically take care of their earthy shell. Things that may drastically alter (and improve) appearances are not socially sanctioned, like liposuction, face lifts, nose jobs, botox, tummy tucks, brow lifts. While they are definitely practiced, people will deny their participation in such activities to the grave.
The only area of cosmetic alteration that in universally accepted and expected is cosmetic dentistry. People are encouraged to take care of their teeth to the nth degree, from porcelain veneers, bonding, professional bleaching, at-home whiteners, and braces. There is also regular health maintenance which can improve aesthetic appearance, like brushing and flossing. People very proudly display their unnatural pearly whites, I among them.
Teeth are the only area where are person can really gauge another’s attention to personal hygiene and appearance. It’s the only socially acceptable improvements that a person can make that in addition to looking good, generally benefit the person health wise (except for possibly bleaching or excessive whitening).
With this in mind, I can tell a lot (or judge a lot) about a person when I first meet them by noticing their teeth as opposed to their hands, or eyes, which may be very nice, but serve nothing but their visual pleasure (or displeasure).
This is what I see:
White, glossy, straight teeth – you pay careful attention to your appearance
Dull gray/ light yellow, glossy, straight teeth – you take care of yourself but are not vain enough to whiten them unnaturally
Dull gray/light yellow/ glossy, crooked teeth – you maintain your teeth, but your parents could either not afford braces, or you don’t care.
Yellow, stained, glossy teeth – you take care of your teeth, but you engage in unhealthy habits (either excessive coffee or smoking)
Yellow, stained, dull, teeth – you don’t particulary maintain or neglect your teeth
Yellow, stained, mossy, chipped teeth – you have no concept of hygiene. Eww.
I can’t very well walk over to someone and sniff them and hope I smell either soap, deodorant, or nothing, but not sweat. Or inspect their fingernails, or the fungus between their toes. I just look at their teeth, and then I know whether I should accept anything from them, or wash my hands first.