What Having A Gap Between Your Front Teeth Says About You, According To Dental Studies


Gaps between teeth, which is otherwise known as diastema, can happen anywhere in the mouth, but it occurs most commonly between the two front teeth. These gaps can differ in size, but this issue is usually an aesthetic one, and it frequently occurs in young children who don’t have their permanent teeth yet. Despite being a sign of good luck in many cultures, having this unique dental feature may be caused by genetics and might cause additional health complications down the line. 

What causes a gap to form between the teeth?

While it can be passed down from generation to generation, it can also be developed from habits like thumb-sicking as a child or putting your tongue in a certain position when chewing and swallowing. If a child or adult pushes their tongue against the back of their first two teeth, it can create a space and widen over time.  

Other genetic reasons for spacing can include some people being born with teeth too tiny for their jawbone, which can create extra space, or having an oversized labial frenum (the tissue connecting the top lip to the gum above the front upper teeth). 

Periodontitis (advanced gum disease) and mesiodens (grows along the back of the middle incisors and stops them from moving together to reduce a gap) can also cause gaps in the teeth.

Does being gap-toothed mean bad health?

In certain cases, a gap between the front teeth could signify gum disease or poor dental health and hygiene. While this issue isn’t life-threatening, it can indicate that a person needs to improve their oral hygiene routine.

Poor oral hygiene, where a person doesn’t floss or brush their teeth enough, can cause gum inflammation, which can eventually pull the teeth further apart, creating a gap. If you observe your gums feeling overly tender, swollen, looking red, or bleeding during brushing and flossing, an infection like gingivitis may be the culprit. 

Cons of having a dental gap

There are a few downsides to having a dental gap, especially if it is wide. You may not be able to sufficiently access the space between your teeth to clean them the right way, which might lead to plaque buildup and periodontal infection. If you have a sizeable gap, it could also cause speech peculiarities like a lisp. Finally, the likelihood of “tongue thrusting,” or pushing your tongue against the back of your front teeth while talking or swallowing, can become an issue and widen the gap even more.

To manage this, be sure to regularly go to the dentist for checkups and cleanings, floss, and maintain good dental hygiene at home.

How common is a dental gap?

There’s no reason to be ashamed of a gap, as it happens quite often. Spiritually, many cultures say that a gap in the front teeth is lucky, dubbing it a predictor of good fortune and a future filled with wealth. Unless your dentist says there is a reason to get a corrective procedure, feel free to flaunt your gap with pride!

How to fix a gap

That said, if you do need to close the gap to avoid the spread of bacterial infections or the misalignment of teeth, you can get dental implants, which are one of the most permanent solutions. Dental bonding can be used for small gaps, and braces or veneers are also helpful if you have other teeth that are misaligned. If your frenum is the cause of the issue, you can undergo a frenectomy, a procedure that releases the band of tissue, often in conjunction with other procedures.

Gaps can be due to a unique blend of genetics and dental health, but remember that not all gaps need fixing. If there isn’t a concerning medical issue at the root, this aesthetic difference is just another example of the broad spectrum of human diversity!