Dental lessons in Matt Groening’s “The Simpsons”

Do you know what the Simpsons has taught you about teeth?

Cartoons like Matt Groening's "The Simpsons" are full of jokes and ridiculous scenarios to fill our evening TV times with laughter. However, behind many jokes is a more serious lesson to be learned.

What little nuggets of dentistry wisdom are hidden amongst the hilarity?

Bart's Loose Tooth

In "Fat Man and Little Boy", Bart discovers a loose tooth and attempts to pull it out himself. His agonised scream is testament to the importance of allowing a loose baby tooth to fall out naturally. Your child should start to lose his or her baby teeth around age six or seven, as permanent teeth start to come through. The emergence of new teeth will cause the roots of the baby teeth to dissolve and eventually the tooth will come free with minimal pain or blood.

Yanking a loose tooth out by force will only cause unnecessary pain. It could also mean that you've pulled a tooth too early, especially if it has come loose as a result of being knocked.

Dr Wolfe's Dental Clinic

It may not be what the writers intended, but the many dental jokes in "The Simpsons" hold hidden lessons.It may not be what the writers intended, but the many dental jokes in "The Simpsons" hold hidden lessons.

In the iconic "Last Exit to Springfield" episode, Ralph winds up in the dentist's chair with a cartoonishly sinister dentist who insists that Ralph tells him the truth about his brushing habits by showing him outrageous images of damaged teeth in "The Big Book of British Smiles". The short scene is loaded with three important lessons:

  • Don't be scared of your dentist: "Painless Dentistry (formerly Painful Dentistry)" is an embodiment of dental anxiety. This fear of the dentist is common – it's felt by 71 per cent of New Zealand women and 59 per cent of Kiwi men, according to Oral-B's dentaphobia study. However, dental issues don't simply go away. Almost half of all Kiwi adults have had to have one or more teeth extracted due to caries that have developed over time, according to the New Zealand Health Survey 2016/17.
  • Tell your dentist the truth: There's no point in turning any dental clinic into a "House of Lies". Oral-B's survey revealed that 17 per cent of Kiwis lie to their dentists about brushing habits. We need you to be honest so that we can correctly diagnose any problems as soon as possible.
  • Remember to brush: Failure to brush your teeth won't necessarily mean you look like a portrait in "The Big Book of British Smiles". However, personal appearance can be negatively impacted if caries are allowed to develop and oral health issues are not addressed. 

Bart's Free Toothbrush

The truth is brushing regularly can save you money in the long term.

When offered a free toothbrush by his dentist in "You Kent Always Say What You Want", Bart dismisses the opportunity for better ongoing oral hygiene, insisting that he'd be doing the dentist's job for free. The truth is brushing regularly can save you money in the long term. We encourage you to take control of your oral health so that you don't have to shoulder the potentially heavy costs of restorative surgery. 

Remember – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so ensure you're brushing properly and book online for a dental checkup every six months with City Dentists.