Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gap-toothed beauty

Anna Paquin "Sookie" from True Blood

Famous gap toothed beauty- Madonna

So this blog is not all about makeup and beauty products but it's a way for me to express my self on particular views about what is considered beautiful in societies around the world. Today I was staring at myself in the mirror contemplating on whether I should get rid of my gap between my front teeth for about the 20 millionth time.

 I was reading this article on the huffington post website about how "Gap teeth" have become the latest must have accessory and it made me smile. It meant to me that society, especially that of the west has finally accepted that beauty comes in different forms and shapes and that having a gap between your teeth does not make you any less beautiful. For years, I have been proud of Madonna for not getting hers fixed or for Lauren Hutten who is known for her beauty for not bending to social pressures and go to the dentist to get that "perfect smile." I used to say the day Madonna gets hers fixed, that the day I will get mine fixed. And then, there's Sookie from True Blood or Anna Paquin in real life who also says she finds it rude when people ask her why she never fixed her gap. I DO TOO!!!! She makes gap teeth look so sexy. Here's the link to the story Its a pity that I can't recall any black women who are considered beauty icons and have gap teeth. Ne ways back to my story...

Growing up in St. Kitts, I never realized that my smile was different till I was about 13, when I went down the road to go the shop and this older man stopped me to ask me If I know what it meant to have a space between my teeth but never finished telling me what it was. I was like what is he talking about? Then I went home to ask my mother what does it mean if I have a  space between my teeth and she told me don't ask her about that non-sense. Then later on maybe 15/16 I learnt that the local myth states that if you have a space between your teeth or gap teeth that you were some how "sweeter" than all the other women and that some how you possessed "sugar down there". I was appalled to learn the truth of course and went to my mother and demanded that she carried me to the dentist to get it fixed but my mother told me not to listen to what silly men say and that I should walk down the road with confidence and be proud of who I was and what I looked like because my gap tooth was part of my identity- not part of some local myth. She said it gave me a distinct look and she can't even picture me without it. I struggled with accepting her views of this situation for a while. My mother to me had a perfect smile- no gaps, my aunts, my cousins, my friends all had perfect smiles and here I was with this space that some how meant I was better in bed and men always seemed to approach me about what their grandmother told them or what people say about girls with space between their teeth. 

Of course in high school, I was made fun of several times by mean girls with self esteem issues telling me to go get my front teeth fixed or by ignorant people asking me if I was missing a tooth. I often did my research on my "condition" and found out it was actually a condition  called "Diastema" You can read more about it if you click on this link. 

The treatment for my condition is of course braces or veneers, both very expensive dental procedures. Oh and my gap grows with age so it is slightly bigger than when I was younger. I started begging my mom to let me get braces in my last year of high school because I didn't want to go out into the world looking different to every one else. I got the dentist appointment, he told me that the braces would be about 12,000 EC and that to make that gap smaller by using veneers would be about 3000 US. I sat in the chair dumbfounded that to fix something so simple could cost so much money but I still wanted it. 

During the summer before 6th form, I was so exciting that I was finally going look normal like every one else with my perfect smile but I still felt guilty about spending the money on the procudure ( I was going to get veneers). I went for my second consultation to discuss the procedure and the dentist told me he wouldn't be able to close the gap completely, just enough to make it smaller or I would look like I had three front tooth. I was disappointed and went home to think about it. I thought to myself, why do I want to look like every one else, that is not me. Why am I ready to give up my identity to look normal? Well I opted out of the procedure because I guess I accepted my gap and looking a little different to every one else.

Today when men approach me about if I know what people say about women with gap teeth, I just smile and say "probably but  let's see if you can be a little original". Honestly, I think I've heard them all. When I went off to uni in Canada however I got into a rut with my gap because the looks that I got were very different to the ones I got at home. People would be looking at my gap when I spoke instead of me. I felt very uncomfortable and realized I had it good at home. Yep it was a cultural thing, in the Caribbean. I again went to the dentist to consider my options but I always ended up opting out after a few convos with myself and my mother. And then I met my bf, who by the way also has a gap (coincidence). He never came up to me and asked me if I knew what people say but he told me one thing he noticed was my beautiful smile. I believed him and still do. He always encouraged me to accept my gap as part of what makes Shyne shine.

My gap is part of my distinct look. I finally get it. So when I looked in the mirror today wondering about how it looked compared to every one else, I just laughed and said maybe some day you'll get it fixed if it does get bigger but for now ...Im ok with it. To all my gap toothed beauty- be proud of being different- it is what makes you, you!

Oh, Condeleeza Rice and Susan Taylor- founder of Essence Mag both have a gap.

Interesting post from the black snob blog.


  1. Oh yea! I totally loooooooooooooove this piece! Kinda had the same issue inside of me n back home but I noticed it more when I got to SMU and sat in the dentist's chair n dude asked me if I wanted to close my gap teeth and I was like WTF??? Then it kinda bugged me a bit but now m totally cool with it finally!

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  2. amen my gap toothed sister. its like our beauty mark. Its the sign of Venus- goddess of love.

  3. Denzel Washington was born with "split-teeth" but had it filled in...

    1. I totaly doubt he WAS BORN with teeth haha just joking

  4. Amazingly I've never had a problem with it. Maybe one or two times I'd think of getting braces because I sucked my thumb when I was younger, but never to close my gap. It's been so much a part of me, especially in my teenage and adult years that I'd feel like a part of me was missing if I ever closed it up. Got the teasing from my friends saying they could see what I had for lunch lol and the vulgar remarks from nasty men. But I wouldn't change it for the world!

    Excellent post Shyne. =D

  5. As a guy, I can honestly tell you that a gap tooth in a woman is actually...insanely attractive. Alot of guys I know also share a similar sentiment. I suppose it has something to do with a subconcious throwback to our African culture wherein a gap tooth was seen as a mark of extreme inner beauty. (thank God I had parents that valued African History)

    Great post Shyne!

  6. Natalie Cole does too....
    nothing sexier than a woman with her head help up and owning her smile.
    great read:)

  7. I never had the problem at home but in Canada Good God! Huge problem. I did wear braces to push my teeth back which only made my gap bigger but seriously I cant be bothered by it, if you dont like it please step! fantastic post :)

  8. I have gap sister, father, and all of my fathers side do too! I'm white, and I live in Canada.
    I've never had a problem with ppl staring..Although sometimes I look at ppl who have gap teeth because I'm happy to see someone else have it too! Mainly the white people though, because almost all black people I've seen over here have gap teeth. I don't feel like a gap tooth minority among them...

  9. My daughter, who is four & of scandinavian descent, has gapped teeth. At her last dental check up, the dentist suggested that if we had been thinking about getting them fixed, we'd better do it in the next year, otherwise the procedure would be a lot more painful. Problem was we HADN'T been thinking about it and I was more than a little offended that she'd even brought it up. I think my daughter looks beautiful just the way she is and ultimately it will be her decision as to whether or not she wants to change it. I was grateful to come across your blog about this subject and to read how your mother handled your concerns. My opinion is that gap teeth make interesting people even more interesting. Thank you again for this post.

  10. I've been told that having gapped teeth is a sign that you were royalty in a past life. ;)

  11. Being beautiful doesn't mean having no imperfections. You can still look and feel beautiful even you have flaws like these celebrities. And their gaps made them even more gorgeous and attractive, so there's no need for us to complain if we have tooth gaps also! =)

  12. I put anonymous beacause I don´t have any type of Google Account or LiveJournal etc... I`am a portuguese girl and i have a little gap teeth, my father is also have,thats one of the causes of Gap is genetic. Well when i was younger I really don´t like my teeth, for me it was a different smile, its a strange thing you know, but now I look to my teeth and I really like, the question is the way you look and see your smile and my gap is little, it doesn´t change the beauty of a person. It gives you a natural and original look and also rebellious!

  13. Im 40 yrs old and have tried braces for 5 yrs which never worked. Now i am finally comfortable with myself and will not deny my genetics...LOL! By the way Carribean men love it!

  14. I have been made fun of for my gap since about second grade. Everyone started watching Spongebob, and he has a gap. I am the only one in my grade with a gap. I was called Spongebob during seventh grade, too! People started saying I look like a bunny. This one girl told me that if you don't have perfect teeth, you're ugly. This one girl in my class saw a guy with perfect teeth and asked if he had braces. He didn't and she didn't either. Unfortunately, I was right next to them. She said that perfect, straight teeth makes people look good. She didn't knew I had a gap. She told me to smile, but I didn't. People make fun of me a lot just because I have a gap in my teeth. I never insult people in their looks. I am so insecure about my teeth. I have never smiled with teeth showing in a long time. I will never like my gap, and I don't find it sexy. It makes me look kind of ugly. :(

  15. well I am 38 yrs old I have a gap and I wore braces in high school and was teased all through grade school. The gap came back shortly after my braces where removed it is very strong in my family. After the braces not working in high school I just accepted that the gap was meant to be and now I love my Gap wouldn't change it for the world it makes me uniquely beautiful. Can't beat genetics and I find many guys love it as well...

  16. It's funny that I came across this post.. really enjoyed reading it!! I am 38 yrs old with a genetic gap, my grandmom & my mom had a gap. My dad still has a gap, which has never enabled him from having any women he wanted. My mom gave me the option at 14 to get braces, I felt no need my gap never bothered me. I can remember in high school people to I wld get into altercations with wld try to talk about my gap. That never bothered me cause I came from a family of confidence, my family was chocolate and BEAUTIFUL! My family was so very popular in our town, so I never felt any way but unique when I wld look at my smile. Everyone in my family had a gap, and it never changed there walk in life. I have men TELL me all the time how BEAUTIFUL my smile is. I hve 2 sets of twins.. 2 boys, a boy/girl set. My daughter is the only one who inherited the gap and in this generation they worried about what their peers think of them. She wants braces bad, that's her choice so I want go against that. I feel very blessed to b one in a million with my own unique smile!!!! What a great post!!!

  17. I'm white with red hair, freckles, I also have a gap. Growing up my dentist thought I should get braces, as well I was picked on for all the above features. Now everyday someone tells me how beautiful my features are. Yesterday a customer came in and told me that gap teeth people make better lovers, for he and his wife both had gaps.

  18. My ..uncles...ME..gapped tooth ...a dentist never once told me to fix it...of course not everyone loves it but oh boy the compliments that my gap and hazel eyes have gotten me ....its genetic I saw people try to fix lol....I'm happy with my gap....we were born with a unique trait. ..embrace it....same is boring

  19. In somalia if u have a gapped tooth its one of the most beautiful things to have. They find it insanely attractive and beautiful

  20. I have a front tooth gap too..and its ok to have makes you unique..different from stay with it..

  21. “…beauty comes in different forms and shapes…”—Absolutely true, Shariena! Usually, the main reason we obsess ourselves to become perfect is the pressure of meeting social expectations. However, beauty isn’t always in the eye of the beholder, it is on how we carry ourselves.

    Calandra Novak

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