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Blog: On Health. On Writing. On Life. On Everything.

White Teeth

February 9, 2013

Tags: order, advertisements, backward, body, chemical industry, chemicals, culture, dental, dentist, embarrassed, enamel, grooming, health, inadequacy, insecurity, lily-of-the-valley, mouthwash, pubic hair, self-doubt, shame, shaved legs, teenager, teeth whitener, underarm hair, vagina, teeth, White Teeth

When I was a teenager, I complained to my dentist that my teeth were not white. He produced a kind of wheel on which were mounted fake teeth, in different shades of off-white. He pointed out that my teeth were on the upper end and that, basically, teeth were not white.

For me, then, it was good enough - my teeth had passed.

Then something changed. Or: The culture changed. Now the dentists are in cohouts with the chemical industry to give you white teeth - really white teeth. I think it started with cartoon-like advertisements that showed people with white teeth - as white as the paper on which they were printed. With a little star that connoted sparkle: Brilliant white teeth.

Nowadays people use harsh chemicals and destroy the beautiful, precious enamel of their teeth, surely shortening their teeth's lifespan. For sparkling white teeth! It comes from the same corner as no-underarm-hair, vaginas that smell like lily-of-the-valley, shaved legs, nude pubic areas, and mouthwashs.

None of them are essential for health. But if you don't espouse them, you feel backward, not groomed right and insecure. And that seems to be the point: To keep us self-doubting and embarrassed about our bodies. And as long as we are busy with our personal shame and inadequacies, we don't care much that the world goes to shambles, or that our neighbor is sad, or the kid down the block looks forlorn.

And that seems to be the purpose.,
Aspen eyes, by Peggy Peters

Iguazu Falls, by Xin Liu

Alexa Fleckenstein M.D. 2012, by Lolita Parker jr.

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