Sunday, May 02, 2021

In Your Teeth

If I were to suggest that you could whiten your teeth by gargling with your first-of-the-morning urine, and you decided to try it and it made you ill, you probably could not sue me successfully.

At least, not in Europe, and not for disinformation or misleading advertising, if I correctly interpret a recent case about applying horseradish to bare skin.
Legal bloggers Russell Williamson and Ayah Elomrani for the international law firm Bird & Bird ( explain the interesting issue of what happens if you believe everything you read in the media and are hurt by it.
Original link:

Lexology link:

By the way, for those who enjoy some of the strange law stories found on the best legal blogs, you might like the anthology "No Law Against Love" by Deborah MacGillivray, Jacqui Rogers et alia.

Which has very little to do with teeth.... or the dubious effectiveness of urine as a beauty regimen, but here are a couple of interesting links:

Dr. Charles Gemmi of Philadelphia gives us eight shocking facts about teeth:

Kristin Lewis, for Scholastic compiles dental stories from a three-thousand-years-old musician named Djed, who died of dental disease to more recent dentistry scams. It's a highly entertaining read.

For something more visually inspiring, Google "weird teeth". Speaking for myself, others may be more thorough, and with the exception of vampire romances, I've not noticed a lot of interest in alien dentition in fiction. Like visits to the bathroom once the seat is down, the contents of a hero's mouth are just not that romantic.
Teeth are deeply important to primates, and not just as a signal of a potential mate's health, strength, temperament, prosperity, ability to provide, pleasantness to be around, fitness as a mate.

As a matter of survival, primates have always had to read facial-grimace language for welcomes, warnings and other cues about how to stay safe.  There is a PEAK game where you have milliseconds to identify friendly faces out of a mass of questionable tooth exposure, and also closed-lip smiles. I am exceptionally good at it.
On "toothy grins":  
"Our results indicate that, contrary to previous assertions, detection of smiles or frowns is relatively slow in crowds of neutral faces, whereas toothy grins and snarls are quite easily detected." 

On "friend or foe" subliminal reactions (to teeth displays)
Ron Dotsch, formerly of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, describes how the unconscious mind processes human faces and the two types of faces it chooses to consciously see, namely: those associated with dominance and threat and, to a lesser degree, with trustworthiness.

Probably, if someone bares his or her teeth to such an extent that the molars are visible, that is a full-mouth snarl, and the onlooker should beware, particularly if there is no obvious provocation for the anger display.

It is weird that in many Western cultures, "toothy grin" is a pejorative. One does not see heroes described as having toothy grins. Yet, private and public figures undergo great expense and long term discomfort to achieve disproportionately large teeth.

The Cassell-published, 1981 version of Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable catalogues important cultural uses of "tooth" and "teeth" in the then-modern idiom.

This is not it, but it might be close:

By the skin of one's teeth.
From the teeth outwards.
He has cut his eye-teeth.
To draw one's eye-teeth.
His teeth are drawn.
In spite of his teeth.
In the teeth of the wind.  (In the teeth of opposition. "To strive with all the tempest in my teeth." Pope.)
To cast into one's teeth.
To get one's teeth into something.
To have a sweet tooth.
To lie in one's teeth. 
To put teeth into....
To set one's teeth on edge.
To show one's teeth.
To take the bit between one's teeth.
With tooth and nail.

So, dear reader, what's in your teeth?

All the best,

Rowena Cherry 

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