Every year new expressions and sayings enter the public vocabulary, and old ones lose popularity and fall by the wayside. But some idioms have immense sticking power and have kept kicking around for hundreds – if not thousands – of years. Many of these old-timers allude to the most fundamental of human concepts: our own bodies.
And teeth, being that one strange part of our body that almost everyone will eventually lose yet manage to live without, are a particularly potent icon. Like bones we can see, our overall health can sometimes be inferred from how we treat and care for these important tools. In this era of dentures and teeth implants, we may forget how pivotal teeth were to the many generations of humans that came before us.
With that in mind, let’s take a glance at the origin and meaning of the long-lived and hard-hitting sayings that reference our teeth to describe how we interact with the world. You may find some surprising or enlightening, while others may be downright distasteful!
We all know first impressions are a big deal! Having a brighter smile can change your level of self-confidence. It makes you more attractive. It makes you look like you take care of yourself. Whiter teeth give you a more healthy and attractive look but faded or yellow teeth look dirty and untidy, and they can ruin the whole appearance of a person.