Pearly Whites

There is, as I’m sure everyone is well aware, a stereotype when it comes to British people and dental care. I’d complain about Austin Powers but I’m sure it goes back far further, although I’m not entirely sure where it got started — except for, of course, the fact that British dental care was (and may still be, for all I know) far from the best for a long time, as part of the proud British tradition with regards to healthcare, which can be summed up with the phrase, “You’re not really paying for it, so what do you expect?”

For sure, I have my own horror stories when it comes to dental care when I lived in the U.K., and those experiences — and the fact that I stayed away from the dentist for years after one such horrible time — are the cornerstone of the reasons why my own teeth are quite as shoddy as they are these days. British teeth are, to be blunt, a horror show, and mine are definitely part of the reality behind that unfortunate cliche.

The reason I mention this is because, while mainlining Love Island and Too Hot to Handle — both shows featuring young British people looking for love and/or fame via a dating show — one thing has popped up again and again, to the point where it’s become a minor fascination to me. Over and over, people ask each other, “what’s your type?” or “what are you looking for in a partner?” and the one constant in each and every answer is “good teeth.”

Everyone is looking for good teeth. Sometimes, it’s part of a shopping list of physical attributes. (Women, especially, seem to want “tall, gym, tattoos” and good teeth; it’s a trend, seemingly.) Sometimes, it’s the one physical attribute mentioned alongside a bunch of emotional traits. (“I want someone who can make me laugh, someone who’s open, and good teeth.”) Whatever the reason, it’s the one thing that everyone in the UK apparently agrees on: good teeth.

Just think: If the UK had better dental care decades ago, no-one would know what to look for on shows like this anymore.

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