Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, at least that’s how the saying goes. For some, a gap tooth is the epitome of beauty. It comes naturally or culturally and it brings so much beauty with it that one would not think of it as a feature of essence. Some women wish they had that gap and men love seeing that gap when women smile. As for Katrina Basimike, growing up with the feature made her feel special. “I have been made to believe that it is a sign of beauty but now it is just a feature in my mouth that I don’t even think about,” she said.
Medically known as diastema, the gaps between people’s teeth may occur during natural development when teeth first come through with spaces but these gaps are believed to close when the canine teeth arrive. Some children are born missing one or two teeth in their jaw bones, which leaves a space. In some instances there may be extra teeth in the bone which can prevent other teeth coming through, leaving a gap. If the extra teeth are removed, this can also leave a gap.
People with small teeth may also have gaps as small teeth allow for gaps while for some, they relatively have large jaws compared to the size of their teeth which also contributes to the gap. People may also have gaps as a result of lingual fraenum; this is the fraenum that attaches the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. In some cases of severe tongue-tie, the fraenum may cause a gap in the front teeth of the lower jaw.
Gaps may also be a result of genes passed on by parents or grandparents. “My great grandfather had it too, both bottom and up. I have closed my bottom one. I had a tooth root problem and it had to be removed. That made the gap too big, so I had it filled,” said Katrina.
Some cultures deliberately remove teeth. For instance the Himba people have their two bottom teeth removed as a coming of age ritual. When a Himba girl becomes around the age of twelve, an older woman removes the teeth by forcing pressure on the two teeth with a stick. It is seen as a great source of pride for the young women, and by removing the two teeth, the girls earn the respect of an elder.
The Himbas speak the same language as the Herero people, so pulling out the bottom front teeth creates a dialect between the two. The teeth removal is also a symbol of cattle possession, which is the definition of wealth for both the Himba and OvaHerero people. Though the Himba women see these dental alterations as a feature of beauty, there is speculation that the bottom teeth are knocked out or filed to mimic that of a cow. David Kaluhape, a Nkumbi speaking man said that the pulling out of teeth in their culture started with the women. “Later on women started demanding that if you want to be my husband you have to be like me,” he explained. “I refused to have my teeth knocked out because I saw it done to my friend and it looked painful, therefore I decided to run away from my village.”
How the gap affect individuals
A large gap between the front teeth may not leave enough room for the teeth next to the front teeth to come through which causes teeth misalignment. Gapped teeth may also affect ones self-consciousness. Some people may feel embarrassed and not want to smile.
Though there are tons of people who do not like the gaps between their teeth, there are quite a number of them who adore this lucky gap. According to Denise Baptiste, a content executive at Boldsky Limitless living, a gap between the front teeth is considered to be lucky. Among some clans, a gap is a sign of wisdom. If one has a gap between their two front teeth, they are considered to be very intelligent. It also means that they have very good creative skills. “People with gaps between their front teeth are jabber mouths. They like to talk right through the day. Moreover, they know how to deal with financial matters in a fine manner. They possess an ability of being at extreme ends where they can save their money or be spendthrift too,”she explained.
Among all the luck in the world, it is also said that when it comes to career paths, people who have a gap between their two front teeth will have a steady career. They also grow up to be very successful people. A gap is indeed a blessing to those with it. It makes them unique and there is definitely no point of being ashamed of their smile. Gaps are cute on women and modelesque on men.