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Minty Mastication! Chewing gum and the Hollywood Smile

A minty masticator

Are you a minty masticator? A serial gum chewer? One of those fellows who are constantly smacking gum round their mouths like a cow chewing the cud?

…As you may guess from this opening salvo, I’m not a fan of gum chewing. Don’t get me wrong, I do chew gum occasionally, but I usually keep it for the car; and if I am in public I make sure to keep my mouth well and truly closed. I certainly wouldn’t dream of going for a haircut and chewing gum the whole time, or appearing on a TV interview in a bovine stupor. But this is what people today seem to think acceptable. I’m not here to make enemies, but this is one habit that I really do take issue with.

So why the rant, Sam? What’s the great occasion? Why grace these fine, digital pages with your wrath? Well, last month my editor wrote an article on teeth straightening – he recently re-straightened his teeth having already undergone braces as a schoolboy – and it got me thinking about dental fashions and the unusual accessories and modifications that are out there.

Let’s use the “Hollywood smile” as our starting point – everyone wants gleaming white teeth now, don’t they? It’s the American way and it carries much sway. In Britain, we seem to think that all Americans possess this glamorous grin. It’s a stereotype, but a positive one; the reversal of the American-held stereotype that all Brits have teeth like pirates. (If you’re reading from across the Atlantic, I can assure you that this is not so!) That whiter-than-white smile is much in demand now, and chewing gum is just one of the many ways to help achieve it (assuming it’s sugar-free). Have you noticed how gum chewing also seems to endow one with a peculiar kind of cockiness? I see it as the oral equivalent of putting on a swagger when you walk. At the root of it all (…very slight dental pun there) seems to be this belief that white teeth are somehow healthier, this idea that they are objectively superior. But luminous white gnashers have nothing to do with dental health – they’re purely a style choice, like big beards, tight trousers or a skin fade....

Read the complete article at Menswear Style, an online men’s fashion and lifestyle magazine and one of the leading digital publications in the UK.


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