photo courtesy Linda de Volder
Honestly, who of us doesn't aspire to possess the "Hollywood smile"? Shiny, pearly white even teeth are a dream of so many women and men. Such a smile is considered a major component of an attractive look. Uneven teeth of dubious whiteness no one would call beautiful, not to mention the lack of several teeth. So we spend lots of money on whitening toothpastes, leveling plates, and on regular visits to the dentist'.
However, there are places out there where white teeth smile is not considered beautiful at all, but on the contrary, the holders of such smiles risk to stay lonely and never get married.
In many tribes of the Southeast Asia white teeth are considered unattractive and every morning before going out anywhere the women of those tribes blacken their teeth with charcoal or with special powder made from the fruit, seeds, bark, leaves or stem of local plants because for them to appear in public with the natural colour of teeth is unacceptable. Even some men too blacken their teeth. For example, when a boy from the Mru tribe living in the hills of the south-eastern Bangladesh believes that it is time to marry, he smarten himself up to impress potential brides with his irresistible look: he styles his long hair into a bun, decorates it with pins and combs, wears massive earrings and hibiscus flowers in his ears and ... colours his teeth black.
photo from here
In Bali, there is an ancient ceremony called potong gigi. During the ceremony, the canine teeth are filed to make them smooth and rounded. The pointiness of human canine teeth is likened to those of evil witches, demons and wild animals like dogs. By filing the canines flat, a person may then become fully human and, consequently, take control of six personal enemies such as greed, laziness, stinginess, jealousy, anger and pride.
When girls from the Big Namba tribe living on the Vanuatu islands, Melanesia, decide they want to get married and are ready to have children, they will have to part with their two front teeth. Only after that guys and men will pay them attention and there will be a chance that someone will propose to marry.
photo courtesy Andrew Gregg
For women of Sakkudai tribe living on the islands of the Malay archipelago being beautiful means to have sharp pointed teeth. And so, at a young age girls agree to the painful sharpening procedure, just to get such a wonderful from their point of view smile and then to be able to charm all Sakkudaiish guys with it.
Well, beauty truly lies in the eye of the beholder :)