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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. 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.
  • 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.
  • Heintz's Daddy's Girl daughter in Magnetic Rose is depicted with a gap in her teeth in flashbacks. It turns out they're flashbacks because Emily died at that age.
  • 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.

    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.
  • 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


  • Melanie Martinez naturally has a gap in her teeth. This, combined with her clothing style and songs, helps accentuate her subversively innocent image.
  • Downplayed with Russian singer Elena Temnikova, who also 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.

    Puppet Shows 

    Video Games 
  • Lodo from Yo-Kai Watch is a young looking 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 dirty, old man and gives people bad luck.
  • In Tetrobot and Co, Maya has missing teeth in the photographs from her childhood.
  • The goofy and childish Rabbids from Raving Rabbids all have buck-teeth with gaps in them.


    Web Video 

    Western Animation