What does a traditional Balinese wedding have to do with the toothpick? More than you can imagine!
You have to look very closely to see what is different in this photo: the groom is not only wearing traditional Balinese clothes, but also a certain look that was «given» to him on the occasion of his wedding: Six pointed filed front teeth!
This «filing of the teeth» is part of the Bali Hindu belief complex, which states that a soul can only reincarnate into a human body if a filing of the teeth has taken place. Accordingly, it is performed equally on boys and girls, mostly as an initiation rite to attain the prerequisite for marriageability.
While in Bali this has exclusively spiritual reasons, in Borneo, not far away, it is a principle of beauty: the Dayak decorate their incisors with gold plates, which flash when they speak and, in this way, leave a special effect on the other person. Sometimes you must «set» your teeth a bit for this. In any case, this look talks more about the strength and beauty of its wearer than about a life in the hereafter.
All these exciting facts are gathered in the field of ethno-medicine, which deals with the various procedures of dental manipulation. Today we know, for example, also thanks to intensive research, that the first dental work was made by Etruscans and Phoenicians in the middle of the first millennium BC. The Etruscans could even make gold beads and join them together without soldering! Of course, this was reserved for the rich, as is so often the case. Accordingly, it is hardly surprising that teeth have always had a special significance:
Status and teeth are directly related.
The best example of this is the toothpick. It's hard to believe, but there were times when the toothpick was considered the chicest fashion accessory. Nero, the Roman emperor of antiquity and despot of the first hour, used to appear on his parquet floors aka orgies with a silver toothpick in his mouth. However, he was not the only ruler of antiquity who cultivated this unusual spleen: In a 5000-year-old tomb in Mesopotamia, a toothpick made of gold was even found!
Even in the modern, industrial world, there are tooth trends that are supposedly irritating: for example, a trend from Japan. There, «crooked teeth» are enjoying great popularity. «Crooked teeth» are imitated by gluing artificial canines over the real ones. Yaeba, as the Japanese term is called, may seem strange to Western dimensions, but here, too, a universal saying applies: «Beauty is in the eye of the beholder».