Why do Japanese people have bad teeth?

Growing up in Japan, I didn’t really care about people having golden or silver teeth. It was quite common back then. I had all sorts of dental issues and my local dentist (he was terrible!) used silver fillings and crowns and that is still not uncommon in Japan.

But after moving to America, I began to notice that people have much nicer smile. Many people have rather fake smiles. Teeth are so white. Well, these are called vineers and they are fake!

My teeth were pretty straight for the most part but one of my lower teeth was slightly crooked and I began to obsess over it.

So finally I went to a local cosmetic dentistry to get the invisalign. These were expensive but it worked!

When I saw my friends in Japan last year, they were asking about my straight teeth. “Yumi, You’ve always had straight teeth but I notice that your teeth look prefect now..”

My friend is pretty but when she smiles, I can see a silver crown slightly…>_<








It’s not a big deal but I couldn’t stop looking at her silver tooth…

Anyways, I got sidetracked a bit. I want to talk about so called “vampire teeth” some Japanese women are paying hundreds of dollars to get that single crooked tooth.

But why?

It’s simple. Because girls with “yaeba” (八重歯) is considered more feminine and cute. Not necessarily on both sides but just having a slightly crooked tooth..yaeba makes women look more attractive..

Really? Well, she looks kind of attractive and people would notice her teeth immediately.


How do Americans see Yaeba? My husband and I recently went to get a reflexology massage and this Chinese masseuse had that perfect Yaeba. My husband goes..”That was good. She is really good..we should come back again but I just couldn’t look at her face..did you see that tooth? She had terrible teeth.”

It is very interesting how different societies perceive beauty differently..

Either way, I am pretty satisfied with my teeth. ^_^


(Visited 17,136 times, 1 visits today)
  • Amber

    Yeah, personally, I don’t like crooked teeth. Just the way I was raised and because of my childhood, they make me uncomfortable

    • Yumitolesson

      I don’t understand why anybody would pay so much money to get a crooked tooth. I hear you

  • Andre Lange

    The same article could be written about Spain (I lived there 2 yrs). My short answer is that no “culture” is as vain and ridiculous about looks as the USA! Well, Brazil is a case unto itself.

    • Yumitolesson

      haha I agree. People are obsessed with perfect smile here in the US!

  • 4311rlsv

    Bad teeth don’t look good. Having good teeth is especially important when your job involves dealing with the public. You don’t want to smile or talk to someone, and have bad teeth. People think you aren’t healthy or you probably practice bad hygiene, if you have bad teeth. You could be a pretty woman and have expensive clothes, handbags, cars, nails, etc., but if your teeth are bad, the whole thing goes down the toilet. In my experience, I’ve seen people with bad teeth usually date or marry people with bad teeth. Nowadays, with all the dental payment options out there, and all the dental insurance available, there’s no reason to have bad teeth. Believe it or not, employers may not hire you if you have bad teeth, or, they’ll put you in a position where you won’t have to have public contact. If you want to be a manager or supervisor, you better have good teeth. And where am I from……….the United States…….the country that someone said is so vain about looks.

  • em

    I’m Japanese and I grew up in Japan, but I never knew until recently that there was anybody who would think yaeba was pretty. I think the perception depends on individuals, rather than cultures or societies. When I see yaeba, it reminds me of that scary Japanese woman mask. I don’t know if you know what I’m talking about.. I never thought yaeba could be pretty, and my mother never spoke well of yaeba or any crooked teeth.
    Also, I find it a little biased to say that Americans have straight teeth or white teeth. You’re talking about rich people in the US. I worked in an urban school and I was shocked to see so many kids, as young as kindergarteners, having silver and gold fillings all over in their mouth! Oral hygiene and looks of teeth may be more important than it is in Japan overall, but when you start looking at people in poverty or certain communities, people there are rather less careful about their teeth than most Japanese people. I don’t know why. I mean, I understand about not having straight teeth- it is simply too expensive for some people to achieve that. And it is common for kids to get tooth decay, they have sweet tooth and aren’t great at brushing their teeth. But when you see so many children with way too many fillings in one community, you can tell they don’t have the habit of brushing their teeth. That’s the part I don’t understand. It rather saves money to brush their teeth regularly, so that they can avoid going to the dentist and paying for oral surgeries and/or fillings, but it seems that low-income families overall tend to not brush their teeth in the US, whereas in Japan in this generation, (I know it was a different story in older generations) children are trained to brush their teeth often, whether rich or poor.

    • Thanks for your feedback. Yes I agree. Unfortunately children in impoverished neighborhoods are too busy to survive in the U.S. but middle class (please refer to the “statistics” in the US. Believe me, I go to college with middle class kids and they tend to have straight teeth.) Rich people earn millions of dollars and they probably have veneers.

    • Riquez

      アンガマ ?