What teeth can tell you about a character

Poor Kaki Warner asked me how my teeth are feeling after last week’s root canal. She got an email with far more info than even my dentist would want to know about my teeth (that’s not an exaggeration; my dentist is British and isn’t all that interested in my teeth).

It got me thinking about what teeth can tell you about a person. Growing up in Southern California, I learned early that there’s nothing wrong with cosmetic anything. My first lesson on this was my teeth.

Even though my parents never had much money, I had braces twice, a jaw expander twice, and porcelain fillings. I remember my dad insisting on paying more for white fillings and linking them to me one day getting a boyfriend. I’m not sure if he thought a man would want to check my teeth to make sure I’d make a good brood mare or what, but I was only about eight at the time.

Twenty years later, my British husband couldn’t care less about the color of my fillings. He grew up in a market town in England (which Lonely Planet describes as having its heyday in the 14th century, and going downhill since then). He remembers being a crooked-toothed boy in the dentist’s chair, and the dentist asked him, “Do you want to be a TV news reader when you grow up? No? Then you don’t need braces.”

This is why it always makes me laugh when I read a historical romance where the British hero flashes his straight white teeth.

In the seven years we’ve been together, though, I’ve had three root canals, two fillings, and two crowns. Hubby hasn’t even had a single cavity.

Maybe there is something to British dentistry after all.

By Kat

Kat Latham writes sexy contemporary romance, including the London Legends rugby series. With degrees in English lit and human rights, she loves stories that reflect the depth, humor and emotion of real life. She's a California girl living in the Netherlands with her baby girl and British husband.


  1. I’m obsessive about my teeth and my child’s teeth.

    Unfortunately, my son has “craggy” teeth. Some teeth have a flat biting surface, some are hilly, his have deep valleys and high peaks – which leads to extensive cavities no matter how much he brushes and flosses. It makes me sad.

    I won a contest four years ago and received FREE veneers on my top eight front teeth. Boy, do they look spectacular! The dentist threw in replacing teeth color fillings for the one silver one I had. After two bouts of braces (one as a pregnant adult) I am finally happy with my smile!

    1. Robin, what contest was that you entered? I’m guessing it wasn’t a writing contest, since that would be quite a bizarre award.

      1. Here’s a long story –

        It was for a local Memphis magazine and I did have to write a clever entry to win.

        I visited my Junior League headquarters and picked the magazine up off a table in the foyer. My child fell asleep while I was there so I placed him in his car seat and left. The light at Poplar and Highland is extremely long and I MUST multi-task, so I opened the mag and the contest information caught my eye.

        I made up my answer on the way home (20 minutes), put the baby in his crib, typed my answer to the question “Why do you need this makeover?,” printed out a picture of myself, put everything in an envelope and walked out to the mailbox. I met the mailperson at our box and she took it. Then I went back in and read the directions … that day was the postmark DEADLINE and I’d just made it. The amazing parts are that I had a stamp and a photo to send and didn’t put it all off.

        I did the David Letterman style answer … I don’t have it anymore, that was three computers ago (about six years now that I think about it! Time flies and … we go through computers at our house, hubby likes to upgrade).

        The only one I remember is,
        #1 – So people will stop asking me if I’m my child’s grandmother.

        Now granted, I was 38 when he was born but I live in Western Tennessee where people, obviously, have their children in their teens.

        I received the veneers, six microdermabrasions, some Botox and Restylane, make-up, haircut, hair color and tattoo’d eyeliner! The only things still hanging around are the teeth, everything else wore off.

        But it was fun!

  2. Oh but wait, the morning they announced the winner of the St. Jude $300K house, I was upset I didn’t win. I was standing in front of a co-workers office throwing a hissy fit and stomping my little foot and saying, “I don’t ever win anything,” when my phone rang and the person told me I won the other contest!

    silly me

    1. Robin, that’s a great story! I need to keep my eye out for contests like that – forget winning feedback, I want a house and nice teeth!

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