Good looks matter in relationships, in the workplace and in society as a whole. What qualifies as good looks, however, varies based on an individual’s perspective. One new fashion trend gaining popularity in Japan might not qualify as the epitome of good looks in the United States.

 Snaggle-teeth, sometimes thought of as crooked teeth, are becoming the must-have look in Japan. The trend, as reported by website RealBeauty.com, is gaining traction following a musical group’s adoption of imperfect mouths. The girl-group TYB48 or “Tseuke-Yaeba 48,” was formed by the same dentist promoting the snaggle-tooth look. The dentist turned music promoter crafted the long-canine teeth or vampire-look, for the three-person 18-year old girls’ group with a debut album ironically named “Mind if I Bite.” No doubt, the dentist hopes to sell the concept to other Japanese women.

Beyond fashion, the crooked-teeth look or yaeba, which costs between $200 and $500, is reported to help men feel more comfortable in a stagnant Japanese economy because women are less intimidating after being made to look like a younger girl with snaggle-teeth.

Dumbing down is a sad trend even in beauty.  

Meanwhile, some local children had never even had their teeth cleaned by a dentist until the service was offered for free by Communities in Schools programs. Just think how far the money being spent to make crooked teeth in Japan could go to help kids here in Franklin County who need preventative care for their teeth.

It is difficult to imagine a dentist deliberately changing someone’s teeth for the sake of fashion — whether temporary or permanent — when it can negatively impact the individual’s oral health. Americans spend thousands of dollars to straighten and whiten their teeth, while in the Japanese culture some are embracing a much different fashion statement. Just because a musical group does something, that doesn’t make it a good idea.

Focusing on good health ought to trump fashion. Let’s hope this trend stays on the other side of the Pacific.

— Jeanny Sharp,

editor and publisher