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[[quoteright:300:[[Film/TheLordOfTheRings http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/boromir_shows_us_good_teeth3_9345.jpg]]]]

->''"Boys, would you take a look-see at these pearly whites! Hell, I ain't seen teeth that straight that warn't store-bought."''
-->-- '''Buford Tannen''''s henchman, ''[[Film/BackToTheFuture Back to the Future Part III]]''

Characters in nearly all media are portrayed as having pretty, white teeth, with nary a hint of any kind of tooth decay whatsoever. Even characters without any access to modern orthodontics and oral hygiene supplies will still have teeth that are just as straight and white as a modern person's.

This is one of many ways that works of fiction often bow to modern standards of beauty. Actors tend to take special care of their teeth to make sure that they look presentable, so many actors have sparkling white teeth by default. Because BeautyEqualsGoodness, we expect sympathetic characters to look attractive and wholesome. Yellow or rotten-looking teeth, by the same token, are often used as a RedRightHand, showing evidence of a rotten soul.

Interestingly, blindingly white teeth aren't considered ideal in all cultures around the world. Natural, healthy teeth are more of a pearly off-white. Artificial whitening procedures also tend to weaken the tooth enamel, making them ''less'' healthy.

The other side of this trope, however, is to commonly present people in the past as all having rotten, disgusting teeth due to their primitive oral hygiene. This is very much TruthInTelevision - for ''some'' time periods and regions, but not for always and everywhere. [[RealityIsUnrealistic In reality]], the rate of dental caries was rather lower in the oldest time periods; even though the people may have spent much less time cleaning their teeth, they suffered less from tooth decay than we would expect today because their diets didn't have nearly as much tooth-rotting sugar. The big turn for the worse, at least when talking about European cultures, happened during TheHighMiddleAges. See the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dental_caries#History Other Wiki]] for more details.

This trope is so common that it's simply easier to list aversions, subversions and {{egregious}} examples.

See also BritishTeeth.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Advertising]]
* Crest 3-D White Toothpaste shows a woman promising to introduce her friend to someone - in two weeks, after she's whitened her teeth. As she says the last bit, her friend's smile, which was exposing her incredibly white, perfect teeth, falters. At the end of the commercial after the treatment she smiles again, showing teeth that look identical to how they were before. Maybe the difference is apparent to some people, but one would think that if there were one place on television to see slightly less than perfect but not joke-level teeth, its in the "Before" section of a tooth-whitening ad..
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Occasionally averted in ''ComicBook/UsagiYojimbo'' when the heroes meet high ranking officials. In the days of Feudal Japan, it was a mark of high class and fashion to dye one's teeth in a ''black'' color.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/TwentyEightWeeksLater'': The mother has been living in squalor for ''months''. Her room is a dirty mess. ''She's'' a dirty mess. How nice that it looks like she's kept her teeth neatly brushed and flossed.
* ''Film/TenThousandBC'': Close-up shots made this glaringly obvious.
* Averted in ''Film/BackToTheFuture Part III'', where Marty's unusually clean teeth are one of the first things that people notice about him. Doc's teeth, however, are not commented on (Well, they've had more time to get used to him. Also, he grew up in an earlier generation of dentistry than Marty).
* ''Film/{{Braveheart}}'' actually does a passable job of looking like 14th century Scotland, what with all the dirt and mud huts. Then Catherine [=McCormick=] flashes a smile full of brilliant white teeth.
* Averted with the Joker in ''Film/TheDarkKnight'' who has pretty gross looking yellow teeth. In fact, most versions of the Joker have fairly yellowish (if uncommonly straight) teeth, to contrast with his white clown makeup.
* ''Film/GangsOfNewYork'': Several reviewers noted that the main character has crooked teeth as a child, but perfectly straight teeth as an adult. Dental braces were invented about half a century after the film's setting.
* It's pretty distracting in ''Film/HouseOf1000Corpses'' and it's sequel ''Film/TheDevilsRejects'' with the Firefly family who are a bunch of psychotic cannibal rednecks despite this they have shiny white teeth.
* Averted in the 90's French comedy ''Film/LesVisiteurs''. Played glaringly straight in the American CulturalAdaptation / SpinOff ''Film/JustVisiting'' (''Les Visiteurs en Amérique''), which eventually flopped both in France and the US.
* Both played straight ''and'' averted in ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' - the Orcs get absolutely ''horrendous'' gnashers, as the makeup people point out that good teeth are a sign of 20'21st century living - but, as noted above in the picture of Boromir, all the good characters have perfect whites.
* Averted in ''Film/ManOfSteel''. Kal-El's teeth are noticeably ''not'' perfectly straight, since how would any orthdontist straighten Teeth of Steel?
* ''Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail'': Averted, if not outright inverted. The Pythons noted on the DVD audio commentary that real medieval English peasants probably had ''nicer'' teeth than those in the movie, due to the lack of refined sugar and other tooth-rotting foods in TheMiddleAges.
* ''[[Literature/{{Twilight}} New Moon]]'': The makeup artists for went a little nuts on Taylor Lautner's teeth, enough for a hilarious reaction from the [[RiffTrax boys]]:
--> "Whoa! You could land planes with those teeth! Ease up on the Crest strips, will ya?"
* ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' averts this not just with the regular background pirates (who are the sort of people you'd expect to have bad teeth), but also with Jack Sparrow. Played straight with Will Turner, though.. (Really, all the British characters should have lousy teeth: not because they're {{British|Teeth}}, but because they're living in Jamaica- the sugar and citrus fruit capitol of the colonial world- and all tooth-cleaning methods will still be woefully inadequate.)
** Differently played with Jack, in fact- his dental work probably counts as RuleOfCool, as gold and silver false teeth are probably NewerThanTheyThink. False teeth were only just being created at the end of the century (initially out of human teeth or some kind of animal horn or tusk); and it would be generations before you could eat an apple with any of them!
*** Actually they're loosely technologically possible- there was at least one French surgeon who fitted ''silver'' teeth- it's just very improbable that Jack would have had access to the services of such a man. Also, they do work far too well for eating (and staying in when he gets slapped, etc)- most dentures at the time were for cosmetic purposes only.
* Lampshaded in ''WesternAnimation/RiseOfTheGuardians'', where the Tooth Fairy and her mini-fairies can't stop squealing over how nice Jack's teeth are, with Tooth frequently prying his mouth open to admire them (to his discomfort). Jack has been technically dead and on his own for 300 years and may or may not have brushed in that time, but Tooth implies that it may just be part of who he is:
--> '''Tooth''': "Oh, they really do sparkle like freshly fallen snow!"
* Averted in ''Film/ShanghaiKnights'': Owen Wilson's character smiles at a pretty girl, then recoils in horror when she smiles back and reveals a row of awful teeth.
* Averted in the French film ''Film/LesVisiteurs'' as people from the Middles Ages actually have ''very'' dirty teeth. Played straight in its American remake, ''Just Visiting''.
* Judge Doom from ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit'' has perfectly white teeth. [[spoiler:This is just one clue that he's not human.]]
* Caesar Flickerman, the host of ''Film/TheHungerGames''. Played for laughs as part of his larger than life tv-show host persona.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'': An aversion in ''Megamorphs #3'', where they hunt Visser Four throughout history -- in most of the time periods they visit, the Visser's host's cleanliness (teeth included) makes him stand out.
* In Creator/HarryTurtledove's ''Case of the Toxic Spelldump'', the main character noted that the foreman had his teeth unbelievably white, due to sympathy magic connecting its whiteness to the pure snow of the alps. Then he muses what would happen to the guy (and several celebrities) if a forest were to burn down and cover the snow with soot....
* ''Literature/{{Frankenstein}}'': FrankensteinsMonster had "pearly white teeth", because Frankenstein deliberately built him out of attractive parts in hopes of creating as perfect a specimen as possible, but instead the overall effect is UncannyValley.
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'':
** Averted where Severus Snape is described as having yellow teeth. [[DracoInLeatherPants Not that fanfic writers seem to have noticed...]]
** Sirius Black, ditto on both the yellow teeth and the fangirls.
* ''Literature/PeterPan'': Peter also had pearly white teeth as it is commented by someone in the book, and they were still his baby teeth too.
* In Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire, after listening to a captured Lannister cousin address her son as "Your Grace," Catelyn Stark reflects that one thing to say for Jaime Lannister is that "they could never have forced that title out between his perfect teeth." It might only be perfect by medieval standards, however.
** Crannogmen are mocked for having green teeth from eating frogs and other things; however, when Bran first meets the Reed siblings, he notes that their teeth are white.
** One of Daenarys' military commanders (who she lusts after strongly) is noted as having at least one golden tooth in his charming smile. Whenever she is thinking sexy thoughts about him, his sexy golden tooth is usually prominent in her fantasizing. By today's standards, that tooth might make him seem thuggish or tacky, but she's a medieval teenager with a thing for bad boys so maybe it makes sense
* ''Literature/TheWarlordChronicles'': Arthur and Merlin are the only ones with perfect teeth and this is commented on as unusual; Arthur because he actively takes care of them, Merlin just by happenstance, though he loves being smug about them.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Parodied in ''Series/{{Friends}}'', when Ross' teeth whitening treatment reacts to a blacklight.
* The ''Series/JohnAdams'' miniseries tries to avert this by coloring and blacking out people's teeth, but it's inconsistent. When Abigail Adams is on her deathbed, it looks like she has had some late-life dental work done.
* On an episode of Series/{{NCIS}}, [=McGee=] accidentally fell asleep with his teeth whitening tray in, leading to a humorous example of this when we, the audience, finally get to see them at the end of the episode.
* ''Series/TopGear'': Teasing Richard Hammond about this is a RunningGag, however much he says "I have ''not'' had my teeth whitened!"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIVBlackFlag'': Edward Kenway is a scruffy pirate top to bottom, but has picture perfect teeth.
* ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}} III'': Inverted in the leader pics. Genghis Khan has ''hideously'' bad teeth--even in the modern era, when logically even the Mongols ought to have reasonable dental hygeine.
* Averted in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' -- every single character in the game (including your own), be they a human, an elf, or a dwarf, has stained yellow-brown teeth. Although the game takes place in a fantasy universe, this is very appropriate considering it parallels medieval Europe. Played completely straight in [[VideoGame/DragonAgeII the sequel]]. Everyone has perfect white teeth.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'': An {{egregious}} example is in an early episode, when the kids are showing Numbuh Three what kind of teeth she should have, they are revealed to have hideous teeth due to poor dental care. And yet, in every other shot, they have perfect teeth. Recurring villain Stickybeard averts this trope with hideous teeth due to all the candy he eats.
[[/folder]]

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