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Childish Tooth Gap

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"He is a protagonist with the hair of a Japanese anime and the tooth gap of every kid from recent Western Animation."

A character's dental state will often be used to show their personality in fiction. A young child will often have missing teeth, typically the upper front ones, if they are supposed to be sweet and energetic or innocent. It may also be used with children who have had their baby teeth replaced to showcase someone who is troublesome or reckless, to the point where they knocked out or otherwise lost their adult teeth. A gap between teeth (not due to a lack of teeth) may be used to make a character look more innocent or youthful.

Compare to Youthful Freckles, another design trait used to showcase a character's youth.

Truth in Television: Most kids lose their baby teeth between six and ten years, and probably won't have orthodontic work done to repair more permanent gaps until the early teens. Furthermore, in most cases the order that the baby teeth fall out starts with the incisors (the teeth that are front and center) and work their way back to the molars and wisdom teeth as the child reaches adulthood, so someone with missing incisors is more likely on the young end as their baby teeth are just starting the process of coming off. And of course, anybody can get a tooth knocked out if they're not careful.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Subverted with Aiko from Goodnight Punpun. She is introduced as a little girl with missing front teeth. Punpun is instantly attracted to her and conjures up an image of her as a cute Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Aiko in reality is a Broken Bird, and it just gets worse as the manga continues. This is played darkly late into the series, where the now-adult Aiko gets a tooth knocked out which makes her look similar to how she did when introduced. Within fifteen chapters she's Driven to Suicide.
  • One Piece: Sabo in his younger years was shown with a missing tooth gap. While it might've been a naturally detaching milk tooth, the fact that he prefers to live on the streets may also contribute to that.
  • As a child, Fuka is shown to be missing a tooth at the beginning of ViVid Strike! (it's implied that it got knocked out in a fight with some bullies). By the time the story proper starts, the gap is gone.
  • Josuke Higashikata from the eighth part of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has a distinct gap between his front top teeth which accentuates his somewhat childish naivete to the world, since he doesn’t have any memories of who he is. The reason for the gap isn't merely orthodontic, however, as Josuke is later revealed to be an entirely new being created from the fusion of two people, Yoshikage Kira and Josefumi Kujo.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V: One of the younger students of the You Show duel school, Futoshi (Frederic in the dub), has a missing touth, and is portrayed as rather more childish than his two peers in the school, serving as the comic relief among the trio.
  • In Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead, Akira had a missing tooth on the left side of his mouth in his energetic childhood defending other kids from bullies as "Akiliger". He remembers this after his conversation with Yukari, which gets him to try and relive his childhood fantasies of being a superhero, only with much higher stakes given the risk of being bitten by a zombie. Luckily, he's wise enough to pick up a shark suit from the local aquarium to protect himself first.

    Comic Books 
  • Loop: The blue twin has a gap in her front teeth, emphasizing her young age.
  • In the 2016 version of Runaways, eleven-year-old Molly Hayes is depicted as having a prominent tooth gap. This annoyed some fans, as this was supposed to be the Earth-616 version of Molly, whose dad was a dentist.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1987): In one of Natasha's photos of her daughter Aleksis, the girl is grinning to reveal she's missing two front teeth.
    • Wonder Woman (Rebirth): Peony McGill has a noticeable tooth gap and is an energetic, friendly young girl.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Ellie from Up had teeth in this fashion in her childhood flashbacks. She was a fiery, upbeat tomboy.
  • Darla from Cats Don't Dance has a gap in her teeth but subverts the "innocent" cliche, being a strong example of an Enfant Terrible.
  • Bambi: When Thumper first appears as a child, he's missing one of his front teeth to fit this trope — to slightly odd effect, as he's also an example of the cartoon rabbit whose two front teeth are its only visible teeth, so in his first scene he has only one visible off-center tooth.
  • Hiro Hamada from Big Hero 6 has a gap in his front teeth. He is the youngest major character but subverts it as he is a fourteen year old Teen Genius.
  • In Encanto Antonio, the youngest member of the Madrigal family, has a small gap on the left side of his mouth, which is natural since he has just turned five. It adds to his sweetness and innocence.
  • 10-year-old Ben from Song of the Sea sports a tooth gap.
  • Eleven year old Riley from Inside Out has a tooth gap.
  • Kid Hero Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon has a gap between his front teeth which he retains even after growing up in the Time Skip between the first film and its two sequels.
  • White from Tekkonkinkreet sports a tooth gap to accentuate his innocent demeanor.
  • Miguel from Coco has a gap on the left side of his upper row of teeth.
  • Penny from The Rescuers has a huge gap between the two front teeth.
  • Moxy from UglyDolls has a tooth missing from her row of teeth, fitting her plucky and energetic personality. The child that ends up with her in the end also shares this trait, making them the perfect match.
  • In Klaus (2019), Márgu is by far intended as the cutest and most innocent of the child characters and has a childish tooth gap to go with this.
  • Louie from We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story is missing one of his front teeth (most of the time).
  • Judah the Lamb from the 2011 animated film The Lion of Judah has a small gap between his two front teeth.
  • Chip from Beauty and the Beast has a slight gap between his front teeth, as a teacup and a real boy at the end.
  • Heintz's Daddy's Girl daughter in the Memories segment "Magnetic Rose" is depicted with a gap in her teeth in flashbacks. It turns out that they're flashbacks because Emily died at that age.

    Films — Live Action 
  • In the Disney adaptation of Bridge to Terabithia, little Maybelle, Jess' younger sister, had a rather noticeable gap in her front row of teeth, especially obvious when she smiles after being crowned princess at the end of the film.
  • Gifted: Mary, who's six at the start of the film, is missing multiple teeth. It highlights her youthfulness and energy as she grins when enjoying herself jumping around, showing them.
  • French actress Vanessa Paradis has one such gap between her upper front teeth, which made her early roles qualify for the trope.

  • The Boundless: The girl Will meets when he gets off the train in Farewell is described as having a slight gap in her front teeth.
  • In Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing from Judy Blume's FUDGE book series, Fudge, who at that point was only two years old, loses his two top front teeth when he falls off a jungle gym, pretending that he was a bird. His older brother Peter secretly calls him Fang, even though he never says it out loud because his mother doesn't like the nickname.
    • In an inversion of this trope, Peter remarks that the missing teeth make Fudge look like "a very small first grader", since Fudge is much younger than the usual age for losing teeth

  • MAD: MAD Magazine mascot Alfred E. Neuman is a very early example of this trope, and possibly the Trope Codifier. Alfred is a freckled, red-haired mischievous kid with the famous "What, me worry?" catchphrase and frequently featured on covers and fold-ins.

  • Melanie Martinez naturally has a gap in her teeth. This, combined with her clothing style and songs, helps accentuate her subversively innocent image.
  • Russian singer Dora also naturally has a gap in her teeth which accentuates her "cute-rock" aesthetic.
  • Yulia Kryukova (also known as Julia Smiles and Techenie) also naturally has a gap in her front teeth, and is known among her fans for her childlike mannerisms.
  • Downplayed with Elena Temnikova, who naturally has a trademark gap between her two front teeth. Notably, Temnikova's parents tried to get her teeth straightened when she was young, but she vehemently resisted until they gave up.
  • Title Dropped in "All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth," by Donald Yetter Gardner. According to The Other Wiki, the song was inspired by the childish tooth gap of Gardner's students.

    Puppet Shows 

    Video Games 
  • Dicey Dungeons:
    • The Warrior is missing one of his teeth, and is straightforward and cheerfully oblivious to the danger he's in.
    • Jester is missing a front tooth, and is certainly more friendly and affable than their boss Lady Luck.
  • Anemone in I Was a Teenage Exocolonist has a missing tooth as a kid, highlighting her pluckiness.
  • The goofy and childish Rabbids from Raving Rabbids all have buck-teeth with gaps in them.
  • In Tetrobot And Co, Maya has missing teeth in the photographs from her childhood.
  • Lodo from Yo-Kai Watch is a younglooking youkai who is childish and likes milk. He has a tooth gap. It could also be related to his hygiene, as the youkai he is based on looks like a filthy old geezer (not that kind) and gives people bad luck.


    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Finn from Adventure Time is a Kid Hero with only a few teeth. According to Word of God this isn't stylistic. Finn is missing several teeth because he is an Idiot Hero who bites things like rocks.
  • Meng from Avatar: The Last Airbender, the adorable young girl from the episode "The Fortuneteller", has a missing front tooth.
  • The titular protagonist of Clarence is missing two front teeth. He is an elementary school-aged boy. Clarence is Fun Personified and a Wide-Eyed Idealist.
  • Inverted with Edd from Ed, Edd n Eddy; he's the most intelligent and mature of the trio, despite having a rather large gap between his two front teeth. Of course, this gets exaggerated when Eddy takes Double D's story off the rails in "Once Upon an Ed". His teeth become ridiculously large and the gap gets even wider.
  • Parody Sue Chloe from The Fairly OddParents! has a gap in her teeth to emphasize her cutesy look.
  • Gravity Falls: As a child, Stanley Pines had a gap in his teeth. He was way more innocent, if a fan of gross-out, and much more idealistic than he would be as a grown-up.
  • Harvey Street Kids: Audrey's redesign gives her a tooth gap to go with her new tomboyish personality.
  • Ivick from Ivick Von Salza: The Little Lumberjack has a gap between his upper front teeth.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes has a gap in his teeth, befitting his cheerful personality and innocent optimism in the Hell-like Crapsack World of Miseryville.
  • The Loud House: Lana and Lola both have gaps where their front teeth should be. Leif and Lexx, their gender-bent counterparts from "One of the Boys", have their front teeth, but are missing a tooth on either end of them.
  • Molly of Denali: Trini is a seven (later eight) year old with a gap in her teeth. According to her official character bio, she can whistle out of the gap in her teeth, but it never happened in the series.
  • Oh No! It's An Alien Invasion: Lily, the youngest child in the team has a gap between her upper teeth.
  • Hunter from The Owl House has a gap between his front teeth, and is easily the most childish person in Belos's army. Which isn't difficult, since he's only 16 years old.
  • In Phineas and Ferb Save Summer, there is a scene where Candace watches an old VHS she made when she was 5 years old. We discover that she had a gap in her teeth making her adorable.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: As a young child, Adora had a missing tooth gap and was way more impulsive than she is now.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: SpongeBob has a noticeable gap between his buck teeth. He's a childish and innocent Manchild.
  • Steven Universe:
  • Donatello has a tooth gap in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012). He's the most dorky of the brothers.
    • The series' successor has Mikey as the brother with the gap, just left of center—fitting, since he's the youngest and smallest brother.
    • The next movie has Raphael, the team's impulsive and immature Blood Knight having a missing tooth. It is likely that the TV show continuation of the movie will also have Raph with the same design.
  • Total Drama:
    • Cody, likely to show his dorky nature. He's even shown to be much more childlike than the ten other original male contestants, like having a Sweet Tooth, sucking his thumb in his sleep, wetting his pants when scared, and even looking younger than the rest of them).
    • Mike also possesses one, which highlights his cheerful and friendly attitude and how his multiple personalities make him quite shy and secretive around others at the same time.
  • In Total DramaRama, Harold and Beth are given these to emphasize the fact that they're now toddlers. Cody retains his tooth gap too, which here befits his role as the one who behaves the most like an actual 4-year-old.
  • Hank, the main character of Netflix's Trash Truck is an imaginative young boy and has this to signify his youthful innocence.
  • Beast Boy has a gap in his teeth in the second season of Young Justice (2010). He's the youngest member of the team and is energetic.