Sunday 1 August 2010


When the mind is idle, not engaged in anything in particular, it wanders where it will and so I was suddenly aware that I was thinking about teeth this morning. I don't know why – it's not as if I have toothache or an impending dental check. Bethan came home for the weekend and she has beautiful teeth – the kind of dentition I refer to as 'American'. In fact, all my offspring – and their offspring, too – have credit-worthy teeth, as do most of their peers.
Anyway, I fell to reflecting and soon recalled the episode of 'Friends' in which Ross (David Schwimmer) whitens his teeth. There's nothing wrong with attempting to improve one's image so long as one keeps a sense of balance – Ross clearly overdid the enhancement! The video clip I was going to include has been censored or 'disenabled' - who knows why?
A few years ago, Barry and I went to a point-to-point on Salisbury Plain (which incorporates the largest military training area in the United Kingdom). It was a business affair, a 'jolly' to entertain some of the visiting dignitaries of the company. Naturally, as it was an American company, some of the visitors were American. The local people and the army participants involved in the point-to-point were Britons. The majority of the men, though not Barry, were dressed in tweed suits, some in plus fours, and all in shades of green and brown. Tweed is a rough woollen fabric and is prized as suitable clothing for outdoor pursuits like shooting and hunting because it is hard-wearing and moisture-resistant. However, we were not outdoors but were there to socialise and watch the horses and riders so the robust clothing seemed a little de trop. The women were clothed less formulaically. As with all gatherings of this nature there was a great deal of noise – one might describe it, not totally inaccurately, as braying – and much guffawing. Most of the Brits were entirely relaxed, strapping, healthy, well-built people, standing in a lovat sea, chortling gleefully and showing their strong yellow teeth, quite resembling those of the animals they had come to watch. Into this scrum stepped a dainty, whip-thin woman. She was clearly well beyond her usual comfort zone but was bravely entering the noisy throng, accompanying her husband and smiling rather nervously. She was extremely slender and tanned, stylishly dressed and beautifully groomed in a manner familiar to devotees of the Oscar presentations. She was polished and honed and ironed to the ends of her immaculate nails, a delicate hot-house flower in a garden of vigorous vegetables, but what was truly fascinating about her were her teeth. They were unnaturally, glaringly white, sunbeams glancing off them and dazzling all around her. (Okay, that last bit is an exaggeration!) They were obviously well-maintained, expensive teeth and no doubt in her natural environment they would not have been noticeable since everyone would have had mouths full of similarly blinding gnashers but among the hearty Brits they were quite remarkable. I doubt if she ever attended another point-to-point but have to admire her for making the effort to attend. No doubt she and her husband attended a reception at Buckingham Palace and that would have suited her far better, although the Royal teeth are similarly strong and yellow – and large! It must be something in the genes.


  1. Terrific post,Janice. It's funny whenever I write about teeth, I tend to focus on the damaged or decaying ones. you've taken on the opposite end of the spectrum and I find it fascinating. This is a great exposure of certain human foibles. Vanity? Social prestige? Who knows? Thanks.

  2. Thank you Elisabeth :-) I wonder why white teeth are considered so much more attractive than creamy-yellow teeth which are just as healthy and strong. Is it simply that they look cleaner?

  3. And now after reading that, I want to see your smile - a toothy grin, if you please. :)

    It has never occurred to me that American's and Brits have teeth that look different. I need to pay much more attention. Fascinating!

  4. EGWow - my children and grandchildren have wonderful teeth, not me . . . LOL!!

  5. Oh I remember the Friends episode. Poor Ross. Ivory coloured is good enough for me. Shiny white teeth and tight faces, every wrinkle attacked and eliminated... not what I consider to be beautiful.

    Loved your story ;-)

  6. Tut, forgot to hit the email box (slaps herself against forehead).


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