Sunday, October 9, 2011

Those Mormon Teeth

On a lighter note...

A few days ago, I was having a rather lively conversation with a few friends about ways we can pick out Mormons in a crowd—for lack of a better term, mo-dar (think ‘gaydar’ for Mormons). One of the things that was brought up was the fact that in addition to many of the stereotypical things we get teased about (like mini-vans, large families, and Jello-molds), many Mormons have big, square, white teeth—or what we called Mormon Teeth.

Mormon teeth are kind of like Chiclets™ gum. Chiclets™ are squared off, pieces of gum wrapped in a white, hard-shelled candy casing (with a refreshing minty burst!). In fact, good examples of Mormon teeth are often so perfect they remind me of the shiny, perfectly square, blinding-white tiles in my bathroom. And hey, who could ask for a better smile than that?

Of course, we all know Donny and Marie are the vanguard of the phenomenon known as Mormon teeth, but as I got to thinking about it, it’s actually a pretty common occurrence among the Mormon population.

So, I decided to do my own (very unscientific) field research to see whether or not Mormon teeth are a real phenomenon or just another urban legend, like the Yeti or Marcus Bachman’s heterosexuality.

A quick scan of the web revealed little about Mormon teeth, other than a few websites that poked fun at Donny and Marie for their shimmering, optic choppers. One website went so far as to ask the question: “What’s the secret of ‘Mormon teeth?’ Bleaching? Caps? Good dental plan? Please tell us, after all, it is a matter of public health!”

My own Mormon teeth

Then, I realized I actually have my own test subjects: My ward. So, Blackberry in hand, I chased a few of my Mormon fellows down the hallway this Sunday and asked if I could take snapshots—of their teeth. Ironically, given how public I am with pretty much everything about myself these days, these were among the least-awkward conversations I’ve had with these great folks. And to make things easier, they’re smiling pretty much most of the time anyway, so why not stick those grins in front of the camera?

Corin: Mormon teeth.
As the photographic evidence here indicates, the Mormons in my ward really do tend to have large, square, and very white teeth. Then, it also occurred to me that the wards that attend the Pacific Heights Chapel have an unusually high concentration of—gasp—dental students.

Coincidence? You decide.

Dan: Mormon teeth.
I think the truth of the matter is most Mormons probably do have better teeth than the rest of the population. If you think about it, it kind of makes sense: We generally don’t drink or smoke, both of which take a toll on your smile. And, save for a few of us with secret Diet Coke habits (no names mentioned, mind you) we also tend to stay away from soft drinks, which are proven to erode enamel and over time, diminish that oh-so-Mormon sheen.  

Erika and Jensen: Mormon teeth.
(I will admit here, since I’m out in pretty much every other way, I am a bit of a Diet Coke junkie. But, I’ve been advised by my dentist—who has an amazing set of pearly-whites herself—to always use a straw to prevent acid erosion and maintain my Osmond-like grin. Not that I advocate in any way that you follow suit, but if you find yourself indulging in the occasional soft-drink—invest in a straw. Your enamel will thank you.)

Abe: Mormon teeth.
So yes, I do think Mormon teeth exist—unlike the Yeti whose existence has yet to be proven (and as for Mr. Bachman, well, I think those youtube videos speak all we need to hear on that subject).

And let’s face it, we are kind of a peculiar religion, so if the rest of the world wants to poke a little fun at us for our astral-gleaming, square, white teeth, we’ll just grin—and bare them!



  1. I cant stop laughing! Thank you, thank you, Mitch Mayne! This is hilarious!

  2. Hahahahaa! It's so true! And prior to seeing these photos, I would have said that all Mormons are blond and blue-eyed. It's nice to see some darker skinned brunettes in the bunch!

  3. You don't know me, but I have to say ... if one drinks as many (secretive) diet cokes as I do (everyone needs a vice!) then it is highly possible that one will end up with wrinkles and pucker lines all around one's dainty little mouth. What good are square, pearly white teeth if they are surrounded by a wrinkled pucker?

    That's why we have agency, my friend!


  4. This is hilarious. I love it! The straw advice was quite helpful as well. :).

  5. How I WISH I had the set of Mormon pearly white's. I don't know if is the fact that 75% of the blood that flows through my veins is British... or the fact that the half that comes from my mother comes from a mostly "gentile" clan... or the fact that Mountain Dew doesn't do me any favors, but my "pearly whites" are only that way because they are the same kind as President Monson's.

  6. There are a lot of LDS dentists and I think good health and hygiene are just part of the mindset. Most of the big bad things that would wreck teeth - wine, coffee, soda, tobacco are avoided by this group.

  7. I wish I had Mormon Teeth. I'm going to schedule a teeth whitening appointment soon (I have a groupon for it!) Maybe then I'll be more church appropriate. :)

  8. We owe it all to the Word of Wisdom. ;D

  9. Hey, you guys really do have pearly white teeth don’t you? Hahaha! I actually wouldn’t have noticed it if I haven’t come across your blog. But really, you guys have great smiles. Oh well, I think that just definitely means that you guys really take care of your oral health.
    Javier Portocarrero